Friday, September 9, 2022

Bihar Chief Secretary takes cognisance of manifest violation of Supreme Court Judgement on Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number

Amir Shubhani, Chief Secretary, Bihar has taken cognisance of a lawyer's letter regarding manifest violation of Supreme Court Judgement dated September 26, 2018 on Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number under Aadhaar Act, 2016 and has communicated it to Dipak Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Education Department, Bihar Vide Reference no. 5371 dated 08.09.2022. UID/Aadhhar is meant for those residents of India who have lived in India for at least 182 days prior to enrolment for UID/Aadhaar Number according to the Aadhaar Act. It is irrelevant for the rights and entitlements of citizens. Chief Secretary's prompt response came in reaction to a letter addressed to Dr. Chandra Shekhar, State Minister of Education dated September 8, 2022. The letter is with reference to mandatory requirement for Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number under Aadhaar Act, 2016. The following legal aspects have been submitted for consideration:

1. Mandatory requirement for Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number under Aadhaar Act, 2016 is in manifest violation of the 1448 page long verdict of Hon'ble Supreme Court on UID/Aadhaar Number.  

The verdict is available at: https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2012/35071/35071_2012_Judgement_26-Sep-2018.pdf

2.The directions given at page numbers 401-402, paragraph 332 of the Court's verdict of 26 September, 2018 creates a logical compulsion for review and revision of the orders which make UID/Aadhaar compulsory. The relevant text of Hon'ble Court's verdict is as under:

" 332) After considering the matter in depth and having regard to the discussion aforesaid, we hold as under:

(a) For the enrolment of children under the Aadhaar Act, it would be essential to have the consent of their parents/guardian.

(b) On attaining the age of majority, such children who are enrolled under Aadhaar with the consent of their parents, shall be given the right to exit from Aadhaar, if they so choose.

(c) Insofar as the school admissions of children are concerned, requirement of Aadhaar would not be compulsory as it is neither a service nor subsidy. Further, having regard to the fact that a child between the age of 6 to 14 years has the fundamental right to education under Article 21A of the Constitution, school admission cannot be treated as ‘benefit’ as well.

(d) Benefits to children between 6 to 14 years under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, likewise, shall not require mandatory Aadhaar Writ Petition (Civil) No. 494 of 2012 & connected matters Page 401 of 567 enrolment.

(e) For availing the benefits of other welfare schemes which are covered by Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, though enrolment number can be insisted, it would be subject to the consent of the parents, as mentioned in (a) above.

(f) We also clarify that no child shall be denied benefit of any of these schemes if, for some reasons, she is not able to produce the Aadhaar number and the benefit shall be given by verifying the identity on the basis of any other documents. We may record that a statement to this effect was also made by Mr. K.K. Venugopal, learned Attorney General for India, at the Bar."

3. Subsequent to Hon’ble Court’s directions, a reply dated June 8, 2018 provided by Shri Dalbir Singh, Under Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development (now Ministry of Education), Government of India, F. No. 7-1/2018-154 under RTI Act, 2005 reveals that UID/Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory. It states “(i) Aadhar card is not a mandatory requirement for Shaalakosh and UDISE. (ii) There is no order/circular issued regarding non-permitting students to continue their education without Aadhar card.”

4.  It is pertinent to note that a 255 page long verdict of a 5-Judge Constitution Bench of Supreme Court dated November 13, 2019 has referred the matter of the constitutionality of the enactment of Aadhaar Act 2016 to a 7-Judge Constitution Bench. This verdict of the Constitution Bench is available at https://www.sci.gov.in/pdf/JUD_4.pdf  

In view of the above, there is a constitutional and legal obligation on the part of public institutions like the Department of Education to ensure compliance with the directions of the Court and to consider issuance of necessary instructions to educational institutions who are demanding UID/Aadhaar number in this regard.     

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

New Bihar Govt to have red shade

Amidst the immoral influence of electoral bonds which has eroded the legitimacy of all the public institutions, it is a miracle of grass root democracy that a new government in Bihar is going to have shades of red colour. The chargesheet of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) against the NDA government’s performance released in June 2022 paved the way for the fall of the NDA government in Bihar. The chargesheet was released on the occasion of the anniversary of “Total Revolution Day” — the day in 1974 when socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan had called for a “total revolution” to bring about socio-economic and political transformation. It may be recalled that the communist and socialist parties had fought separately in 1974. 

