Monday, October 16, 2017

His father's son - The ruling regime's offensive in defence of Jay Shah is telling

Is that an apple or a mole in his eye? If you are from the BJP, it is an apple (Jay Shah) and if you are from the opposition it is a mole (again Jay Shah)

It is not unusual for fathers who happen to be politicians to defend the doings - or the alleged wrongdoings - of their sons who happen to dabble in business.

Just three months ago, in July this year, the irrepressible Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo, Lalu Prasad, stoutly backed his son, Tejashwi Yadav, the former deputy chief minister of Bihar, whose alleged corruption was the ostensible reason for Nitish Kumar to break his alliance with the RJD and jump into the waiting embrace of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Tejashwi Yadav, along with his parents and siblings, is accused of having acquired prime land in Patna via a confidant's shell company in lieu of leases given out to a private company for the maintenance of two hotels owned by the Indian Railways in Ranchi and Puri. The deal dates back to 2006 when Lalu was railways minister and Tejashwi was 15 years old.

Two months before Lalu's cry of a witch-hunt, another father made a similar charge. In May, it was the turn of the former finance minister, P. Chidambaram, to describe as "baseless" the charge that his son, Karti, had influenced the working of the erstwhile foreign investment promotion board.

Karti has been accused of receiving kickbacks for having obtained a FIPB clearance for the media house INX Media in 2007 when his father was finance minister. His name has also figured in connection with the Aircel-Maxis deal with allegations that a company he secretly owns got a share in Aircel as a result of facilitating FIPB clearance for the deal.

And last Friday, we had another father stepping out to bat for his son. Amit Shah, the BJP president and, arguably, the second most powerful man in India today, spoke out on the October 8 report in the news portal The Wire outlining the sudden and steep rise in the turnover of Shah junior's company a year after his father took over the reins of the ruling party and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Speaking at a function organized by the Hindi news channel, Aaj Tak, the BJP chief broke into English to assert: "The question of corruption does not arise."

On the face of it, Lalu Prasad, P. Chidambaram and Amit Shah might seem to belong to the same doting dad club except for one crucial difference. In the case of Lalu and Chidambaram, their protestations of innocence made not a whit of difference, and instead, spurred on the government's investigative agencies to probe further into the allegations and dish out more dirt - besmirching reputations well before concluding the probe, leave alone securing a conviction.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, for instance, has been carrying out raid after raid on premises owned by or in any way connected with Lalu Prasad and members of his family, and summoning father and son for sustained interrogation.

Similarly, the CBI has registered an FIR against Karti Chidambaram, interrogated him for days on end, prevented him from travelling abroad while the Enforcement Directorate has filed a money laundering case.

In the case of Jay Shah, the opposite has happened. Forget ordering a probe, the might of the State and the ruling party has been unleashed to stifle even the most preliminary and innocent questions relating to the inexplicable ebb and flow in his fortunes.

The report in The Wire stuck to facts gleaned from filings with the registrar of companies. It pointed out that Jay Shah's company, Temple Enterprise Private Limited, did not own any fixed assets and had no inventories or stock in 2013-14; it earned revenues worth Rs 50,000 in 2014-15; and then its revenues shot up 16,000 times to Rs 80.5 crore in 2015-16.

The BJP has made much of the fact that the Rs 80.5 crore was not profits but revenues, and the company actually posted a loss of Rs 1.4 crore that year. As a result of this loss and previous losses, Temple Enterprise stopped its activities in October 2016.

The report also notes that another enterprise called Kusum Finserve in which Jay Shah owns a 60 per cent stake has now diversified into producing wind energy and "is setting up a 2.1 megawatt windmill plant worth Rs 15 crore in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh". Apart from securing finances from a cooperative bank, Kusum Finserve also managed to get a Rs 10.35 crore loan from the public sector enterprise, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency for setting up the plant.

The report has other details of Jay Shah's companies and those who gave him some of the loans. For the vast majority of ordinary citizens who work for a living and earn a wage or a salary, the ways of business and businessmen can be as incomprehensible as, well, rocket science. But even so, a couple of things about Jay Shah's business would strike anyone as rather odd.

First, how did his revenues skyrocket in the space of just one year from Rs 50,000 to Rs 80.5 crore? And why did his losses mount as spectacularly too - forcing him to close down the business within a year of registering a phenomenal growth in turnover? And what qualifies him to start a wind energy plant when his primary business, according to his lawyer's reply to The Wire, is "trading in stocks and shares, import and export activities and distribution and marketing consultancy services"?

These are simple enough questions and could have been answered without ado - particularly since it concerns the son of India's Number Two. As The Wire rightly noted "The world over, it is normal for the business affairs of politicians' relatives in democracies to be subjected to public scrutiny, especially when there is a sudden change in fortunes that coincides with an uptick in the political cycle."

But instead of coming out with answers to clarify the doubts raised by Jay Shah's business deals, or ordering a probe in the absence of upfront answers, the government has gone on a brazen offensive. Although the report only states facts available in company records, Jay Shah has filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit - an intimidatory tactic aimed at silencing the media at large from raising further questions. His father has extolled the tactic with the specious argument that the very act of filing a defamation suit was proof of his son's innocence. And worse, even before the report appeared on October 8, the government's top law officer - the additional solicitor general, no less - sought and received permission to defend Jay Shah in court; while a host of senior ministers and party spokesmen were made to speak out in his support after October 8.

Ironically, the BJP government's no-holds-barred defence of Jay Shah makes a mockery of its central argument that he is a private businessman and his affairs have no relevance for the larger public. In fact, the reaction to the report in The Wire has been more telling than the report itself.

It has shown, once again, that much like roadside bullies who believe that offence is the best defence and think nothing of beating up hapless pedestrians or rickshaw drivers who come in the way of their speeding SUVs, the Modi regime is willing to use the might of its machinery to stop anyone from questioning its leaders or their kin even while it brazenly uses the same machinery to target Opposition leaders and critics.

But in the zeal to defend his son, Amit Shah may have dealt a lethal blow to his boss and mentor, Narendra Modi. The prime minister's biggest boast all these years has been that he is above corruption and nepotism. By refusing to order even a preliminary inquiry and maintaining a stoic silence that has only emboldened Shah to step up the offensive, the prime minister has lost an opportunity to burnish his "incorruptible" sheen and shown utter disdain towards the principle of accountability which is a central tenet of functioning democracies.

