Blanket ban of Sun-films – Flaws in the premise of petition

Recently our Honorable Supreme Court issued a blanket ban on any sunfilms on the cars, even if it is within the legal limits permitted. This was based on a PIL filed by one Mr Avishek Goenka, based on the premise that cars with such films are used by the criminals for moving around and illegal activities and also in rape and crime against women. Interestingly, tinted glasses are allowed, but we are not allowed to add sunfilms on normal glass.

When myself and some of the people on social media tried to put across our point on the facebook page of Mr Goenka’s NGO – “ Save Aam Admi”  and point out our concerns and how his premise was wrong, the whole page was removed.

Today, Mr Goenka, has sent posts to many Traffic Police page, trying to answer some of our concerns.

His post and my reply pointing out the flaws in it follows



1)) BLACK FILMS CONTRIBUTE TO COOLING OF VEHICLES – but firstly only those who use air conditioning, do pull up the glasses & air conditioning provides cooling any ways & further if cooling was an issue, then only silver & white cars would have sold, since they not only absorb the least heat and also increase night visibility of vehicles, hence making them least prone to accidents !! Further black films on glasses have been banned, but coloured glasses complying to (70%) front & (50%) side visibility are allowed.

So what you are saying is that it is ok to have colored glasses, but not colored films even if it confirms to the norm. His petition was based on the premise that it is dangerous to have color films, as police cannot make out what is happening in the car. So, how is it possible for people to make out what is happening in the car with colored glasses and not colored films which confirm to the norms of visibility?

2)) PRIVACY IS HAMPERED – privacy is about private places like homes & hotels, but not public places like roads.

I believe you are misunderstanding privacy here. We are not talking about the privacy factor which the young people in love desire, but the privacy on a whole. So, if the passengers in the car want to have some food, now it is possible to have it inside the car, with no one noticing it unless or until they really stare in. With no sun film, u will have people staring at what you eat. If you are travelling wearing jewellery, earlier it was not obvious, now a look and it is visible

3)) LAP TOPS & STEREO SYSTEMS ARE VISIBLE – both are portable devices & either can be carried at ease, to home or office or hidden beneath the car seats. It will also prevent the thief from opening the car out of curiosity as happens in case of heavy tinted glasses.

So u mean to say, I stop a car for some time to go to a shop or office for half an hour and you want me to carry music system with me? If i forget it, it is ok to lose it? And What is it about preventing the thief from opening car out of curiosity? You want us to help them making sure everything is out in open and save them the trouble of opening a car out of curiosity and not finding anything?

4)) WOMEN ARE UNSAFE WHILE DRIVING AT NIGHT – safety in public places is hampered because of factors which prevent public glare & not because of factors which ensure transparency. Only when there is absence of public glare – mobile phone conversation//drinking//immoral activity//movement of criminals//movement of illegal material//rape//molestation//k
idnapping – is facilitated. Any illegal activity happening in presence of transparency, is an exception hence not universally followed.
Measures are adopted keeping the universal norms in mind & not exceptions. Just because (1) person survived a free fall from a high rise, others too do not make a bee line.

You mention ” Measures are adopted keeping universal norm and not exceptions”. Can you please mention where is it universal norm to that all the activities like rape, molestation, kidnapping happens in cars with sunfilms? Wouldn’t these fall into the category of exception?

5)) CAR DECOR SHOPS WILL FACE DROP IN PROFITS – business will flow from selling coloured glasses instead of black films ..

Again having colored glasses is ok right? And u believe that the criminals are like us, middle class people, to not have money to go for colored glasses and carry on the afore-mentioned activities of yours? This also brings doubt in me whether the petitioner is in lobby with some of these car decor shops or sun film manufacturers to get a cut in their profit.

5)) … tomorrow if shops selling adulterated milk are shut will we protest ?? If these shops would not have mushroomed and sold illegal films in threatening proportions – the need of invoking a ban on black films, would not have arised.

Most idiotic premise i have heard, I am sorry to say this. To take into the same example you are giving, what you are doing is akin to telling that since some shops are selling adulterated milk, it should be made illegal to sell milk. The crack down has to be on these illegal films and not on the car owners having sun films within legal limits.

What we need to do is spread this message around just to show how much stupid the premise is and how Supreme Court is unfortunately wrong in passing this judgement.


