Wednesday, 21 February 2018

PNB Fraud: CBI and ED should quiz Rahul Gandhi

The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and ED (Enforcement Directorate) should quiz the Congress President Rahul Gandhi to understand the real modus operandi used by Nirav Modi and others to commit frauds and siphon off thousands of crores of rupees from the Punjab National Bank and other banks. If quizzing him is not already on the agenda of the investigating agencies, they should include it as early as possible. I am not joking. I am quite serious and I have reasons to be so.

So far the general impression is that Rahul Gandhi is a ‘Pxxxx’. During the Gujarat election, the Election Commission of India had banned the use of the term. Though I have not read in newspapers that there is a similar ban for other elections, I have no intention of getting on the wrong side of the law. In India, we have election season almost throughout the year. Right now, Rahul is campaigning in Meghalaya and Karnataka where elections are to be held shortly. I do not want to cause any mental tension to him.

In any case, after sensational disclosures by Rahul Gandhi about how Nirav Modi and others cheated the banks and looted public money, I am convinced that he is a well-informed and intelligent political leader. He has placed himself in the august company of well-informed and  wise persons like Sonia Gandhi, P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khursid, Digvijay Singh and likes of them. In fact, I will say that being leader of all these worthies including his mother, he has surpassed them in wisdom and getting access to top-secret information.

Yesterday, on February 21, on camera in Shillong, Rahul Gandhi linked the banking frauds to democratisation in gnome 2016. To quote him:

"First Narendra Modi demonetised the economy, then he told the people of India to stand in queues in front of banks, then behind the banks all the crooks changed their black money to white. Now, Nirav Modi comes along and says, 'You know what, the money the Indian public put into banks - Rs 22,0000 crores of it - belongs to Nirav Modi. So, Nirav Modi takes the money.’  Mister Narendra Modi is not against corruption, he is corruption. He is the instrument of corruption.”

The investigating agencies must not have imagined what Mr Narendra Modi has been doing secretly. Now that the Congress President has spilled the beans, CBI and ED must act fast.

The investigating agencies know their work and are capable of preparing long list of questions which an  accused may take  hours to answer. Even then, I would like to suggest a few questions to be put to Rahul Gandhi.

(1) When and how he, Rahul Gandhi,  came to know that the purpose of democratisation was to help the crooks change their black money to white? Before or after democratisation or subsequently?

(2) Did Mr Narendra Modi tell Nirav Modi  or Nero Modi came to know of on his own that ₹ 22,000 crore of money by Indian public in the banks belongs to him (Nirav Modi)?

(3) Did he, Mr Narendra Modi, tell other crooks how many crores of rupees belong to them?

(4) If Rahul Gandhi knew all the secrets earlier, why was he keeping quiet before the frauds were detected?

(5) Was he trying to give Mr Narendra Modi a long rope or was he giving more time to Nirav Modi and others to loot the banks?

(6) Did Rahul Gandhi share these secrets with his mother and/or others?

(7) Did Nirav Modi collect the loot in cash or through cheques or through Letters of Undertaking?

(8) What is the difference between cheque and LOU?

(9) How much time did Nirav Modi take to collect ₹ 22,000 crore?

(10)  What is the amount collected by others after democratisation?

(11)  How was it possible for these crooks to loot the public money even before democratisation, actually prior to Mr Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister?

(12)  Was Narendra Modi facilitating the loot as the Chief Minister of Gujarat also?

Rahul Gandhi should not have any difficulty in answering these questions because he seems to be an expert on banking and finance. He has personal experience of converting public money into private. (

The investigating agencies should hurry up. No one knows when Rahul Gandhi will get tired and bored and will leave India for unknown destination abroad to get his mind and body recharged to resume with new vigour his main profession, to attack Mr Narendra Modi for whatever happens anywhere in the country.

Having said all this, I cannot say whether after getting satisfactory reply from Rahul Gandhi – in fact, an insight into what happened – the investigating agencies will quiz Mr Narendra Modi also.

Devendra Narain

February 22, 2018

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Demolition of Babri Masjid, an eyewitness account

(Photos downloaded from internet. No one is carrying any tool with the structure can be demolished.)

The main reason why the Babri Masjid could be demolished so easily  was the very fragile construction at the top of the structure. Had the top been as strong as the lower parts of the structure, it could not have been demolished, in any case not with the tools the rowdy elements had.

I am convinced that holding the RSS responsible for hatching a conspiracy to demolish the structure called Babri Masjid is as irrational and baseless as blaming the RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1948, the Nehru government considered it politically expedient to put the RSS in dock and win the sympathy of the minority community. Post-demolition of the Babri Masjid, the Congress and other self-styled secular readers have found it politically expedient to blame the RSS. The Jehadis and politicians of Pakistan are using Kashmir for their political survival. In India, the secularists think that blaming the RSS (the world’s largest non-political organisation), the BJP and now Narendra Modi for everything they do not like, is the easiest way to win over the minority community.