As a result, Modi may never again be able to look the people of India in the eye and claim: Mitron, na khaunga na khane doonga. That claim now has a hollow ring.

manini.chatterjee@abp.in

Graft boot for ex-minister

Beijing (Reuters): A former Chinese justice minister has been expelled from the ruling Communist Party following an investigation by the anti-corruption watchdog, the first time the government has announced that she was in trouble.

Wu Aiying, 65, was justice minister from 2005 until February this year, according to her official resume, and one of only a handful of senior female officials in China.

In a statement released late yesterday following a four-day meeting of the party's Central Committee, the largest of its elite ruling bodies, Wu's name was listed as one of a number of officials to have been expelled from the party for graft.

While the other names listed, including former Chongqing city party boss, Sun Zhengcai, had been announced earlier, Wu's name had not been mentioned by the party in connection with any investigation.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection found that Wu had "serious discipline problems", the communique said using a euphemism for corruption.

It was not possible to reach Wu or a representative for comment.

Wu had spent most of her career working in the eastern province of Shandong, where she rose to become a deputy provincial party chief, before moving to Beijing in late 2003 to work at the justice ministry.

China's legal authorities have been one of the focuses of President Xi Jinping's crackdown.

BJP stunned, north to south

Chandigarh: The Congress on Sunday wrested the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat in Punjab from the BJP, the by-election victory coming as a confidence booster ahead of the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

"The Gurdaspur by-election marks another major step in the revival of Congress. It's clear that party is on upswing ahead of 2019 LS polls," Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh tweeted. He cited the party's victories in recent campus elections and the Maharashtra civic polls.

In Kerala, a Congress ally, the Indian Union Muslim League, won the Vengara Assembly by-election but with a reduced victory margin over the CPM, while the BJP lost its third spot to a Right-wing Muslim party amid an ongoing yatra.

Sunil Jakhar, son of the late Balram Jakhar, won Gurdaspur by a margin of 193,219 votes, raising the Congress's Lok Sabha tally to 46.

The last time the Congress had won the seat by more than one lakh votes was in 1980.

The seat fell vacant in April with the death of the actor and BJP politician Vinod Khanna.

Some BJP insiders said a by-election result could not be a definite indicator of the nation's mood but agreed that it had dented the image of invincibility projected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah.

"It's time to take serious note of economic issues and the job scenario. If there is disenchantment, it has to be addressed," a senior BJP politician said.

Meat attack scan on vigilante


Chandigarh: The leader of a " goraksha" group who had lodged a police complaint against five Muslim youths after cow vigilantes thrashed them in Faridabad on Friday has now himself come under the police scanner.

Cops are probing whether Bittu Bajrangi had a role in the attack on polio-stricken auto-rickshaw driver Azad and his brothers and friends over a parcel of what the assailants claimed was beef but a lab later identified as buffalo meat.

"Bajrangi heads a little-known group called the Goraksha Bajrang Force. We are ascertaining whether there were any previous complaints against them," an officer said.

Deputy commissioner of police Astha Modi said the group's possible links with the Sangh parivar were being probed.

On a complaint from Bajrangi, the police had on Friday night registered an FIR against the injured youths. Later, after visiting them in hospital, another FIR was lodged against the "unknown" attackers.

Officers said the case against the five victims would be dropped as soon as the final lab report arrives.

Three men - Ram Kumar and brothers Lakhan and Dileep Kumar - were arrested last night on the basis of a video clip of the attack. They have denied links with Bajrangi or his group, officers said, adding that the cops were trying to identify more people from the clip.

Azad claims the attackers informed the police after thrashing them.

"Bajrangi claims his organisation suspected that beef was being ferried but did not participate in the attack. Some other people surrounded the auto and assaulted those inside," a police source said.

"Azad and the others were taken to a place near a crematorium where they were held captive for almost four hours and beaten."

While the brothers are residents of Peer Colony, Ram Kumar lives in Pali village adjoining Faridabad town.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Modi hits out at UPA for neglecting health

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flayed the previous UPA regime for neglecting health care in the country. While inaugurating a new medical college and launching a new vaccination drive on his first visit to his hometown Vadnagar after becoming Prime Minister, Mr. Modi said his government has accorded top priority to the health care sector.

During its entire 10 year term, the UPA had failed to bring a health policy, which was last formulated during the previous NDA regime headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr. Modi said.

‘No empathy for people’

“The last health policy was announced during Atalji’s regime around 15 years back. After that, such a government assumed power which used to hate development. It did not have any empathy for the people,” Mr. Modi said, referring to the UPA government’s 2004-2014 tenure. “As a result, a new health policy was introduced after almost 15 years by our government,” he said.

He added that the previous regime had not considered it necessary to increase seats in medical colleges in the country, which was facing a huge shortage of medical practitioners. “As a result, very few students could get into the medical field. Now, our government has taken up the task of opening a new medical college for every three to four parliamentary constituencies,” Mr. Modi said, inaugurating a medical college set up by the Gujarat government in Vadnagar.

Seats in PG courses

"Since we also need good professors and faculty members for new colleges, we have also increased 6,000 seats in PG medical courses in the last one year. Though some people criticised the move, we remained firm because we understand that we will need good professors for producing good doctors,” Mr. Modi added.

Besides opening new colleges, the Prime Minister said the government has focussed on bringing down medical costs to make health care more affordable.

“Earlier, the prices of stents were around ₹1.5 lakh to ₹2 lakh. Someone would get a heart attack by just hearing such a high price. We decided to reduce costs. So [we] called the manufacturers and asked them and today, stents are available at just 40% of its original price of three years ago.”

He added that similarly, the government has set up a chain of stores to sell generic medicines at subsidised rates to bring down the price of medicines.

‘Squirtable’ elastic surgical glue seals wounds in 60 seconds

Scientists have developed a highly elastic and adhesive surgical glue that can be simply squirted on wounds to seal them within 60 seconds, doing away with the need for stitches. The glue, called MeTro, is ideal for sealing wounds in body tissues that continually expand and relax – such as lungs, hearts and arteries – that are otherwise at risk of re-opening.

