Friday, March 31, 2023

Samyukt Kisan Morcha to decide next course of action on April 30

A general body meeting of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) will be held on April 30, 2023, to plan the next course of action in the aftermath of the Kisan Mahapanchayat and the meeting of a 15-member delegation of SKM with the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare at Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi on March 20. The delegation submitted a memorandum to him. 

(Photo: Memorandum submitted by the delegation of  Samyukt Kisan Morcha to Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar)
The Kisan Mahapanchayat placed its 10-point demands before the union government to comply with the written assurances given to the SKM on December 9, 2021 by the government to address the grievance of the farmers. These demands are:

    According to the recommendation of the Swaminathan Commission, a law should be enacted and implemented to guarantee procurement at (Minimum Support Price) MSP in accordance the formula of C2 + 50 percent on all crops.
    SKM has clarified on many occasions that the committee constituted by the Union government on MSP and its declared agenda is opposed to the demands of the farmers. SKM demanded scrap ping of this committee and set up a new committee on MSP for legal guarantees for all crops, with proper representation of farmers, including representatives of SKM, as promised by the Union government.
    More than 80% of the farmers are trapped in debt and forced to commit suicide due to rising input costs in agriculture and not getting remunerative prices for the crop. In such a situation, the SKM demands debt waiver for all farmers and reduction in input costs, including fertilizers.
    The Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022 be sent to the Joint Parliamentary Committee for consideration should be withdrawn. The central government had given a written assurance to the SKM that the Bill would be introduced in Parliament only after consultation with SKM. But despite this, the government presented it in the Parliament without any discussion. SKM reiterates the demand for free electricity for agriculture and 300 units of electricity for rural households.
    Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni, the main conspirator in the murder of four farmers and a journalist at Tikonia in Lakhimpur Kheri district, should be expelled from the cabinet and arrested and sent to jail.
    The government should fulfill the promise of providing compensation and rehabilitation to the families of the farmers who were martyred and injured during the farmer's movement and in Lakhimpur Kheri.
    SKM demanded abolition of the questionable Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. Union government should adopt ll measures to compensate the farmers for the continuous losses due to floods, drought, hailstorm, untimely and/or excessive rains, crop related diseases, wild animals, stray cattle etc. Implement universal, comprehensive and effective crop insurance and compensation package for crops. Damage assessment should be done on the basis of individual plots.
    The Kisan Pension Scheme of ₹5,000 per month for all farmers and farm-labourers should be implemented immediately.
    The fabricated cases registered against the farmers in the states and other states and union territories during the farmer's movement should be withdrawn immediately.
    Land should be allocated for the construction of a memorial for the martyred farmers at Singhu Morcha.








Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Daughter of Rahul Sankrityayan protests transfer of artifacts and manuscripts from Patna Museum to Bihar Museum

Note: According to the audit report of CAG, “The Bihar Heritage Development Society established to acquire/collect, conserve and preserve the archaeological remains and artifacts could not achieve its objectives. The conservation and documentation of antiquities, digitisation and publication of collected manuscript/books in the museums were not according to the standards prescribed in the International Council of Museums (ICOM) code of ethics. Tibbati manuscript brought by Rahul Sanskrityayan in Patna Museum could not be translated/published. The Directorate of Museum did not have database or inventory of antiquities in its possessions.” 

The audit report observes: "Scrutiny of records of Patna Museum, Patna revealed that six thousand Tibbati Manuscripts were handed over to Patna Museum in the year 1929 by Rahul was found that 20 of them were torn and no steps of conservation were taken despite availability of funds (10 lakh) since March 2008. The funds were kept in fixed deposits of bank." It further observes that "As per  'Practical Handbook on 'Inventories and Documentation of ICOM, Running a Museum" the museum should maintain an Accession Register, with a checklist of all the acquisitions. It should have columns for accession number, date, source, method and brief description of the group, number of objects making up the group and the name or initials of the Museum Curator." CAG's performance audit states that "During audit of test checked museums, it was found that the Accession Register was not maintained in museums except Patna Museum, Patna where the Register was not properly maintained. Five out of 41 Accession Registers were test checked in Patna Museum and it was found that 9570 antiquities were entered in the Registers. Out of these, 2031 antiquities had no date of accession, 773 antiquities had no date of provenance, 1213 antiquities had no date of donation, 2496 antiquities had no date of receipt and 7597 antiquities had no information about the placement.        


