Sunday, March 29, 2015


It is learned from reliable sources that Medical Council of India (MCI) is all set to reinstate disgraced ex-MCI supremo Dr. Ketan Desai as a regular member of MCI. Dr. Desai is presently free on bail facing serious criminal charges for bribery and corruption. More importantly, Dr. Desai medical registration to practice medicine or be part of any medical council has remained suspended since 2010 after PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, lodged a formal complaint against Desai for violation of MCI Code of Ethics & Regulations. Despite these indisputable evidences against the most notorious doctor in India, Dr. Desai managed to get himself nominated as MCI member from Gujarat University. Almost all top leaders of the present MCI are well-known cronies of Dr. Desai. Supreme Court of India issued notice against MCI and Desai last November after PBT filed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking CBI investigation of the last MCI election which was allegedly rigged by Desai and his cronies. Unfortunately, despite a grossly tainted public image, Desai has strong backing from BJP, Congress and other major political parties except AAP. In order to stop Desai from being MCI member, PBT has sent a memorandum to MCI president, Dr. Jayshreeben Mehta, urging her not to allow Desai in MCI as this would send a strong negative signal to the honest doctors and ordinary people of India. PBT has also stated that they will move the court if Desai manages to become a member of MCI.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Delhi HC issues notice to AAP's Tomar for 'misrepresenting' as advocate

New Delhi, Mar. 25 (ANI); The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Jitender Singh Tomar, the Law Minister in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government, after the latter allegedly misrepresented himself as an advocate.
The court issued the notice to Tomar on a plea filed by BJP leader Nand Kishore Garg, demanding the cancellation of the AAP leader's ticket. Tomar had defeated Garg in the recently held Delhi Assembly elections from the Tri Nagar constituency.
The next hearing in this case will take place on May 18.
Earlier, the Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, claimed that the undergraduate degree and other papers submitted by Tomar at the time of his admission to the law course were 'fake' and that while filing his nomination papers, he had falsely declared on affidavit that he was a practicing advocate.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India has been directed to preserve all documents related to the Tri Nagar constituency. (ANI)

Meet the upstart law student and the rockstar judge who freed India’s internet

It is the most unexpected of pairings divided by more than a generation, but it has taken an upstart law student and a wizened interpreter of the constitution to restore freedom to India’s internet.

On March 24, as India’s supreme court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act—a vague web of regulations that could invite imprisonment for as much as liking a dissenting Facebook post—there were two names that stuck out from among the legion of activists, lawyers and others who had propelled the campaign.

The first is Shreya Singhal, a second-year student at Delhi University’s faculty of law.

The other was Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, a judge at India’s supreme court and part of the two-member bench that passed the order.

Dinnertime dissent

In November 2012, Shaheen Dhada, a 21-year-old from Palghar, a suburban Mumbai settlement, posted a comment on Facebook. It simply questioned why India’s financial capital had been shut down in the wake of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s death. Her friend, Rinu Srinivasan, approved of the post and “liked” it on Facebook.

After a local Shiv Sena activist filed a complaint, both women were booked under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act and arrested.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, another 21-year-old, Shreya Singhal was fuming over the detentions and, after a dinnertime discussion, decided to follow her mother’s suggestion to file a public interest litigation against the law. It helped that her mother, Manali Singhal, is a supreme court lawyer, and her grandmother was a judge.

It took Singhal, who has an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from the University of Bristol, and is now a law student at Delhi University, about a week to file the petition. Later, some serious legal heavyweights fought Singhal’s case in court, including former attorney general Soli Sorabjee.
“I am ecstatic,” Singhal said on Tuesday. “It was grossly offensive to our rights, our freedom of speech and expression and today the Supreme Court has upheld that.”

Nariman on point

Even by the standards of the remarkable legal talent abound in India’s supreme court, Rohinton Fali Nariman is an exception.
In 1993, when Nariman was to be designated a senior advocate at the country’s highest court, the then chief justice M N Venkatachaliah had to amend the rules that set the minimum age at 45 years. Nariman was only 37.