Parliament and reality shows

Just yesterday there was a huge debate in the Rajya sabha. All MPs, atleast those who were present and those who were awake, cut across party lines and debated on the topic. If you are really wondering what policy of social concern has caused the politicians to wake up from their sleep, sit up and take notice, it is nothing but the increase of reality shows and the obscenity in them. The centre of ire this time was the new show aired on Star TV, “Sach ka Saamna”.

The show was noted to have “obscene” and uncomfortable questions which are asked to the contestants and thus the MPs were supporting the imposition of ban on the show as it is against our culture. Not long ago, most of these MPs, were blaming a party of indulging in moral policing and we even had a minister crying hue over how the government of a particular state could decide on the culture of a particular country. But now here they are debating about the morality of a show in the parliament.

Lets leave behind the politics of the issue or the party politics. But what I wonder is this an issue which is to be debated in the parliament. We all know that to run a minute of proceedings in the parliament thousands of rupees are spent. So was it really worth spending thousands or even lakhs of rupees to discuss this issue? There are hundreds of other issues which need attention. There are cases of cholera spreading in a particular area. Some regions in the country are reeling under drought, while in Orissa there has been a situation of flood. In Pune, there have been cases of swine flu among school children. Aren’t these issues to be discussed in the parliament? Aren’t these the issues which will affect the “aam aadmi”?
After all who will see this program aired at 10:30 in the night? Not the common man who is worried about how he will reach office tomorrow, not the man who is worried about the health of his kid, or the spread of some disease. I would believe not more than 5% of the Indian population will be seeing the programme. So I don’t see the point in having a discussion on some topic which is going to “affect” a very small % of people and “corrupt” them.

Now coming to the programmes coming under censorship by the IB ministry, I have a question on the necessity of the censorship. After all, this programme is being aired well after the “prime time” at 10:30 pm in the night. So, if the government is concerned that the kids would be corrupted, is it the role of the government to act as a moral guardian for them? Wouldn’t the parents be the right people to allow/ not allow the kids to see the programme. I believe the parents know what is good or bad for their kids than the government.

If the government feels that the adults in the country will get “corrupted”, I really wonder is anything left to be corrupted. Haven’t the saas-bahu serials taken care of that part? Moreover, they being adult, shouldn’t they have the reasoning power to make the decision of right or wrong? If not, then what is it that is not giving them this reasoning power?

Moving over to the feeling of the participants and how their relatives feel, the participants know what questions are going to be asked, because they would have undergone a polygraph test with a superset of around 50 questions from which the 21 questions will be asked. So I think they can get out of the show, if they are not comfortable. They are there to win the money and they are ready to undergo the polygraph test. Their “loved ones” support them. Most of these people have already seen the parent show of this, the show from which this is inspired on Star. They know the kind of questions which will be asked and if they have agreed to come on the show, then they are ready to face it. So, is there any need to ban the show for this?

Now I am not a fan of this show. On the contrary, I haven’t watched a single episode of this show, or any of the reality show because I do not like it. But that is my personal issue. I cannot ask for a ban on something if I do not like it. If it goes like this I would have asked for a ban on all the mega-serials which are being aired now.

All I am asking is what happened to the right to freedom, right to chose what I want? Shouldn’t the government, MPs come out of this over protective parenting behavior with unnecessary issues and treat the people as adults who could make their own decisions on what to see and what not to see?

Although it is heartening to see the politicians debating on some issue finally in the parliament, it is heart-wrenching to see the kinds of issues they decide to debate on. We elected these people and sent them to parliament to discuss on these? Please come back, we will discuss this on a cup of cut chai and a plate of pakodas.

Way ahead for BJP

Some post which i had written a month and a half ago, but had not published….