Now both have learnt that people want them together in their political struggles. Before joining hands to form the new government, these parties had joined hands for the special status for Bihar and caste census and against issues like National Population Register (NPR) and Agnipath scheme. These parties recognise that Bihar has been denied it's due share of compensation under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. During the pandemic, powers were invoked under Disaster Management Act to undermine the autonomy and powers of the state. These parties seem to have similar views with regard to farm laws, labour laws and the education policy. 

The “chargesheet” which released by the Mahagathbandhan reveals how Bihar is at the bottom in per capita income, human and gender development, gender equality, farmers’ condition, poverty, health, education, corruption and public welfare schemes.

The new government of the Magagathbandhan must use their own chargesheet, their manifestos and people's manifesto to draft a common minimum program to demonstrate that it indeed a people's government. 

While Magagathbandhan acted as a catalyst, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) [CPI(ML)] and Communist Party of India (Marxist) performed better than Communist Party of India (CPI) and SUCI (C) because of the critical mass of their cadres, supporters and sympathisers. With 16 seats won, the Communist Parties got its best seat share since 1995 when CPI (ML) had contested 89 seats and had won 6 seats with 2.4 % vote share. CPI had contested 61 seats and had won 26 seats with 4.8 % vote share. CPI (M) had contested 31 seats had won 2 seats with 1.4 % vote share. In total, Left parties got 29 seats to contest as part of the Magagathbandhan. The Left's seat share is 6.6 % in 2020 elections, which is highest since 1995. 

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) won 12 seats with 3.16 % vote share, whereas the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India (CPI) won 2 seats each. Although it had announced candidates for 30 seats, CPI(ML) agreed to contest 19 seats in the interest of Mahagathbandhan and to accommodate other alliance partners for a larger cause. 

CPI (ML) candidate in Arrah, Bhojpur, Quyamuddin Ansari lost after winning 43.17 vote share. Its candidate in Bhore, Jitendra Paswan lost despite 40.25 % vote share. CPIML candidate in Aurai, Md. Aftab Alam lost after winning 24.65 % vote share. Its Daraunda candidate Amarnath Yadav lost after winning 37.15 %. Its Kalyanpur Samastipur candidate Ranjeet Kumar Ram lost after winning 33 % votes. Its Warisnagar candidate Phoolbabu Singh lost after winning 28.71 % vote share.  Its Digha, Patna candidate Shashi Yadav lost after winning 29.98 % share.  

CPI (ML) wrote to the Election Commission demanding a recount on in Bhorey, Arrah, Daraundha Assembly seats "due to dubious counting practices" where its candidates have been defeated in very narrow margins. In Bhorey, the JDU candidate Sunil Kumar who won is am ex- Additional DGP and therefore commands a lot of clout in the administration. The local JDU MP Alok Kumar Suman was seen entering the counting hall which is illegal and prohibited. This was clearly an attempt to influence fair count of votes. As of now, the ECI site shows Sunil Kumar at 73550 votes and CPIML’s Jitendra Paswan at 72524 votes. We seek your urgent intervention to ensure a recount of votes on this constituency. A recount of votes on the Arrah and Daraundha constituencies has been demanded because of discrepancies between VVPAT and EVM counts, and other irregularities.

Had CPI(ML) contested all the 30 seats it has announced initially, its rate of success and vote share would have increased significantly.

CPI(ML)’s performance provides a crucial message that sustained work of the party at the grassroot level throughout the year is the only way for the struggle-based parties to emerge as the voice of the people. Such work ensured that it garnered the support of over 25, 000-30, 000 cadres, supporters and sympathisers who became the key factors in their victory. Where ever their support base was less than 10, 000, they could not win the seat despite being part of the Magagathbandhan. The selection of seats and candidates appeared to be based on rigorous examination of their winnability.

CPI (M) Pipra Purvi Champaran candidate Raj Mangal Prasad lost after winning 40.1 % vote. Its Matihani candidate Rajendra Prasad Singh lost after winning 29.27 %. The narrow margin with which these seats were lost creates a logical compulsion for the party to work through the year. CPI (M) is the biggest gainer after CPI(ML). Its vote share in both the seats it lost shows that they were winnable seats. The selection of seats and candidates seems to have played a critical role.  

