Thursday, 9 February 2017

When Chinese meet Romans

In the last post, I had discussed the emotional stress that one might have to go for preparing for UPSC CSE examination. Most of my elders except me to study for 16-18 hours. I am not someone who is going to take unwarranted advises and ruin my peace of mind and my health. I believe that entertainment is a necessary part of this preparation. I took a day of and looked for a movie on the internet I have always looked for something in history or war genre. This time it was a Jackie Chan movie named Dragon Blade.
Most people tend to look for violent and nudity scenes in such movies.However, I try to learn something from them. I know that such movies are merely a work of fiction but we must remember that they tell us of a time when friendship and honor meant something and people were not that fake. Promises were kept and laws were respected as compared to our civilized society today. Everyone had a reason to live and work hard. But today things seems to have taken a peculiar shape. We are living in days of mob mentality where people will run after one thing- money. 

The movie deals with the defense of the silk road and how a protection squad tries to save it from Romans and some Chinese traitors. Both Chan and John Cusack are on the side of good and they must fight the Roman Army. This is entirely fictional and no way had Roman Empire came near to China or they ever wanted to take Silk Road.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

I am a Civil Services aspirant

Yes, you heard it right. A complete loser and an average law graduate is a civil services aspirant preparing for one of toughest examinations in the world. An exam which not only tests your knowledge, intellectual ability(whatever that means!!!) and presentation skills but also tests your patience, mental strength and presentation skills. One is required to read a little bit about everything that exists under the roof. So you might be wondering why I am taking a risk. I have never excelled in anything except for dreaming, sleeping and eating. Just get a job in a decent law firm using contacts of my father and move on. (I am very well aware about my lack of academic achievements at law school) But how will I convince myself that all those years of reading history, polity and a security affair of country out of sheet interest was for nothing. This is not some MCQ exam that we are dealing with. We are talking about life and career that can't be compromised like this. Most of the aspirants have been outstanding students all their lives or so it is believed by everyone so what makes me think I can crack it. A simply answer- I know what to do and what not to do. It’s not like that I have entered in this competition without doing some research and analysis (This is something I am good at according to many well-wishers. I have been following the pattern for the last two years and have gone through interviews of many selected candidates. One things common between them is ignoring myths and advice of well-wishers (read pesky relatives) and concentrate on the task at hand. Remember that an aspirant is well aware of his strength and weakness. Only he/she can know how to prepare, when to prepare and where to prepare. I have visited few reputed coaching institute for demo classes. I must confess it was horrifying for me. Imagine 300-400 students packed together in a cramped auditorium preparing for an exam which can make or destroy their life. I found lectures to be of mixed standard (coming for an average student like me!!!) but not something which can’t be studies from home. It was not worth my time to travel 2-3 per day through Delhi metro when I can easily study from home. InsightsonIndia and IAS Baba are very helpful in this matter and I am mostly relying on them along with Vision for Mains. It has helped to improve my score in Mocks by 90%. The constant guidance by them is valuable.

As an aspirant, I am not only dealing with issues of time and confidence but also with so called elders and relatives who proudly show the good paying jobs of their children and perks along with it. It seems I am the only one who is unemployed in my immediate circle. Well, one must sacrifice something to for his ambition (not sure if ambition part is applicable in my case).
Hope to make clear prelims this year. J

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

An era gone

What were some of the important memories of our childhood? Cricket? Bullying? Copying from other kids? Swimming Classes?
Well, mine was spending time with friends watching cartoon and anime series. What am I writing this? Because my little cousins asked me to show them some kids channel and I was amazed seeing those shows. Boring as hell. Not only boring, but those cartoons were not teaching kids anything. We always were fascinated by the fight between good v/s evil even if it was just a fantasy. But kids these days have nowhere to look for learning good morals. Their parents are working, schools are highly commercialized and do not pay individual attention to kids. Naturally, kids are bound to look somewhere for guidance. The only option left is Internet and we all know how unrestricted access to the internet can be harmful for small kids.

Once of my little cousins was interested in few things that I as a kid would never have been interested in. One can argue that times are changing and there is no control over this. But is it for best or worse. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

RTI Act - Authentic Interpretation Of The Statute

The Right to Information Act, 2005 has completed 10 years of its implementation. While it has largely been successful, attempts have also been made to subvert the provision of this Act. The book has been written by two prominent faces in the field of RTI activism with one of them being Information Commissioner and known for his bold decisions.
The best part about this book is that it is free from case laws or references to other texts. The authors have sought to give their interpretation to various important provisions of the Act in the light of overall mandate of the Act. The book has given due intention to various controversial provisions related to Appeals, Powers of the Information Commissions,  Exemptions, National Security, Power to impose fee, Suo-Moto Disclosures and Third Party Information.
The authors have mostly relied on Section 22 of the Act which provides for overriding previous statutes and seeks to ensure the primacy of this Act in all matters related to freedom of information. However authors have clearly ignored the basic rules of interpretation of status as similar clauses (non-obstante clause) are all incorporated in previous statutes and where similar provisions of different statutes are in conflict, it is left to the constitutional courts to decide. The authors should have kept in mind that the powers of Supreme Court under Article 141 is very wide to even overall the order of constitutional bodies such as UPSC and CAG and Information Commissions being statutory bodies are very well within the ambit of the apex court in matters where interpretation of statute is required. While authors have tried to interpret the RTI Act keeping in mind the preamble of this statute, the courts are not liberty to do so as they are bound by precedents and provisions of other statutes and have to find balance between them.