In 2013, only 18 months after he was appointed solicitor general, Nariman swiftly quit as the government’s second most senior legal officer, purportedly after a series of disagreements with the then law minister. The straight-speaking lawyer—and son of another legal stalwart, Fali Sam Nariman—reportedly possesses a “mercurial temper” and a weakness for classical Western music.

Nariman is also an ordained Parsi priest from the Bandra Agiary in Mumbai. In a blog post last year, former supreme court judge Markandey Katju described the ordination:

When Rohinton was 12 years old he was sent to the Parsi priests school, where he had to stay for 28 days in the agiari (the fire temple), in seclusion and was not allowed to meet anyone or talk to anyone. He had to pray 5 times a day and memorize the 72 chapters of the Zendavesta, the Parsi holy book.
On Tuesday, 59-year old Nariman, alongside justice J. Chelameswar, delivered a 123-page-long ruling  where they ruled Section 66A as “unconstitutional” and observed that it “uses completely open-ended, undefined and vague language.”

Setting aside the Modi government’s assurance that the law would be “administered in a reasonable manner,” the justices pithily noted: “Governments may come and Governments may go but Section 66A goes on forever.”

Mishi Choudhary, a technology lawyer and executive director of the Software Freedom Law Center India, described the duo as “rockstar judges.”

“They are committed to the constitutional principles, able to adapt with the changing times, deftly understand technology and will provide a conducive business environment for a digital India to become a reality,” she said in an emailed statement.

The government, meanwhile, has mounted a defence explaining that it was always against Section 66A in its current form.

At least, now, Indians on the internet will be open to questioning that argument, without fear.

Jolie's diary of a surgery

Los Angeles, March 24: Two years ago I wrote about my choice to have a preventive double mastectomy. A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave me an estimated 87 per cent risk of breast cancer and a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.

I wanted other women at risk to know about the options. I promised to follow up with any information that could be useful, including about my next preventive surgery, the removal of my ovaries and fallopian tubes.

I had been planning this for some time. It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe. It puts a woman into forced menopause. So I was readying myself physically and emotionally, discussing options with doctors, researching alternative medicine, and mapping my hormones for estrogen or progesterone replacement. But I felt I still had months to make the date.

Then two weeks ago I got a call from my doctor with blood-test results. "Your CA-125 is normal," he said. I breathed a sigh of relief. That test measures the amount of the protein CA-125 in the blood, and is used to monitor ovarian cancer. I have it every year because of my family history. But that wasn't all.

He went on. "There are a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated, and taken together they could be a sign of early cancer." I took a pause. "CA-125 has a 50 to 75 per cent chance of missing ovarian cancer at early stages," he said. He wanted me to see the surgeon immediately to check my ovaries.

I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn't live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren.

I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarising, and it is peaceful.

That same day I went to see the surgeon, who had treated my mother. I last saw her the day my mother passed away, and she teared up when she saw me: "You look just like her." I broke down. But we smiled at each other and agreed we were there to deal with any problem, so "let's get on with it".

Nothing in the examination or ultrasound was concerning. I was relieved that if it was cancer, it was most likely in the early stages. If it was somewhere else in my body, I would know in five days. I passed those five days in a haze, attending my children's soccer game, and working to stay calm and focused.

The day of the results came. The PET/CT scan looked clear, and the tumour test was negative. I was full of happiness, although the radioactive tracer meant I couldn't hug my children. There was still a chance of early stage cancer, but that was minor compared with a full-blown tumour. To my relief, I still had the option of removing my ovaries and fallopian tubes and I chose to do it.

I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this. A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery. I have spoken to many doctors, surgeons and naturopaths. There are other options. Some women take birth control pills or rely on alternative medicines combined with frequent checks. There is more than one way to deal with any health issue. The most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally. In my case, the Eastern and Western doctors I met agreed that surgery to remove my tubes and ovaries was the best option, because on top of the BRCA gene, three women in my family have died from cancer.

My doctors indicated I should have preventive surgery about a decade before the earliest onset of cancer in my female relatives. My mother's ovarian cancer was diagnosed when she was 49. I'm 39.

Last week, I had the procedure: a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. There was a small benign tumour on one ovary, but no signs of cancer in any of the tissues.

I have a little clear patch that contains bio-identical estrogen. A progesterone IUD was inserted in my uterus. It will help me maintain a hormonal balance, but more important it will help prevent uterine cancer. I chose to keep my uterus because cancer in that location is not part of my family history.

It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer. I will look for natural ways to strengthen my immune system. I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, "Mom died of ovarian cancer."

Regardless of the hormone replacements I'm taking, I am now in menopause. I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared.

I feel deeply for women for whom this moment comes very early in life, before they have had their children. Their situation is far harder than mine. I inquired and found out that there are options for women to remove their fallopian tubes but keep their ovaries, and so retain the ability to bear children and not go into menopause. I hope they can be aware of that.
It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.

Taken from The Telegraph

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lee Kuan Yew is no more.

Lee Kuan Yew was one of my favourite world leaders whom I respected greatly.
I suppose he has died at a very ripe age, after accomplishing all that he set out to do. However, it is always sad when a great man passes away.
I have given some excerpts of an article which came out in the Telegraph today.
I liked his comparison with India which I have marked in red. Fortunately, Singapore did not have the hang-up of reservations and the best people were placed in the most suitable jobs. 
In India, our reservation policy and the rule of the leftist has destroyed discipline and meritocracy and the Congress with Mulayam Singh and Mamata Banerjee are further destroying it by bringing in religion. 
Unfortunately, it seems that AAP is following their footsteps.
Another point to note is making English as "Neutral platform"
By end of June 2012, the island's population stood at 5.31 million. Singapore is a multiracial and multicultural country with a majority population of Chinese (74.2% of the resident population), with substantial Malay (13.2%) and Indian minorities (9.2%).
In spte of 74.2 % of the population being Chinese, they preferred a neutral language like neutral so that they could develop as Englsih is the language of trade in the world. We Indians, with 20 languages, try to enforce Hindi on all the others with the result that we have not been able to unite and are becoming even more divided as we saw in Telengana.

Lee died early morning on Monday at the age of 91 after more than a month in hospital for treatment of severe pneumonia.

Lee's son and current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong entered parliament in 1984 that he was the heir-apparent to the father of modern Singapore.

It was the elder Lee's resolve that the son would be on the shop floor of statecraft and work his way up the ranks.
Lee's perspicacity, which has made Singapore an Asian showcase, is that he could have made his son his successor any time he wanted. But the son first served in the Singapore Army for more than a decade.

After he became a Member of Parliament, it took 20 long years in several challenging jobs and strict mentoring under Singapore's second Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong before Lee Hsien Loong became head of the government.
It should not come as a surprise to those who are familiar with Singapore's ethnic mix that the elder Lee's writings and speeches on India are voluminous enough to fill a whole section of any library.

He spoke candidly of how he cried when Singapore was unilaterally expelled from Malaysia in 1965. The city-state had little land, no water or natural resources and its different races were threatening to prey on each other in a cycle of death.
But on rare occasions, circumstances combine with people to produce results that are magical. The evolution of Singapore was one such. Lee told us that he was not sure if he could produce the same outcome if his city-state was given to him once again in the same condition that he inherited it as a republic on August 9, 1965.

 He then went on to identify some elements that made Singapore what it is today. Meritocracy, absence of corruption, integrity, a young population, English as a "neutral platform" among the different linguistic groups....
Lee did not say it in so many words, but the implication was that India did not have any of these qualities, at least not enough to realise this country's full potential at that time.

A strong streak of pragmatism was dominant in Lee's personality throughout. More than one biographer has recounted the World War II story of how Lee was rounded up by Japanese occupation forces along with several Chinese men. He asked for permission to go to his house nearby and fetch a change of clothes.

The Japanese agreed and Lee never returned. All the men who were rounded up that day were taken to a nearby beach and shot in cold blood. The incident is remembered in Singapore as the Sook Ching massacre.