Shri Nitish Kumarji,
Chief Minister of Bihar
Honourable Sir, 
I have recently come to know that your government plans to change the authority to manage the above institute, giving the responsibility to Bihar Museum. I, as the daughter of Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayana strongly protest this proposal. 
I had written to you on 12th September 2017 when a similar proposal was made,and protested on the grounds that the Rahul Collection is a provisional donation to the Patna Museum, made without any remuneration and as the family and heirs of Rahulji we should be consulted and notified before any such change is made as regards my Father’s invaluable donation and the Bihar Government’s ideas regarding it. At that time you had agreed to allow the Rahul Collection to remain in Patna Museum and for this I thank you.
Today I find that a similar proposal is being made again.
You must be well aware that Rahul Sankrityayana is an internationally known name.A freedom fighter, a linguist, a Buddhist and Sanskrit scholar, social thinker and author whose reputation has not faded, rather it has increased even after his passing. Scholars from many universities not just in India but also Europe, Japan and America have devoted years to studying his contributions in the fields of Buddhist studies, history, archaeology, literature, socio-politics, travel writing, indeed all the disciplines he touched and wrote about. His life’s trajectory took him to Bihar in the 1920s and he lived and worked there through the years of the Freedom Struggle, working tirelessly among peasants and the depressed classes. He endured six years in jail terms in Bihar prisons of Buxar, Chhapra and Hazaribagh. Yet his erudition placed him among the most respected scholars of his time. The title of “MAHAPANDIT” is not merely an honorific: it was bestowed on him by the Kashi Pandit Sabha Varanasi in 1933 in recognition of his contribution to the progress of Sanskrit studies subsequent to his discovery of the rare ancient texts that were lost in India after the destruction of the monasteries of Nalanda, Vikramshila, and Odantapuri. The title was given after his first journey to Tibet in 1929-1930.  These texts were invaluable at that time. The Thangka paintings he brought back are also priceless. These were housed in Patna Museum. He made three more journeys to Tibet and came back with many more originals and photo plates of important texts and paintings. Coins, garments and other significant objects he collected on his travels in India and abroad were also added to the Rahul Collection to which he made further additions up to 1956. The idea was for all these objects to be easily accessible for study by students and scholars in context and close to the places where they had originated. Over 6400 texts and photos he brought are housed in the Bihar Research Society

I strongly oppose this proposal by the Bihar Government. The integrity and the physical safety of the Rahul Collection is threatened by being split up and removed for transport or display by private entities. This proposal is an insult to the memory of my Father and his vision for our country and its intellectual heritage. 
If the Bihar Government is not able to look after the Rahul Collection any longer, the family should be consulted about forming a committee of serious scholars from all over India to decide its future. It should definitely not be handed over, out of government control, on the whim of the State Government. Despite his significant contribution to Bihar, Rahulji has not been given the honour which was due to him. It will be a way of righting this neglect by creating a dedicated centre for higher studies in his name, housed in the historic premises of the Patna Museum to which he devoted so much effort. 
I trust that you will give this matter serious consideration and inform me of the outcome. 
Thanking you, 
Jaya Sankrityayan Parhawk

Kalapani villages omitted from Nepal census report, included in India's census report

The recently-released final report of the Nepalese census does not have data of the Kalapani area which included in a recent preliminary census report. Kalapani, is a 35 square kilometer area claimed by India and Nepal. The data is related to the Kuti, Gunji and Nabi villages of Kalapani. In the final report released on March 24, the data of these three Kalapani villages has been omitted. 

On May 20, 2020, Nepal released a new map of its own territory that expanded its claim an additional 335 square kilometres up to the Kuthi Yankti river, including Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura. The residents of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura were not counted after the 1961 Nepal census. The final census report of 2021 Nepal census did not included data of Kuti, Gunji and Nabi villages of the Kalapani area. These areas were included in the preliminary census report released in January 2022.

Nepal shares 1880 km long border with India and 1414 Km long border with Tibet; an autonomous region of Peoples Republic  of China. Accordaing to the Article 5, of Sugauli Treaty. concluded between East India Company and Nepal, the King of Nepal gave up his claims over the region west of the river Kali which originates in the high Himalayas. 

Both Nepal and India accept the Sugauli Treaty, according to which the Kali River forms the India-Nepal border in that region, the difference in perception is over the correct source of this river. Both India and Nepal lay claim over the Kalapani region. Under the Sugauli Treaty of 1816, the areas falling east of Kali river were to belong to the Kingdom of Nepal and west of the river formed the Kumaon region of British India. The origin of the river, however, remained a matter of mutual discord. Nepal maintains that the headwaters lie in Limpiyadhura mountains, therefore, it makes a claim over the entire stretch downwards. India claims that the river originates from down south in Kalapani, therefore, the name Kali, and consequently, it is from here that the treaty applies. It considers this area as part of Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand. Nepal had so far claimed 35 square km of Kalapani area. However, it is now officially staking a claim on a 370 square km area comprising Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani. The politics of India-Nepal has national security implications.

