Archive for August, 2008

Terms of Debate

August 20, 2008

While the debate is still raging on the fairness of existing illegitimate laws like PWDVA, taxpayer funded NCW in cahoots with the foreign-funded Lawyers Collective, is busy churning out more and more such legislation. Often the family rights and men’s rights activists are sucked into arguments with the feminist liars and their supporters regarding these illegitimate laws.

 

One constant refrain one hears from the supporters of these laws is, that there is nothing wrong with the laws per se, but their implementation is wrong. We must not allow this reasoning to become mainstream argument in our debates. This is the most dangerous red herring. If poor implementation of illegitimate laws in itself is resulting in so many victims, imagine what a properly implemented illegitimate law would result in – definitely orders of magnitude more victims.

 

These laws (e.g. PWDVA) are WRONG – plain and simple. They are drafted with malicious intentions. They fail the test of fairness in any dimension you measure them in. They are discriminatory. They are based on lies, propaganda and anachronistic assumptions. They deny due process to the accused. They are based on summary penalties and confiscation. No matter how they are implemented, they will result in injustice. In summary, these laws are indefensible.

 

Therefore, in our debates, we should never deviate from the main argument, that these laws are wrong and that they are poorly drafted with ample scope for misuse, extortion and blackmail. Point after point, we must show them the different loopholes intentionally left in these laws. We must show that the supporters of such terrible and unjust laws do not believe in human rights, in liberty and dignity of the individual, in constitutional protections, in fairness and in due process. We must counter them with the truth. We must counter them with the statistics. That is the way to expose them. That is the way to alter the terms of the debate.

Legal Terrorism and Illegitimate Legislation

August 12, 2008

In recent years, the number of abusers of women protection legislation for personal gain or to settle scores has gone up substantially. Concomitantly, the numbers of false cases, the incidents of malfeasance, illegal detentions, police and judicial corruption as well as the backlog of unresolved cases have also skyrocketed. The trend shows no signs of waning. What makes this process so easy and convenient for the criminally minded individuals, families and state officials? The answer lies in the active state support and participation in this nefarious scheme of “legal terrorism”. While this state participation is occurring at the expense of the well-being of ordinary, law abiding citizens who have not violated any laws, the parasitic elements of the society like unethical lawyers, fund chasing and morally bankrupt feminists, lowly judiciary and corrupt police officials are immensely benefiting from this pernicious practice.

– What is the root cause for the proliferation of state sponsored legal terrorism in our country?

– Would the state sponsored legal terrorism cast its shadow in ever more areas of our public and private lives?

– Should the citizens be resigned to this state of affairs?

– What is the prognosis for the future?

In this article, I will attempt to address some of the concerns raised above.

Root Cause of Legal Terrorism is Illegitimate Legislation

The root cause of the state sponsored legal terrorism is the existence and passage of illegitimate legislation in our legal regime. Most reasonable and objective persons can quickly tell right from wrong and fair from unfair.  Thus most reasonable and objective people can also tell apart a legitimate law from an illegitimate one.

There can be several bases on which one can conclude a certain legislation to be illegitimate. However, most illegitimate legislation is identified by the following five characteristics –

Discriminatory

According the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “all are equal before the law, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. Any laws that are explicitly or implicitly discriminatory are illegitimate. Any demagogue would be tempted to play vote bank politics and pass discriminatory legislation that can rob the non-vocal minority off its legitimate protections that are hallmarks of any civilized society. In most civilized countries, constitution places limits on the illegitimate laws passed by the demagogues. For example, in the United States, any discriminatory legislation could be shot down by the Supreme Court of the US as unconstitutional if challenged. Such protections do not appear to exist in India. At least, the Supreme Court has not displayed the courage to declare discriminatory legislation as unconstitutional. Most of the ostensibly women protection laws in our country (like PWDVA, adultery laws, alimony laws) are discriminatory and thus illegitimate.

Presumption of guilt

As the jurisprudence evolved over the centuries, it has become an universally accepted maxim that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty. It is always the responsibility of the accuser to prove the guilt. In modern India, this maxim has been subverted thoroughly. In the name of special protections, the accusers have been given free pass to accuse any person at their fancy. The state, in turn, has assumed the proxy role to prosecute the accused at the taxpayer’s expense while placing the burden of proving innocence on individual citizen. This is a monumental distortion of principles of justice. Any legislation that presumes the accused as guilty until proven innocent is illegitimate. The best examples are ipc304B and ipc498A.

Summary action

Legislation that allows summary action by the judges or other officials is also illegitimate. Summary action may include confiscation, imprisonment or other penalties. Watch out summary provisions in any legislation to declare it as an illegitimate legislation. PWDVA is the best example.

