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Rather writing something of my own sitting 12,000 miles away in Canada, I thought it’d be better to put in an email conversation that I had with a close friend of mine, working in south Mumbai, right at the heart of where the ill- fated attacks occurred.

hey bro,
im fine, everyone in office is fine…but the city is not fine…everyone knew someone who was affected somehow. some lost their family members, some lost friends, and some lost there fellow indians…they were terrorists with clear missions, they held the taj gateway and oberoi hostage along with nariman house for 3 days, not fearing death and merciless towards people…it was a completely and total take over of our own home. they had gotten into our homes, killed everyone they came across and were willing to kill anyone else who came in their path…its damn scary that we had to fight to regain control of our city..hats off to the army, navy, police, and the rest of the security forces for the came back from behind and fought…but someone needs to teach these freaking politicians a lesson now…im hopin they understand from this and stop dividing the country over vote politics…and actually start paying attention to the large issues at hand..
anyways ..hope all is well with u ..u take care
Hope this message gets sent to all those involved in making India safer.

Read below to know how ridiculous people and organisations can get;

Editorial: Disgrace at Carleton

National Post Published: Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cystic fibrosis is a horrible disease. A congenital ailment, CF affects the mucus glands of the lungs, liver, pancreas and intestines, gradually interfering with digestive and respiratory functions until such time as the victim dies from organ failure — usually in his or her 30s.

All of which would seem to make cystic fibrosis research a worthy cause, right?

Wrong, you racist. This week, the Students’ Association at Carleton University in Ottawa voted to drop cystic fibrosis as the beneficiary of its annual Shinearamafundraiser. The reason: CF “has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men” — and therefore is insufficiently “inclusive.”

Even by the loopy standards of students governments, this has got to be a new low. Had the author of this resolution bothered so much as to look at Wikipedia, here is what he or she would have found: “Approximately one in 25 people of European descent … is a carrier of a cystic fibrosis mutation. Although CF is less common in these groups, approximately one in 46 Hispanics, one in 65 Africans and one in 90 Asians carry at least one abnormal CFTR gene. Cystic fibrosis is diagnosed in males and females equally.”

That same author would also have found a photo of a young black girl staring back at him from behind a mask nebuliser.

But even if it were true that only white males got CF, what of it? We raise money for breast cancer even though it is primarily a female disease. We raise money for Tay-Sachs, even thought it strikes almost exclusively Jews. That’s because we raise money to save people– not tribes.

Members of the Students’ Association at Carleton University have disgraced themselves and their school. In a fair world, their funding would be docked by the same amount they raised for CF last year –and the money directed toward the disease’s victims, in all their “inclusive” need.

If a person is sent to jail then even if he is subsequently released, his reputation may be irreparably tarnished. this then is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.

The above ratio in Deepak Bajaj v. State of Maharashtra adds to the series of ridiculous judgements that the Court has been giving off late. Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees the right to life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. In time, the Court has interpreted this Article to include ‘Due Process’, the right to health, environment, clean and pure air, education etc..

Article 21 makes a case for the Supreme  Court to incorporate postive rights and its expansion defeats the intention of the framers that read it in the context of preventive detention and criminal law.

But the point with the judgement is not the it has merely read reputation into Article 21. It is that the Court has gone at length about ratios and obiter and their persuasive value and the judgement could have sustained without this reading of Article 21. The case actually dealt with the issue of whether a preventive detention order could be challenged even before it was executed. While the Court relied heavily on other sources and authorities to hold that it could, in about two paragraphs Katju J. summed up that his self- reputation would also be damaged if he were not allowed to do so and that this would be violative of Article 21.

The Judgment quoted Lord Halsbury, L.C., in Quinn vs. Leathem, 1901 AC 495 :

“Now before discussing the case of Allen Vs. Flood (1898) AC 1 and what was decided therein, there are two observations of a general character which I wish to make, and one is to repeat what I have very often said before, that every judgment must be read as applicable to the particular facts proved or assumed to be proved, since the generality of the expressions which may be found there are not intended to be expositions of the whole law, but are governed and qualified by the particular facts of the case in which such expressions are to be found. The other is that a case is only an authority for what it actually decides. I entirely deny that it can be quoted for a proposition that may seem to follow logically from it. Such a mode of reasoning assumes that the law is necessarily a logical Code, whereas every lawyer must acknowledge that the law is not always logical at all.