British India conducted the first regular surveys of the upper reaches of the river Kali, in the 1870s. A map of 1879 vintage shows the whole Kalapani area as part of India . India has refuted Nepal ’s proposal that the map sketched by the British-Indian government in 1850 and 1856 should mark the basis for the origin of Mahakali river. India has pressed for the map sketched in 1879 and 1928/29 as a reference point.

In essence, these differences are situated in the differences in the maps possessed by both the countries. It is further complicated by the shifting course of the Mahakali river in the area that has been accepted as the boundary. A Joint Technical Boundary Committee (JILBC) was formed 18 years ago, which meets twice a year in Nepal and India consecutively to discuss this issue.

Since 1997 Nepal has been claiming that Kalapani, Pithoragarh district in the Kumaon Division of the Uttarakhand state was its territory although this territory is an area under Indian administration. From 1998, the joint technical committee of officials from India and Nepal have been discussing the issue. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal gets new coalition partners, wins vote of confidence

For the second time in 70 days, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-MC) and Nepal Prime Minister won vote of confidence in the Parliament of Nepal on March 20, 2023 with the help of new coalition partners. Dahal secured 172 votes in the 275-member Nepal's House of Representatives. 89 lawmakers voted against him and one legislator abstained. Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist Centre, Rashtriya Swatantra Party, Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal, Loktantrik Samajbadi Party Nepal, CPN-Unified Socialist, Janamat Party, Nagarik Unmukti Party, Rashtriya Janamorcha and Aam Janata Party voted in Dahal's favour. CPN-UML and Rashtriya Prajatantra Party voted against him. In the voting process, Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party abstained. Dahal was born in Pokhara, Nepal. He received a diploma of science in agriculture from Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science in Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal.

According to Nepal's Constitution, the Prime Minister is required to take a vote of confidence within 30 days after political parties supporting the government withdraw their support. The incumbent Prime Minister had to take a vote of confidence before March 26.

Dahal was forced to seek a vote of confidence as two parties in the seven-party alliance – Rastriya Prajatantra Party and CPN-UML– withdrew their support to his government. These two parties opposed his proposal to back Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel for the position of president. Earlier he had passed the first floor test on January 10, 2023 with 268 votes after all parties except the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party and the Rastriya Janamorcha voted in favour of the government.

Dahal was sworn in as the country’s Prime Minister on December 25, 2022 for the third time after the 2022 Nepalese general election, with an alliance with political parties including CPN (UML), Rastriya Swatantra Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party. In the first floor test, Dahal secured over a 99 per cent vote of confidence from the parliament on January 10, 2023. He had to seek a vote of confidence for a second time after he he formed a 9-party coalition supporting the Nepali Congress Presidential candidate. 

Dahal held the prime ministerial post from 2008 to 2009 as the first prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. He again became the Prime Minister from 2016 to 2017.  

'Prachanda', the Nepali Prime Minister is expected to visit India soon on his first foreign trip after becoming PM for the third time.


Supreme Court orders for payment of salaries to Patna High Court judges Shailendra Singh, Arun Kumar Jha, Jitendra Kumar, Alok Kumar, Sunil Dutta Mishra, Chandra Prakash Singh and Chandra Shekhar Jha

In Justice Shailendra Singh v Union of India, the Chief Justice headed 3-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court directed that "The salaries of the petitioners which have been withheld, shall be released to them on the basis of the position as it obtained prior to the letter dated 13 December 2022 of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice." This order brought relief to the seven judges of the Patna High Court, namely, Justices Shailendra Singh, Arun Kumar Jha, Jitendra Kumar, Alok Kumar, Sunil Dutta Mishra, Chandra Prakash Singh and Chandra Shekhar Jha. (Photo: Justice Shailendra Singh)

Prior to their elevation to the High Court from the State Judicial Service, these judges were covered by the National Pension Scheme (NPS). Later, their NPS contributions were transferred to the GPF accounts given to them after their appointment as High Court judges. 

Earlier, on February 4, 2023, the Chief Justice headed bench of Supreme Court had issued notice and passed an order that recorded that  Mr K M Nataraj, Additional Solicitor General appears on behalf of the respondents. Having due regard to the fact that the petition impinges upon the conditions of service of Judges of the High Court, who have been recruited from the district judiciary, K M Nataraj, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) fairly states that he would have the matter duly looked into at the appropriate level of the Government of India so that this Court can be informed on the next date of hearing of the decision which has been taken to remedy the grievance. 