Now that the result of the election has come through, it is great to see at least one of the fronts getting almost the full majority. It is also great to see the left being routed in their strong bastion. Also the NDA led by the BJP has been sort of rejected by the country. This post is not about the reasons why the UPA won or the reasons behind the routing of the NDA. I would leave that to the parties and the more capable bloggers.
This post is about something which is going on in my head since yesterday. Although I am not a member of the BJP, you could actually say that I am a supporter of them and their ideologies. So, it was obvious for me to think about how the party should go ahead from now on. There are also voices here and there telling that this was the best chance which they had to form the government in the near future, reason being the rise of Rahul Gandhi and the apparent desire of the country to have a young leader. So, these are a few of the points where I believe they have to concentrate on.
One of the reasons which I believe is responsible for the poor performance of the party is that they are branded continuously as a communal force. Even the major news channels and the media continuously keep calling them communal forces and the others as secular. Some of the educated do know the level of secularism of the other parties and knows that even they are the same in that front. But the difference being they are coming across as secular cause they are branded so. Even though the branding agency is no one but themselves, they are able to somehow convince the country that they are secular.
The way forward is not to somehow brand them communal, but make it clear to the nation that they are as secular as the other pseudo-secular parties are. The educated in most of the urban areas believe it, the question is how to get across the message in the other rural areas. How to go about it?
I am sure they do have a minority’s wing in the part organization. I believe this is the time to come to force. Yes, even though you are not in power, this is one wing which I would like the party to mobilize. They could start working with the minorities and other “secular” communities at the base level and start creating a support base among them. In the states in which they are in power, there could be some schemes and programs aimed at them and their welfare. I am saying this because although they are called the minorities, they are actually the largest voting force. And this would be an effort to show to the nation that we are not communal and we do care about the other communities. Further it would strengthen our base among them. I have already seen an example of this in the Bangalore Central constituency in this election, where there was a close fight and the BJP candidate won the election when surprisingly a Muslim dominated area, did not vote for the Christian standing from INC or a Muslim from the JDS, but voted for the BJP.
Apart from this I seriously believe that some of the leaders can actually tone down on the brand of hot talks. Yes, Narendra Modi is a great chief minister in Gujarat who has worked for the development of Gujarat. The people of Gujarat does recognize it, but it is really bad that the people of the other regions sees him only through the glasses of Post Godhra riots. Varun Gandhi has the making of the great leader, but he has to take all the people of all the communities with him. But these are the leaders which the other people see as communal. I am sure Modi government in Gujarat would have worked for the development of the area irrespective of the communities in the area. It would be great if Varun Gandhi too use the funds allotted to him in developing Pilibhit. And I would say for the starters at least use it to develop the pockets of muslim dominated regions along with the others. And mainly it is not just enough if we just work, we need to brand it too. To ward off the negative and the false branding of the anti-secular force, we need to brand ourselves strongly as the secular force and these would help it.
What I am saying is not to give up Hindutva, but also make sure you come across as someone whom people from all the communities will have trust in.
Though the party has made inroads in the south at least in my state, the major worry has to be its losing dominance in what were once its strong hold states, UP and Delhi being the major example. UP being a large state was once the strong hold of the party, but we have consistently lost the hold over there. The state which once used to get us more than 50 seats have seen us return with 15 odd seats this time along with the allies. I would say the reason goes back to the time when the BJP was in power in that state. There was a constant infighting in the camp and now the party organization has gone to the doldrums over there. The first responsibility right now is to get the party organized in these regions. Get in a good strong and a young leader with a clean image in these areas, and let the party organize itself around this fulcrum. Get in the second and the third rung leadership around this leader. Get the units up and kicking. As the minority is also a major factor in UP, the minority wing of the party should be more active in here. Get in good leaders who can build the organization and support base to head the minority wing.
Delhi, though it is a small state, returning only 7 seats, is the national capital and if we have to have a central government, then this state is important. But unfortunately we have seen this going the UP way only and there are no regional parties to contend with over here too. The main reason I believe again over here is the leadership and organization. Try to get in the new organization or mobilize the organization. This is important because in another 3-4 years I think Delhi will go for voting again and the ruling party will be incumbent for 10 years by then. If we can get the organization running in the state you can capture it and with it start the march ahead for the center.
Also the states in which the party is in power are really important. Work towards the welfare of the people and avoid being in controversy. I am really happy to see the Sri Rama Sena controversy did not affect the result from my state. But such controversies have to be avoided for sure.
Lastly but not the least of all, identify your opponent in the next election. It is pretty clear what congress strategy for the next election would be. Project Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate, saying that he is a young, dynamic leader with a clean image and then brandish BJP as a communal party. To counter this, the prime ministerial candidate from the party has to be someone who is strong, young, dynamic and not seen as “communal”. Try to identify such a leader. It would be better if it is allowed for the organization to throw up such a leader by itself rather than pushing him/her onto it.

