Cry Freedom

79 Comments

“Dr Venugopal gathered faculty, students and outsiders in the AIIMS auditorium and spoke openly, criticising the Government for allegedly interfering in the affairs of AIIMS. It led to considerable tension in the institute. It has brought indiscipline and a bad name to the institute. In view of Dr Venugopal’s conduct, it is proposed that his continuance will vitiate the discipline in AIIMS further. It is, therefore, proposed for the institute body to consider that it would be in public interest to terminate the term of Dr Venugopal as Director of AIIMS with immediate effect and give him three month salary and allowance in lieu of the notice period as per Regulation 31.”

This above is the official press statement of the government justifying the firing of Dr. Venugopal from AIIMS. All I have to say is : could they not have gotten someone to better spin this, so that we could at least keep on pretending that we live in a democratic society?

When it announces that it is punishing someone for “speaking openly” and for “criticizing the government” and that dissent is “an act of indiscipline“, the government, in a way that cannot be any clearer, is poking us in the eye with a fact that we like to pretend not to realize.

And that fact is that we are fast becoming like China with respect to the protection of individual rights and freedom of speech.

Take as an example the Broadcast Services Regulation Bill, 2006— a proposed umbrella Bill that brings cable operators, newspapers and television channels under one legislation. It is based on the Cable TV Networks Regulation Act which was created to regulate only cable operators——

Section 19: Where “any authorised officer” thinks it necessary or expedient so to do in public interest, he may, by order, prohibit any cable operator from transmitting or re-transmitting “any programme or channel if, it is not in conformity with the prescribed programme code referred to in section 5 and advertisement code referred to in section 6 or if it is” likely to promote, on grounds of religion, race, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, linguistic or regional groups or castes or communities or which is likely to disturb the public tranquillity.

Yeah right….just read “public interest” as “interest of those put in power by the public”.

Sounds draconian? Of course but what the hell—whatever the commissar wants.

However the deleterious effects of this provision was limited by the fact that it applied to “cable operators” and not to organs of the press—newspapers and television channels. With sting operations and suchlike throwing egg on the face of many a politician, the realization has dawned on the ones-in-power that for the muzzle to be effective, it needs to be applied not at the level of the people in charge of the physical medium (i.e. the cable operators) but at the level of the content-providers since newspapers and television channels can transmit harmful (to the government) information through media like the Net and the printed word (which are excluded from the aegis of Cable TV Networks Regulation Act).

Ergo, the new Broadcast Services Regulation Bill —a bill that would make any totalitarian regime proud–has been drafted to bring the free press and broadcast medium under government control.

Sections 23 and 24 empower any official of the Broadcasting Regulatory Authority (BRA) to prohibit the transmission or printing of anything he/she deems “not appropriate”.

[Okay it is the Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) and not BRA but considering how it intends to support /hold up the government’s often-sagging “image” …you get the point]

In addition, the government may ask the BRAI people to suspend or cancel the license of the media outlet, based on its judgement.

Here’s another one, which legal experts like myself are calling the historic “Shakti Kapoor Aooo sharmao mat” clause: (Some others are calling it “Kushwaha Aap ke paas deh hain” clause)

“TV channels must not use material relating to a person’s personal or private affairs or which invades an individual’s privacy unless there is an identifiable public interest reason for the material to be broadcast.”

And who decides “public interest?” A babu in a safari suit on a direct line to “saar-ji” in a white topi.

Now here’s the clincher—and it’s just too fantastic for me to believe (and I find most Mithun movies believable). Especially since TOI, which does not have a great record of getting things right, says so:

The imposition of penalty cannot be challenged in court except if the authorised officer complains in writing. Section 18 of the Cable Act says, “No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act except upon a complaint in writing made by any authorised officer.”

This clause too appears to have been lifted and added to the Broadcast Bill under section 32, which says, “No civil court shall have the jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceedings in respect of any matter.”

In other words, unless TOI is wrong or I am misinterpreting something, the government is not answerable to a court of law with respect to the application of this Bill.

Something similar is said here, but the clause number is different. (Again, I still cannot bring myself to believe this).

Apart from empowering government officials of the ranks of district magistrate, sub-divisional magistrate or police commissioner to barge into newsrooms are (sic) seize equipment, Section 37 makes it clear that the officials’ action cannot be challenged even in court. “No civil court shall have the jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceedings in respect of any matter which the Authority or the Licensing Authority is empowered by or under this Act to determine,” the draft Bill says.

In short—total absolute power.

Somewhere in a cold grave, Stalin smiles.

Advertisements

79 thoughts on “Cry Freedom

  1. Whoa.

    “the government is not answerable to a court of law with respect to the application of this Bill.”

    That is scary. How do u come across these facts? Do u do an extensive search for the details of some totally unknown laws/regulations(at least to me) or do u pick these pieces from various blogs?

    Anyways great blog. Arrived here through a “Prabhuji” link and there hasn’t been a single day that has gone by without visiting you blog(sometimes just to read the comments).

  2. The worst part is that we aren’t realising the imminent danger to our freedom. Too bad that we celebrate 15th Aug as freedom from the British when effectively our personal freedoms aren’t much different from pre-1947 times. I won’t be surprised if I am blasted for making that statment right here in this comment box.

  3. Well, this is just the begining. Everything that we hold dear seems to be under threat. Petrol prices are rising(hell they are rising everywhere that is known), veggies cost a bomb, housing is way too costly, education is difficult(yes sir, more reservations please). Everything seems to be bleak and dark. It feels like the 80’s when there was an application needed for a color TV.Well even if you have a TV now, you cannot watch what you want to thanks to BRAI…….What will it take for us to leave all this behind and work towards making things better? A revolution? Mumbai needs one surely.. you got to see the cnodition here to know why… We need a Hitler in the country. i am serious. Anyways if we live under a draconian regime, i would prefer a person like Hitler than Sonia Gandhi.And lets put it this way, i would be more comfortable with the “fundamentalist” forces rather than the “outside” forces. And btw.. Fascism was Mussolini’s creation. Guess where he was born………….

  4. Top notch as usual…

    Isn’t it ironic that a person who reached the top position in one of the greatest institutes in the country by means of hard work and intellect is sacked by a guy who didn’t even win an election?
    Yes. Anbumani Ramadoss is a Rajya Sabha MP who has a cabinet Ministry. A minister without even winning an election!
    Such is the clout of Papa Ramadoss who picks on such inane issues like Rajnikanth’s mega-flop ‘Baba’ to stay in power.

    A babu in a safari suit on a direct line to “saar-ji” in a white topi.
    Priceless 🙂

    PS: I tried to confirm the Rajya Sabha Membership @ the RS website but the well oiled government machinery fails as usual with some server error.

  5. GreatBong, so good you highlighted this. The more I’ve read about India, the more I’ve felt it’s “democracy” is a sham in that it doesn’t protect individuals’ rights with anything nearly as concrete and supreme as the Bill of Rights here in the US. Thus, India’s illustrious politicians are allowed to pass bakwaas laws like this.

    Patrix, you’re right on the money! I have a feeling today’s Indian politicians are able to create a state whose reach and whose tyrannical dominance over society surpasses that of the British Raj. Politically (freedom of speech and freedom of the press issues as in what GreatBong wrote about here), socially (skirts and other dress code silliness), and economically (the forms and bribes one must fill out simply to start a business).

  6. such actions of a “democratically elected” government kind of make you think about the utility of democracy itself. in all probability, the government will defend itself by saying that it has the people’s mandate … never mind that the PM, Home minister, HRD minister ….. are all Rajya Sabha members. The Defence Minister is a new comer to the Lok Sabha, having won the “people’s mandate” for the first time. They also have the illustrious company of the Left, whose top leaders are also RS members.

    the sole purpose of the UPA was to keep the NDA out of power. this naked display of a lust of power cant be more evident by sworn enemies like Laloo and Paswan being in the same government. and now … they are trying to blame the NDA for the rising prices!!

    it appears as if the sarkar has totally given up any pretences it had to governance and instead all its ministers are following their own pet agendas. we have a mulayam singh in UP buying votes by paying rs 500/- to “unemployed” but “educated” youth … promising to increase this amt to 1000 bucks if voted back!

    is this the kind of “democracy” we want ? perhaps a dictatorship will be better … atleast it wouldnt pretend that the people had power.

  7. Why is it that the affected parties are not kicking up a ruckus over that broacast bill. The govt shld be taken to court simply for suggesting that the BRAI officials will be over the law.

    And yes, a revolution is needed in Mumbai.