Senior Advocate K.V. Vishwanathan and Advocate Prem Prakash, AOR appeared for the petitioners. The respondents were represented by K.M. Nataraj, ASG.  The case will be heard again on March 27 2023.


Friday, March 10, 2023

Law, Environment & Development Journal, University of London publishes paper on "Journey of Agricultural Produce Market Committee Law in Bihar"

The current issue of Law, Environment & Development (LEAD) Journal has published a paper titled "Journey of Agricultural Produce Market Committee Law in Bihar: An Inquiry into the Implications of Repeal of Bihar APMC Law". The paper dwells on Prime Minister's apology, Chief Minister's silence and digitalisation of agriculture through contract agreements with firms like Microsoft, Amazon, Patanjali. The LEAD Journal is managed by School of Oriental and African Studies(SOAS), University of London & Geneva based the International Environmental Law Research Centre (IELRC).

The paper examines the context of the establishment of the Agricultural Produce Market Commission (APMC) by the Bihar government through the enactment of the Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1960 and the reasons for its repeal in 2006.

It looks at the Act’s constitutionality and the unconstitutionality of its repeal in light of the orders by the Supreme Court and the Patna High Court, as well as the Indian Constitution. Agriculture is a state subject under the Constitution. 

The paper examines the central Bypass APMC Act, 2020 and its repeal. It undertakes a comparative study to trace the impact on agricultural marketing infrastructure and farmers' plight. It draws inferences from comparing APMC with government schools and hospitals created for economic justice, equity, and equality.

The full paper is available at

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyay is no more, but his judicial legacy remains alive

Justice (Dr.) Anil Kumar Upadhyay was to demit his office as judge of Patna High Court in December 2024 but he demitted his human form on March 1, 2023, at a hospital in Chennai. He was serving as judge since May 2017. Prior to that he worked as a law teacher and a lawyer. 

His judgment in Neeraj Kumar v. State of Bihar provides an insight into his judicial mind. In this case the petitioners challenged the Departmental Notification issued vide Memo No. 514 dated 15/06/2020, whereby it was clarified that the cut-off date for acquiring of academic and training Patna High Court CWJC No.6664 of 2020 dt.15-12-2020 70/78 eligibility, for the purpose of appointment on the post of teacher had been 23/11/2019 and as such candidates who have subsequently passed the e Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) examination in the month of December 2019 would not be eligible for appointment in light of Departmental Notification issued vide Memo No.482 dated 08/06/2020 as same has been exclusively issued for candidates, who have passed 18 months in-service course of D.El.Ed. conducted by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for which order has been passed in the case of CWJC No.19842/2019 (Sanjay Kumar Yadav v. State of Bihar) by the High Court. 

Drawing on Supreme Court's decision in State of Uttar Pradesh v. Aravind Kumar Srivastava (2015), Justice Upadhyay observed that "it has been settled by various judicial pronouncements that when a particular set of employees is given relief by the court, all other identically situated persons need to be treated alike by extending that benefit. Not doing so would amount to discrimination and would be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. This principle needs to be applied in service matters more emphatically as the service jurisprudence evolved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court from time-to-time postulates that all similarly situated persons should be treated similarly. Merely because they did not approach the court earlier, they are not to be treated differently." He provided the reference for it saying, "Reference be made to (2015) 1 SCC 347, para 22." A joint reading of both the decisions reveal that the subsequent para of 2015 decision has also been relied upon by him. 

Notably, on February 7, 2022, in R. Muthukumar v. Chairman and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd., Justice S. Ravindra Bhat too reiterated the decision in State of Uttar Pradesh v. Aravind Kumar Srivastava "where it was held that a public employer is bound to extend non-discriminatory treatment to all candidates, regardless of whether they approach the court or not, and offer employment to similarly situated candidates and employees." 

In his decision Justice Upadhyay wrote, "a judgment in rem is generally said to be a judgment declaratory of the status of some subject matter, whether this be a person, or a thing. Where the intervention of the court is sought for the adjudication of a right or title to property, not merely as between the parties but against all persons generally, the action is in rem. It is a judgment of a court determining the status of a person or thing." He drew on Supreme Court's decision in the case of Deccan Paper Mills Co. Ltd. v. Regency Mahavir Properties (2020). 

