Saturday, December 18, 2010

Also Happens

Don't know how to interpret it or the underlying dynamics. It need not be a comic aberration. There may be much much more than what the article tells.

Beggar’s election as gram pradhan sparks debate

Arvind Singh Bisht | TNN Dec. 19, 2010


Lucknow: Can a beggar hold a public office? The question hangs thick after Narayan Nat, a 50-year-old beggar, has been elected as gram pradhan of Sahawar Shah of Badaun district in the just concluded panchayat polls in UP.
The issue has come under scrutiny as law prohibits begging. It is a declared offence and deemed a social evil, both under the Central and the UP Acts meant to discourage begging. This is thus argued that begging is contrary to the morality, which is the essence of democracy.
A debate over the issue holds views both in favour and against Nat’s election. While the development is hailed by radicals as a warning against corrupt politicians, traditionalist and jurists disagree with this. They feel the issue needs to be given a serious
thought, as legitimising the malice of begging will only give way to similar other immoral activities like immoral trafficking and gambling in the public domain.
When asked to comment on the issue, DM, Banda, Amit Gupta said: “Nat stands to be disqualified, if he does not give up begging after assuming his post.” Section 92 of the
UP Panchayat Act empowers DM to disqualify gram pradhan for any post-electoral misconduct.
However, another side of the issue is that the election of Nat is seen as a rare feat and a warning to the corrupt politicians. As put by UP Congress legislature party leader, Pramod Tiwari: “Technically, Nat’s victory may be incorrect because begging is punishable under the law, but otherwise, his rise reflects the public mind and anger against corruption, practised today by almost all the politicians.”
Reacting sharply to this, C B Pandey, a retired judge and former advisor to the UP governor, said that in spite of everything, begging couldn’t be legitimised. He said that Nat should be disqualified. All the more reason for this, he said, was that Nat in his public position had proudly announced to continue begging.

1 comment:

gs said...

Magistrate loses job for ticketless travel
Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN, 16-01-2011

New Delhi: A magistrate rightly lost her job for ticketless travel in Mumbai locals, said the Supreme Court which denied her pension.
The court said her compulsory retirement was justified and also rejected the pension plea because she demanded free first-class travel and behaved offensively when ticket checkers caught her travelling without ticket three times between Mulund and Dadar. “In a country governed by rule of law, nobody is above the law, including judicial officers,” said a bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and A R Dave.
The magistrate had officiated for eight years and would have been entitled to pension after two years. The railways reported the magistrate to the Bombay high court, which found her guilty of ticketless travel and compulsorily retired her on September 27, 2009.
The Supreme Court agreed with the HC and said: “She not only travelled without ticket in a railway compartment thrice but also complained against ticket collectors who accosted her and misbehaved with the railway officials. In those circumstances, we do not see how the punishment of compulsory retirement awarded to her could be said to be disproportionate to the offence alleged against her.”
The magistrate’s letter to the railway authorities, much after she was fined for ticketless travel, sealed her fate. Writing to the Central Railway general manager, she asked: “Are we not entitled, at least to stand in the first-class compartments of local trains for the purpose of reaching our courts in time during emergencies? Please do the needful in this matter urgently by giving necessary instructions to the ticket collectors so that we are not humiliated by your ticket collectors on this count and made to pay fine.”
The Supreme Court dismissed her appeal challenging compulsory retirement and rejected her pension plea. Justice Sharma, writing the judgment for the bench, said the letter proved she had travelled without ticket.
Ticketless travel by police and other law-enforcement officials is common in India. But the court said: “A judge’s official and personal conduct must be in tune with the highest standard of propriety and probity. This standard of conduct is higher than those deemed acceptable or obvious for others. Being a judicial officer, it was in her best interest that she carried herself in a decorous and dignified manner. If she had deliberately chosen to depart from these high and exacting standards, she is appropriately liable for disciplinary action.”