  8. Foreign investments in local media have increased over the last few years, and you really start to worry about how they will influence politics. Because they will. The US has a way of manufacturing consent. A foreign propoganda war fought over media can whip up storms over nothing, and loosen the wheels of an economy.

    Yes, this bill gives more power to the ruling class. But most media has always been in the hands of the ruling class, like just about everything else. Do you want foreign influence over the public minds? Well there’s no turning back on that.. But what when it goes out of hand?

    Pls watch The Revolution Will Not be Televised.

    I’m sure this pulling the plug thing won’t happen everyday. It won’t happen much at all, if we leave the babus to their devices.

  9. If we see some the incidents that took place in recent times, the only conclusion we can draw is that the govt does not believe in democracy. Think of midnight dismissal of Bihar Assembly last year. Or Goa. Or the way various appointees of previous NDA govt were shown the door (Sonal Mansingh, Anupam Kher, Raveena Tandon,…) Or de-freezing Quattrochi’s accounts. And among the worst – the efficient and outspoken Subir Raha, of ONGC, was denied extension due to altercation with the then Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyyar who tried to include Congress cronies on the board of the blue-chip companies. Of course, the dismissal of the parliament session in midway and bring an constitutional amendment to save The Saint. The shameless disregard to the highest judicial authority. The list is endless.

    And as far as power game is concerned, one should take a cursory glance at the tax rules. The officers of tax have infinite discretionary power making it a heaven of corruption.

    Think of any of such activity carried out NDA or Modi Govt. The media would have virtually raped the govt.

  10. @Sriram:
    If you are allowed to watch CNN, BBC, even PTV, and MTV (which I think causes more damage to youngsters culturally), and allow I can’t quite understand the logic of not allowing foreign investment in India media – be it television or in print.
    And particularly when Financial Times or Wall Street Journal or Business Week or Fortune is available on any news stand in cities like Mumbai and Delhi and Calcutta, etc …
    defies logic, if u ask me …

  11. Age old logic…..if I can vote U to power why can’t I watch what I want?? no body can answer that coz they can not justify it…….Soon our blogz are gonna be monitored too!! but the fact remains, the reaction will come only when this particular law is enforced till then “sab chalta hai” attitude will prevail…..

    @GB…. as for the AIIMS fiasco isn’t the autonomy of a governement institute an oxymoron in itself ??

  12. “In other words, unless TOI is wrong or I am misinterpreting something, the government is not answerable to a court of law with respect to the application of this Bill.”

    I am no legal expert, but I would put it down to the usual sensationalism of ToI. Article 14 of our constitution guarantees right to equality before law and I quote,
    “14. Equality before law.—The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”.

    This is a fundamental right and cannot be superceded by any other amendment. So if anyone feels he has been discriminated against by the “state” (which includes the government and all other institutions created by the government including BRAI), they can always approach the court for violation of this article. In short, government *cannot* act arbitrarily against any single individual. Period. We have a very good constitution, let’s learn to respect it and value it.

  13. Hi Greatbong,

    Agree with most of your other posts but beg to differ on this one. Just assume an equivalent incident had taken place at a corporate organization – if you compare the government to a conglomerate with AIIMS as one of its divisions, what you essentially have here is the GM of a division criticizing the HQ in public – something which would surely result in him getting fired.

    Note that I am neither pro-reservation nor against free speech – my point is only that Mr. Venugopal went public against his employers. I cannot imagine the consequences being any different in a corporate entity.

  14. Yourfan writes:
    @GB: Dr Venugopal’s ouster is simply a political game- one party trying to score over the other where the professional/administrative contributions of the said doctor are of no importance. Why can’t a head of an institute discuss the high handedness of a minister just because it receives government money? All the employees and also the public (since it receives public money) have the right to know about the high handedness of a minister who uses his office to settle his/her personal score. The public has the right to know since these factors should be the guiding factors for the future selection.

    An uneducated or less educated person does not have the resources (including self thought development) to evaluate an issue on both sides and only have access to listen to the jargon of political dada/didi’s whoever happens to be near them. I can understand their stands. But what I don’t understand is why the most educated people of our country (in this case we are talking about the doctors) don’t have issue based political thoughts. It is appalling that most of the educated population of our country(including some of your commenters) are blind supporters of political parties. I think this is where the trouble starts and the political parties take advantage of that. If there were unison among all the doctors about having the right to speak against the high handedness of the minister and stop his fiddling with the functioning of the institute then even the mighty power would have to concede. Already there is a rift among the doctors about the Venugopal issue. I am sure no right thinking doctor would support this high handedness. But the rift is due to the blind support of concerned political parties and that is the reason some of the doctors are picking on inane issues like Dr Venugopal not being accessible to doctors and staff to support his ouster!
    Remember, the IIM fiasco that HRD minister started? With the support of alumni of all the IIMs, Directors, faculty and others he had to retract – didn’t he? – May be not on all issues but definitely on major issue.

    I think by our blind faith in any party, by our apathy we are to be blamed for losing our freedom to the devils. Stalins smile because we have given them the fodder.

  15. Amazing but true….this is the new face of India….A hundred years ago similar laws were made by the Brits…..now we have a new force called “Congress(I)” doing it…..will this country ever do anything in public interest….Great Bong you have definitely done a great research…..I don’t know really who is better Hitler, Stalin, Chinese or this government…..All the policies of this government seem to be like those of the aforementioned….I really feel that Gourav is right….may be we need to start using freenodes very soon for all contents good and all…..Since ur in US much less dangers for u 😉

  16. During the recent anti reservation agitation, the repressive measures were of a totalitarian regime.and now this. problem is what do we do?

  17. Why is that not even a single print media took out a scathing article against this in the front page? Shouldnt they inform the public when the law is in its infancy for the people to speak out.

    Frankly, I came to know about this law by reading your blogpost.

  18. >>> [Okay it is the Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) and not BRA but considering how it intends to support /hold up the government’s often-sagging “image” …you get the point]

    =====

    Haahhha.. amazing stuff. Aap Great ho Dada.

    If it works.. it should be called .. wonderBRA 😀

  19. @ patrix,

    >> when effectively our personal freedoms aren’t much different from pre-1947 times.

    I disagree 😀 . pre-1947 would have been better I think. This seems much more like the typical Kangressi socialist rule we had during the 70s and the 80s. Wait for 3 years to get delivery after booking a scooter. Or wait for 5 years to get a telephone at your home, when there is a line running straight over your home. Color TVs were a luxury. Emergency. Trade union goons. Hartals at post office, railways and banks. State Bank of India. Indian Airlines. The more you earn, the higher the taxes. 40% plus taxes. Movies glorifying socialists and demonizing the industrialists. 5 years to get a gas connection. Raashan cards. Top career was IAS…haha. The only good thing were the fuel prices !!

    Such depressing times… when the budget decided the prices of items like shoes, shoe polishes, toothpastes, radio sets, soaps and vegetables…

    We are back to those times.. seems so because sonia has been living in that stifling Gandhi-nehru environment for a long time. Currently, economy is stagnating, growth rates are reduced, inflation is rising, and all pervasive government control.

  20. @Ritesh,

    >> Why is that not even a single print media took out a scathing article against this in the front page? Shouldnt they inform the public when the law is in its infancy for the people to speak out.
    ====

    You missed that the commies are part of government now, and most of Indian media is controlled by Kangressi and Commies. There is not even a single paper or channel which highlights the other side. A slightest attempt to do so means they are labelled as communal and capitalist.

    >>if we let this go on the day is not far when the government will even disallow posts and comments on this blog :-s
    ====
    @ clairvoyant – That will happen if GB joins the Kaangress or Marksvaadi communist Paksh. Or unless blogs come under the BRA act.

    >> problem is what do we do?
    ===
    @arunavo – kick out the kaangressis and marksvaadis in the next elections. bjp guys were the same, but atleast they allowed freedom and economic growth. and were in favour of POTA.

    >> I can’t quite understand the logic of not allowing foreign investment in India media
    ====
    @bonatellis – Particularly when some Indians are much more virulent in abusing their homeland than foreigners. 🙂

    @yourfan,

    why do you post as anon, and then the first line in your post says – “Yourfan writes:”. You can put it right there in the name field.. Just noticed that and so…

  21. Beware Arnabda, I can very well visualise a notice at this site:
    Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind
    Is closed till further notice.
    Copyright © 2004 – 2006 Greatbong

    The way things are moving, and the way you are writing… very soon your hands will be tied up by the BRA…er, I mean BRAI.

  22. Like drivethrucover, I’m speaking specifically about the AIIMS issue and my argument is on his/her lines.

    AIIMS may be an autonomous body (ok, some like to argue that) but its still a government institution. All employees, including its Director, are government servants. And all government servants are bound by a service code of conduct. Like it or not, one thing that is common to the conduct rules for all government services is that a government servant cannot criticize the government’s policies in public. Call it China or whatever, but that’s how it is and everyone is made aware of that prior to joining a government service.

    You like rhetoric, right Arnab da ? Well, then…

    Imagine, an Indian Army officer posted in Arunachal, gathers all jawans he commands, and fires a discussion on the government’s policy towards Tibet/China (I’m not sure myself what these policies are, but I’m sure the Army will not condone such an incident).

    Or perhaps, the Chief Election Commissioner calls all the Electoral Officers under him, and starts criticizing the government’s internal security policies (that doesn’t sound so serious, no? well believe me, it is).

    Now Dr. Venugopal might have impeccable credentials and all that, but in this particular case, he has seriously flouted some laws here. And Dr. Ramadoss (papa’s boy, stupid sonovabitch, call him what you like, I don’t care) has every authority to sack Dr. Venugopal.

    Its a rule as simple as — when I’m in office, I can’t surf porn. I can’t scream “individual rights” if I’m caught and fired.

  23. With multi-media singh at the helm, such multimedia acts and bills are to be expected :D. And the intelligensia (so called desi educated public), should also “vote”, next time around. This is what you get when you listen to a woman who listens to her voices in her head 😀

    Suyog

  24. Arnab,

    Superb job of bringing to light some very dangerous developments. Frankly, I am not sure we Indians value freedom all that much, at least going by the general lack of awareness, let alone an outcry, over these developments.

    No use blaming the Congress, the left or the UPA. No political party is standing up against these, just like in the reservation issue.

    We are slowly but surely going back to Nehruvian Stalinism. While the country is still enjoying the afterglow of a period of relative liberalization, if the recent ominous trends continue, it wont be long before we sink into the dark days.

  25. @Arin: Yes it is a sham—I can see all defeated party loyalists making it to the BRA panel.

    @Rasputin_KY: Firstly interesting id—-first time I have seen Rasputin and KY next to each other. And no I don’t go around the net for totally unknown laws….this was based on a TOI headline.

    @Patrix: We have been otherwise occupied to be worried about the steady chipping away at our civil liberties. I would still think we are better off than what we were -pre-1947 simply because we were second class citizens inside the British empire.

    @Anon: Rising petrol prices are due to the international market. Growth and stagnation follow each other in circles. No use in blaming the government for these. However what I am talking about in this

    @ Scipio: It indeed is ironic. And pathetic to boot.

    @RahulBR: At the very least, no US politician would have the guts to introduce legislation like this without being pilloried in the Senate and by the press.

    @Anonymous Coward: And votes being bought in TN by giving grams of gold and television !

    @Anon, Mumbai: Political parties are unlikely to create a ruckus because this Bill basically puts power into the hands of the political parties. As to common people, when do we really care?

    @Sriram: Foreign ownership of media is really the last of our problems—-considering the crisis we face. I dont think that foreign media act as arms of the government—-they operate on laws of profit and loss.

    @Shashikant: Yes the list is endless.

    @Gourav: It is an oxymoron perhaps. However during MM Joshi vs IIMs, the IIM directors (at least some of them) refused to back down under government pressure. That they were able to do so and were not fired was because the IIM community was united against MM Joshi’s proposals. Not so for reservation where many doctors stand to gain from Ramadoss.

    @Mohan: I dont see where TOI is being sensational—-my point is only if such a clause exists. It’s not as if TOI is taking a small thing and blowing it out of proportion. If those indeed are the words, then it is as big as it can get. As to equality in front of the law, that would be applicable if the Bill said “No civil court can deal with grievances under this Bill unless the complainant is a Hindu”. Yes that would be unconstitutional. However this bill makes no such distinction.

    @DriveThruCover and Underdawg:

    Companies are not “democratic institutions”—they are under no obligation to allow for free speech and dissent. The government however is (or pretends to). Dr. Venugopal’s working for the government does not mean that he has signed away his rights as a citizen.

    Now Underdawg. You like logic? Well this above was for you.

    And now more. Surfing porn is considered to be a “waste of productivity” and also can lead to sexual harassment. Hence companies fire on the basis of it. Dr. Venugopal was not doing anything that can be considered to be dereliction of duty—as I said before, being a government employee does not mean you sign away your rights as a citizen. Incidentally, what you are saying is an endorsement of the same kind of “following orders” rationale that was given for concentration camps.

    And before I forget. In US public universities, you cannot be “fired” for surfing porn (unless you harass someone else by showing it to him/her) because being fired violates your First Amendment. However private companies are free to have policies that prohibit such activities because the First Amendment only applies to government legislation.

    Now with respect to the military. In US you can be a conscientious objector and even within the military be assigned to non-combat roles. Leaving that aside, the military is different because command decisions during the time of war cannot be taken democratically. As a result, despite it being an arm of the government, it is not expected to be totally democratic—-which is why it has its own set of rules and military courts. When you compare the military to a civilian hospital–well then it just goes to show that the person who is engaging in empty rhetoric here is not me.

    @Yourfan: The act of belonging to a party is such a counter-intelligent position—the fact that the party line becomes mine and I become a robot. As to the doctors being divided, you have to realize that many doctors gain from reservations. I would be going off topic here if we discuss this further but the fact remains that the doctor community is divided unlike the IIM community during Murli Madness a few years ago.

    @100rabh: I dont intend to be here forever.

    @Arunavo: I wish I knew.

    @Clairovoyant: Yep. There will be a pan-chewing babu sitting, going through Bloglines subscriptions and sending cops over to the houses of bloggers to seize their equipment. It happens in China—why not here?

    @Ritesh: Strange is it not?

    @Shadows: 🙂 However your party the BJP has not come out strongly against the Congress on the matter of reservations has it? I disagree with your view that the problem lies with the Congress and the CPM only. As you know, I am politically totally neutral.
    @Joy Forever: And I shall cavort with Desibaba in cyber-hell.

    @Suyog: Voices in her head? Explain…

    @Srinivas: And I am surprised there are not a lot of voices against this kind of Bill…..of course the fact that the BJP has come out on the side of Congress with respect to Dr. Venugopal does not surprise me since it cannot be seen to be anti-reservation.

  26. Arnab,
    The Congress Govt never learns, it still lives in a time warp and believes that India is it’s personal fiefdom and all Indians are obliged to it. Never mind that in vast areas of India, the Congress is non existent. This Govt headed by a puppet PM, cant do anything positive, so all its doing is witch hunting. All those appointed by NDA Govt are sacked, Amitabh Bachan is hounded by IT dept, as he belongs to Samajwadi party, Mani Shankar Aiyar packs the Petroleum Ministry with his cronies, Dayanidhi Maran arm twists a respected institution like the TATAs to implement his weird schemes, and i dont even want to talk about arjun Singh. There are some sensible people like Praful Patel, Kapil Sibal,Pranab Mukherjee, but they are sidelined. I dont understand this, on one hand, this Govt allows its leftist buddies and their trade union stooges to go on protest for every small issue, and when some 1 genuinely protests against interference he is removed. One thing is for sure, the Congress has insulted an Andhraite, some one of whom we are proud of. The last time they did that, they were routed by NTR’s Telugu Desam Party, this time we are going to throw the Congress out from Andhra forever,and never allow them to come back.

  27. >> “No civil court can deal with grievances under this Bill unless the complainant is a Hindu”.

    ====

    Going by the secular antics these days, you have more chances of seeing “unless the complainant is a Muslim” rather than what you mentioned. 😀

  28. >>> One thing is for sure, the Congress has insulted an Andhraite, some one of whom we are proud of.

    Let me guess.. Is it PV Narasimha Rao. Well, even non-Andhraites like me respect him. And lets not go into whether he is good or bad etc. His positives far outweigh the negatives.

  29. >> @Shadows: However your party the BJP has not come out strongly against the Congress on the matter of reservations has it? I disagree with your view that the problem lies with the Congress and the CPM only. As you know, I am politically totally neutral.

    ====

    Yes actually, you are right 🙂 Can you delete just that part where I said that, whenever you may want to. Everyone is the same. I cannot edit my comment here.

  30. @Ratnakar: Let’s not look at Dr. Venugopal as only an Andhra-ite….Dr. Venugopal is a respected cardiologist and his summary dismissal is something all educated Indians should condemn.

    @Shadows: let it remain…simply because too much editing is needed on my part without compromising what you were saying( the part about me joining kangress and marksvaadis and the fact where you said that most Indian papers are controlled by Cong and Commies and that under the BJP there at least was freedom).

    Your previous comment asserting your neutrality is sufficient.

  31. Arnab,
    I am not looking into this issue, as an Andhraite,i dont believe in that stuff, though i am proud he is from my state. But what i want to tell u, is that the Congress has scored a big self goal in politics. Not even its Leftist buddies are appreciative of this decision. The issue here is the Congress arrogance and it’s belief that it has a divine birth right to rule over India. Why cant it accept the fact that India has changed a lot? As for Dr.Anbumoni, his dad heads an outfit, that is blatantly casteist and a major LTTE supporter. His dad’s only achievement has been protecting Tamil Culture from movie actors. We had Papa and Baby Doc, ruling over Haiti some time back. And i guess in India we will be having our own version of Papa and Baby Doc soon. Democracy is supposed to be the will of the majority, but Indian democracy is strange, any two bit leader, who represents barely 5% of India’s population, can arm twist the Govt. BTW, Mr Karunanidhi has threatened to withdraw support, if Govt tries to disinvest NLC. And our puppet PM has announced no more disinvestment. What a sorry Govt and what a shamocracy.

  32. >>the part about me joining kangress and marksvaadis

    Dont get it wrong. What I meant is that there is a very rare chance that you will do so, but if you do so, it will mean that you endorse their ideology. And then you wont mind banning comments on your blog. Aaahhh my bad.

    >> you said that most Indian papers are controlled by Cong and Commies

    Yes, I stand by that. Its pretty much a fact. Not really directly controlled, but indirectly.

    1. many senior people in media come from Stephens, a kaangressi territory and JNU, a maoist/marxist hotbed.

    2. The family that runs TOI and the family that runs Indian Express are close to the Kaangress. So criticism of kaangress and particularly Sonia, is much mild. Also lookup the entries for vinod mehta and outlook magazine from wikipedia and answers.com. Can you believe this – The most neutral India today is considered right-wing and communal .. haahhh.

    To illustrate how it works, let me say that Anil Ambani resigned from RS , cos he cannot run his industry if he is in the opposition. Kaangressi red tape will get him if he doesnt get out of the way. Mukesh was miffed with anil joining politics cos it was hurting his business too.

    3. Both the leading TV news channels of India, ndtv and ibn are run by relatives of Commies. Bhaskar ghose, a long time kaangressi bureaucrat and close to indira gandhi, is raajdeep sardesais father in law. Radhika roy, wife of prannoy roy is related to the Karats of maarksvaadi communist Paksh. Pretty neat family business running there.

  33. Great Post!!!
    There seems to be some kind of opposition in the form of BJP and they are asking the president to intervene. The government has released a statement saying they will withdraw this “sacking” if Dr. Venugopal submits his resignation.*ahem*ahem* That’s Considerate.
    Mr Ramdoss is he represents the Vanniyar community in Tamil Nadu and its unlikely that there will be any love lost between the two of them over this issue.

  34. Dr. Venugopal is well within his rights to protest at the government’s decision, however as a private citizen. Sort of “the views represented here are those of the columnist himself…” That would be tantamount to being a “conscientious objector”. Not undermining his employers in public.

  35. Nimbupani Thumroos : Idhar apun ka raaj chalta hai. Mere paas mera baap hai, baap ke paas paanch MP hai, MP logon ke paas democracy ka license hai. Haayyeeee Saaalaaaaa! Apun abhi ka abhi tere naam ka resolution nikaalega, koi shaQ?

    VenuKaLal : Baap ne Pendi ka saara Zor laga liya phir bhi nimbupaani AIIMS mein nahi aa paaya. Sahi baat boli to saale ki jal gayee. Isko bolte hain Baap ki khundak padosi pe?

    ManMohan Paji aka Yudhisthir : Yeh kya ho raha hai?? ( long pause). Yeh kya ho raha hai?

  36. Well! If you remember a few years ago when Murli Manohar Joshi tried to reduce the fees in the IIMs there was much brouhaha throughout India about how the government was trying to interfere with the autonomy of the institutions. That when there was a ‘proposal’ to increase the fees. Now we see the government blatantly trying to interfere and none says anything. Especially our enlightened ‘intellectuals’. It is entirely obvious that Ramodass is pissed with what happened during the anti reservation stir and is just flexing his muscles. The sheer hypocrisy of all the people who champion the anti establishment cause(but who importantly are supporting the government) is pathetic.

  37. Shadows, you forgot sakal newspaper in Maharashtra run by Sharad Pawars brother. Sakal is one the largest Marathi dailys in Western Maharashtra. You also forgot The Hindu.

  38. Arnab

    A very nicely written piece, particularly given the state of the right to freedom in our country, in spite of constitutional assurances and the highfalutin judgements of the Supreme Court… so I would like to divide it into two parts, the first with respect to Dr Venugopal….. where I absolutely agree with you… it was a heinous act, a slap in the face of democracy…… the second your criticism of the proposed Broadcast Regulatory Authority Act , on which I beg to absolutely disagree with you… I don’t think the Act will add to or take away freedom, things will be as bad as it is, with our tabloid newspapers and our shallow television…

    Why do I disagree with you?

    The media is and has always been regulated, whether by the Government (China), the political parties (US) or rich individuals (again the US)… am not saying that the state regulation is good, I am just saying that maybe we are crying wolf just a little too early… scaring ourselves over nothing … after all … for all its draconianism… Indian channels broadcast PTV (now is that liberalism or what?) … Imagine Al-Jazeera in US television….

    Some comments on the DNA article on the Bill:-

    “will have the power to take over the control and management of any of the broadcasting services, in the event of a war or a natural calamity of national magnitude”

    Some qualifications here, war, natural calamity of national magnitude…. during a war I should let a TV channel whatever it says? Sorry doesn’t happen anywhere, not in China, not in Switzerland, not in God’s dearest US of A, the Government has a right to control the media in an emergency… heck the President can remove a state government in an emergency… its just a right every country, democratic or otherwise, gives itself…
    “Also, the government may at any time, direct the licensing authority (Broadcasting Regulatory Authority of India or BRAI) to suspend or revoke a broadcasting service’s licence, if the service is “considered prejudicial to friendly relations with a foreign country, public order, communal harmony or security of the state.”
    Sorry….anything wrong in the reasons for taking away the license? Or would you like, say Narendra Modi, to have a medium to spread his message and his hatred?

    “with the prescribed content code, or if it is likely to promote feelings of disharmony or of enmity, hatred or ill-will between religious, racial, linguistic or regional groups or castes or communities or which is likely to disturb public tranquility”

    I still fail to see where the right to freedom is being violated

    To be truthful, this Nivedita Mukherjee is either an idiot or a sensationalist…. I think it’s the former… the legislation contains nothing beyond what a normal statute contains… she just presents it in such a way that it looks vile and villainous…

    In truth the independent regulator has been fairly successful in India, certainly you would rather have regulation in the hand of, for argument’s sake, ‘semi-independent’ regulators, than in the hands of the Government. Some of the regulators have done a lot of good. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or the TRAI (cant think of a humorous deviation other than TRAY, and that’s not even funny) has been quite incredibly successful in decreasing mobile tariffs … the Electricity Regulatory Commissions have also been visible and driving change…. and of course the IRDA and the SEBI’s contribution to the insurance and capital markets is well known. It is unfortunate that we have not seen anything of the broadcasting law other than the sensationalist comments in papers. So it is not possible to say what other roles the BRA would have… For a view on why the BRA is necessary, see this… http://www.ficci-frames.com/frames2001/Frames 2004/Knowledgebase2004/Regulator.htm

    The ouster of jurisdiction of civil courts clause, actually it’s a fairly common provision in regulatory act. Its there in the Electricity Act, 2003 and the TRAI Act, and a dozen other legislations. Look at how it reads,

    “No civil court shall have the jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceedings in respect of any matter which the Authority or the Licensing Authority is empowered by or under this Act to determine,”

    Ergo, if the BRA does not have the power to decide something, then the power of the civil court is not ousted… if the BRA does, then as a quasi judicial body it has the right to… and the civil court’s power is removed to avoid duplicity of litigation… believe you me, its not the end of democratic India. What the article does not mention is that an appeal probably lies to the Supreme Court or High Courts (that’s selective reporting for you) …. and in any case an ouster of jurisdiction clause cannot bar the writ jurisdictions of the Supreme and High Courts, i.e. the power to protect fundamental freedoms…. So I think you overreacted by stirring the great Jozef in his grave….

    By the way Shadows carried on the great tradition in quoting you and saying ha ha ha … its quite amazing…

    Comments on Comments

    @ Ritesh Nadhani- Our mainstream media is too busy reporting what models think of the world cup and other such garbage. Unfortunately India has to be one of the few countries where the mainstream media (TOI, HT et al) has degenerated into tabloids…. So much for free press….

    @ Shadows- “You missed that the commies are part of government now, and most of Indian media is controlled by Kangressi and Commies. There is not even a single paper or channel which highlights the other side. A slightest attempt to do so means they are labelled as communal and capitalist.”…

    Slight disagreement, the mainstream (tabloid media, is certainly not Congressi or Commies. Have you seen HT? Its just vacuous, nonsensical pseudo journalism…. then there is the Indian Express, which at the height of emergency was a fearless opponent of Government atrocities today is little more than a sensationalist rag…. The media spends more time on what cocktail Rahul Mahajan had, or the fictional paralysis of Mumbai by the rains… than they spend on real issues… that’s just unfortunate… but so it is…

    “kick out the kaangressis and marksvaadis in the next elections. bjp guys were the same, but atleast they allowed freedom and economic growth. and were in favour of POTA”-

    Freedom and the POTA do not quite match, it was one of the most draconian of all legislations, hitting at the very right of free trial, and the sanctity of Article 20 (not being forced to give witness against oneself). The POTA was little better than US legislations which in the name of protecting freedom, takes away the fundamentals of the right to freedom… so much for liberal western democracies…. Also your logic seems to… umm.. defy logic… allowed freedom and economic growth, and were in favour of POTA, and that is relevant because?

    @underdawg

    There is no law that prevents a Government official from criticizing the Government, except the Official Secrets Act, and that has limited application, therefore your statement that Dr. Venugopal has violated laws is incorrect.

    @ anonymous

    Don’t know your name, but sure you would prefer Hitler to Sonia Gandhi if your name ends with a ‘stein’?

    @RahulBR

    “I’ve felt it’s “democracy” is a sham in that it doesn’t protect individuals’ rights with anything nearly as concrete and supreme as the Bill of Rights here in the US”…..

    I beg your pardon….. the US Bill of Rights is almost synonymous to Part III of the Constitution of India (no wonder, since Part III was copied from the US Bill of Rights, without of course the precious right of ‘pursuit of happiness’ by destroying a middle eastern country or two)….. both are ineffective to an extent (ask the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay) …. Individual rights in a country where the President can listen to you calling your wife at night…. Slightly hypocritical perhaps…. At least in India they still don’t do that (whether through lack of legislation or lack of effort I do not know.)

    @ Shashikant
    “And as far as power game is concerned, one should take a cursory glance at the tax rules. The officers of tax have infinite discretionary power making it a heaven of corruption.
    Think of any of such activity carried out NDA or Modi Govt. The media would have virtually raped the govt. “
    The tax rules haven’t changed for many years, rather immature to blame the UPA Government for that…. I would have welcomes if Modi made a few rupees through corruption … unfortunately what he does is far worse, the words- murder, riots and genocide come rushing to my mind… the word rape is also aptly used…
    @ Mohan

    “I am no legal expert, but I would put it down to the usual sensationalism of ToI. Article 14 of our constitution guarantees right to equality before law and I quote,
    “14. Equality before law.—The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”.

    Agree on sensationalism, disagree on article 14….

    @Arnob

    “In US you can be a conscientious objector and even within the military be assigned to non-combat roles.”

    Ummm…. You sure this works, so all those butchers in the Iraqi prison and in Guantanamo did not find anything conscientiously objectionable in what they did ….

    @ Ratnakar

    One of the reasons why all those NDA people were sacked is the same reason why the Congress cronies are appointed, parties in power appoint their puppets, when the regime changes, the puppets go…

    @ Shadows:

    “Both the leading TV news channels of India, ndtv and ibn are run by relatives of Commies. Bhaskar ghose, a long time kaangressi bureaucrat and close to indira gandhi, is raajdeep sardesais father in law. Radhika roy, wife of prannoy roy is related to the Karats of maarksvaadi communist Paksh. Pretty neat family business running there.”

    Brilliant analysis….. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry….

    @ Sudeep

    You also forgot the Daily Basmati, which is run by Ram Vilas Paswan’s third cousin twice removed and has a sizeable circulation in Ramgao….. and I was waiting for someone to say N. Ram is not a freedom loving, fearless man who has suffered worse political persecution than most… well Sir, you just did

    Sorry for the long comment….. apologies, next time will put it on my own blog… which a

  39. Actually they don’t even need laws to get their way. Intimidation would do. Imagine making an Indian Fahrenheit 911.

    Sometimes i think, it could also be a Red Herring. The agitating Doctors may get diverted to the cause of reinstate of Dr.Venugopal from the actual issue of Reservations. (though intutively i feel this may not be true, they can’t implement such a Caligulian idea on such a grand scale)

    As to the comment that foreign media only works for profit and loss, is true. But when they get profit from their own governments, wouldn’t they act as arms of their own Government if not ours.

    Talking about foreign media, i recently read a comment by Mrs.MAD-AM.
    “I am more Indian than anyone. Infact i feel like a foreigner when i go abroad”

    I was wondering:
    a) How does she feel like as a “foreigner”?
    b) How does a foreigner feel like ?
    c) How does she feel like when she is in Italy ?
    d) Or is it that She feels like a foreigner (Italian – a Foreigner from an Indian perspective) when she is abroad (Italy).

  40. To Anoni-rat.
    @ Sudeep >> You also forgot the Daily Basmati, which is run by Ram Vilas Paswan’s third cousin twice removed and has a sizeable circulation in Ramgao….. and I was waiting for someone to say N. Ram is not a freedom loving, fearless man who has suffered worse political persecution than most… well Sir, you just did

    Dude, I merely stated a couple of facts:

    1) Sakal, the most popular marathi daily in Pune Western Maharashtra is run by Sharad Pawars brother.
    2) The Hindu is run by a Communist.

    Your claims
    (a) Sakal doesnt matter: In fact, Sakals circulation is about 600,000 copies daily. A number that probably beats the more visible Indian Express/ToI circulation in that region.

    (b) N.Ram is a freedom loving, fearless man who has sufferred worse political persecution than most: I do not think the veracity of these statements can be settled one way or the other in a discussion over the internet. Hence, in the words of the immortal dude, “Dude.. thats just like.. yur opinon man”.

    Besides, this is not what I said anyway. I merely claimed that N.Ram is a communist – a discription that in all probability, he agrees with.

    Lastly, why hide behind an anoni-mouse idenitity ? Take some inspiration from that fearless N.Ram dude and tell us who you are.. Nahi to rasta naap.

  41. @Ratnakar: Hmm.

    @///slash\: Ahem ahem is right…how lame.

    @DriveThruCover: Dr. Venugopal does not need to stand down to be an conscientious objector….even in the military you do not need to stand down —you just get a non-combat position.

    @AjayDas: Yes Manmohan Singh has become Dhritarashtra…

    @TracerBullet: Intellectuals and so-called “liberals”–bah.

    @Dealer:

    Indian channels broadcast PTV (now is that liberalism or what?) … Imagine Al-Jazeera in US television

    What harm can PTV do? Nothing. Everyone knows it spews anti-India propaganda….its the Indian channels doing sting operations on politicians that is the real worry.

    As to the war clause, you would see I said nothing about it—I found it reasonable.

    Sorry….anything wrong in the reasons for taking away the license? Or would you like, say Narendra Modi, to have a medium to spread his message and his hatred?

    No I would not. But I also know that the government can tag anything that it does not like (critical of it) as “hate speech” and take it off the air. The Chinese government considers “demands for democracy” as “prejudicial to public order” —quasi governmental authorities cannot be given the power to decide what we can hear and what we cannot.

    In truth the independent regulator has been fairly successful in India, certainly you would rather have regulation in the hand of, for argument’s sake, ‘semi-independent’ regulators, than in the hands of the Government. Some of the regulators have done a lot of good. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or the TRAI (cant think of a humorous deviation other than TRAY, and that’s not even funny) has been quite incredibly successful in decreasing mobile tariffs … the Electricity Regulatory Commissions have also been visible and driving change…. and of course the IRDA and the SEBI’s contribution to the insurance and capital markets is well known

    These regulatory bodies are fundamentally different from a watchdog whose purpose is to look at the information Indians get from the media and regulate what we can hear and what not. SEBI regulates insurance and capital markets, TRAI regulates mobile tariff but BRAI censors information by hanging the sword of seizure over the heads of media houses !
    Take for example, the ban on sting operations ! Bull. If someone feels that his/her privacy has been trod on, then litigate in court. Have stricter libel laws if necessary. However you cannot just enforce a blanket ban saying that “personal lives” are offlimit unless it is in the national interest.

    Because National interest just means “in the interests of the ruling party”.

    You call Clause 32 as something that prevents “duplicity of litigation”—I think it prevents “oversight” of governmental decisions. The courts are there to oversee that the satraps do not misuse their regulatory powers—and in this context, such a clause merely makes the regulators “above the law”. Again we are talking about the free press here: not telecom tariffs.

    Lastly, I do not know what TOI missed and so I cannot comment on that.

    @EMC3: True. But since intimidation is outside the purvey of the law, lets keep it aside. And foreign media get profit from their own governments? how so? They get their profit from selling their stuff in India. This is almost like saying Pepsi will enslave the country.

  42. As long as we can keep communal forces away from power, everything is acceptable. Don’t forget that the aam aadmi has voted Madam Gandhi with a thumping majority. The congress got *7* more seats than BJP you know?
    Ssshhhhhhh… do not oppose Gandhis. They are meant to rule this country. They have divine right over lesser mortals, called Indians. They can enjoy power without accountability. They can disguise a person as PM to keep the seat warm for the heir apparent.
    And who talked of the media? Don’t you know it is politically incorrect to be bracketed with the BJP? Don’t you see that if the media opposes UPA they will be seen on the same side as communal forces and that is not good.

    So, people of this nation, please keep mum. else rahul ki mummy ko gussa ayega. And rahul ki mummy is THE “indian of the year” according to NDTV.

  43. Challenging the move for his removal, beleaguered AIIMS Chief P Venugopal sought to turn the tables on Union Health Minister A Ramadoss seeking his disqualification as MP accusing him of holding an ‘office of profit’ as AIIMS President.

    How I would love to see that Ramadoss go… or am I just being too optimistic.. 🙂

  44. just goes to show that the so-called *democracy* that we proudly thump in the face of the world is something thats only true when it comes to election time i.e. politicians bickering for our votes.

    i wonder if the supreme court will throw in their 2 bits worth in due time as they have shown some bottle to take on the government in the recent past.

  45. sometimes i feel that this timid and alleged PM of the nation will wet his pants if Sonia shouts at him… he is so gay

  46. Scary, outrageous and sad. I guess, in a democracy, the blame finally lies with all of us for electing these people to ruin us. The AIIMS episode reminds me of JU days and the high-handedness of CPI(M) babus and goons.

  47. I am getting a faint feeling that you are actually critisizing the government here. OK, I am going to report you to the big brother and have your blog ousted 😛

  48. >> Shadows, you forgot sakal newspaper in Maharashtra run by Sharad Pawars brother. Sakal is one the largest Marathi dailys in Western Maharashtra. You also forgot The Hindu.
    =======
    @sudeep, Oh yeah, I forgot about Sakal. And also , who owns the Hindu, I did not know about this.

    >>>
    “will have the power to take over the control and management of any of the broadcasting services, in the event of a war or a natural calamity of national magnitude”
    =====

    @Anonymous (deeptoroy.blogspot.com) –

    Agree. This is needed. But *only* this, not the total control that government wants. It would be a tool to control the media. Imagine if a channel criticizes the govt too much, then the govt can slap some inane laws which nobody follows, but are present just for this precise purpose.

    >>“with the prescribed content code, or if it is likely to promote feelings of disharmony or of enmity, hatred or ill-will between religious, racial, linguistic or regional groups or castes or communities or which is likely to disturb public tranquility”

    I still fail to see where the right to freedom is being violated
    ====
    @Anonymous deeptoroy.blogspot.com –

    Hey who decides that a content is promoting hatred or not. Hell, there are comedies that make fun of sardarjis, gujjus, sindhis, tamils and Malayalams, and of course Bongs too. Is that promoting hatred. WTF!!?? Ahh of course, it is if you make fun of Muslims, and it is not when we see Pakis come on laughter shows and make fun of INdian communities.. Justice 🙂 Hahhh.

    And same answer to all your other points except the war and natural calamity – Who decides what is wrong !! YOu cannot even appeal in court as per the law. It IS draconian. Heil Hitler. Hail Stalin. Hail Nehru.

    >>>Don’t know your name, but sure you would prefer Hitler to Sonia Gandhi if your name ends with a ‘stein’?
    Godwins Laws.. 🙂

    >>Or would you like, say Narendra Modi, to have a medium to spread his message and his hatred?
    Desi Godwins Laws… 😀

    Now, even I feel like laughing at your comments… 🙂

    @Kaunteya,

    ROFL.. at both your comments. 😀

  49. @Kaunteya,

    ROFL.. at both your comments.

    =======

    I mean, very good comments. How true.

    Manmohan is hardly the PM, he is more a govt babu who is good at following orders, which he did under indira gandhi and rajiv gandhi. Chiddambaram does what he wants, arjun sing does what he wants, natwar openly snubs him, and sonia controls him like a lapdog. If he has some selfrespect left, he should resign rather than being a puppet PM of madame sonia.

  50. GB wrote in response to Dealer:

    “You call Clause 32 as something that prevents “duplicity of litigation”—I think it prevents “oversight” of governmental decisions. The courts are there to oversee that the satraps do not misuse their regulatory powers—and in this context, such a clause merely makes the regulators “above the law”. Again we are talking about the free press here: not telecom tariffs.

    Lastly, I do not know what TOI missed and so I cannot comment on that.”

    The oversight of governmental decisions is really the jurisdiction of High Court and Supreme Court (the writ jurisdiction that Dealer mentioned) and that has not been taken out by this Clause 32. This clause only says no *civil* court will have a jurisdiction over matters which come under BRAI (which is to avoid overlapping jurisdiction, as dealer mentioned – BRAI itself being a quasi judicial body). But we will still have recourse to high court and supreme court if the actions of BRAI violates any of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights.
    Believe me, no constitutional amendment can take away any of these fundamental rights or change the basic structure of our constitution. That safeguard is built into the constitution itself. So only way we can become a totalitarian regime is if someone throws out the constitution altogether and replaces it with something else. When that happens we will all come to know, till then I think it is better to hold off on all these doomsday prophesies invoking Stalin etc.

  51. Just one point:
    The Prime Minister is Manmohan Singh!!
    The soft spoken, intellectual Manmohan Singh!!

    One of the reason why I never liked him. Spineless a@# licker.

  52. Fact is that politicians have never liked genuine domcracy. How can they then conceal their acts of omission and commission. Satellite television has forces some accountability. Even in the US some bloggers have been taken to task for making matters public when they have written about where they worked for.

  53. The Sacking has been stayed by the HC….usual…the politicians screw the public…the judiciary….tries to undo it…..everybody forgets about it…

  54. Guess power is oxygen…and this time congress wants to make sure its oxygen supply is long lasting by whatever means possible…Do I sound like Vajpai……But this is true…..Guess a very correct observation…..Mrs Gandhi only sheds croc tears and blames the NDA gov….Guess what has UPA done for the so called “Aaam Aadmi”….But whats worse is the fact that people hardly care….Thats when democracy fails…..May be we will get a better result from Supreme Court….Just hopeing…And great Bong guess u can stay there for a long long time….Better for u and for UPA

  55. You’re right, Arnab da — the army officer and the CEC bits were just that, “empty rhetoric”. And obviously, I don’t do that as well as you do.

    But what disappoints me really is that you chose my “porn surfing” line to demonstrate your dexterity with logic. That was just for fun sake Arnab da (but I don’t do that either, as good as you). But “Productivity” and “First Amendment”, for crying out loud ??!!

    Yes, I should’ve perhaps elaborated on the government services’ code of conduct. Well, the code very clearly states that government servants cannot publish articles in newspapers/journals, make public speeches, etc etc, BLANKET except on topics of academic (scientific, economic, cultural…) interest, and that too after obtaining the necessary permissions. Unless of course, the official is an appointed spokesperson for any specific matter. (It makes sense to provide a link at this point, except that I couldn’t find any of the service rule-books online… damned government machinery, somebody said).

    (@dealer:) And while the Official Secrets Act (which is quite irrelevant to this context, you’re right) deals only with confidentiality, this particular clause of the conduct rule deals with misrepresentation. Two different things, Deepto Roy, do you see? A government official represents the government, in action and in word (or at least, ideally so). He/she cannot make public statements which are contrary to the policies of the government he/she represents. And that, my dear Arnab da, is the rationale behind this rule, not your “following orders… concentration camp” (wow, you ARE imaginative) view of my point.

    And yes, things are quite different in the military — but the motive remains always the same — interest of the nation. While a military incident of this type may have impacts on the military/diplomatic integrity of the nation, a similar incident in the civil ranks may impact the nation’s social/political/economic bearing.

    So you’re kind of right about that, that by taking on a government job, people do actually require to, in effect, sign away some of their citizen rights. And you can invoke n number of amendments, but that’s how it stays.

    But Dr. Venugopal clearly wasn’t delivering an academic lecture nor did he call the gathering with a citizen’s prerogative — he called it in the capacity of the Director of AIIMS [akin to the logic that Clinton did Lewinsky (mis)using his position as the President of the United States of America, nothing wrong with the actual screwing that happened (disclaimer: again, just for fun, please don’t rant about this one now… just wanted to throw in some America-stuff, just the way you do!)]. And with that act, Dr. Venugopal became culpable for the boot that he got.

    Now I quite understand that it is not the legality of the sacking that bothers you so much (screw the code of conduct, for all I care), as does the ethicality, the indignation of the poor old professor. But I read this [requires registration, but free] in the paper today. And this is the kind of negative social impact that I mentioned. Kind of sad, isn’t it? Not perhaps directly attributable to the Director’s incitement… but then perhaps, it is. Who cares? The Delhi High Court has stayed the Director’s termination order anyway.

  56. @underdawg: Yes I wonder why Delhi High Court stayed the Director’s termination order…considering how how he had outraged the supposed “code of conduct”. And dear underdawg, the Nazis also had a “code of conduct” that prohibit government officials from speaking against the Fuhrer —unfortunately the Nuremberg trials conducted by porn-surfers like me didnt quite see it that way. Maybe someone of your intellect should have been defending Keitel, Borman and the like—their logic also was that their “service rules” prevented them from protesting against the orders they got from Himmler—these service rules obviously intended to prevent them from making statements contrary to the policies of the nation.

    For such a great mind like you I am surprised to see you engaging in ad hominem attacks—but then again I digress.

    And I can see how Dr. Venugopal protesting against the draconian Reservation Policy compromises the security of the nation.

  57. Aarre Arnab-da. Leave underdawg—one more OBC who is pissed off at Dr. Venugopal. Note the link he plugs at the end.After all his legal brainfarts, he tries to appeal to the fact that a person has died because of the strike. Its very clear that underdawg (no compunctions about the American slang there)is less concerned about the law and more about villifying Dr. Venugopal (who treated my father at AIIMS and is a great human being) simply because he opposes reservations.

  58. Underdawg,

    Chalo, lets deal with this from your side. Accepting all your arguments, could you in 4 lines explain EXACTLY how Dr. Venugopalan has violated service rules. Please point it out in legal terms, that is, this is what he did and this is how it is wrongful conduct.

    Thanks.

  59. GB,

    I think that while there might be some latitude in public sector defining the line between role of a person as private citizen and role as a employee. Yet I believe that even as a government servant employee is bounded by code of conduct and by accepting the employment he is proscribing his freedom just as in case of private sector.

    This is not to say that in this specific case Dr. Venugopal is guilty. From the media reports it seems that that dismissal was in gross violation of procedures.
    I think confused is trying to raise same issue.

    A more troubling fact is that since this government has come to power there has been a deliberate attempt by different ministers to undermine autonomy of different institution.

    The minister in question (i.e. Dr. Ramadoss) has over last two years tried to interfere in function of Medical council of India,AIIMS and other bodies (not to mention attempt to ban smoking in a blatant attempt to undermine true almost true God Rajnikant), and all the time neither the ELM nor the middle class has bothered to raise any objection.

    I have posted the same comment on My Blog

    Regards

    PS I am really surprised by the fact that one can surf porn in American universties, I always thought first amendment could only be applied in case of private citizens and not in case of contracts.

    PPS I have no relation with Underdawg, just clarifying because sometimes commentators become rather passionate here 🙂

  60. @ Arnob

    Admire your logic in most cases, cannot agree this time. Please note that I have nothing to say on the dismissal of Dr. Venugopal, and I won’t…. I think the good doctor has the right to be agitated and the judiciary will have something to say on this… what I object to is certain preliminary inferences you drew from newspaper articles on the Broadcasting Regulator… to my mind … its crying wolf a little too early…

    If you have visited the website I had linked (http://www.ficci-frames.com/frames2001/Frames 2004/Knowledgebase2004/Regulator.htm) you would have known that almost all western liberal democracies have broadcast regulators…. The US, the UK, Australia… A similar provision to the national interest/ war provision exists in the US legislation… (US Communications Act, 1934 as amended in 1996, section 706 of 47 US 606)… actually its slightly worse…in the US, the executive in case of war can override the independent regulator, in India at least the independent regulator takes whatever action is required to be taken…. I leave it to you to decide which is better…

    Again, from the article, it can be discerned that in the broadcast sector the regulatory authorities typically perform the following functions:

    • Frequency allocation;
    • Issue and renewal of the broadcast license;
    • Determination of the license conditions;
    • Development of technical planning guidelines;
    • Development of codes of practice for programme and advertising;
    • Monitoring performance;
    • Dispute resolution.

    Of course I have not seen the 2006 Bill, it seems to be mysteriously absent from the internet, but I have seen its predecessor, the 1997 Bill, and under that Bill these functions we entrusted on the BRA, I don’t see that changing dramatically…(By the way the left was heavily opposed to that bill, as it promoted privatisation)

    “What harm can PTV do? Nothing. Everyone knows it spews anti-India propaganda….its the Indian channels doing sting operations on politicians that is the real worry.”

    If it spews anti-India propaganda and it is still there, it kind of slows us to be slightly more liberal than you say we are … Of course, if your point is that it is a shackle on the media carrying out sting operations, to my mind a certain amount of responsibility for the media is not a bad thing, brave journalism is surely necessary, but to quote Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility … the truth as they say will come out, and I don’t see the powers given to the BRA changing that….

    “The Chinese government considers “demands for democracy” as “prejudicial to public order” —quasi governmental authorities cannot be given the power to decide what we can hear and what we cannot…”

    Remember McCarthy, to say you are a Communist could have landed you in an American jail…all countries, some more, some less, impose restrictions on the freedom to choose to do what we want… thankfully in India, the persecution is nowhere as vehement as in many other countries…. And there is still enough freedom to have large scale protests in case the state wants to impose a moral code, see what happened in the Mumbai Bar Girls controversy…or the imposition of dress codes in colleges… I am not saying that I live it a perfect country, but I do not live in China either…

    “Because National interest just means “in the interests of the ruling party”.

    Am sorry, the Supreme Court does not agree with you, and in recent times, it has done at least enough to convince me that lawlessness is not as prevalent as you make it out to be, a case in point, dismissal of the Government in Bihar.

    “You call Clause 32 as something that prevents “duplicity of litigation”—I think it prevents “oversight” of governmental decisions. The courts are there to oversee that the satraps do not misuse their regulatory powers—and in this context, such a clause merely makes the regulators “above the law”. Again we are talking about the free press here: not telecom tariffs.”

    Actually you are quite wrong, appeal provisions would be there … and as I said the writ jurisdiction is always available… am sorry it does not make the regulator above the law… we are also talking broadcast tariff, broadcast rights… the sector needs a regulator…

    By the way did you realise your post would degenerate into a slam Manmohan and Sonia Gandhi contest?

    @ Sudeep

    Sir, your penchant for personal attack is unsurpassable, so I don’t think you deserve charity, although someone who quotes some creature called the ‘immortal dude’ (with two spelling mistakes) like he is quoting Shakespeare, obviously does… Sir, if you had cared to glance upwards to the comment just above yours (or carried out the slightly more intellectually dexterous activity of clicking on the hyperlink)… you would have known who I was… but perhaps this multi-tasking was beyond you… after all you must expend a considerable amount of effort in typing….

    “Besides, this is not what I said anyway. I merely claimed that N.Ram is a communist – a discription that in all probability, he agrees with”

    Yes I think he would probably proudly agree that he is a Communist…

    “Lastly, why hide behind an anoni-mouse idenitity ?”

    Finally, ‘anoni-mouse’… to use your own words, “dude that’s just pathetic”

    @Shadow

    “Who decides what is wrong !! You cannot even appeal in court as per the law”

    Please see above, actually you can appeal to a writ court, just not a civil court…

    Desi Godwin laws, et al. mentioned Hitler because someone preferred Hitler to Sonia Gandhi, I don’t…. mentioned Narendra Modi, because if I think of hate speech, he comes flashing in my mind, Godwin or otherwise I do not know…

    The reason why you are ROFLing, i.e the standard of humour you obviously enjoy, says it all… res ipsa loquitor…

  61. Touched a nerve there, I see. Sorry about that Arnab da. But hey, I was the porn-surfer 😉

    I fail to understand your fascination with the Nazis, Arnab da. Ok, so the Nazis had service rules, so what? So do most of the nations today, I think. The Americans do, the British do. And those rules are meant to be followed. If you can’t see any difference between the Nazis and the Government of India (whichever party be in power, however bad their politicians be), its really very sad.

    By now I’m sure I sound like the “follow the rule, toe the line, don’t ask questions” kind of moron. Believe me, I didn’t plan to come off like that at all when I wrote my first response.

    AIIMS was the epicenter of the reservation standoff (or at least, that’s how the media projected it). Huge number of patients suffered and faced tremendous inconvenience due to the doctors’ irresponsible behaviour. It was with great difficulty that normalcy was (and is still being) restored on the campus. At a sensitive moment like this, the Director gathers the faculty and students, and attempts to incite a fresh round of dissension. You see my point and you’ll still have many brilliant arguments to counter that, Arnab da, I’m sure. But what is wrong is wrong.

    Anyway, read the article (the link I gave may be a dynamic one, so look up “UNFAIR DEAL – SC/ST hostellers cornered in AIIMS” in today’s HT). Its not as funny as your posts. And its just one case in point.

    And no, I don’t belong to any OBC/SC/ST. I’m a Bengali Kayastha, if you must know. And I’m no chamcha of Minister Ramadoss, nor do I have any personal panga with Dr. Venugopal.

    See Arnab da, this is the kind of beating you get for being the underdawg. Maybe I’ll just lick my wounds and try to find me some corner.

  62. @Deepto:

    I never said we are not “liberal” When it comes to self-flagellation, we are next to none. I am simply saying that the government is not concered with anti-India propaganda but more concered with anti-ruling-party propaganda. The point about China is that we are not like them not because our politicians are “better” than theirs and believe in freedom of speech but because the law and the constitution does not afford them powers that the Chinese one does. Passing these kinds of laws effectively puts such power “legally” in their hands. McCarthyism was a dark phase in US history and it is recognized as so. The FCC in US can take action (and does take action) against TV channels when there are instances of “obscenity” (Janet Jackson’s nipple slip) but it does not step in to censor content—which this Bill allows for.

    Now with regards to anti-Congressism, its just that they are the ruling party now. A few years ago, it would have been anti-BJPism.

    @Underdawg: I never asked you for your caste. So what’s the “if you must know” ?

  63. Read “Atlas Shrugged” recently. Suddenly things seem to be falling into the same pattern. If we apply the same progression of events that happened in the past few months,(reservations,office of profit bill, stopping divestment, the bill under discussion etc) things seem too scary a few years down the line.

    Whats most terrifying is that most of these policies have been carried out on the pretense of “public good”, and at the same time none of them seem to have a consent of the general public.

    Does democracy equate “public will” to “political will” and “public interest” to “political interest” ?

    In the past i was under the impression that a STABLE govenrment is necessary for but now it sounds like crap. The UPA seemed like a sensible govt for the first year but after that it has unleashed its stupidity within a short period of time. The NDA tried to gain its vote-bank on the basis of religion, and the UPA is trying to do that same using caste. In the whole drama the general public is reduced to mute spectators, or wounded protestors.

    What I’m trying to drive at is that it is the STABILITY of the government that brings out the STUPIDITY (i agree that i’m generalizing without sufficient research). I’m sure the UPA wouldn’t have made such radical and self-destructive moves if it was a shaky govermnent dependent on public good-will.

    Looking back at the NDA rule, the first few years the govt made many positive moves like pokhran, disinvestment, economic boom etc, but in the latter half it scored negative with the tehelka, defence scandals and ofcourse, the events in gujarat.

    The majority of the public doesn’t whole-heartedly support either of the two major parties, and the choice boils down to selecting the lesser evil.

    One possible solution is that general elections could be held every 2 years, rather than 5 years. That way no goverment gets too comfortable on its chair and starts farting away self-centred policies and screwing the public. The next best option is an unstable government with just enough political support two survive for two years.

    One might argue that 2 years is not a sufficient time for a government to implement its policies, but on the contrary if a government comes up with good initiatives and keeps the momentum, there is no reason why it wouldn’t get elected again.

    If democracy is the only safe option, let the sceptre be in the hands of the public.

  64. Underdawg,

    You atill have not explained how what the director did was violation of srvice rules. You cried law right? Fine, make your case. Stop crying whether AIIMS was epicenter of reservation struggle, how is that material to the Venugopalan being fired? Did Venugoplan go on strike or did he refuse to implement reservations in his institute?If he did any of those things then h should be fired right away. If you have a problem with residen tdoctrs being on strike, then why have not they been fired? Let the government order them out. Btw, I would love to hear your views about the NLC case where workers have gone on strike protesting goverment divestment? Should bee fired right, have not they only disagreed with the government they have also gone on strike against it.

    Please stick to the topic and explain and stop introducing your caste in it. No one gives a damn which caste you belong to.

    So my question remains the same. Since you made a legal pitch, please explain in 4 lines which clause of the service rules did Dr. Venugopalan violate and by what specific action of his.

    Thanks.

  65. Hmm… it was disappointing to see Venugopal ousted, but with those doctors striking again, and a patient dying for need of care; not to speak of the director sacking the registrar the moment he was reinstated, this doesn’t look good any more. Dr. Venugopal isn’t that apolitical, if that is the least we may ask.

  66. Personally I do not agree with the stand of the anti-reservationists. (Nor am I pro-reservation. I am rather in favour of the system of deprivation points instituted in places like JNU.)

    However, I do not agree with the government’s move to silence people with a different opinion. (We are not even at war with another nation when an anti-government statement could be taken as seditious, and even in those circumstances I would oppose the intereference of the government.)

    This is a violation of our basic right to freedom of speech. Clearly, the government does not intend to uphold the Constitution of the country.

    At the same time, I feel there ought to be a better way of protesting. Most of the methods of today would have worked against foreign rule or in a political demonstration. Hunger strikes, I feel, are passe. Self-immolation bids are too theatrical. And as Bertrand Russell writes somewhere, the love of drama prevents people from perceiving the truth.

    The tragedy of our generation is that we are political idiots. We do not even participate in the political process, let alone try to influence public opinion in an appropriate way, seeking to pursue our own cosy careers and keep our eyes shut when there’s too much trouble around.

  67. @Dealer,

    beating around the bush, eh, instead of answering my questions. Ohh of course, yeah, you prefer the British stand up comedians I suppose. Of course, in case you understand that.

    If you can try (though I dont expect you to, given your tendency to blabber off topic), I repeat my question.
    Who decides whether some content is malicious or not?? Who decides how much freedom you should have.

    I agree only with the war and natural calamity part, the only part where the government is justified to take over the television.

  68. Umm .. so the proposed media bill is a “leaked draft” – I’m sure the unchallengeable in court bit would itself not hold up in court .. so it’s unlikely to remain in the final draft. Gossip in the TOI should never be taken that seriously – the very fact that two versions of the leaked draft exist is itself pretty fishy.

    As far as the whole Venugopal thing goes, while Ramadoss is an ass and is mostly doing all of this because they refused him admission into AIIMS when he was a strapping boy of 17, there is nothing wrong with a law which prohibits faculty members of an institue of national importance from publicly criticizing the govt. It’s one of the conditions for the autonomy that we enjoy – No political interference in exchange for no political commentary. Infact, this is probably why it’s be hard to imagine places like Jadavpur university ever being given the status institute of national importance.

  69. Hmm… it was disappointing to see Venugopal ousted, but with those doctors striking again, and a patient dying for need of care; not to speak of the director sacking the registrar the moment he was reinstated, this doesn’t look good any more. Dr. Venugopal isn’t that apolitical, if that is the least we may ask.
    I think so!

  70. Pingback: pet waste removal

  71. Pingback: companies give front line employees more power usa today

Have An Opinion? Type Away

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s