It must be remembered that RTI Act is striking at the very heart of corruption and maladministration i.e. secrecy so there is bound to be different interpretations by different stakeholders of this Act i.e PIO, FAA, CIC, SIC and judiciary. However, in our constitutional system the will of judiciary is supreme. It strongly agree with most of the interpretations made by authors in this book but at that same time feel that such interpretations are of no use with taking relevant case laws and other statutes in to considerations. The RTI Act, 2005 has become part of our legal system and cannot work in a watertight compartment. 

Monday, 2 January 2017

In defense of the indefensible

So what's indefensible. Something which can't be defended because of perceived notions of society that we live in. For some people, terrorists may be freedom fighters, robbers may be modern- day robinhood and a molester may simply be a boy who is provoked by the victim. These days, almost anything can be defended even killing of innocent people if one is able to touch right emotional cords. Then I will add one more to this list of indefensible- police forces of our country.

The same police forces who are corrupt, useless, brutal, biased towards influential and powerful and are merely sitting to collect their daily routine of bribes. Or same police forces whose members are routinely thrashed by mobs, run over by rich and educated kids, abused and smeared by certain sections of media and human rights organizations and yet would be the first one to respond in need of crisis especially in cities like Delhi where your own neighbour might ignore you call for help.

I must inform you that I am not defending black sheep of our police forces rather an institution which is available around the clock without any holidays despite being overworked and heavily understaffed. I am simply trying to point out various reasons behind demoralization of an average cop in our country which will ultimately impact the safety of everyone. If one does feel that our police forces are not demoralized, then one should simply watch today's news and see the events that happened in Bangalore. The only thing came to my mind was when not use pistols and guns to disperse the mob. Even firing in the air would have sufficed. After all, the police force was heavily outnumbered and they were dealing with a drunk mob. They are entitled to use their weapons in such situations and if not, then I don't see a better situation in which they can use the can use their sidearms. They are meant for safeguarding the public, not merely for wearing as ornaments.

In previous years, the police force has often faced brickbats for various reasons like excessive use against protestors, bashing up traffic violators and not being able to stop rampant sexual assaults. In many cases, policemen have not been to act even when their own lives were under danger. In places like Delhi and Mumbai, where attacks on traffic cops are becoming rampant, no sidearms have been provided to them. Even cops at regular pickets are without any weapon except for few lathis.Some senior officers have admitted that this is done to change the image of cops, it's another issue that this is putting them at the mercy of very people whom they are supposed to keep under control. How should one expect an unarmed cop to protect a citizen?

Then suicides in police forces is another issue which everyone seems to ignore. We have a tendency to think that since they are being paid, they should have nothing to worry about. If things were that easy, why would people working with MNCs and traveling in luxury need to have a regular medication for the depression and here we are talking about a job where one is always on the duty.

So why exactly do we hate our cops.  It's pretty obvious that we hate someone from whom we have certain expectations. We have an expectation that cops will keep us safe and when anything happens with us even a minor accident, then first thing is to curse cops. But when same people are killed or injured while doing their job, why does no one stand up for them. Yes, we are busy in our lives and can't go and stage rallies everyday (exceptions are always there), social media should be useful in this.

The nature of the job of the police is such that violence, abuse, arguments, strictness and even use of weapons are bound to be involved especially in a chaotic society like ours where breaking rules is seen as a badge of honor. Do we even care to follow even basic civic and traffic rules?

It's not that police department have has not tried to change their image. The amount of dismissals for corruption is highest in police and their spokespersons are first to respond to allegations by the media. Delhi Police even tried to introduce taser guns as it is used in other countries but was criticized by human rights organizations.

Maybe it's time that public and police work together to change things and make our country a better place to live. A start can be made for being vocal in support of police when they have rightly used their authority but are still criticized by human rights activists and certain sections of media. It will act as a morale booster for everyone except for anti-social elements and people supporting them for their own vested interests and fake sense of rule of law.

Who will clean the hills?

This was my first trip to a hill station after completing hectic five years in a law university. The last time I had visited Shimla was in 1998. After reaching Kalka, we boarded for the toy train and waited for the breathtaking view of mountains. However, the only thing that I was able to see along tracks was a huge amount of garbage, plastics, beer bottles, cups, etc. I thought that it would be restricted only to tracks and adjoining areas as it is very common in our country. I could see my fellow passengers enjoying themselves while throwing garbage from the train window and I was surprised at the amount of garbage that one could see on the nearby hills. This was probably worse than what one would experience in Delhi, at least one can clean the garbage on the plains but how does one clean the garbage in the hilly areas. My toy train passed through a dried river. Nothing peculiar about this except that it was filled with garbage. One could clearly see the amount of garbage that was coming from hills. As that train was moving towards Shimla, we could clearly see the mountains below full of plastics and the malba from construction. It would take few more years to fill these mountains with garbage.

We reached Shimla railway station in the evening and were taken to our resort. It was new year's eve and people from nearby states had arrived in Shimla to celebrate. About 30,000 cars had crossed the barrier in Shimla according to a local newspaper. After touring few locations, I realized that we were not present at a hill station but rather a hill town. My driver informed me about the restrictions on tourists in Manali and Leh areas and same could not be implemented in  Shimla due to its status as a capital city of Himachal Pradesh. The only place with some sense of civic responsibility was famous mall road. However, after the new years' eve, I could see bottles of wine, wrappers and cups being thrown around and hills were being filled with this. 

Another important aspect of environmental degradation in hilly areas in unrestricted construction activities. It is vital for any places to have infrastructural development to improve the local economy and attract tourists but if such activities would do away the scenic beauty, then why would people come to such places in the long run. The same kind of environment destruction can be seen in  Mussorie and Darjeeling.

So the questions till remains- Who will clean the hills?