Link for full story

Monday, 5 February 2018

Nobel Prize in economics for P. Chidambaram

Chidambaram's role model

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram deserves Nobel Prize in economics for his outstanding contributions to the field of economics.

In the next general election, the issue will be “Selling Pakodas vs Begging”. If Modi wins, the unemployed will be asked to sell  pakodas and remain poor. If Rahul wins and Chidambaram, the best brain the Congress Pary has, becomes Finance Minister, the unemployed will be asked to beg and be better off.

Click on the link below to know why.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Threats to Indian democracy

Seat of Power

                                          Means to reach seat of power

According to the (original) Preamble to the Indian Constitution, “We, the people of India,… solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign democratic republic.” During the dark days of the The Emergency, the then Prime Minister Mrs Gandhi, added two more terms, “socialist” and “secular”. She did so for political reasons, not out of ideological convictions.

Today, on January 26, 2018, we are celebrating the 69th Republic Day. In the morning, millions of Indians watched, directly or on TV channels, a magnificent show of our Democratic Republic’s military might, cultural diversity, women empowerment, some of Prime Minister Modi’s unprecedented bold initiatives and much more. The show on the Rajpath - the best so far - in the presence of Heads of 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), must have filled hearts of millions of people with pride of belonging to a great Democratic Republic.

The occasion comes once a year. In addition, every year on August 15 we celebrate the Independence Day and feel proud that ours is the largest democracy in the world.

However, in our day-to-day life we face the hard realities and quite often witness dangerous threats to our democracy. May be, when I say that there are dangerous threats to our democracy, many people would ask, “Is democracy in India really facing serious threats?” My counter question is, “In view of whatever has been happening, do we really deserve democracy?” I am not referring to the external threats from our neighbours. I am not even referring to the insurgency in Kashmir or naxal violence. I am referring to the threats to democracy from those who claim that they deserve special treatment or position in the society.

India is the world’s most diverse country. It is home to large number of religions. Though (according to the 2001 census) Hindus constitute 79.8% of the population, Muslims account for 14.2% and the remaining 6% follow other religions such as Christianity (the third largest religion in India), Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and various indigenous ethnically-bound faiths. The country has about 3000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes.

Despite more than 71 years of independence, there is widespread unemployment, social and economic inequality, starvation, malnutrition, lack of proper education and shortage of the basic facilities of life. The democratic freedom, large number of problems, the division of the society on the caste and communal lines and the gullibility of large number of people provide fertile ground for mushroom growth of caste and religious leaders. To become a religious or caste leader has become a matter of pride though it is reminiscent of the tribal societies in pre-historic days. The best way to become a caste or religious 'leader' is to incite the people belonging the leader's caste or community to demand something which may not be feasible  or even really beneficial but on the face of it looks attractive. 

For the caste and religious leaders of our country, democracy does not mean exercise of democratic rights in peaceful democratic manners. For them, democracy has come to mean freedom to abuse democratic rights. It has come to mean “end justifies means”. The “end” is political power. The “means” could be violent agitations in which human lives are lost and public and private properties worth several hundred crores of rupees are destroyed. The leaders who start the agitation remain safe and try to get political benefits. Today, we have more caste and religious leaders than  leaders who think of India. What a tragedy that some upper castes want to join the OBC (Other Backward Class) and some OBCs regard to go further down in the caste hierarchy!

The use of violent to force the government to bend is becoming quite common. When demands are ridiculous or impractical, leaders incite the people to indulge in violence. Agitations could be started on any excuse. It could be caste-based reservation in government jobs. It could be, as we are witnessing today, to protect and defend the so-called ‘caste-sentiments’ and their history. Not to forget, the Independent India has seen enumerable, small and big, communal riots and even caste riots.

Here I will mention five ugly agitations started by caste leaders since May 2008 and one ugly incident today, January 26, 2018.

The Gurjar agitation in Rajasthan for a higher scheduled tribe status, instead of the current OBC  class, and a 5% quota in government jobs, had started way back in May 2008. In the police firing, at least 15 people who were damaging railway lines and government properties were killed. When they became more aggressive and 15 more were killed in police firing, army had to be called. Seven years later, in May 2015, they again launched violent agitations in support of their demand. They blocked the Jaipur-Agra national highway and major rail tracks in the State. 4500 paramilitary personnel were deployed to handle the agitation that was called off after the State government promised to bring a legislation for providing 5% reservation. The law gave 5% reservation in government jobs to the Gujjars and four other communities under Special Backward Classes. The law neither satisfied the Gujjars – their share was only 1% – nor withstood the judicial scrutiny. The Rajasthan High Court struck down the law because it exceeded the 50% reservation ceiling and had not provided data to establish the backwardness of the five communities. Those presently lying low, Gujjars remain angry with the Rajasthan government.

