Bhuvana Iyer – Mumbai Uncensored, 25th February 2022
A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking to hold political parties accountable to the essential rational promises made in their election manifestos and make them legally enforceable.
The PIL, filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay through his advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, also sought directions to the Election Commission to regulate functioning of registered and recognized political parties and to seize the symbol and derecognize/deregister parties that fail to fulfil their essential rational promises of their election manifesto.
The PIL sought direction from the Ministry of Law & Justice to take appropriate steps to regulate the functioning of registered and recognized political parties.
According to the PIL, on 15.12.2020, Justice Reva Khetrapal retired as Delhi Lokayukta but the Government did nothing to fill the post till date and hundreds of complaints relating to corruption are pending in the office.
The PIL states Delhi is governed by Aam Aadmi Party, which was formed after historic Anna Movement, seeking Lokpal at Centre, Lokayukta in State and Citizen Charter in every department but it did not amend Lokayukta Act in spirit of Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 and is still using outdated ineffective 1995 Act.
The petitioner submitted that the fulcrum of democracy is the fair electoral process. If the integrity of the process is compromised, then the notion of representation becomes vacuous. Political parties are promising irrational freebies but not fulfilling essential promises. So, the danger to democracy and the Indian republic cannot be gained, the PIL says.
Therefore, the petitioner requested the Court to analyse whether political parties are really concerned about governance or do they cynically participate in the evisceration of the democratic electoral process.
The petitioner submitted that Centre and ECI have not taken steps to regulate the functioning of political parties and to regulate the manifesto. So, the Court is the only hope of citizens.
Injury to Citizens is Large because AAP promised Janlokpal Bill-Swaraj Bill in 2013, 2015 and 2020 election manifesto but did nothing to effectuate them. This is happening in all States because neither Centre has enacted a law to regulate the functioning of political parties and their election manifesto nor ECI made guidelines under Article 324. The petitioner submits that rather than taking effective steps to secure social economic political justice, liberty of thought expression, belief faith worship, equality of status-opportunity, and to promote fraternity assuring the dignity of individual and unity-national integration; political parties fulfil only freebies.
It is highlighted that political parties must not only mention the respective Articles of the Constitution while promising to enact a new law in their election manifesto but must also mention the timeline and deadline. Similarly, political parties must not only mention the steps to control corruption, crime, casteism, communalism, linguism, radicalism and fundamentalism but also mention essential steps to secure important fundamental rights – right to health, right to education, right to shelter, right to road access, right to water, right to food, right to dignity, right to employment, right to justice, right to legal aid, right to clean environment in election manifesto. But, Centre & ECI did nothing in this regard.
The PIL said that in Bhutan and Mexico, political parties are required to submit a copy of their manifesto to Election Commission before a primary round of National Assembly elections and manifestos are published only with the approval of the Commission, after thoroughly vetting and filtering out issues with the potential to undermine security and stability of the nation. In the United Kingdom and Netherland, legal provisions are applicable and offensive campaign materials are screened and taken out. This principle must be applied to India as well.
Maharashtra Government contemplating a law against ‘Love Jihad’
Khushi Thawani, 17th December 2022, Mumbai Uncensored:
“Maharashtra government is contemplating to formulate law against ‘Love Jihad’ by considering the laws that are prevalent in other states like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh” said Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of Maharashtra, after meeting with Vikas Walkar.
Vikas Walkar is the father of Shraddha who was murdered by her live-in boyfriend Aftab Poonawala in May this year. He chopped her in 35 parts and dumped them in different parts of East Delhi from time to time. “Love jihad” is a term used to describe an alleged phenomenon where Muslim men lure Hindu women into marrying them and converting to Islam.
When asked if the law will be tabled during the winter session, Mr. Fadnavis replied that nothing has been decided yet, and the government is looking into all the aspects.
BJP MLA Nitish Rane said “Maharashtra urgently needs a strong and effective anti-conversion law, often known as a law of love jihad. Every day, we witness Hindu females being targeted and defrauded in every region of the state. A certain community’s inhabitants cast a gloomy shadow over the future. To stop this, the government will introduce a law in the upcoming days.”
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in an interview to NDTV, said that “love jihad was a reality” and that the country needed a “strict law” against it. Recently Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said the state will formulate a new and stricter law to tackle the problem of love jihad. That the government will not let its daughters get murdered and suffer like this.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad has demanded a central law against “love jihad” after being shook by the recent incident. Although the move by the Maharashtra government has been criticised by the opposition parties stating that such a law should not be brought up in a secular country like India.
Disputed Supreme Court’s order on salaries to Imams is a betrayal to other religious sects: CIC
Khushi Thawani, 12th December 2022, Mumbai Uncensored:
The highest entity to handle complaints under the RTI Act is the Central Information Commission, and in one of the recent applications, activist Subhash Agrawal submitted an RTI request asking about the salaries paid to imams and muezzins after receiving no response from the Delhi government and Delhi Waqf Board.