Electoral/Constitutional reforms I would like to see

After looking at the past few elections and also looking at the way the govt is run, these are a few of the electoral/constitutional reforms which I believe would help in trying to improve the political situation of the country. It is quite a huge list, but i do hope somebody reads through this.

– Make it mandatory to vote in elections. In the world’s largest democracy, it is pathetic to see that more than half the eligible people to vote do not vote and this after repeated efforts and pleas to make them vote. My idea is to make it into some fundamental duty which every citizen of India should fulfill.

– Have the option to reject all the candidates from the constituency in the EVM only. It being a secret ballot why should I let others know that I am not going to vote for anyone else.And going by the precedence even this time not many of the presiding officers in the polling station knew of what to do in case a person decides to reject all the candidates

– Have some system to make that negative vote count. Not sure how, but may be something like if the candidate gets negative votes amounting to more than 1/n th of the total votes polled, where n is the total number of candidates in the fray, then he/she cannot be elected.

– Some measure to reduce the number of independent candidates. Right now there are constituencies where nearly 70 odd independent candidates stand for election. I don’t know how many of them get more than 10 votes. Also reducing the number of independents also will lead to reduction in the cost of printing the extra ballot sheets and EVMs

– Try to hold union and state elections together. I feel that it will lead to a major savings in the cost of holding the elections

– In cases where a person gets elected from one party, then resigns soon after, joins another party, then the expenses for conducting the elections have to be taken from that person only. After all, he was the reason for having this extra election and we are not a rich country anyways. The same holds for people elected to state assemblies standing for parliamentary elections and winning and for the people who stand from more than one constituency and win more than one. It is not being conducted to show off your strength. And if you think the elections are a show of strength, then pay for showing off your strength.

– A fixed term for parliament will help, I believe. At least that way we know the people who we have elected have 5 years to do something.

– A way to question our elected representatives. Pardon me if this is already there in our constitution, but I need to have the right to question my elected representative about what he has done in that year or not done. Something like the General Body Meeting where we get to know what the person is doing. Or at least make sure that they release an activity report every year or twice every year.

– Make it mandatory for the prime minister to be an elected MP of the Lok Sabha and not Rajya Sabha. I am not having anything against any particular party, but my train of logic is this way. Every one believes that Lok Sabha election is the only election where they elect someone to represent them. Now a Prime Minister who is the leader of the country has to be someone who is elected by the people directly. Whatever the constitution says we all know that Rajya Sabha election is no way an election where the people’s representatives are elected. If a party is sure that they will be elected to power, then I don’t think they have any reason not to field their prime minister candidate from one of the constituencies. After all if he/she is good enough to lead the country, then the people will elect him/her.

– Some way of curbing the influence of the regional parties in the national politics. Now I know this is easier said than done. But the reason for me putting this here is what we have seen in the recent past. Too many regional parties are holding the national govt captive in order to achieve some of their regional issues/rivalries or whatever settled. Some way to curb this is the need. What can be done? Say have something like the regional parties are free to contest the state elections on their own, but if they are having candidates for the national elections, then they need to align themselves with one of the two/three main parties. And they need to do it before the elections and have to stay with them for the entire term of the parliament. The penalty may be something severe like de-recognizing the parties who fail to adhere to this or shift allegiance to another front. This way at least they do not have the power to threaten the government that they would withdraw support if they do not do some damn A, B or C

After mentioning all these things let me question myself too… Which individual or the party has the balls to get these reforms passed? I am sorry to say that though one or two of them might try to implement a few of them, not all of these will be implemented. And of course, I sincerely do not believe the congress-led present govt has neither the will power nor the interest in implementing it.

What does CBI stand for?

Is CBI Central Bureau of Interrogation or Congress Bureau of Interrogation? I am sorry to say it, but it is looking more and more like the latter. Do you want more proof?

Well lets look into the case of CBI vs Mulayam Singh Yadav.

March 2007 – A case of disproportionate assets was registered against Mr Yadav on the directions of Supreme Court based on a PIL filed by a lawyer.

October 2007 – CBI reports that it has completed the preliminary investigation and has found “sufficient material” to implicate Mr Yadav.