The material, developed by researchers at University of Sydney in Australia and Harvard University in the US, also works on internal wounds that are often in hard-to-reach areas and have typically required staples or sutures due to surrounding body fluid hampering the effectiveness of other sealants.

MeTro sets in just 60 seconds once treated with UV light, and the technology has a built-in degrading enzyme which can be modified to determine how long the sealant lasts – from hours to months, in order to allow adequate time for the wound to heal. The liquid or gel-like material has quickly and successfully sealed incisions in the arteries and lungs of rodents and the lungs of pigs, without the need for sutures and staples.

MeTro combines the natural elastic protein technologies with light sensitive molecules. “The beauty of the MeTro formulation is that, as soon as it comes in contact with tissue surfaces, it solidifies into a gel-like phase without running away,” said Nasim Annabi, assistant professor at Northeastern University in the US. “We then further stabilise it by curing it on-site with a short light-mediated crosslinking treatment,” said Annabi, lead author of the study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

“This allows the sealant to be very accurately placed and to tightly bond and interlock with structures on the tissue surface,” he said. The process resembles that of silicone sealants used around bathroom and kitchen tiles. “When you watch MeTro, you can see it act like a liquid, filling the gaps and conforming to the shape of the wound,” said Anthony Weiss from University of Sydney.

“It responds well biologically, and interfaces closely with human tissue to promote healing. The gel is easily stored and can be squirted directly onto a wound or cavity,” Weiss said. “The potential applications are powerful – from treating serious internal wounds at emergency sites such as following car accidents and in war zones, as well as improving hospital surgeries,” he said.

“MeTro seems to remain stable over the period that wounds need to heal in demanding mechanical conditions and later it degrades without any signs of toxicity,” said Ali Khademhosseini from Harvard Medical School. “It checks off all the boxes of a highly versatile and efficient surgical sealant with potential also beyond pulmonary and vascular suture and staple-less applications,” he said.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Kerala to hire 6 SC/ST men as priests

Centuries-old caste barriers that had kept their forefathers beyond even the gaze of upper caste Hindus would soon come crashing down with the Kerala Devaswom Recruitment Board selecting six members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to perform rituals at the temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).

With the board issuing advice memo to the six candidates belonging to the once socially outcast communities, their entry into the sanctum sanctorum of temples under the Devaswom board has now become a mere formality. The priests, who would be appointed on a part-time basis, would now enter the temples, bathe the idols, adorn them with flowers and customary ornaments, and perform the daily pujas.

One candidate each belonging to the Thandar and Vettuva and four Pulaya community members figure on the list released on Friday. There were also 26 Brahmins, 21 Ezhavas, one each from Nadar and Viswakarma communities and two Dheevara candidates. The appointment order is considered as a path-breaking exercise as priesthood was the preserve of Brahmins and upper caste Hindus in most of the temples till recently.

The present list is for filling the 62 reported vacancies in the temples of the TDB. The list for other temples will follow soon. There are 1,252 temples under the TDB and the sanctioned strength of priest is around 2,500. There are around 70 major temples under the TDB, including the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, Mahadeva Temples at Vaikom, Ettumanur and Chengannur, Parasurama Temple at Thiruvallam, Sree Krishna Temple at Ampalapuzha, Ganapathy Temple of Kottarakkara, and Sreekanteswaram Temple of Thiruvanathapuram.

The Travancore Devaswom Board, which is the employer, will now have to issue appointment letters to the selected priests to temples based on the vacancies reported from there. The qualification fixed for the candidates included the knowledge of temple rituals, exposure to Sanskrit and appearance in Standard 9 examination. Any certificate in ‘Tantra Vidya’ was not insisted as an essential qualification though there were a few who had passed such courses, said M. Rajagopalan Nair, chairman of the recruitment board. The appointment of the members of SC and ST communities and OBCs was possible as the board decided to adhere to the caste reservation policy of the State government in appointments. The State government had also issued an order to this effect, he added.

There was resistance against the appointment of priests belonging to Ezhava community when that was attempted recently.

Resistance

This time too, there are indications that the recruitment board’s decision would trigger some debate. While Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha president T.V. Babu said the recruitment board’s decision is revolutionary, Malayala Brahmana Samajam president N. Anil Kumar said introduction of reservation in temples would do away with the purity and sanctity of temples. Priesthood is not a job but a ritual. Reservation can be considered only for a job. The current decision is unacceptable, he added.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Are We Hindus If We Live in India? Conversely, if you do not live in India, do you remain a Hindu

In the 1995 ruling of the case, “Bramchari Sidheswar Shai and others Versus State of West Bengal” the court identified seven defining characteristics of Hinduism but people are still confused to what exactly defines being a Hindu in the 21st century. It’s staggering how uninformed individuals can be about their own religion; according to a speech by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya there are various common notions we carry about who a Hindu is: 

Anyone born in India is automatically a Hindu 

If your parents are Hindu, you’re are also inevitably a Hindu 

If you believe in reincarnation, you’re a Hindu 

If you follow any religion practiced in India, you’re a Hindu 

And lastly, if you are born in a certain caste, you’re a Hindu 

After answering these statements some fail to remove their doubts on who a Hindu is. 

The question arises when someone is unsure on how to portray themselves in the society, many people follow a set of notions which might/might not be the essence of Hinduism and upon asked why they perform a particular ritual they are clueless. The problem is that the teachings are passed on for generations and the source has been long forgotten, for the source is exactly where the answer lies. 

Religion corresponds to scriptural texts The world is home to many religions and each religion has its own uniqueness portrayed out of the scriptures and teachings which are universally accepted. So to simplify the dilemma one can say that determining whether someone belongs to a particular religion is directly related to whether he/she follows the religious scriptures of the particular religion, and also whether they abide to live by the authority of the scriptural texts. 

Christianity emerges from the guidance of the Gospels and Islam from the Quran where Christians believe Jesus died for their sins and Muslims believe there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet. 

Similarly, Hinduism emerges from a set of scriptures known as the Vedas and a Hindu is one who lives according to Dharma which is implicated in the divine laws in the Vedic scriptures.By default, the person who follows these set of religious texts is a Hindu.

The above is from Newsgram, a newletter I receive from Dr. Raizada, from Chicago.

