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How BJP has gone in the Congress way to bend the law citing Shah Bano and taking ordinance route to Jallikkattu!

January 21, 2017

How BJP has gone in the Congress way to bend the law citing Shah Bano and taking ordinance route to Jallikkattu!

anti-modi-caricature

Environment, Animal Husbandry department of Agriculture Ministry, Law and finally Home – ministries engaded to clear the Ordinance (19 / 20-01-2016): The sport, which goes back to the Tamil classical period, was banned following a Supreme Court order in May 2014, but spontaneous protests in Chennai have thrust the issue into limelight and sent Tamil Nadu CM O. Pannerselvam rushing to Delhi to seek an ordinance to overturn the ban[1]. In December, 2016 the court had reserved its judgment on a clutch of petitions that challenged the central government’s notification in January 2016 allowing bulls to be used in JallikattuAs an interim order, a bench led by Justice Misra had on January 13, 2016, stayed the Centre’s notification, due to which the apex court’s original order of 2014 banning Jallikattu is still in force. [2]. How all these processes took place, why the involved kept quite, delayed or played safe and all are debated again and again. Later in the evening of 20-01-2017, the Centre cleared the final legal hurdles in holding Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu over the weekend by approving the state’s draft Ordinance. The draft Ordinance, which will add a state-specific exception in the 1960 Act, passed through four ministries during the day — Environment, Animal Husbandry department of Agriculture Ministry, Law and finally Home — receiving consent from each within hours. Again, it proved the hasty, urgency and injudicious act to settle the issue. In its comments on the draft, the Environment Ministry, which administers the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, is learnt to have taken the view that Jallikattu had to be viewed in its cultural context, and that a decision on banning the sport could not be purely legal in nature. The last nod had to be given by the Ministry of Home.

ops-modi-jallikattuNow, it is clear that the issue is political: The final clearance of the Ordinance by the Home Ministry came just a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to find a legal solution to the issue. Panneerselvam postponed his return to Chennai on Thursday (19-01-2017) and stayed put in the capital till Friday (20-01-2017) morning as his government prepared the draft Ordinance and handed it to the Centre. Top Tamil Nadu officials made the rounds of different ministries to hold consultations and decide the final language of the Ordinance that will put bulls on the list of performing animals in the state. A group of MPs from the state, led by Lok Sabha deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai, also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave to press for the Ordinance. Whether the AIADMK was playing its internal politics or otherwise, the gameplan involved was exposed. With the Centre drawing flak, BJP sought to project that its government was actively engaged in resolving the issue[3].

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The anti-Modi placards, sloganeering etc., are inexplicable: It is evident that sizable crowd of the “Jallikkattu” protesters were not students, but members of the radical groups like ma.ka.i.ka and its associated organizations. All the fringe Communist  clusters also joined. The Muslim presence could be noted. Thus, the anti-Modi placards, sloganeering and shoutings appeared intriguing in the context. That too, several placards carried very vulgar, indecent and unparliamentary words and expressions. Why, how and for what purposes, they used, only, they have to explain. But, definitely, such aberration marred their cultural claims made on the civilization, heritage and tradition in the name of Tamil, Tamils and Tamilnadu. The separatist sloganeering also exposed the involvement of fringe elements. Asian Age reported that[4], “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rejection of the state’s demand for a Central ordinance on jallikattu has triggered widespread anger in Tamil Nadu”. Residents geared up for massive protests on Friday (20-01-2017), with all sections of people joining students and youth fighting to save its traditional sport and preserve Tamil culture. Furious jallikattu protesters widened the canvass of the protests to include all issues in which the state’s rights were trampled. One of the students, Senthilnathan, who had gathered at the Marina asked, “If Narendra Modi is so concerned about respecting the Supreme Court, why had he opposed the apex court’s verdict to form the Cauvery Management Board?”.

anti-modi-slohaneering-in-jallikattu-demo-at-marina-whyAnti-national slogans were also raised: Protesting Tamil youth vowed to return the Aadhaar cards as a sign of declaration that they are no more the citizens of India. The protesters also targeted the railways blocking the trains in several parts of the state. Traders associations announced a total shutdown on Friday and cinema theatres would remain closed to express support the agitations. The Marina continued to be the epicentre of agitations for Tamil pride with the gathering of youth reaching about 90,000 for a stretch of about three kilometre on Thursday (19-01-2017) evening. The sound of waves were drowned by slogan shouting and drum beating youth, who supported jallikattu and demanded a ban on Peta, which was instrumental for jallikattu ban. There were hundreds of protests throughout the city, besides the agitations in every district and taluk of Tamil Nadu. The southern districts continued to vibrate with jallikattu protests centred around the historic city of Madurai. Besides boys and girls, children and working and housewives too joined the agitations throughout Tamil Nadu, voicing their anger against the unjust treatment to Tamil Nadu on a range of issues from the massacre of Sri Lankan Tamils to the non-formation of Cauvery Management Board[5].