He observed, "viewed from the said angle it is apparent that the decision of the court in CWJC No. 19842 of 2019 was a decision determining the status of the class of persons i.e. D.EL.ED candidates from NIOS who were held to be eligible and hence being a decision in rem and therefore will cover not only the writ petitioner therein but all other similarly situated." He recorded that "the petitioners have already explained that even the B.Ed. degree holders are similarly situated to that of the D.EL.ED. candidates as they are treated equally for appointment to the post of teachers in terms of the advertisements without any distinction. Thus, once the qualification of D.EL.ED. candidate is considered on basis of the eligibility date on the last date of submission of the form in terms of notification dated 08.06.2020, the other candidates as well possessing the required qualification as on last date of submission of the application form also requires to be given similar opportunity, failing which it will be discriminatory and violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India."

He engaged with the submissions of P.K. Shahi and Mrigank Mauli for the Respondents, Y.V. Giri and Ashish Giri for the petitioners. He appreciated the arguments of Shahi and Mauli. But he found the submissions Giris based on Sanjay Kumar Yadav v. The State of Bihar to be misconceived because "It is well settled that a judgment is an authority of what it decides and not what follow logically." He observed that "Sanjay Kumar Yadav case and not an independent decision for universal extension of time for submission of application."

For these reasons, he dismissed all the 345 writ applications against State of Bihar through Principal Secretary, Education Department, Deputy Secretary, Education Department, Director, Primary Education and Director, Secondary Education, Government of Bihar.

Justice Upadhyay was born on December 4, 1962. His father Vidya Dhar Upadhyay worked as Section Officer, Patna High Court and retired on August 31, 1982. He did LLB, LLM, Ph.D. from Patna University. He worked as part time lecturer faculty of law in Commerce College, Magadh University from August 22, 1988 to 2010. He worked as part time lecturer in Patna Law College from 1989 to 1996 and 2004 to 2006 and also worked as Visiting Faculty in Chanakya National Law University from 2007 to May 2017. He worked as Standing Counsel, Patna High Court, Patna from December from 2010 to May 2017. He was a Counsel for Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, Samastipur from 2010 to 2016, Bihar Agriculture University, Sabbour, Bhagalpur from 2010 to April 2017, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University, Pusa from January 2017 to May 2017 and worked as Panel counsel for Dental Council of India from 2015 to May 2017.

After an 11-Judge Bench of the Patna High Court suspended the operation of an order passed by Justice Rakesh Kumar highlighting corruption in the judicial system, a full Bench quashed the same. Justice Kumar had ordered a CBI probe and an enquiry by the Patna district judge into how a former IAS officer whom he had denied anticipatory bail in a corruption case was granted regular bail by a trial court.

A full bench of the Patna High Court, headed by Chief Justice A.P. Sahi, set aside Justice Kumar's order, terming it as an instance of judicial and administrative overreach and a complete nullity.  The bench declared the order "to be coram non judice". However, the High court's full bench, comprising justices Anjana Mishra and Anil Kumar Upadhyay, restored judicial work to Justice Kumar that he had been stripped of the day he passed his order questioning the grant of regular bail to the former IAS officer by the trial court a day after Justice Kumar and Chief Justice AP Shahi reportedly met Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Justice Kumar had passed an order on August 28, 2019 order, taking suo motu cognisance of the bail granted by a lower court to the retired IAS officer in a corruption case. He took up and disposed of an anticipatory bail plea filed by former IAS officer KP Ramaiah in connection with the multi-crore Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission Fund Scam. By an earlier order dated March 23, 2018, Ramaiah’s plea was already dismissed by the High Court.  During the proceeding, Justice Kumar took on record a news report published in Dainik Jagran, a Hindi newspaper whereby, on the date that Ramaiah surrendered before the trial court, the regular Special Judge (Vigilance) went on leave. Thereafter, Ramaiah surrendered and was granted bail by the judge on the same date.  Taking note of the turn of the events, Justice Kumar had opined that the way Ramaiah was granted bail required a deeper probe. Justice Kumar ordered an inquiry to be conducted by the District Judge, Patna to check and verify the news report. He also ordered an inquiry as to whether on the date of granting bail, the regular vigilance court was on leave due to a genuine cause or went on leave in a calculated way.  Additionally, the District Judge was also asked to examine the record of cases disposed of by the in-charge judge in the last six months.

Setting aside Justice Kumar's order the high court's full bench headed by Chief Justice Sahi said, "A wrong order requires setting aside if it has travelled beyond the objective boundaries and has far-reaching consequences in setting a trend which no law recognizes.  The passing of such an order has the inherent danger of creating uncertainty and a feeling that all things can be set right on exercise of authority by a judge even though he may not have legal power to do so. Justice Upadhyay was part of this "historic" Bench. 

Subsequently. Supreme Court Collegium recommended transfer of Patna High Court Chief Justice Sahi to the Madras High Court, and it recommended the transfer of Justice Kumar to the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Justice Upadhyay's view on these transfers would have been insightful.