CPI candidate from Harlakhi, Ram Naresh Pandey, who is also the State Secretary lost after winning 25.58 % vote share. Its Jhanjharpur candidate, Ram Narayan Yadav lost after winning 29.36 % vote share. Its Rupauli candidate Vikas Chandra Mandal lost after winning 22.52 % vote share. Its Bachhwara, Begusarai Abdhesh Kumar Rai lost after gaining 29.94 vote share. The loss of Bachhwara by a narrow margin remains intriguing. BJP candidate got 54738 votes. CPI candidate got 54254 votes. In an unprecedented scenario, student wing associated with CPI expressed its strong dissent with regard to the selection of seats and candidates by a 6-member committee of the state unit. The loss of two seats from Madhubani district-Harlakhi and Jhanjharpur-creates a need for rigorous introspection. Unless the party deepens its work beyond electoral performance throughout the year, it is unlikely to win more seats in near future.

Significantly, three incumbent CPI(ML) MLAs from 2015 have retained their representation in the 2020 legislative assembly. The voters of Balrampur, Darauli and Tarari approved, awarded and re-elected these three sitting CPI(ML) MLAs.

Unlike capitalist parties and other parties in the Mahagathbandhan, personality cult was not a factor at all for the victory of the candidates from the Left parties. 

In the face of emergence of fascist and totalitarian regimes world over, unless Left parties and Socialist parties collaborate "total control" by 1 % of the India's population who control 73 % of country's wealth cannot be prevented. 


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Bihar Chief Secretary acts in compliance with Supreme Court's order in covid death compensation case

Bihar's Department of Disaster Management has issued an Important Notice on 26 January in compliance with Supreme Court's order dated 29 January, 2022. This Important Notice has been issued in the matter of disbursal of COVID-19 death claims after Supreme Court summoned Bihar chief secretary at 2PM on 19th January, 2022. The Court had pulled up the state government for failing to disburse claims to the next of kin of COVID-19 victims. The Court had asked why the disbursals of ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 for COVID-19 death are less. 

(Important Notice of Department of Disaster, Government of Bihar) 

A bench of Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna had observed that it rejects the COVID-19 death toll given by Bihar, and said that these are not actual figures but government figures. “We are not going to believe that only 12,000 people died in the state of Bihar due to Covid. We want your chief secretary to be here virtually at 2 PM”, the bench told the counsel appearing for the Bihar government. The Court was hearing a batch of pleas by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal and intervenors represented by advocate Sumeer Sodhi seeking ex-gratia assistance to family members of COVID-19 victims. 

Bihar Govt compensates 49 victims in Muzaffarpur shelter home case

Bihar Government informs NHRC: Rs. 3 to 9 lakh paid as compensation to the 49 victims of sexual abuse in a Shelter Home at Muzaffarpur; 19 accused convicted

In a release dated 25 January, 2022, National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC) revealed that it has been informed by the Government of Bihar that it has paid Rs. 3 to 9 lakh to the 49 victims of sexual abuse in a Shelter Home at Muzaffarpur. The action taken report reveals that FIR no. 33/2018 u/s 120B/376/34 IPC r/w sec. 4/6/8/10/12 POCSO Act of Mahila PS, Muzaffarpur was registered 31st May, 2018 and later investigation was transferred to the CBI and after investigation, a chargesheet was filed against 20 accused, out of which 19 were convicted by the Trial Court, Saket, New Delhi.

NHRC had registered the case on the basis of a complaint in the matter dated 29th November, 2018. Besides the Commission, the Trial Court Saket, New Delhi had also recommended compensation to the victims on merits.

NHRC has also been informed that the registration of NGO, which ran the Muzaffarpur Balika Grah was canceled and the premise housing it, was also demolished in compliance of orders of the court. The entire investigation of the case by monitored by the Supreme Court and the trial by the trial court was concluded within a stipulated time period. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Why MSP and APMC?

In 2011, as Gujarat Chief Minister and  Chairman of Working Group on Consumer Affairs Narendra Modi submitted a report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He recommended that no farmer-trader transaction should be below MSP, a law should be mandated for same. His recommendation is the core  reason behind farmers' protests. 

Wasn't Bihar Chief Minister in agreement with the recommendations of the Working Group on Consumer Affairs? 

Can MSP be seen isolation from Agriculture Produce Market Act? 