anti-modi-demo-2017Chennai had two faces in the “Jallikkatu” shows and bandhs: On 20-01-2017, the worst sufferers had been the office goers, regular teavellers and some students who attend private professional institutions. Autos and call taxis kept off the roads even as few government buses plied on the roads with improper announcement[6]. That the Banking operations took a hit with workers taking part in protests and Employees of various IT companies held placards and banners with slogans against NGO People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) etc., appeared artificial, perhaps, they  too wanted publicity or showed them to be supporting for the cause with the vested interests. The “Jallikkattu” protesters purposely occupied the most-crowded junctions, bus-stands and such other places, just to get the attention of others. This only created nuisance at morning and evening hours. Many inter and intra-state trains were fully and partially cancelled while some others were diverted. The suburban EMU services ran late. In Chennai, all roads led to Marina beach with men and women, clad in black, besides children joining the protest that has transcended political and other differences. Though, the schools and colleges did not function, as leave was given to them, the office goers and regular travellers of buses and trains suffered heavily and the autos fleeced them as usual taking the opportunity.

© Vedaprakash

21-01-2017

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[1] The Times of India, Centre gives nod to Tamil Nadu’s jallikattu ordinance, TNN | Updated: Jan 21, 2017, 03.24 AM IST.

[2] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/centre-gives-nod-to-tamil-nadus-jallikattu-ordinance/articleshow/56696136.cms

[3] DNA- Daily News and Analysis, Under-pressure Centre steps in to resolve Jallikattu row, passes ordinance, Sat, 21 Jan 2017-12:58am , Chennai , PTI

[4] Asian Age, Jallikattu stir bristles with anti-Modi anger, THE ASIAN AGE. | N RAVIKUMAR, Published : Jan 20, 2017, 1:00 am IST; Updated : Jan 20, 2017, 1:36 am IST

[5] http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/200117/jallikattu-stir-bristles-with-anti-modi-anger.html

[6] http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-under-pressure-centre-steps-in-to-resolve-jallikattu-row-passes-the-ordinance-2294582

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Shah Bano and Jallikkattu: How BJP has gone in the Congress way to bend the law!

January 21, 2017

Shah Bano and Jallikkattu: How BJP has gone in the Congress way to bend the law!

shah-banu-venkaiya-naidu-jallikattu-act-amendment

Venkaiah Naidu citing “Shah Bano” case precedence (10-01-2017)[1]: Venkaiah Naidu hinted that in the view of strong emotional connect of the people of Tamil Nadu with jallikattu, the Centre was mulling over a way out after the Supreme Court banned it.  He claimed that Centre is mulling the idea of amending the law to nullify Supreme Court order on Jallikattu.  “We are getting suggestions (to amend the law). After all, we did it in the Shah Bano case,” said Naidu adding[2], “But, we will have to see. We will have to discuss. We will have to weigh what court thinks.” However, Naidu was non-committal about bringing an ordinance to deal with the Supreme Court order on Jallikattu, saying[3], “I am not dealing with the subject in the government.” Speaking at the India Today Conclave South in Chennai, Venkaiah Naidu said[4], “Personally, I feel that Jallikattu is a traditional art. It is a traditional sport in Tamil Nadu. Nobody should have problem with this.” But, Naidu also added, “I don’t know whether I should be saying this as a minister.” So just like Rajiv Gandhi, the BJP has also decided to politicize the issue, by bending the law by creating another bad precedence of law. In fact, the so-called “India Today” conclave had given much focus to the “Jallikkattu” issue, calling opinion from others. Now, let us note, what the “Shah Bano” case brought out in Indian judicial, political and religious arena.

shah-banu-venkaiya-naidu-jallikattu-act-amendment-modiThe brief of Sha Bano case[5]: Though, the details of the “Shah Bano case” are known, they are briefed here as follows[6]:

  • Shah Bano, who was 62 years old in 1978, was divorced by her husband using the triple talaq law.
  • Bano, who was left with five children, approached the court to seek justice.
  • The Madhya Pradesh High Court had instructed Bano’s husband Mohammed Ahmed Khan to provide Rs 179 per month as maintenance.
  • The case reached Supreme Court, with the bench announcing a verdict in 1985, instructing that Shah Bano should be provided all the benefits which divorced women from other religious communities are entitled to.
  • The observations of court drew sharp reaction from conservative Muslims, who called it a violation of their religious affairs.
  • Fearing ire from the Muslim community, Congress government at Centre led by Rajiv Gandhi amended the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. The amended legislation nullified the Supreme Court’s order.