Imams filed a petition in All India Iman organization and others v. Union of India and others, 1993, to protect their fundamental rights against exploitation by wakf boards. They based their argument on the discrepancy between the nature of the task and the compensation. And the highest court in the land commanded the Wakf Board to pay the Imams desirable renumeration.
The judgement is clearly a per incurium as it was in violation of the Article 27 of the Indian Constitution, which clearly states that the country does not support any particular religion and shall not be benefitted from the public fund. As India was carved out of a bigger landmass after being divided because of religious clash, it decided to remain a secular country following the principle of Vasudhev Kutumbakam.
CIC commissioner Uday Mahurkar noted that, “The said judgment sets a wrong precedent in the country and has become a point of unnecessary political slugfest and also social disharmony in the society”.
He directed the Delhi Waqf board to compensate RTI activist Subhash Agrawal with Rs. 25,000 to cover his legal expenses and the time he lost looking for an answer to the application. Both the Delhi Wakf Board and the Delhi government provided the activist with unsatisfactory responses.
The abovementioned judgement allowing renumeration to Imams and Muezzins is “not just betraying the Hindu community and members of other non-Muslim minority religions, but also encouraging pan-Islamist tendencies amongst a section of Indian Muslims which are already visible”, the commissioner said.
He revealed that while the Delhi Waqf Board (DWB) receives an annual payment of roughly Rs. 62 crores from the Delhi government, its own income from various sources is just about Rs. 30 lakhs.
Mahurkar said those who justify such steps in the name of protection to religious minorities raise a question that if a particular religious minority has a right to protection, the majority community too has a right to protection in a multi-religious country where it is incumbent that the rights of the members of all religions are protected equally in the interest of inter-faith harmony and unity of the nation.
While dealing with the dispute the commission observed “The monthly honorarium of Rs 18,000 and Rs 16,000 being given to the Imams and Muezzins of Delhi Waqf Board mosques in Delhi is being paid by the Delhi Government virtually from the tax payers money which in turn is in sharp contrast with the example quoted by the appellant in which the priest of a Hindu temple is getting a paltry of Rs. 2000/- per month.
The commission directed that a copy of the order be forwarded to the Union Minister of Law with a recommendation to take appropriate action enforcing Articles 25–28, which will further set an example of equality among all the religious segments of society. The commission did this while keeping the Constitution of India in mind and its secular nature.
A Muslim woman is forbidden as the guardian of her child: According to the Supreme Court
On Wednesday, the Kerala High Court declared that it had to adhere to Supreme Court precedent in stating that a Muslim woman can not be the guardian of her minor child and the property. The Quran or the Hadith does not prohibit the right of a Muslim woman to be a child’s guardian, but the Court said that it must respect the law as the Supreme Court defined it under Article 141 of the Constitution.
Reports state that the court was deliberating on the appeal made by C Abdul Aziz of Kallai, Kozhikode, and 12 other people, who were represented by attorney KM Firoz. The court of Justices PB Suresh and CS Sudha recognised that although Muslim personal law forbids Muslim women from acting as guardians for their minor children, it is invalid when compared with articles 14 (equality) and 15 (discrimination) of the Indian Constitution. It was emphasised again that the Court must abide by the precedents established by the Supreme Court. The Apex Court has previously ruled in several cases that a Muslim woman could not serve as a guardian for her underage children, stated the court. “It is undeniably true that women have ascended to new heights and slowly but surely stormed a number of male strongholds in the contemporary era.” As was mentioned, many Muslim-majority or Islamic nations have female heads of state. Additionally, women have taken part in space missions. However, this court is obligated to follow the Supreme Court’s rulings, “stated the Court. The appellant, meanwhile, argued by referring to the Hadith and said that the woman was recognised as the guardian of her husband’s property as well. They said that there was nothing in the Quran or Hadith that prohibited a woman from being a guardian of her son or his property. They also added that Hadiths were never considered in any of the judgments of the Supreme Court in this regard.
In contrast, the responses claimed that neither the Quran nor the Hadith endorses the concept that a mother can serve as a guardian and that several verses of the Quran explicitly support the opposite view. The Court upheld that even while the Quran did not expressly indicate that a mother could not serve as a guardian, it was not for the Court to interpret this in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. Furthermore, citing the Shayara Bano case, the Shariat Act is the only law that applies to Muslims in the situations listed in Section 2 of the act, which includes guardianship, according to the Court. The petition was filed over a partition deed in which a Muslim mother acted as a legal guardian of her son’s property. The Kerala High Court noted that the partition agreement was obligatory on the parties but disregarded the mother’s status as legal guardian.