Lee has often been assailed for being authoritarian and for depriving his countrymen of democracy as it is understood in the "free world". Lee was practical enough to realise that even the prospect of future prime ministership was not good enough to persuade a bright young man to live in a society unless it appealed to him if there was a better choice elsewhere.

It was the same streak of pragmatism which persuaded him - once Singapore acquired prosperity - that corruption in government can only be ended by paying government servants more salary and benefits than what the private sector could afford. It was a unique experiment that has worked.
The same streak of pragmatism transformed Lee in his later years into an enthusiast for India's economic reforms and its place in the Asian century.

Lee had a conversation with former US ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, and two Harvard academics from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs a few days before he was hospitalised in February 2013 for a cardiac problem which hindered blood flow to the brain.

Lee told them: "India is a nation of unfulfilled greatness. Its potential has lain fallow, underused. Whatever the political leadership may want to do, it must go through a very complex system at the Centre, and then even a more complex system in the various states."

Prophetic words, especially this month when the fate of the land acquisition legislation finely hangs in the balance.
He added: "The average Indian civil servant still sees himself primarily as a regulator and not as a facilitator. The average Indian bureaucrat has not yet accepted that it is not a sin to make profits and become rich." The entire conversation has been published as a book: Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World.

"India's private sector is superior to China's.... India has a stronger banking system and capital markets. India has stronger institutions - in particular, a well-developed legal system. India with an average age of 26, compared to China's 33... will enjoy a bigger demographic dividend, but it will have to educate its people better, or else, the opportunity will turn into a burden."

Facebook trouble: 10 cases of arrests under Sec 66A of IT Act

  • HT Correspondent, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 24,
The contentious section 66A of the Information Technology Act has been in the eye of storm over the last few years with many instances of people arrested under it and the vociferous opposition to it.
Supreme Court's likely verdict on the constitutional validity of the act on Tuesday, has again focussed attention on the police and authorities using the act to book people despite several directives from the Supreme Court about the potential abuse  of the provision.
Section 66 (A), which prohibits the sending of information of a “grossly offensive” or “menacing” nature through computers and communication devices, has been used by several states to arrest people over posts on social media that officials claimed were "seditious"," communally sensitive” or abusive.

Most of these arrests were for posting controversial remarks or photos, while some were for sharing, commenting on or liking such posts. In one case in Jammu and Kashmir, a person was arrested merely for being tagged to a post on social media.

Here are some cases of arrests under Section 66(A) that made the news over the past three years:
1. Aseem Trivedi, Mumbai, September 2012: Free speech campaigner Trivedi was arrested by Mumbai police for displaying cartoons on his website and Facebook page that mocked parliament and corruption in high places. The caricatures were shared on other social media.

Trivedi's cartoons purportedly depicted the parliament as a giant commode and showed the national emblem with wolves instead of lions.

He was charged with sedition under section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and section 66(A) of the IT Act.

2. Palghar girls, Mumbai, November 2012: Two young girls from Palghar, Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan, were arrested when one of them posted a question on her Facebook page questioning why the city was shut down for Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray's funeral.

One of them commented that the shutdown was out of fear, not respect. The second girl, her friend, was arrested for liking the post.

They were arrested for "hurting religious sentiments" under section 295(a) of the IPC and section 66(a) of the IT Act. All charges were later quashed by a court.
3. Ambikesh Mahapatra and Subrata Sengupta, Jadavpur, April 2012: Jadavpur university professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta were arrested for allegedly circulating a cartoon that lampooned West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee. They were accused of emailing the cartoon based on a scene from Satyajit Ray's popular movie Sonar Kella.

The cartoon, which was widely circulated on the internet, was based on a scene in the film in which a boy is duped by two criminals into believing that they caused someone to vanish. In the cartoon, the vanishing man was a reference to former railways minister Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced out of office by Mamta Banerjee.

At the time, Banerjee had said, "If one commits an offence, one has to face arrest. Conspiracies won't be tolerated." She even claimed the cartoon contained a coded message to kill her.
The police had submitted a 93-page charge sheet against the two men.