I do not accept the view that you are born into a caste. 
This is the result of defiling the original caste system which was started by our ancient Rishis.
The original caste system was that you are not born into a caste but become of a particular caste because of your innate qualities or "Gunas", they called it.
Every human being has the three Gunas, Satvik, Rajas and Tamas, in varying proportions. 
Depending upon the proportion of each, you became a Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shudra. This was not to put down any caste but to given an occupation to each person, according according to his qualifications.
In modern days, does the son/daughter of a doctor, necessarily become a doctor or the son/daughter of an engineer necessarily become and engineer or the son/dughter of an IT professional necessarily become an IT professional? If they do not follow their father's profession are they still called doctor, engineer or IT professional? If not, then why are the sons/daughters of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras have to be called by those castes?
It is because the Brahmins of the  time destroyed the original caste system for their own selfish ends.
Since Brahmins enjoyed certain privileges given them by society, they wanted their children to continue to enjoy those privileges and made the necessary changes. Thus the son of a Brahmin may be a sweeper in Municipality of Railway, but he will continue to be called a Brahmin.
Can a doctor's son, who is not a qualified doctor, add that title to his name and start practising. He will be hauled up by the government and cases filed against him. 
Instead of wasting time of inane matters like cows and love-jehad and Bullet Trains, Modi would do well to remove this distortion which has crept into our social life so that India can once again become one.
But will Mohan Bhagwat and the Sangh parivar allow him to do so, even if he agrees?
I doubt it for it is in the genes of the present day upper caste people to torture the Dalits.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pickpockets in Delhi Metro: Here is how they do it, and how to spot them

If you’ve travelled in the Delhi Metro, you would’ve definitely heard a story or two about someone getting pickpocketed. According to a recent report released by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) — the force responsible for the security at Delhi Metro stations — women gangs are responsible for over 90% of the incidents of pickpocketing in the Delhi metro.
The CISF has caught 373 pickpockets so far this year, of which 329 were women, mostly caught at stations such as Kashmere Gate, Chandni Chowk, Shahdara, HUDA City Centre, Rajiv Chowk, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi and Tughlakabad.

We spoke to a senior CISF official, who — on condition of anonymity — revealed, “These women mostly hail from small towns in and around Maharashtra. They operate in groups of two to fifteen. They mostly pick people with a lot of luggage, someone busy on a call, foreigners or NRIs.”
These women profile you way before you board the metro, hover around you in the train, often engage you in a conversation or create a scene to distract you, and before you know it, pick your pocket and get going. That’s how most women pickpockets — who characteristically travel with small kids or luggage to seem unsuspicious — go about stealing in the Delhi Metro. “These women steal swiftly, and move on to other targets or deboard the metro, and start over,” adds the CISF official.
Things to keep in mind when travelling in the Metro
Carry your bag in the front, instead of the back.
Put a rubber band around the wallet to make it harder for the thief to slide it out of the pocket.
Keep your wallet in a front pocket or, in one with a zip or buttons. Avoid trousers with oversized (read: easy-access) pockets.

Keep some cash in a hidden pocket to avoid being completely broke if your wallet gets nicked.
Carry an empty wallet in your back pocket and your actual wallet in the bag.
If you suspect that you’re being followed by someone suspicious, inform the metro officials.
While reading a book or listening to music, never put your bag on the vacant seat or put it on the floor. Leave nothing unattended.
Shorten the straps of any purse or bag you carry. Don’t let it dangle loose below your waist.
Refrain from rummaging through your bag or wallet in public. Not only does it generate the interest of the pickpockets around you, but it also makes it easier for them to snatch it and run.
Always stay alert.
But here’s what, if caught, most of them are left with just a challan due to the lack of a complainant, a Metro official tells us. “If a complainant approaches us, we urge them to file an FIR and hand the culprit to the cops, but when there’s no complainant, we still issue a challan,” he says.
Commuters say one often feels scared travelling because of pickpockets. Ambika Chawla, a student of Delhi University, shares, “In February, my pocket money got stolen, and had to borrow to survive the day. I lodged a complaint, too, but how would one catch these thieves anyway.”
Amal KS, a photographer, lost his phone at Rajiv Chowk within seconds of entering the metro. “It was really crowded and I was holding onto my gear because it is really expensive. I’m aware that people pick pockets, but at that moment, all I was thinking about was the rush. I quickly realised that someone had brushed against me and taken my phone, but there was no way to catch the culprit because the doors had already shut,” he says.
Lastly, a word of caution from the PRO, Delhi Police: “Be alert at all times. And if you sense trouble, Delhi Police is there to help you.”

Court summons 4 docs after NCP leader’s death

The city court has issued summons to four doctors, from Shri Samarth Hospital and King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital for negligence in treating Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) corporator Rajashree Andekar early last year, who died subsequently. Doctors Suhas Kalshetty and Shankar Mali of Shri Samarth Hospital, and doctors Pradeep Dicosta and Aniket Joshi of KEM Hospital have been summoned by judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) Maya Deshmukh.

According to the complaint filed by the Andekar family, the NCP corporator, who was elected during the Pune municipal polls in 2012, was admitted to the Shri Samarth Hospital at Rasta Peth by husband Suryakant Andekar on February 5, 2016. Surayakant had shown her blood reports to Dr Kalashetti, who was their family doctor. The doctor told him that she had been diagnosed with chikungunya and needed immediate medical attention. So, Suryakant admitted his wife at Shri Samarth Hospital.

But Kalashetti was absent and her medical treatment was carried out by Mali, who had called up Kalashetti and the latter had advised him to administer some injection to the patient. Within 15 minutes of Mali giving the injection to Rajashree, she became comatose and even urinated on the bed. Seeing Rajashree’s condition, the Andekar family admitted her to KEM Hospital on the same day. Before admitting her at KEM, Suryakant and his brother Udaykant asked Dr Dicosta whether she will recover here or should be hospitalised in Mumbai. Dicosta assured them that there was no need to shift her. The doctors from the hospital would take care of her and she would recover soon, he had insisted. However, Rajashree did not come out of coma and died on September 6, 2106 in the hospital.

Soon after, her son-in-law, Ganesh Komkar, went to Samarth police station and filed a complaint against the doctors of both the hospitals. But Komkar alleged that the cops did not register the FIR. In January 2017, Komkar filed a complaint with the police commissioner, but even that didn’t prompt any action, he claimed. Suryakant told Mirror, “Shankar Mali checked my wife Rajashree and gave some injection through saline. But her condition became more critical because of that injection. We shifted her into KEM Hospital, where she was in coma for seven months. After her death, we went to the police station, but nobody took cognisance of the case.”

Finally, Komkar filed a private case in the JMFC court on January 21 under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 419 (cheating by personation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Advocate Bilal Shaikh represented the case on behalf of Komkar. Shaikh examined four witnesses during the hearing, including Komkar, Suryakant and Dr Arvind Parmar from Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial (YCM) Hospital in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

“This is a clear case of medical negligence. When Rajashree was admitted in Shri Samarth Hospital earlier, Shankar Mali gave her an injection, which he should not have been given. Even during the examination, we had called an expert who said that a wrong injection had been given to Rajashree,” Shaikh said, alleging that Mali is not even a doctor. He was working as compounder at the hospital and later called himself a doctor. “We had prayed before the court that a detailed inquiry into the matter should be conducted by the police and the people responsible for this negligence should be punished,” he added.

The court admitted the facts but dismissed the complaint under sections 419 and 304 of the IPC, instead issuing summons under Section 304 A(causing death by negligence) to all four doctors of Shri Samarth and KEM hospitals. The court in its order stated that “due to the act of the accused, the death of Rajashree Aandekar was caused”. Witness Parmar in his statement stated that there was a gross negligence on the part of the doctors treating the patient. The four doctors have been asked to be present in court on October 25.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Political Funding: SC Issues Notices To Centre, EC On PIL Challenging Finance Act Amendments.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Centre and Election Commission of India on a petition filed on behalf of Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) challenging various amendments made through the Finance Act 2017 and the Finance Act 2016 in the Companies Act, Income Tax Act, Representation of People’s Act, Reserve Bank of India Act and Foreign Contribution Regulations Act.

The petitioners submitted that the amendments in question had opened floodgates to unlimited corporate donations to political parties and anonymous financing by Indian and foreign companies, which can have serious repercussions on the Indian democracy. The said amendments have removed the caps on campaign donations by companies and have legalised anonymous donations. The petition, filed through advocates Prashant Bhushan and Neha Rathi, also sought a direction that political parties must not be allowed to accept any cash donations.

“The Finance Act of 2017 has introduced the use of electoral bonds which is exempt from disclosure under the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, opening doors to unchecked, unknown funding to political parties. The Finance Act, 2016 has also amended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, to allow foreign companies with subsidiaries in India to fund political parties in India, effectively, exposing the Indian politics and democracy to international lobbyists who may want to further their agenda. These Amendments pose a serious danger to the autonomy of the country and are bound to adversely affect electoral transparency, encourage corrupt practices in politics and have made the unholy nexus between politics and corporate houses more opaque and treacherous and is bound to be misused by special interest groups and corporate lobbyists,” it said. 

The petitioners also submitted that such wide-ranging amendments in various statutes were brought in illegally as a Money Bill, in order to bypass the Rajya Sabha. 
The details of the amendments made to various statutes introduced through Finance Act, 2017 and Finance Act 2016 are: 

1.Section 31, the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 through Part  III, Section 135 of the Finance Act, 2017,

2.Section 29C, the Representation of the People Act, 1951 through Part – IV, Section 137 of the Finance Act, 2017,  

3.Section 13A, the Income Tax Act, 1961 through Chapter III, Section 11 of the Finance Act, 2017 and in Section 182 of the Companies Act, 2017 and in 

4.Section 182 of the Companies Act, 2013 through Part-XII, Section 154, the Finance Act, 2017. 

5.Section 2 of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) through Finance Act, 2016. According to the petitioners, the above amendments were unconstitutional and violative of the doctrine of separation of powers and a citizen’s fundamental right to information, which are parts of the basic structure of the Constitution....



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Yo-Yo — the new dreaded term that can swing a player’s fortunes

This has emerged as the new dreaded term in cricket. A player might make five successive centuries, claim an equal number of eight-wicket hauls but if he fails the Yo-Yo fitness test, he won’t be picked in the Indian team.

The Yo-Yo changes the dynamics of selection. It alters the manner we judge cricketers. It also throws up some interesting questions, reopens the fitness versus talent debate and the compelling need to find the right balance.

Truth to tell, many legends of Indian cricket — there will be exceptions such as the super-fit Kapil Dev — would not have cleared Yo-Yo. Yet, they were exceptionally skilled, won several games for India.

But then, some argue that they would not have survived the rigours of present-day cricket where endurance and speed are considered vital ingredients in a game that has become faster with lesser recovery time between matches.

A source told The Hindu, “Given the pace and intensity of today’s cricket and the sheer volume of matches, we just cannot take any chances with fitness. We cannot risk injuries and the cricketers have to be at their peak fitness levels.”

What is it?

What then is Yo-Yo. Simply put, it is endurance training that includes bursts of velocity; a variation of the beep method and a maximal running aerobatic fitness test.

Introduced by current Indian strength and fitness conditioning coach Shankar Basu, it was made mandatory for all India cricketers.

In Yo-Yo, two sets of cones are placed 20m apart, creating two lines. The players have to run between the lines as the beep starts and turn once the beep becomes silent.

The pace of the beep increases after every minute, so does the speed of the cricketers; those who do not make the line on time, will have to contend with more beeps. It’s a gruelling, exhausting experience.

Benchmark score

The BCCI has set 16.1 as the benchmark score to clear Yo-Yo. Soon, we could have the bar raised to 17.5. In countries such as Australia, the mark is around 20.

Already Yo-Yo has thrown up some interesting results. Suresh Raina, who can be electric on the field, failed while Ashish Nehra, considered a liability as regards fielding all through his career, cleared the test. According to sources, Nehra has stamina even if he is lacking in flexibility while Raina is not as fit as he once was.

Another game-changer in shorter formats, Yuvraj Singh was tripped by Yo-Yo. Promising off-spinning all-rounder M.S. Washington Sundar was all but selected in the Indian team for the three-match Twenty20 series against Australia before falling to Yo- Yo. He scored 15.7 in the test conducted at NCA; he is still not 18 and could find his way back soon.

