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Category: Context (general situation in India)

SC Has Let People Down, Abdicated Duty to Defend Fundamental Rights: Justice A.P. Shah

SC Has Let People Down, Abdicated Duty to Defend Fundamental Rights: Justice A.P. Shah

The Wire / by Karan Thapar

In one of the sharpest criticisms of the Supreme Court made by one of India’s most highly regarded retired judges, the former Chief Justice of the Delhi and Madras high courts has said that “to a large extent the Supreme Court is letting down the people of India”.
Justice Ajit Prakash Shah said the Supreme Court has “completely abdicated its duty to defend fundamental rights” and added that this will “affect the credibility of the Court and its prestige”.
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Video: SC Has Let People Down, Abdicated Duty to Defend Fundamental Rights, says Justice A.P. Shah


en | 51:32min | 2020
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UAPA and the growing crisis of judicial credibility in India

UAPA and the growing crisis of judicial credibility in India

Observer Research Foundation / by Niranjan Sahoo & Jibran Khan

The Democracy Report 2020 by V-Dem Institute created quite a storm recently in India’s policy circles. The report claimed that the world’s largest democracy is on the verge of losing its status as a democracy. Noting India’s rapid slide into an autocracy, the Sweden-based report, which produces the most comprehensive analyses on the health of democracy across the world, cited trends of dramatic erosion of basic civil liberties, particularly media freedom and suppression of the freedoms of free speech and dissent as the key reasons for this major dip…
The last two years, in particular, have witnessed a sharp rise in the arrests of several prominent human rights defenders, civil society leaders, agitating leaders and even protesting students under the UAPA and sedition laws, including Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Varavara Rao, Anand Teltumde, Gautam Navlakha, and Arun Ferreira.
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Unfair To Target A Lawyer For Appearing For A Particular Client: Justice Lokur

Unfair To Target A Lawyer For Appearing For A Particular Client: Justice Lokur

‘Unfair To Target A Lawyer For Appearing For A Particular Client’: Justice Lokur

21/11/2020

Live Law / by Radhika Roy

I think that it’s unfair to target a lawyer for appearing for a particular client”, said Justice (Retd.) Madan B. Lokur, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India at a virtual session hosted by Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum and Women in Criminal Law Association.
“If a lawyer is dealing with hundreds of COFEPOSA cases, you can’t say that he is also a smuggler. I don’t think the Judge should ever get involved in the relationship between a lawyer and a client”, the judge commented.
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Video: Justice (retd.) Madan Lokur speaks on „Defending Liberties“

20/11/2020


en | 1h 29min | 2020

By Bar & Bench

The former Supreme Court judge is speaking at a virtual discussion hosted by the Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum and WCLA.
Former Supreme Court Judge, Justice (retd.) Madan Lokur is speaking on the theme Defending Liberties in a virtual discussion to be hosted by the Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum and WCLA. Justice (retd.) Lokur will interact with Warisha Farasat, Tara Narula, Shalini Gera and Sowjhanya Shankaran during the discussion.
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Read tweets/summaries by Live Law

Why are inmates unable to access basic facilities in Indian prisons?

Why are inmates unable to access basic facilities in Indian prisons?


Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Scroll.in / by Vijayta Lalwani

According to prison manuals, jail authorities are responsible for ensuring food, clothing and health facilities to inmates.
On November 6, activist Stan Swamy filed an application in a special court in Mumbai requesting access to use a straw and a sipper… When he was arrested in Ranchi, Jharkhand, he carried a small bag with himself that contained a few of his belongings as well as a straw and a sipper, said his lawyer Sharif Sheikh. However, after the arrest, the bag was left with the National Investigation Agency, which is probing the case.
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For one and all: On personal liberty / A Tale of Two Arrests: Arnab Goswami & Stan Swamy

For one and all: On personal liberty / A Tale of Two Arrests: Arnab Goswami & Stan Swamy

For one and all: On personal liberty

13/11/2020

The Hindu / by The Hindu

The Supreme Court has struck a blow for personal liberty, granting interim bail to television anchor Arnab Goswami through an order that one wished was also passed in the case of many others incarcerated without sufficient cause, and with the same priority, consideration and speed…
It is no idle whataboutery to point out that it was only recently that the apex court turned down a petition for bail on medical grounds for lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj to the High Court with a gratuitous observation, “You have a good case on merits. Why don’t you file a regular bail application?”
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A Tale of Two Arrests: Anchor Arnab Goswami & Activist Stan Swamy