It further stated that the Court must clearly differentiate between ratio and obiter of a case and that it is only the ratio that must be taken as binding in a subsequent case. The interesting issue that then arises then is whether this interpretation of Article 21 would then be applicable and binding on subsequent cases? Surely justice Katju should have answered this question while giving his ruling and opinions about ratio and binding nature in judgments.

In December 2007, the Supreme Court deliberated upon the question as to whether conducting a narco-analysis test is constitutional and violative of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution; the arguments were concluded in january and the judgment is not out yet. Its been more than 11 months since and what we have seen is an unprecedented increase in the number of people these tests are conducted on. Every time there is a high profile case, the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) or the ATS (Anti- Terrorism Squad) proceeds to conduct the test with an aim to get out some information. 

Fortunately, most of these tests haven’t succeeded in getting out information, and in the cases where they have; they’ve been at the cost of infringing the protection against self- incrimination and the right to life and privacy. Every major democracy in the world has declared this test unconstitutional on the above grounds and we in India more often than not quote Dershowitz’s ticking time bomb example to justify this test; “If it helps to save the bomb, its all right”. 

In an attempt to make this a short post, I shall end as a question for us to ponder;

Considering that narco-analysis does violate the rights of the accused, is it right to suggest that even though these rights are violated by the test, in order to protect the society they must be performed?

PS: I had the good fortune of working with Mr. Andhyarujina on this case in the Supreme Court and would be putting forth detailed arguments in time. 

At this critical juncture in the 21st century, all eyes are affixed on the financial crisis that both developed and developing economies are currently grappling with. Consequently, very little global attention is being paid to a rapidly deteriorating socio-political atmosphere in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a situation which may well be termed as Darfur – II. This humanitarian crisis, however, may have seriously disastrous repercussions, far worse from those hitherto seen before.

Massive armed conflict between Government militia and Congolese rebels had broken out earlier this year, resulting in the displacement of atleast 250,000 civilians. The rebels, led by Gen. Laurent Nkunda claim to protect the ethnic Tutsis from the migrant Hutu community who had fled Rwanda after the genocide in ’94. Gen. Nkunda believes that the Hutu militia, key personnel of which are accused in the Rwandan Genocide, pose a grave threat to the Congolese Tutsis. The rebels have sought to take up arms against the Government under President Joseph Kabila, and the ensuing conflict has torn the country’s social fabric apart. The rebels accuse the Government for its reticence and inefficiency in stopping Hutu militia from using its territory. For its part, the Government has condemned such violent upsurge, seeking military aid to curb the rebels.

We might not be in a position to evaluate the true nature of claims raised by the belligerents but what is very clear is the conflict’s devastating impact. Over 250,000 (BBC, UN Official Figures) civilians have been displaced from the country’s heartland where heavy fighting is the norm. Reports of inhuman atrocities, like mass killings and rape by parties from both sides, continue to pour in. Rebels seem to be recruiting young school-going children from various corners of the country; those who refused have reportedly, been shot. Amidst such plunder, the displaced thousands are dying of hunger and the prevalence of diseases is acute. The absence of any coordinated relief effort is apparent and the exigency mandates quick measures.

Lobby group Global Witness states that the Government soldiers stand as accomplices to the rebels, primarily to exploit the vast resources of gold and tin in this mineral-rich country. The situation is grave indeed, with little or no viable solution in sight. A ceasefire agreement which came into force later this year has been recently breached and negotiators are finding it tough to settle the ongoing dispute.

The UN has deployed a massive Peacekeeping force in the region, it largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation to date. Nonetheless, many believe that the Blue Berets stand no chance as they are outnumbered a 1000 to 1 in conflict zones. The UN Force is currently 16,500 in number and India is the largest contributor with 4000 personnel; however, the mere deployment of such peacekeeping forces cannot facilitate a solution to this humanitarian crisis. To quote the BBC, Creating a robust force from the disparate elements of the UN contingent is not proving easy.

Military involvement of the UN cannot be the world’s knee-jerk reaction to a crisis of such magnitude. Developed and developing nations have a huge, consensual role to play in mitigating the harsh human conditions in Congo; our pursuit of economic might is futile if social conditions of fellow men and women are pitifully dismal.