The Yo-Yo is a lot about pacing yourself through the ordeal. There are cricketers who run too fast initially and tire out as the test nears conclusion.

There will always be those who argue that players who can swing games with the bat or the ball are too precious to be discarded owing to a marginal difference vis-a-vis the benchmark fitness score.

For this Indian team though fitness is a non-negotiable issue.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Police issue summons to 14 BHU students

The Uttar Pradesh police have issued summons to more than a dozen students of the Banaras Hindu University involved in last week's protests, citing various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including attempt to murder.

The police notice follows the FIR registered against 1,000 unknown BHU students on allegations of arson during the recent protests by students over a molestation case in the central varsity campus.

An FIR had been lodged at the Lanka police station in Varanasi under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 148(rioting with armed weapon), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of duties), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 436  (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house).

ALSO READ
 Banaras Hindu University students stage a protest in New Delhi.
Banaras Hindu University on the boil

Superintendent of Police, Crime, Varanasi, Gyanendra Nath Prasad said notices have been issued to 14 students. Those identified will have to appear before the police crime branch, which is probing the case, by the end of Monday and record their statements as well as produce any written records related to the case. "Your absence will be understood to mean that you have nothing to say on it," read one of the notices, adding that legal action would be then initiated based on "available evidence."

Mr. Prasad said the 14 students were identified and issued notices after considering their "past controversies"on campus, involvement in controversial events and based on intelligence inputs. "The boys have been under the radar of suspicion," Mr. Prasad told The Hindu.

The police officer said the students were being summoned only for questioning.

Who will be named in the case as accused and what sections would be invoked, will be decided only on the basis of evidence, he added.

The students, however, accused the administration of targetting them in the case. Roshan Pandey, a third-year Arts students, was among the protestors who received a notice.  Mr. Pandey said he was being targeted for his "democratic" activism on campus on issues related to women safety, equality and rights.

"We were out demanding a safe and peaceful campus, and they responded to it by throwing this notice at us. We have raised these issues in the past as well and the BHU administration has responded by trying to implicate us in criminal cases and suppress our democratic voices," Mr. Pandey said.

The student was among those who had filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding gender equality on the campus. "We believe in protesting peacefully and condemn any form of violence," he said.

The police said notices would be issued to more students in the coming days. Meanwhile, the police is yet to find any leads in the molestation case of the fine arts student, which had trigerred the outrage and protests culminating in a lathicharge and allegations of arson.

A team of the UP police crime branch has left for New Delhi, as officers try to make a sketch of the accused men based on the memory of the molestation victim.

"Based on the sketch and other inputs, we will try to trace them. So far, there have been no clues," Mr. Prasad said.

Dhananjay Tripathi, an Ayurveda Ph.D scholar of BHU, who has also been issued a notice, described the police action as arbitrary. In addition to the criminals cases, he was also summoned under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, which he claims could be due to his writings and posts on the BHU issue on social media.

"I don't run any page for BHU on Facebook except my own profile. I have been active on campus raising several civil society issues since 2002 but don't have a single case against me,' said Mr. Tripathi, who is a member of the NSUI, the students wing of the Congress.

Among the 14 students, as many as seven are involved with the Joint Action Committee of students, a platform of student outfits, including the NSUI, AISA and other non-ABVP bodies, Mr.Tripathi said.

Justice Jayant Patel’s Resignation Marks A Moment of Crisis for the Judiciary

The resignation of Justice Jayant Patel as a judge of the Karnataka high court marks a crisis moment for the judiciary in India. He quit following the order of his transfer to the Allahabad high court, where he would have been the third seniormost judge in the hierarchy, as compared to his current No. 2 position in the Karnataka high court: when the current chief justice, Subhro Kamal Mukherjee retires on October 9, he would ordinarily have become acting chief justice of the court.

Given the perception that Justice Patel is paying the price for directing a CBI investigation into the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case when he was the acting chief justice of the Gujarat high court, both the Karnataka and Gujarat Bar Associations have announced a boycott of the courts for a day. The CBI’s probe in the Ishrat Jahan case led to the arrest and chargesheeting of a large number of senior Gujarat police officers for her cold-blooded killing and was a major embarrassment for Narendra Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat at the time.

In an interview to Bar and Bench, Justice Patel has said that he resigned to be relieved from the institution, and that he wished to make no other comment. But his silence over the apparent reasons for his resignation is eloquent.

Eerily similar to previous supersessions to the post of CJI

Compared to other branches of the state, crises in the judiciary are rare. Certainly, the resignation of a senior judge in protest at what he or she perceives to be an injustice marks the onset of a crisis phase. For the protest is not just an act of highlighting an individual grievance. It also underlines the fact that those entrusted with the responsibility of upholding the independence of the judiciary have allowed themselves to be used by the executive as pawns in pursuit of a vindictive agenda.



In a sense, much has changed in the relations between executive and the judiciary since the previous crisis moments witnessed during the infamous supersession of the chief justice of India by Indira Gandhi in 1973 and 1977. The invention of the collegium system to appoint and transfer judges of the high courts and Supreme Court in the 1990s is one such change which marked a complete break with the government’s primacy in the process.

As long as governments with fragile majorities were in office at the Centre, this break appeared more real than imaginary. With the coming to power of a single party majority government in 2014, one wonders whether the primacy of the judiciary vis-a-vis the executive in the process of appointments and transfers is more imaginary than real.

By resigning, Justice Patel is perhaps telling us that the independence of the judiciary – in defence of which the  Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission in 2015 – may indeed be a farce, as the Supreme Court’s collegium has hardly been able to safeguard its primacy in the face of executive stubbornness over appointments and transfers of judges.

The non-appointment of the former solicitor general, Gopal Subramanium as a judge of the Supreme Court in June 2014 despite the collegium having recommended his name marked the beginning of this phase. The transfer of Justice Rajiv Shakdher from the Delhi high court to the Madras high court and that of Justice Abhay Mahadeo Thipsay from the Bombay high court to the Allahabad high court made it clear that the collegium had no option but to cede ground to the executive in practice, whatever the Supreme Court might have held in its First, Second, Third and Fourth Judges cases.

It is no coincidence that in each of the three examples referred to above, the candidates for the high office of judges or the incumbent judges had to pay the price for having contributed to rulings which went against the interests of those currently in power at the Centre.