12/11/2020

The Leaflet / by Revati Siva Kumar

The arrest of Arnab Goswami evoked howls of protests from the centre, politicians and ordinary people, while that of octogenarian activist Stan Swamy under the dreaded UAPA barely registered. This “counter-terrorism law” is a convenient weapon for governments to arrest human rights defenders, journalists and protesters and Swamy was a symbol of activism, the voice of tribals and their struggles to address their broken hopes and aspirations related to displacements and land alienation beyond caste and religion.
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Arnab entitled to bail, but what about 3.5 lakh undertials, 83 yr old priest, 80 yr old poet?

12/11/2020

Counterview / by Counterview

Senior Mumbai-based human rights lawyer Mihir Desai, in a Facebook post, “tears in the hypocrisy of the judgement and the utter naiveté that informs the discussion about it in certain quarters”, comments Vistasp Hodiwala, adding, “It is the kind of stuff that only a lawyer of serious standing such as Mihir who deals with such cases day in and day out would be able to put up.” …
This is what Mihir Desai wrote.
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‘Will Fr Stan Swamy Now Get a Sipper Cup?’ Twitter on Arnab’s Bail

11/11/2020

The Quint / by The Quint

Meanwhile, another Twitter user talked about jailed 80-year-old activist Varavara Rao’s struggles in the jail.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 11 November, granted interim bail to Republic editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami in connection with the 2018 abetment of suicide case against him.
Among other things, the top court judges, raised serious concerns about deprivation of personal liberty in Goswami’s case.
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Nikhil Wagle: Personal liberty is of utmost importance. But should it be selective? Was it not important for Kashmiri, anti-CAA or Bhima-Koregaon activists? Was it not for Rhea Chakraborty?

Rishi Majumder: To be fair, #JusticeChandrachud did take a similar line in his dissenting judgment the Bhima Koregaon case. But while his words in the #ArnabGoswami #SupremeCourt case have carried weight those in the #bhimakoregaon case served only the purpose of record.

Prashant Bhushan: It was fine for the SC to hear Goswami’s petition with lightning speed & release him. The SC struck a blow for liberty. What has anguished many people is why the SC does not display the same alacrity & concern for liberty when it deals with lesser mortals languishing in custody

People in jail
807 days – Sudha Bharadwaj
286 days – Sharjeel Imam
223 days – Meeran Haider
255 days – Ishrat Jahan & Khalid Saifi
178 days – Asif Tanha
171 days – Devangana Kalita & Natasha Narwal
58 days – Umar Khalid
30 days – Kishore Chandra Wangkhem
2 years – Aasif Sultan


Arnab’s plea listed urgently in SC, Dushyant Dave alleges preferential treatment [read full letter]

11/11/2020

Sabrang / by Sabrangindia

As Arnab Goswami lodged in Taloja Jail awaits the expedited hearing of his petition against denial of interim bail, the President of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has, in strong words, protested against the ‘extraordinary urgent listing’ of the matter at the apex court. Mr. Dushyant Dave, the President of SCBA wrote a letter to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court pointing out the selective listing of matters that the registry is indulging in “for last eight months during Covid pandemic”.
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Was Arnab Goswami entitled to be released on bail? Of course

11/11/2020

Kractivist / by kamayani

Advocate Mihir Desai: Bail not jail is the rule.
Are the 350000 yes three lakh fifty thousand undertrials (many of them for years and many for petty offences) who are as on 11th November 2020 in jails across India likely to get bail?
More than 1,20000 of them have been jail as undertrials for more than a year. At some stage in their long prison life may be but within four days of arrest. Not in your wildest dreams.
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United Forum for Adivasi Rights protest demanding immediate release of Father Stan Swamy

United Forum for Adivasi Rights protest demanding immediate release of Father Stan Swamy

United Forum for Adivasi Rights protest demanding immediate release of Father Stan Swamy

06/11/2020

Siliguri Times / by Silguri Times

The Adivasi Samaj staged a movement to demand the immediate release of Father Stan Swamy. Furthermore, United Forum for Adivasi Rights staged a rally on Friday.
The members of the organization said that the rights of the Adivasi community are being curtailed. Father Stan Swamy is said to be the one who constantly fought for the rights of the Adivasi community. And the people condemned the central government for putting him behind the bars.
A protest rally was staged today demanding his immediate release. Also, a memorandum was handed over to the SDO addressing the CM mentioning the same.