But Mahapatra, who has been teaching at the university for 17 years, had said he did not repent his actions.
In March this year, the Calcutta high court directed the West Bengal government to pay Rs 50,000 to the duo were arrested and harassed three years ago for circulating a cartoon that lampooned chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

4. Air India employees, Mumbai, May 2012: Air India cabin crew members Mayank Mohan Sharma and K V J Rao were arrested by the cyber crime cell of Mumbai police for allegedly posting indecent jokes about the Prime Minister and other politicians and for insulting the national flag.

Both of them said they had merely shared information that was easily available on the internet. They spent 12 days in jail and were suspended till the charges against them were dropped some months later.

5. Kishtwar youngsters, Jammu and Kashmir, October 2012: Three youngsters from Kishtwar district were arrested and sent to jail for 40 days after they were tagged in an allegedly blasphemous video posted on Facebook. One of them had commented on the post.

Kishori Sharma, Bansi Lal and Moti Lal Sharma were charged with desecrating religious symbols and inciting communal hatred by using information technology. Police did not have any evidence that they had uploaded the video.
6.Ravi Srinivasan, October, 2012: A Puducherry businessman Ravi Srinivasan was arrested for allegedly posting 'offensive' messages on Twitter about Congress leader P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram.

7. Kanwal Bharti, Uttar Pradesh, August 2013: Poet and writer Kanwal Bharti was arrested by police for posting a message on Facebook that criticised the Uttar Pradesh government for suspending IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who had cracked down on the sand mafia.

Bharti’s post on Facebook questioned why Nagpal had been suspended for ordering the demolition of a wall intended to be part of a mosque while no officer in Rampur was dismissed when an old madrassa was pulled down. He said the reason was because the town was controlled by Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan.

The poet was dragged out of his house in his pajamas and a vest as police did not even give him time to change his clothes at the time of the arrest.

8. Rajeesh Kumar, Kerala, Aug 2014:  Police arrested CPI-M worker Rajeesh Kumar for posting “abusive” comments and photos on Facebook about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Police said in one of the posts, Modi was depicted in a picture shown with an imprint of a shoe on his face. They claimed the posts had abusive comments against Modi and a comment in one post could have sparked communal tensions.
9. Devu Chodankar, Goa, May 2014: Ship-building professional Chodankar was booked for posting a comment against Modi on Facebook.

Police filed an FIR against him under sections 153(A) and 295(A) of the IPC and section 125 of the Representation of the People's Act and 66(A) of the IT Act.

Police described Chodankar’s comment as part of a "larger game plan to promote communal and social disharmony in the state", but opposition parties saw it as an attempt to muzzle criticism of Modi.
10. Class XI student, Rampur, March 2015: A teenage student of Class 11 was arrested and sent to jail for allegedly posting on Facebook "objectionable" comments attributed to Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan, kicking off a fresh controversy over the booking of people under a contentious provision of the Information Technology Act.
The youth was later released on bail and the SC sought explanation from UP Police on the circumstances leading to the arrest.

The above is from The Hindusthan Times
Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday welcomed the judgement of the Supreme Court holding that Section 66 A of the Information and Technology Act is unconstitutional.
In a statement, Mr. Chidambaram said: “The Section was poorly drafted and was vulnerable. It was capable of being misused and, in fact, it was misused.”
The response came hours after the Supreme Court struck down Section 66 A of the Information and Technology Act, which allows police to arrest people on the basis of what they post on the internet.
“There could be a case of misuse of the freedom of speech. In such cases, the ordinary laws should apply and the offender should be dealt with under those laws…. If some provisions of the law have to be strengthened, that could be considered.…But Section 66A was not the answer,” Mr. Chidambaram said.
It is ironical that Mr. Chidambaram should come up with the above statement. In the 6th case mentioned above a student Ravi Srinivasan was arrested for allegedly posting 'offensive' messages on Twitter about Congress leader P Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram. 
Did Mr. Chidambaram take action to stop the arrest?
The Modi government's assurance to the SC not to use the Act randomly failed to convince the court as you will notice that it was used in in case no 8 & 9 where Modi was the subject of the cartoons.
Did Modi step in to stop the arrests?