Gopal Subramanium, as amicus curiae, was responsible for the Supreme Court entrusting to the CBI the investigation into the disappearance of Kausar-bi and Sohrabuddin Sheikh in a fake encounter. The then Modi government in Gujarat opposed the decision.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher, as a judge of the Delhi high court, embarrassed the Modi government in 2015 by setting aside a lookout notice issued by the Intelligence Bureau against the Greenpeace activist, Priya Pillai, preventing her from going abroad to address a UK parliamentarian group. Justice Shakdher defended her right to travel, and express dissent.

Justice Thipsay, as a judge of the Mumbai sessions court in 2006, had imposed life sentences on nine of the 21 accused in the Best Bakery riot case during the 2002 Gujarat carnage – a case that had been transferred out of Gujarat by the Supreme Court because of the Modi-run state government’s manifest unwillingness to seriously investigate and prosecute the crime.

While Gopal Subramanium withdrew his candidature for Supreme Court judgeship to prevent any embarrassment to the collegium when it became clear that the Modi government had rejected his name,  Justices Shakdher and Thipsay, despite their lack of consent to their transfers for personal reasons, acceded to the new postings. Justice Thipsay, who served just a year in the Allahabad high court, before his retirement, could not fathom why he was transferred, despite his reluctance, considering that his remaining tenure was very limited.

Justice Jayant Patel felt compelled to quit because his transfer seemed to have been ordered in order to forestall his possible elevation as the acting chief justice of the Karnataka high court.

Powerful interests then and now  

In the history of the Indian judiciary, April 25, 1973 and January 29, 1977 are both considered as crisis moments – when the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court quit following their supersession, in the appointment of the chief justice of India by the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi. On April 25, 1973, Justice A.N. Ray was appointed as CJI by superseding three senior-most judges.

The three judges were part of the majority in the Kesavananda Bharati case, which held only the previous day, that parliament cannot use its amending power to alter the basic structure of the constitution. The three judges – Justices J.M. Shelat, K.S. Hegde and A.N. Grover – resigned following the appointment of Justice A.N. Ray as CJI, after the retirement of the outgoing CJI, S.M. Sikri.



Justice Ray was considered as a judge who was inclined to decide in favour of the government, as the late T.R. Andhyarujina noted in a perceptive article in the Indian Express titled ‘When the bench buckled’.

On January 29, 1977, Justice H.R. Khanna was superseded by Justice M.H. Beg as CJI, following which he resigned. Justice Khanna was the lone dissenter in A.D.M. Jabalpur v Shivkant Shukla decided by the Supreme Court’s five judge constitution Bench in favour of the government during the Emergency. The majority judges in this case held that fundamental rights could be suspended during the Emergency, and the legality of detention orders, even if mala fide and without authority of law, could not be questioned.

In the recent judgment elevating the right to privacy as a fundamental right, the Supreme Court’s nine-judge constitution bench formally overruled this judgment after 40 years. It was not necessary to do so, as successive benches of the Supreme Court had never considered A.D.M. Jabalpur a binding precedent, and impliedly overruled it. Besides, Article 359 was amended, following the 44th amendment to the constitution, to provide that during the operation of an Emergency, the power of the president to suspend the right to move a court for the enforcement of fundamental rights shall not extend to Articles 20 and 21 – which essentially guarantee the right to life.

By formally revisiting that shameful chapter in its history, and taking symbolic steps to formally erase its memory from its history, the Supreme Court might have felt it has unburdened itself, after 40 years.

While that symbolic gesture was hailed for its significance, one is tempted to ask whether it has had any real influence on the current collegium.

An embarrassing question which may be posed to the collegium is whether by failing to elevate Justice Jayant Patel as the chief justice of the Karnataka high court or as a judge of the Supreme Court, are its members not behaving in the same way as their predecessors did in the infamous A.D.M.Jabalpur case. If the majority judges in that case were guilty of not displaying enough courage to stand up to powerful interests, today’s collegium, despite the ringing assertions of judicial independence made in the intervening years, may prove to be just as pusillanimous in defending that cherished objective as their unillustrious predecessors.

Supersession protest in JNU over dean post

New Delhi, Oct. 1: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association (JNUTA) today called for a protest after at least five professors were allegedly superseded for the post of the dean of the School of Social Sciences.

Four of the five professors have opposed vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar's move to "tamper with" selection panels for teacher recruitment and to replace JNU's model sexual harassment watchdog with a largely nominated body.

The School of Social Sciences is considered a stronghold of communist and Ambedkarite student groups, as well as Left-leaning teachers.

In a statement today, the JNUTA said that while appointing economics professor Pradipta Chaudhary to the post after economist C.P. Chandrasekhar's term ended yesterday, VC Kumar overlooked historians Kunal Chakrabarti and Rajat Datta, economist Jayati Ghosh, Ravi Srivastava of the Centre for the Study of Regional Development and Binod Khadria of the Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies.

By convention, the senior-most professor of the School of Social Sciences, in this case Chakrabarti who became professor in 1998, should have taken over instead of Chaudhary, who became professor in 2001.

"The JNUTA would like to remind the university administration that the provisions of the JNU Act are fleshed out and enforced in the university both through rules and regulations and established convention, which has the force of law," the teachers' association said in the statement.

"For example, the regulations related to the executive council and the academic council state that in the absence of the vice-chancellor, the senior-most rector shall preside. This is not contained in the Act, however," it added.

The JNUTA pointed out that four of the five professors had dissented to certain decisions of the VC.

Srivastava and Ghosh are among those who have filed a writ petition in Delhi High Court against the VC's alleged tampering with selection committees by illegally increasing the number of experts. Datta is party to a writ petition filed in the high court against the dissolution of the Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment.

Chakrabarti, in his capacity as acting dean of the School of Social Sciences, has registered a written dissent on Kumar's alleged additional appointment of experts to two selection committees.

The JNUTA has also cited a 1995 judgment of Andhra Pradesh High Court in a case filed by University of Hyderabad professor K.N. Srivastava against the institution in which the principle of seniority had been upheld.