At that time, a lot of criticism was made against Rajiv Gandhi and Congress for yielding to the Islamic fundamental forces by reversing the Supre Court judgment.

jaggi-ravishankar-modi-jallikattuJallikkatu issue goes in the Sha Bano route: The political solution to this public demand in case of Jallikattu is to pass an ordinance, overturning and reversing the Supreme Court ban, is well understood, but, bad in the law. The job of the apex court is to simply interpret statutes and constitution provisions. The Apex Court enters the arena of traditions, religious practices or even cricket administration, only when such issues come to the court. In the Shah Bano case, the apex court’s verdict was overturned by Parliament (which had the brute majority of the ruling party). The utopia that the voice of “the people” is supreme too works with the ruling politicians. Unfortunately, there is a thin dividing line between robust democracy and mobocracy, or mere capitulation by politicians to mass hysteria and this is what happened in the Jallikkttu case. Who has whipped up mass hysteria to generate short-term political advantage, is yet to be known clearly, though, the sudden surge has been claimed as “spontaneous and apolitical”. It is, therefore, worth recalling incidents when the brute power of elected governments was thwarted by sound legal principles, and even the power of ordinance was blunted by the apex court. Whether the “emotional blackmail”, “ideological extortion”, “cultural counter threat”, definitely, it has shown a bad way for such incited, provoked and encouraged groups again bargain, so that the judiciary becomes a mockery of democracy.

anti-modi-demo-2017-vaikoPoliticians are interested in safeguarding their interests[7]: Of course, the most celebrated case is the Keshavanand Bharti case, fought so successfully by Nani Palkhiwala, which has ever since protected the basic structure of the Constitution of India. It cannot be amended by the legislature. A more recent example is from May 2002, when the Supreme Court decreed that all candidates who stand for elections must declare, via sworn affidavits, their criminal antecedents (if any), their wealth (ill begotten or not), and their education status. This was based on the voters’ right to know before they cast their vote. The Union Cabinet in its wisdom sought to nullify this verdict through a hastily drawn up ordinance in June 2002, as the entire political establishment did not want to disclose any information, or details of their candidates. But citizen activists across the nation got together and asked the then President Abdul Kalam to refuse to sign that ordinance. He had to sign since the Cabinet refused to budge, or dilute its ordinance. Hence, this ordinance (even before it could be presented to Parliament) was challenged in the Supreme Court as being un-constitutional. Denying information to voters was akin to denying freedom of expression (as casting a vote is like expressing yourself). Remember the Right to Information was passed in 2005, three years later. In March 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that the said ordinance seeking to gag information about candidates was unconstitutional and hence null and void. Hence the ordinance was defeated. As for Jallikattu, it’s a wholly different animal and the polticians may bend the law again[8].

jallikattu-cruelty-involvedRequesting Supreme Court to delay the judgment and passing the Ordinance (20-01-2017)[9]: Hours after the Central government requested the Supreme Court to delay its judgment on the legality of Jallikattu, citing “huge unrest” in Tamil Nadu, it approved a draft Ordinance by the state government to make an exception for bulls in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Earlier, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a bench led by Justice Dipak Misra that there were “immense problems” in Tamil Nadu due to the interim ban on Jallikattu and that the circumstances warranted delaying the judgment at least by a week. “If this court pronounces the judgment in one way or another, it (judgment) would inflame passions…there is already social unrest in the state. The Centre and the state are in talks to find a way out in the matter and our request is that the court should not deliver the judgment and hold back for a while,” submitted the AG. At this, Justice Misra asked Rohatgi how many days he wanted the judgment to be delayed. “At least for a week,” replied AG. To this, the judge responded[10]: “Okay.”

© Vedaprakash

21-01-2017

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[1] India Today, Law was amended after Shah Bano case, can do it for jallikattu too: Venkaiah Naidu at India Today Conclave, IndiaToday.in | Posted by Ruchi Dua,New Delhi, January 10, 2017 | UPDATED 18:16 IST.

[2] http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/india-today-conclave-south-venkaiah-naidu-jallikattu/1/853680.html

[3] The Hindu, Centre exploring options on jallikattu, says Venkaiah, CHENNAI JANUARY 11, 2017 01:47 IST;  UPDATED: JANUARY 11, 2017 07:47 IST.

[4] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Centre-exploring-options-on-jallikattu-says-Venkaiah/article17020612.ece

[5] India.com, Like Shah Bano case, Centre may nullify Supreme Court order on Jallikattu: Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, By Mohammed Uzair Shaikh | Updated: January 10, 2017 1:36 PM IST; Published Date: January 10, 2017 1:28 PM IST | Updated Date: January 10, 2017 1:36 PM IST

[6] http://www.india.com/news/india/like-shah-bano-case-centre-may-nullify-supreme-court-order-on-jallikattu-union-minister-venkaiah-naidu-1750572/

[7] Pune Mirror, WHEN SC TURNED DOWN AN ORDINANCE, By Ajit Ranade, Pune Mirror | Jan 21, 2017, 02.30 AM IST

[8] http://punemirror.indiatimes.com/columns/columnists/ajit-ranade/when-sc-turned-down-an-ordinance/articleshow/56693786.cms

[9] Indian Express, Centre clears TN draft for Ordinance to allow Jallikattu, Written by Utkarsh Anand , Manoj CG | New Delhi | Updated: January 21, 2017 4:29 am

[10] http://indianexpress.com/article/india/jallikattu-ban-centre-asks-sc-to-delay-order-4484017/