On laws and their misuse

Samar Halarnkar uses a Mumbai booze party — and the smashed bottles in its wake — to make larger points about the systematic subversion of the legal machinery. This is his set-up:

The bottle-smashing is required by the excise department, to whom it proves that as much liquor as the bottles contained was actually consumed on the premises. The smashing is preceded by a mess of paperwork and inspection. All this to throw a party. It also applies to domestic parties. It begins with visits to the excise office – there are many, you must find the right one for your area, and no online applications please – to get a liquor permit. You can then expect a visit from excise officials, who warn of prosecution risk, if you serve that scotch you carried through duty free. You will then get a list of neighbourhood liquor shops – only they can sell you the booze for the party. You get a little booklet, in which you enter the date of party and names of guests. You might get another visit during your party, to ensure you are in compliance of all requirements. At the end of it they will come, of course, to count bottles – in homes; in hotels, they smash.

Read on.

Meanwhile, our brave jawans in Siachen…

A news report:

A retired officer of the Indian Air Force, Wing Commander C K Sharma — a prominent face in the campaign for One Rank One Pension Scheme — has been arrested for alleged financial irregularities in connection with an organisation for veterans and their widows.

In a Facebook post, his daughter Nisha Sharma said: “My father Wing Commander CK Sharma (Retd) has been very active in OROP fight… 5 police men just half hour ago barged into parents house, threw his phone away and physically picked him and carried him away (sic).”



On the rule of law and due process

Found on Twitter (an occasional series):

A law student, with sound logic and common-sense, on rule of law and related issues.

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The story Chhattisgarh police don’t want you to know

Supriya Sharma’s deep dive into police atrocities against the tribals in the Bastar region is the story you won’t like to read, but should.

On the same subject, Freny Maneckshaw has more.


On hate speech

On Scroll, lawyer and research associate Siddharth Narayan examines the laws and remedies applicable in the case of hate speech, with reference to HRD minister of state Ram Shankar Katheria and beyond:

Sections 295A and 153A constitute serious offences – cognisable and non-bailable, carrying a maximum punishment of up to three years. If the speech in question is made at a time when the Election Commission has announced the election dates and official campaigning has begun, then a conviction under section 153A can be used to disqualify a candidate for indulging in a corrupt practice under sections 123(3) A of Representation of Peoples Act. In addition, “promoting enmity between classes” in connection with an election is an electoral offence under section 125 of the same Act.

Despite these protections in law, politicians continue to spout hate speech, while the same laws – 153A and 295A in particular – are often used to harass and intimidate artists, dissenters and academics. The irony is hard to miss. The most striking example is that after all the explicit hate speech made by Shiv Sena leaders in its mouthpiece Saamna, especially in and around the period of the 1992-’93 communal riots in Mumbai, there have only been two convictions by trial courts, and that too, of party members near the bottom of the hierarchy.


Food for tort

Via Madhu Kishwar, a good point to ponder on: