Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #198 - Ban ALL Bandhs!

Anyone can protest. It is our right. But my right ends where your nose starts. No one in any society can have the right to STOP anything. Such an act is ILLEGAL and UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #198 - Ban ALL Bandhs!

(Photo by Sergio Capuzzimati on Unsplash \ Boat floating on river Ganga with flying birds and people at sunrise - Varanasi, India)

“The most ordinary word, when put into place, suddenly acquires brilliance. That is the brilliance with which your images must shine.” ― Robert Bresson

Death is the cessation of activity.  Life IS activity.

You cannot stop your breath to enhance life.  Maybe the cards life has dealt you with are miserable.  Will that improve if you hold your breath for the next one day and hope to start back up again?

There may not be anyone left to straddle over the misery life offers anymore.

A society may not die so easily.  But if its breath is stopped every now and then, it will.

Moving on while implementing changes that align with your environment is the only way life works.  You may get it wrong sometimes.  But that doesn’t make you evil.

What makes one evil is to hold one’s own breath and force it on everyone around you.

You are not just a suicidal maniac.  You are a sociopath who will endanger everyone!

Such a person deserves no hearing.  No sympathy.  And no currency.

Life, however inefficient or lost, is a cause for celebration and a miracle to behold in its mere working.

Death is a finality that has no benefit to anyone.  Those who wish death upon our societies need to be banned.  The idea of cessation of activity has to be banned.  For, what is against life can neither be legal nor aligned to any constitution!

time to ban bandhs - completely and unequivocally!

Very few people - even the most accomplished ones who have been in public conversations with Sadhguru - have actually asked him intelligent questions.  Most and that includes the greatest doyens of Indian industry and intellectuals ask quite inane questions.  Although I don’t agree with actor Siddharth on most of his politics, in this case, however, he did ask some pretty intelligent questions from Sadhguru in his conversation with him.  This was one of them.

Why do Indians focus on problems and not solutions?

Sadhguru’s answer, as always, was profound and clear.

Those who stop the nation should never be considered as leaders in this country.  Only those who make get things done should be our leaders.

That should the hallmark of a leader.

When Uttarakhand lawyers had gone on strike and High Court had given the verdict of stringent action against lawyers boycotting district court work, these lawyers approached the Supreme Court.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah had stated in February this year -  “Such a right to freedom of speech cannot be exercised at the cost of litigants and/or at the cost of the justice delivery system as a whole.” (Source)

That right to protest, covered under the right to free speech, cannot be allowed to infringe on the right of others has been a constant refrain from the judges.

The courts have acknowledged the right to protest as a fundamental right. In the  Ramlila Maidan Incident v. Home Secretary, Union Of India & Ors case for example, the honorable Supreme Court had stated unequivocally -

“Citizens have a fundamental right to assembly and peaceful protest which cannot be taken away by an arbitrary executive or legislative action.”

This followed the precept laid down by Justice Bhagwati in Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India

“If democracy means government of the people by the people, it is obvious that every citizen must be entitled to participate in the democratic process and in order to enable him to intelligently exercise his rights of making a choice, free & general discussion of public matters is absolutely essential.”

Article 19(1)(3) which underscores the right to free speech, and protest as well, has reasonable restrictions. (Source)  They are:

  • If the security of the state is in jeopardy;
  • If the friendly relationship we share with a neighboring country is at stake;
  • If public order is disturbed;
  • If there is contempt of court;
  • If the sovereignty and integrity of India are threatened

These reasonable restrictions have been upheld in many cases by the honorable courts.

In the judgment on the plea by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung for protection against arrest for perpetrating violent unrest in the Darjeeling Hills, the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan wrote:

“Demonstrations, whether political, religious or social or other demonstrations, which create public disturbances or operate as nuisances or create or manifestly threaten some tangible public or private mischief are not covered by protection under Article 19(1) (free speech).”(Source)

The bench referred to a judgment by Kerala High Court on bandhs, where there were judicial objections to such methods used by some political operatives and parties.

“No political party or organisation can claim that it is entitled to paralyse the industry and commerce in the entire State or nation and is entitled to prevent the citizens, not in sympathy with its viewpoint, from exercising their fundamental rights or from performing their duties for their own benefit or for the benefit of the State or the nation.” (Source)

The rights of one citizen have to be balanced with not just the corresponding rights of another citizen but also the duties of the citizen exercising his rights in the first place.  You cannot have unlimited rights sans any regard to the duties.

Article 51A, for example, does not allow violence or damage to any public property.

It is a fundamental duty for every person to safeguard public property and to avoid violence during the protests and resorting to violence during public protests results in infringement of key fundamental duty of citizens.

Given the fundamental mind of the Indian courts and the intent of the Constitution, it is time that India has a clear and unambiguous dictum - Bandhs are Unconstitutional and Illegal and anyone even as much as announcing a Bandh should be jailed and prosecuted.

Why should any administration even wait for the bandh to happen, and damage to be visited upon the public property?

Isn’t just the act, intention, planning, and announcement enough to know that others’ rights will be infringed and property damaged?

Interesting thing is that the honorable courts have clearly stated this as well.

In a landmark judgment in 1997, the Kerala High Court had laid it out clearly.

Source: Livelaw

In The Communist Party Of India (M) vs Bharat Kumar, the honorable Supreme Court had confirmed the view of the Kerala High Court.

"There cannot be any doubt that the fundamental rights of the people as a whole cannot be subservient to the claim of fundamental right of a n individual    or only a section of the    people. it    is on    the basis of    this distinction that the High Court has rightly concluded that there cannot be any right to call or enforce a "Bandh" which interferes with    the exercise of the fundamental freedoms of other citizens,    in addition to causing national loss in may ways.    We may also add that the reasoning given by the High Court, particularly those in paragraphs 12, 13 and 17 for the ultimate conclusion and directions in paragraph 18 is correct with which we are in agreement.    We may also observe that the High Court    has drawn    a very appropriate distinction between a "Bandh"    on the    hand and a call for general strike    or "Hartal" on the other.    We are in agreement with the view taken by the High Court". (Source)

The same view has been held again and again in the following cases:

  • James Martin vs the State of Kerala (2004 (1) KLT 513 (SC)). (Source)
  • George Kurian vs State Of Kerala 2004 (2) KLT 758) (Source)
  • The Proper Channel vs. Managing Director, KSRTC (Source)

As recent as March 2019, the Guwahati High Court had passed a similar judgment, using the earlier verdicts of Kerala HC and the Indian Supreme Court.

Source: Livelaw

So let us get one thing clear - any bandh, and by definition, a bandh and hartal is to close services or products from reaching some other citizens or debarring someone from utilizing some public amenity, should be disallowed.

Not just are bandhs against the public good, they have regularly and consistently been held by several high courts and the Indian Supreme Court as Illegal and Unconstitutional.

The Judiciary has done its job.  The executive needs to do its.

Or the Judiciary may be called upon to prosecute cases against the executive which allows a bandh to happen, leave alone calling (or hailing) for one!

It is now time to ban all bandhs because of their illegal and unconstitutional nature.

the immediate impact of the farm bills on the ground

Jitendra Bhoiji, is a maize farmer in Dhule, Maharashtra.  He decided to sell his produce to the traders at the right price.

Subhash Vani and Arun Vani, the traders he sold to had procured 270.59 quintals maize at the rate of Rs 1,240 per quintal on July 19.  The transaction amounted to Rs 3.32 lac.  The traders had picked up the produce with a token sum of Rs 25,000 and had not paid the full amount even after 4 months, even when the promise was to pay within 15 days.

When he filed a complaint before the subdivisional magistrate of Pansemal Tehsil, a clerk there told Jitendra about the provisions of the new farm-bills.

As per the new provisions of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act passed in September, this year, all the buyers are compelled to pay cultivators within three days of the transaction.

The magistrate summoned the traders on October 6th and asked them to immediately pay or face arrest.  The traders paid the amount finally arrived at in two installments to the Jitendra Bhoiji.

This was covered by PM Modi in his “Mann ki Baat”as well.

Those who care for the poor and the small farmers can see the impact and the benefit of the farm bills very clearly.

Those who want to create anarchy just for the sake of power will say anything.

market corner - 10 quick bytes

  1. Ambani hints at 5G rollout in H2 of 2021 - calls for urgent steps for 5G, smartphone roll-out in India - more
  2. Rs 12.5 lakh crore investment needed to realize India’s 2030 electric vehicles targets, says study - more
  3. PM Modi’s 59-minute MSME loan: 93% applications disbursed till November 2020, marginally up from August - more
  4. Logicserve Digital launches ‘eMarket’ to help brands ace their e-tail strategies - more
  5. Indian employers see better hiring intent for the first quarter of 2021 per ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey - more
  6. Soon, Indian Railways passengers can easily travel to Bengaluru Airport! Halt station to open - more
  7. Indian Tooling Industry value to rise to Rs 26,000 crore by 2025: Report - more
  8. Indian Income Tax authorities all set to tighten the screws around startups that create holding companies overseas - more
  9. 'India is a great example': Gates on UPI, country's digital finance model -  working with other countries to roll out open-source technologies modeled on the country’s implementation - more
  10. VC money flows to WFH solutions startups as remote work takes root - more

nota bene

Spanish lions COVID positive: Four lions at Barcelona Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19, veterinary authorities said on Tuesday, in only the second known case in which large felines have contracted coronavirus. Three females named Zala, Nima and Run Run, and Kiumbe, a male were tested after keepers noticed they showed slight symptoms of coronavirus. Two staff at the zoo also tested positive for coronavirus, the authorities said, after the outbreak was first detected last month. (Source)

Human steak: The installation of steak grown from human cells at the Design Museum in London was intended to criticize the meat industry’s rising use of living cells from animals. It ended up triggering a roiling debate about bioethics and the pitfalls of artistic critique.   (Source)

Breakdancing is now an Olympic Sport: Breakdancing has been added as an Olympic sport for the 2024 games being held in Paris. The decision was confirmed by the International Olympic Committee on Monday, as it seeks to attract a younger audience to the historic competition. (Source)

Mount Everest grows higher: Nepal and China on Tuesday jointly announced the revised height of the world's highest peak, Mount Everest, as 8848.86 meters. The Nepal government decided to measure the exact height of the mountain amid debates that there might have been a change in its height due to various reasons, including the devastating earthquake of 2015. (Source)

Havana Syndrome: “Directed” radio frequency is the most plausible explanation for mysterious symptoms experienced by diplomats stationed in US embassies in Havana and elsewhere, a US government report said on Saturday. The symptoms appear “to be consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy,” said the report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering. (Source)

Indian Classical music: an introduction

Indian classical music is amazing but very tough to understand for the uninitiated.  In fact, every music is for that matter.  But it was important that someone should make Indian music easy to understand for common people.

I remember that many years back SPIC-MACAY was started and the greatest of artists would tour schools and colleges and demonstrate their art.  I have attended sessions by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Pandit Jasraj.  But as great as they were, they could not come to our level and explain things.  Just being a few feet away from such greats helped us get interested in their music.  This lady Anuja Kamat is amazing.  Clear, crisp, and highly informative.  I have subscribed to her channel and listen to her videos and explanations often.  A very very useful channel to subscribe to and get acquainted with your own heritage.


Check out today’s “The Drishtikone Daily” edition.

The Drishtikone Daily

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