Multiple laws to confer the same benefit

Many a time, in spite of the existence of legal provisions addressing certain benefits under law, new laws are passed conferring the same benefit. This results in unscrupulous elements filing multiple cases under these differing legal provisions for the same benefit, thereby flooding the court system with frivolous and vexatious litigation. The best example of this practice is the alimony and maintenance laws like 125 Cr PC, Section 24 of HMA and PWDVA.

Based on anachronistic assumptions

Society is constantly changing and evolving. Legislation passed hundreds of years ago under colonial rule may not have any relevance in the modern times. Such legislation must be scrapped and replaced with modern legislation that reflects the realities of the current state of our country and its citizens. If you come across shrill voices opposing changes to anachronistic legislation, please understand that is an illegitimate legislation still existing in our law books. It is time to agitate for changing such illegitimate anachronistic legislation. The best examples are the alimony and adultery laws in India wherein women are perpetually assumed to be victims even when they are the perpetrators.

 The Real Victims

Who are the real victims of this legal terrorism?

Any unsuspecting individual who is compelled to defend oneself against charges under any illegitimate law automatically becomes a victim of that law. Law is a coercive state instrument. Inherent fairness is a fundamental pre-requisite for the citizens to have faith in the law. When the law fails the test of fairness, individuals charged under that law become victims of state sponsored legal terrorism. In those circumstances, the guilt or innocence of the individual becomes irrelevant. Do not inquire into the guilt or innocence of the individual when that individual is on the receiving end of illegitimate laws. Extend compassion and support to them unconditionally.

Strategies to counter Legal Terrorism and Illegitimate Legislation

Reposing faith in democratic institutions to counteract the evil consequences of illegitimate legislation may not always produce results. In fact, democracy uncurbed by the constitutional limits, as is the case in present India, will always result in the passage of illegitimate legislation to safeguard the interests of vocal sections of the population. Further, corruption also plays a major role in the passage and preservation of such legislation. Once the vested interests become entrenched, the ordinary citizens become powerless in the face of massive state power and state sponsored legal terrorism.

Are we, the ordinary citizens, helpless against this state sponsored travesty? Or are there any ways in which we can counter this?

Here I am outlining some strategies that can be employed collectively by the civil society to counter this menace.

Counsel the victims

This is by far the most important strategy. When an individual is pitted against the massive state machinery, the morale of the individual takes a massive beating. In many cases, the victims of legal terrorism, overwhelmed by the odds of fighting the corrupt state machinery out to persecute them, end their lives. When such demoralized individuals come in contact with other victims, their feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness tend to be alleviated substantially. The mere act of listening to their sad plight gives them courage and strength to fight back against the injustice. Besides, the victims can learn from each other and support each other in various other ways. In fact, the common suffering will prove to be a strong bond that will result in lasting friendships. I implore all the victims reading this article to become counselors. (See above on “The Real Victims”)

Show contempt

As Mahatma Gandhi said, cooperating with evil is worse than the evil itself. The illegitimate legislation must be held in utmost contempt it rightly deserves. Just because it was passed by the parliament, it does not become legitimate if it has failed the test of fairness as discussed above. Pay particular attention to the shrill voices of vested interests that defend the illegitimate legislation.  Check on their backgrounds and understand how these vested interests stand to benefit from the existence of the illegitimate laws. Argue with them and expose them at every opportunity.

Spread awareness

Another related strategy is spreading awareness in the society about the existence of these illegitimate laws. Most of the victims of legal terrorism are caught unawares when a barrage of criminal and civil cases hits them like bolt of lightning from the blue skies. Until it happens to them, most citizens are blissfully ignorant of such laws. In fact, one of the main secrets of the propagators of illegitimate legislation is obfuscation. These propagators deliberately hide the most pernicious provisions they included in these laws in most open debates. As soon as the heat is turned up in any debate, they slip back in to platitudes and lies. The best example of this deception is “Karan Thapar vs Renuka Chaudhary” debate in which Renuka Chaudhary fell back to her rhetorical lies like “every minute a woman is burned for dowry” or something on those lines, when sustained questioning by Karan made her squirm.  One of the best weapons to fight the illegitimate laws and legal terrorism is spreading awareness. Internet will play a significant role in spreading awareness about illegitimate legislation.

Social boycott and ostracism

Finally, the most potent weapon to counter legal terrorism is the social boycott and ostracism of its perpetrators. Most relationships and transactions in our traditional society are carried out based on trust and reputation of the families. No sane person would like to enter into any marital relationship with a family who ruthlessly used the illegitimate legislation to unleash legal terrorism on another family.  Exposing the truth about the perpetrators of legal terrorism will be enough to caution other families that plan to enter into any kind of relationship with them.

Prognosis for the future

The strategies outlined above will prove to be the philosophical underpinnings for the resistance movements that will proliferate across the country to counter the menace of legal terrorism. Save Indian Family Foundation is the best example of such social resistance movement that is employing the above strategies successfully to counter the evil consequences of illegitimate women protection legislation in India.