July 22, 2008 – Mind you till now Mulayam Singh is against the UPA govt in the center. Now in the wake of the left front taking back its outside support to the government and the government moving into minority consequently, Mr Yadav decides to support the government from outside. So he is on the side of the government now.

November 8, 2008 – The law ministry sends a file to the solicitor general asking his opinion on the case. SG reports back telling that Mr Yadav has his assets within his income limit and the govt must consider withdrawing the case. Legally the Solicitor General doesn’t give legal advice to Govt of India. It is the attorney Generals work.

November 17, 2008 – The union law minster signed off on the case writing “I agree with the legal opinion of the learned Solicitor General. The Department of Personnel may withdraw the IA pending in the Supreme Court.” CBI decides to withdraw the case and this U-turn even surprises the apex court which asks CBI to explain its conduct.

February 2009 – The relation between SP and Congress starts to turn sour. There were comments made by Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and some other SP leaders against congress leadership. Congress and SP goes into a war of words.

March 31, 2009 – This was the latest hearing of the case and in this CBI informs the supreme court that it still stands by the “recommendations” made in the status report filed in October 2007, implicating Mr Yadav.

So this was an amazing double U-turn by the premier investigating agency and surprisingly the implication and withdrawal of case was consistent with whether Mr Yadav was on the side of govt or against it.

It is also amusing that in July 2008, the CBI suddenly files an affidavit against Ms Mayawati, the arch-rival of Mulayam Singh, in a disproportionate assets case which was on the backburner for the past 5 years and says that it has enough evidence to prosecute Ms Mayawati.

And also now the case of withdrawing the case against Mr. Quattrocchi in the Bofors deal.

CBI in 1999 names Mr Q as the conduit in the case and includes his name in the chargesheet. It also manages to get a red corner notice against Mr Q.
In June 2003, Interpol finds two bank accounts in the name of Mr Q and Mrs Q, containing 3 million Euros and $ 1 millon and says that it is a “curiously large savings for a salaried executive”. The CBI gets the account frozen, so that the money cannot be withdrawn from it.

In January 2006, the central law ministry suddenly decides to defreeze the above mentioned accounts and on January 16th, the entire amount was withdrawn from the bank by Mr Q.

February 2007, Mr Q is held in Argentina based on the red corner notice by Interpol. CBI does not even inform this news to the public in India and only announces it after the report comes in the media regarding this in March 2007. CBI bungles in its efforts to get Mr Q extradited and loses its case to get him extradited in June 2007, with the judge remarking “India did not even present proper legal documents”. Embarrassingly, India was also asked to pay Q’s legal expenses.
Mr Q’s son who grew up with Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi visits India frequently, works in a company called Club Invest – Europe and has an office in Bangalore. When his father was arrested in Argentina, he was present in India and left India a day before CBI made the news public.

October 2008- Mr Q’s counsel files a protest against CBI asking it about the legal validity of the Red Corner Notice (RCN). CBI passes on the file to the law ministry and on the same day it is sent to the Attorney General for his opinion. The AG gives his opinion the next day.

“The whole purpose of a warrant of arrest is to secure presence of the accused,” said the AG. “This is possible by extradition when the accused is abroad. But two attempts have failed and the judgements indicate that there are no good grounds for extradition. The warrant cannot remain in force forever. Therefore, the warrant dated February 1997 would lose its validity, particularly in view of the successive failed attempts of the CBI to extradite the accused in Malaysia and recently in Argentina,” the AG said.

April 2009 – The law ministry tells that there is no use in continuing the case and the CBI asks for the withdrawal of the RCN and dropping of charges against Mr Q.

Yes, it does look as if all the things are done as per law. But the whole thing becomes murky because of the involvement of the law ministry of a govt which is in its last date and also the point that the govt is headed by the close friend of the accused against whom the charges are dropped.

That is what makes me wonder. What does CBI actually stand for?

Shoegate Menace

There is a new wave of rebellion or revolt going on in the political circle this election. It is all to do with the shoes. Made famous by the Iraqi journalists missile aimed at George “Dubya” Bush, this weapon has been picked up by the Indian common man this election.

Initially it was the journalist Jarnail Singh who aimed it at Mr Chidambaram, when he tried to avoid questions regarding a certain Sonia Gandhi loyalist ex-minister being given a clean chit in a case which has been dragged on for a silver jubilee celebration.