"The message from the JNU administration is now clear: any opposition to the VC's illegal tampering with, and improper conduct of, selection committees and other violations, shall invite certain retribution, through whatever means available, and always in violation of principles of natural justice. The singular goal is the vitiation of the process of faculty recruitment (and promotions)," the JNUTA statement said.

VC Kumar could not be reached over phone for comment. He also did not respond to text messages from this newspaper.

Recently, professor Nivedita Menon was removed as chairperson of the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory and barred from any statutory body for five years for alleged "misbehaviour in the selection committee (for teacher recruitment)".

Menon had reportedly objected to the manner in which an interview was conducted.

JNUTA sources said these two instances of alleged harassment, as well as numerous notes of dissent by deans and chairpersons against the actions and composition of various selection panels, would be taken up in the high court when the case on the selection panels is heard in December.

Moustache assault on Gujarat Dalits & Lynching for watching Garba

Ahmedabad, Oct. 1 (PTI): Two Dalit youths were allegedly thrashed for "sporting a moustache" in a Gujarat village by some Rajputs who saw such facial hair as a symbol of pride exclusive to the upper castes.

The assaults on September 25 and September 29 occurred in the same village, Limbodara in the Kalol area of Gandhinagar, and came over a year after some Dalits were flogged publicly by cow vigilantes for skinning dead cows in Una, around 350km away. Gujarat votes this year-end and the ruling BJP has been battling accusations that atrocities on Dalits have increased during its reign.

Law student Krunal Maheria, 30, assaulted when he was visiting a friend in the village on September 29, was allegedly warned by his tormentors he "cannot become a Rajput by just sporting a moustache".

In his police complaint, Maheria has identified the main attacker as one Bharatsinh Vaghela.

"When I was visiting my friend on Friday night, Vaghela and some others intercepted me and abused me. Vaghela told me I cannot become a Rajput by just sporting a moustache. When I ignored him, Vaghela beat me up with a stick," Maheria said today after returning home following treatment in the Gandhinagar civil hospital.

Vaghela was arrested today and has been booked for voluntarily causing hurt under the IPC and for offences under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a police officer said. "A cross-complaint (by Vaghela) was also registered against Maheria" the officer said.

In the other incident on September 25, some Rajputs allegedly thrashed Piyush Parmar, 24.

"Parmar has alleged that some Rajput men from the village beat him up when he was returning home after a garba programme. He has alleged that the upper-caste men thrashed him over his moustache. No arrests have been made yet in that case," the officer said.

After the Una floggings of July last year sparked a national outcry, some policemen were arrested for failing to stop the crime and conniving with the perpetrators.

A 21 year old Dalit was allegedly beaten to death by a group belonging to an upper caste community for attending a garba event in Gujarat's Anand district on Sunday, 9.2.17. police said. Dalits "do not have any right to watch Garba", the police quoted one of the accused as saying before he allegedly smashed the head of Jayesh Solanki against a wall.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance company fined, told to pay out policy

LUDHIANA: The district consumer forum has penalized an insurance company for not reimbursing medical expenses of a businessman covered under the medi claim policy. The forum directed Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company, Viman Road, Pune, through its general manager and manager of the company’s Feroze Gandhi market branch to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 for mental harassment and agony and Rs 5,000 as litigation expenses in favour of the complainant.

Forum president G K Dhir and member Param Jit Singh Bewli directed the opposite party to reconsider the claim of the complainant, settle the same and pay the due amount within 40 days from the date of the receipt of the copy of the order. It added that the amount of the bill dated November 11, 2013, be excluded from the payable amount. The forum added that in case the payment was not made within 40 days, then the complainant would be entitled to the due amount by opposite parties with an interest at the rate 7% per annum from the date of the complaint that was received .

In his complaint, Rajnesh Kumar of Sector 39, Chandigarh Road, had stated that he had and obtained a mediclaim insurance policy from Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company, Viman Road, Pune, through its branch office at Ludhiana with validity until October 29, 2015. He added that his health started deteriorating from December 8, 2013. The complaint stated, “Due to this, the complainant was shifted to Sachdeva Nursing Home, Ludhiana, where doctors started giving medical aid at once. The complainant remained admitted in that hospital until December 16, 2013. The facility of an AC room at the rate of Rs 2,500 per day for five days was availed by the complainant. He was later was shifted to the ICU for three days. Later on medical tests suggested by the doctors were done by the complainant and an amount of Rs 81,835 in spent by the complainant during hospitalization. Thereafter, the complainant approached the opposite party for reimbursement of these expenses. However, the insurance company kept on procrastinating the matter. In one of the letter written by the employees of the company, the complainant is mentioned as dead and the said mistake cast a shadow in the mind of the complainant about working capability of the opposite party. Despite sending repeated emails to the firm with the request to satisfy his claim, it failed to give any reply to the same and as such, by pleading deficiency in service on the part of the insurance company, a prayer was made for directing the firm to reimburse the medical expenses of amount of Rs 81,835 with interest at the rate 18% per annum. Compensation for mental pain and agony of Rs 1 lakh was also claimed.”

In joint written statement filed by the insurance company’s main office at Pune and Ludhiana branch. it was stated that after the receipt of the claim intimation, they had appointed an investigator for ascertaining genuineness of the claim and received a report on February 17, 2014. Through that report, it was pointed out that certain discrepancies and lapses found in the claim documents. After the receipt of the documents and the investigator report, the company scrutinized the documents and declined the claim of complainant on February 20, 2014, finding that hospitalization of the complainant was for investigation and treatment of acute febrile illness with dengue fever only and in view of discrepancies and lapses in the claim documents, claim is not payable.

The judgment said an otherwise genuine claim of insurance should not be rejected on flimsy and technical grounds as it would erode the trust of people in the insurance companies. It added that the consumer forums were not expected to go in the technicalities of the civil or criminal jurisprudence because consumer disputes were to be decided on yardsticks of reasonableness, probability and by applying with full force the principles of natural justice.

The judgment added that the discrepancies pointed out by the deponent tendered in evidence affidavits did not exist or they were of ordinary nature and bound to exist when a version travels from one mouth to other and as such, repudiation of claim ordered in this case is on flimsy and technical grounds alone. Being so, complainant entitled to somewhat hefty amount of compensation for mental harassment and agony along with litigation expenses, so that such like genuine claim of insurer may not be rejected by unscrupulous or harsh insurer.