किसानों का विश्वासघात दिवस 31 जनवरी को

15 जनवरी को दिल्ली के सिंघु बॉर्डर पर हुई संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा की बैठक में मोर्चे के कार्यक्रम व भविष्य की दिशा पर कई महत्वपूर्ण निर्णय लिये गए। मोर्चे ने घोर निराशा और रोष व्यक्त किया कि भारत सरकार के 9 दिसंबर के जिस पत्र के आधार पर हमने मोर्चे उठाने का फैसला किया था, सरकार ने उनमें से कोई भी वादा पूरा नहीं किया है।

आंदोलन के दौरान हुए केसों को तत्काल वापिस लेने के वादे पर हरियाणा सरकार ने कुछ कागजी कार्रवाई की है लेकिन केंद्र सरकार, मध्य प्रदेश, उत्तर प्रदेश, उत्तराखंड और हिमाचल सरकार की तरफ से नाममात्र की भी कोई भी कार्रवाई नहीं हुई है। बाकी राज्य सरकारों को केंद्र सरकार की तरफ से चिट्ठी भी नहीं गयी है।

शहीद किसान परिवारों को मुआवजा देने पर उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार ने कोई कार्रवाई शुरू नहीं की है। हरियाणा सरकार की तरफ से मुआवजे की राशि और स्वरूप के बारे में कोई घोषणा नहीं की गयी है।

एमएसपी के मुद्दे पर सरकार ने न तो कमेटी के गठन की घोषणा की है, और न ही कमेटी के स्वरूप और उसकी मैंडेट के बारे में कोई जानकारी दी है।

किसानों के साथ हुए इस धोखे का विरोध करने के लिए संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा ने फैसला किया है कि आगामी 31 जनवरी को देश भर में “विश्वासघात दिवस” मनाया जाएगा और जिला और तहसील स्तर पर बड़े रोष प्रदर्शन आयोजित किए जाएंगे।

लखीमपुर खीरी हत्याकांड में सरकार और भारतीय जनता पार्टी के बेशर्म रवैये से स्पष्ट है कि उसे सार्वजनिक जीवन की मर्यादा की कोई परवाह नहीं है। एसआईटी की रिपोर्ट में षड्यंत्र की बात स्वीकार करने के बावजूद इस कांड के प्रमुख षड्यंत्रकारी अजय मिश्र टेनी का केंद्रीय मंत्रिमंडल में बने रहना किसानों के घाव पर नमक छिड़कने का काम है। दूसरी तरफ उत्तर प्रदेश पुलिस इस घटना में नामजद किसानों को केसों में फंसाने और गिरफ्तार करने का काम मुस्तैदी से कर रही है। इसका विरोध करने के लिए संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा लखीमपुर खीरी में एक पक्के मोर्चे की घोषणा करेगा। संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा ने यह स्पष्ट किया है कि “मिशन उत्तर प्रदेश” जारी रहेगा, जिसके जरिए इस किसान विरोधी राजनीति को सबक सिखाया जाएगा।

आगामी 23 और 24 फरवरी को देश की केंद्रीय ट्रेड यूनियनों ने मजदूर विरोधी चार लेबर कोड को वापस लेने के साथ-साथ किसानों को एमएसपी और प्राइवेटाइजेशन के विरोध जैसे मुद्दों पर राष्ट्रव्यापी हड़ताल का आह्वान किया है। संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा देश भर में ग्रामीण हड़ताल आयोजित कर इस हड़ताल का समर्थन और सहयोग करेगा।

कुछ घटक संगठनों द्वारा पंजाब के चुनाव में पार्टियां बनाकर उम्मीदवार उतारने की घोषणा के बारे में मोर्चे ने स्पष्ट किया कि शुरुआत से ही संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा ने यह मर्यादा बनाए रखी है कि उसके नाम, बैनर या मंच का इस्तेमाल कोई राजनीतिक दल न कर सके। यही मर्यादा चुनाव में भी लागू होती है। चुनाव में किसी पार्टी या उम्मीदवार द्वारा संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा के नाम या बैनर या मंच का कोई इस्तेमाल नहीं किया जाएगा। संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा से जुड़ा जो भी किसान संगठन या नेता चुनाव लड़ता है, या जो चुनाव में किसी पार्टी के लिए मुख्य भूमिका निभाता है, वह संयुक्त किसान मोर्चा में नहीं रहेगा। जरूरत होने पर इस निर्णय की समीक्षा इन विधानसभा चुनावों के बाद अप्रैल माह में की जाएगी।

– जारीकर्ता

डॉ दर्शन पाल, हन्नान मोल्ला, जगजीत सिंह डल्लेवाल, जोगिंदर सिंह उगराहां, शिवकुमार शर्मा (कक्का जी), युद्धवीर सिंह, योगेंद्र यादव