Then followed a series of shoes thrown at various persons as this mania gripped and spread more crazily than avian flu, targets being Navin Jindal, Jeetendra, Advani and the PM Manmohan Singh too. And with the last incident and the admission of the missile thrower that he did it for his 5 minutes of fame, the thing which I was fearing has come out to forefront.

Anyone can now throw a shoe at some prominent personality knowing fully well that he will be given air time in varying amounts by the various channels. While CNN-IBN might have a fleeting minute dedicated to you, Aaj Tak might have a full hour or two dedicated to you, where the 5 second act of yours would be played in a loop, pausing at different moments to discuss the various technical and aesthetic aspects of your throw.

Now add to it, the crazy politicians from the grand old party of India who are acting more delirious than any human being as old as their party, if alive, would act. If only they could think a Milli-second as to what they are talking before it comes out of their mouth it would have been better for them. Asking the chief minister of a state to apologize because someone threw a shoe at someone else, just because it happened in his state is more a reflection of the dearth of issues for the party on which to fight for during the election.

And this is not the only stupid thing which has come out of the grand old party of India. One ex-chief minister of a particular state from the northern tip of India comes all the way down to the southern part of India for campaigning and gives a statement telling that the government in that state is not favoring the backward castes and if they are favoring, let the chief minister resign and make someone from the backward caste the chief minister. Excuse me mister ex-chief minister of a sensitive state, did u do that when you were a chief minister. Will your party do the same if it comes to power in the center???

In all the craziness surrounding the elections and the stupid and the confusing statements given by the grand old party members and the pseudo-secularist behavior of all so called “secular” parties, it is appalling to see the voter turnouts in the second round of polling. I for myself saw a person who came to the booth and went to the presiding officer telling her that his office would give him a holiday if he had voted and since he is going out of station for enjoying the holiday he doesn’t have time to vote and just put on the mark on his index finger. Thank God, the presiding officer was adamant and asked him to stand in the queue for that also. But it shows the apparent lack of concern regarding the country present in a section of the people. God help them and more so God help India from the Pseudo-Secularists

Kandahar Vs Mumbai

Now that the ruling party at the center is trying to use the Kandahar incident of the 2000 to counter the weak anti-terrorism front of the attack against them, I was thinking of the similarities or the differences between the two.

The similarities that i could think of between the two are that both of them were attacks on the nation, by trained Islamic fundamentalists. Both involved hostage situation. There were some people who paid with their lives in both the incidents.

Now lets come to the differences. In the Kandahar incident, the terrorists boarded the Indian Airlines flight in Nepal and then hijacked it. In Mumbai attacks the terrorists came over into India and attacked landmarks inside the country. With Kandahar, the hijacked flight was flown to Kandahar (of course), which is a different country and which was ruled by the Islamic fundamentalist group Taliban. We all very well remember the scene where the Taliban militia surrounded the plane as soon as it landed. Now it is very well a guess as to on whose side they could be on. With the Mumbai attack, the terrorists took over the buildings and started fighting from inside them.

I am aghast to see the statements from the many educated, elite and the youth icons of the country who try to compare the Kandahar and the Mumbai attack and give out statements that while in Kandahar, the previous govt sent a minister to escort the terrorist and get the release of the hostages, with Mumbai our govt sent commandos and fought against the terrorists.

Can you please clear a couple of my doubts “Mr Youth Icon”, “Mr. Future PM”. Suppose it was your govt which was in power when Kandahar happened what would you have done? Send commandos to Afghanistan and get the hostages released?If so, would you have sent an army over to Afghanistan along with the commandos to first take on the Taliban militia who were surrounding the plane? Do you really believe that you would have succeeded in this?

Also if you really want to compare the two, wouldn’t Mumbai attack show that you are poor at handling terror. There were people from outside country who attacked our country and took hostages. First of all, you let them enter the country, then you let them take hostages, take 4 days to kill them and free hostages and paid with the lives of nearly 200 odd people.

I am not praising the previous NDA govt, but just questioning the audacity of the present govt in saying that they were better in handling terror. I am sorry, but you are not… If you were, you would not have let them get into the country and kill so many of the innocent people of our country