An Adivasi Crusader Under Trial: A Blot On Indian Democracy – OpEd

05/11/2020

Eurasia Review / by Dr. Paul Newman

The state of Jharkhand is one of the most backward states of India… The three resources that are close to the heart of any tribal in the area is Jal (Water), Jungle (forest) an Jameen (Land), which they own but often lose to the vested interest aided by the state forces… This is an area where a number of missionaries have contributed a great deal to the development of the place in terms of providing quality education, health care and other basis necessities… It is in this context that an eighty three years old, Fr. Stanislaus Lourduswamy, popularly called as Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest from Jamshedpur Jesuit Province was arrested by the National Investigation Agency on the 8th of October 2020 at 7.30 P.M under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
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NIA is acting as another ‘caged parrot’ like CB

NIA is acting as another ‘caged parrot’ like CB

National Herald / by Arun Srivastava/IPA

The NIA, constituted by an Act of Parliament, is also being used by the Modi government to serve its political interest.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which in recent times has suffered a severe crisis of credibility and faith in the eyes of the people has suffered yet another shattering blow with the Maharashtra government withdrawing general consent for operations within its territory…
The NIA can take up a case dealing with its scheduled offences in India without the consent of the state government in question.
But unfortunately, the NIA is also being used by the Modi government to serve its political interest. The Bhima Koregaon case is worth mentioning.
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Suppressing Dissent / Who is Really the Enemy of the People?

Suppressing Dissent / Who is Really the Enemy of the People?

Suppressing Dissent

20/10/2020

Medium.com / by Arun Simon

Dissent is rarely welcomed in any society. As power increases, appreciation of dissent decreases. Innumerable examples can be seen with dictators or absolute powers. It is also possible in religion, culture, and other domains… My country India, with all its high democratic values, is no different. The officially declared emergency(1975) may be the worst period in that line. But there are many unofficial competitors for the same today. The recent arrest of many social activists (latest in that line being Fr. Stan Swamy, a tribal activist) under a draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with many contemporary events raises serious questions.
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Who is Really the Enemy of the People?

20/10/2020

NewsClick / by Suhit K Sen

India will have to look to forces within the country to steer back towards political processes that incorporate opposition, dissent and diversity.
Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, was arrested in Ranchi on 9 October. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which carried out the arrest, claimed he was a member of the CPI (Maoist) organisation. It appears that anyone who works for Dalit rights, or is not in full agreement with the toxic ideology of the Sangh parivar, must be a Maoist.
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How the Right Is Starting a Psychological War by Targeting the Old and Ageing

How the Right Is Starting a Psychological War by Targeting the Old and Ageing

How the Right Is Starting a Psychological War by Targeting the Old and Ageing

13/10/2020

The Wire / by Ajay Gudavarthy

The right seems to believe that given the cultural codes of Hindu way of life, dispensing with the old will meet less protest and resistance from the society – creating a scope for more fear and less resistance.
… It began with the murders of Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Kalburgi – all of them into their 70s, and more recently the arrest of Varavara Rao, and now Stan Swamy, both into their 80s.
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There is an environment of fear in India. The State must renew the commitment to rights

12/10/2020

Hindustan Times / by Hindustan Times

The action against a range of intellectuals and activists and journalists – Sudha Bharadwaj, Anand Teltumbde, Stan Swamy, Apoorvanand, Harsh Mander are among the better-known examples – indicates that the space for free expression and dissent is jeopardised.
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NCRB 2019 data shows 165% jump in sedition cases, 33% jump in UAPA cases under Modi govt

12/10/2020

The Print / by Leah Verghese

In recent years, sedition and UAPA have been weaponised against critics of the govt. National Crime Records Bureau’s recently-released data confirms this.
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The Indomitable Spirit of Father Stan Swamy

The Indomitable Spirit of Father Stan Swamy

The Wire / by Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Stan Swamy and the adivasis he supports in an impossible battle for their own ancestral lands are pawns pitted against mammoth mining companies. Falsely branding activists as Maoists is the easiest way to condemn to enable vested interests to finish them off.
“No, it’s not possible,” were my first thoughts when I heard that Father Stan Swamy, an 83-year-old Jesuit priest and activist had been arrested – for the second time. His crime? He defended the rights of adivasis being exploited in their homeland Jharkhand.
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