Soon after the Gujjar agitation was called off (in May 2015), in the neighbouring Gujarat, in July 2015, Patidar leaders launched an agitation (Patidar reservation agitation) in support of their demand for OBC status. The Patidars (mostly with surname Patel) have been traditionally engaged in agriculture and business and are quite well off. Moreover, Gujarat has the lowest rate of unemployment in the country and one of the lowest rates of suicide by farmers. Probably, the Patidar youth are more interested in urban life and government job. Inspired by the Gujjar’s agitation, Patidar community leaders emerged to encourage them. Between July and December 2015 there were about 127 demonstrations some of which turned violent when violent mobs indulged in destruction of public properties. Properties and vehicles worth crores were destroyed. On several occasions paramilitary forces had to be called and curfew had to be imposed. Thousands of agitators were arrested. In August 2015, 12 persons were killed in police firing that gave further impetus to the movement. The Congress party was quick to extend support to the demand. In September 2015, in addition to subsidies and scholarships for the Patel students, the government agreed to provide 10% quota. However, the Gujarat High Court quashed the reservation.

The Patidar youth might not have got anything more than subsidies and scholarships but  Hardik Patel became the real beneficiary. Waiting  for an opportune moment, Hardik, a below average student who was more interested in student politics, jumped in the movement. He and his supporters formed the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti with Hardik as its convenor.  He was arrested more than once and established himself as a prominent youth leader whom Rahul Gandhi embraced during Gujarat Assembly election, though being below 25 years of age, he himself could not contest.

Within a few months of the end of the Patidar agitation in Gujarat, on January, 31, 2016, the Kapu community, constituting about 27% of the population of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, launched a violent agitation for inclusion in the ‘backward castes’ list. Within minutes of the call of the Kapu leader, Aikya Garjana, massive crowds blocked the highways disrupting traffic, torched railway coaches and attacked Railway Protection Force personnel. Garjana and his wife started indefinite fast and one person committed suicide. The Andhra Pradesh Rapid Action Force restored peace  but the matter remains unsettled.

The Jat reservation agitation that started in Haryana in February 2016 for inclusion of the Jats (presently treated as upper caste) for inclusion in the OBC to gain the benefits of reservations  paralysed the State for 10 days. Soon it spread to the neighbouring states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Initially, the agitation that started on February 12, was peaceful. Without indulging in violence, Jats blocked railway lines and roads. The trouble started when on February 18 a group of non-Jats clashed violently with a group of lawyers who were protesting against sedition charges levelled against the JNU students under the mistaken impression that they (lawyers) were Jats. They (non-Jats)  also clashed with some Jat students. On the same day, the police lathi-charged some Jat students of Rohtak. These clashes led to inter-caste violence across Haryana. By February 22, the violent protests had caused loss of ₹ 340 billion in northern India. The railways alone suffered loss of ₹ 55.9 crore on account of damage to property and cancellation of tickets. By February 26, around 30 people had been killed. To pacify the agitating Jats, Haryana government enacted Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Law which was notified on May 13, 2016. The law categorised the Jats of HinduSikh and Muslim faiths, BishnoisTyagis, and Rors as Backward Classes (C) category that made them eligible for 10% reservation in class III and IV and 6% reservation in class I and II government jobs. However, within 13 days, the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared the law null and void. Presently, the Jats are lying low but the matter is far from settled.

For the last few months, the Shri Rajput Karni Sena  of Rajasthan has been agitating for ban on film Padmavati on the pretext that it distorted ‘history’, portrayed Rani Padmavati in bad taste and her husband as a weak person and glorified Alauddin Khilji who had an evil eye for the Rani.

The Karni Sena was formed in September 2006 to demand reservations for the Rajputs in government jobs and more share of Rajput legislators in the government. The Sena split in 2010. Today, there are three different factions including the one led by the ambitious Lokendra Singh Kalvi who had joined the Congress party in 2010. (I do not know whether he is still in the Congress.) The film Padmavati gave him an opportunity to launch an agitation to mobilise his caste members and broaden his political base.

The goons of the Karni Sena created so much fear in the minds of the rulers of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana that even after the Supreme Court refused to ban the film, they went for review of the court order, only to be snubbed. Not ready to honour the Supreme Court order, the goons, led and encouraged by Kalvi, turned violent on January 24, a day before the film's release, not just in the four states mentioned above, but also in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh (though on a small scale) and, surprisingly, in different parts of Bihar. In addition to taking out threatening rallies, violent mobs blocked roads, torched public and private vehicles, pelted stones on buses, private vehicles, buildings, shops and cinema halls and physically assaulted large number of people, irrespective of whether they were for or against the film. Some women of Chittorgarh (in Rajasthan where Rani Padmavati and16,000 women are believed to have committed "jauhar" i.e. mass immolation to save their honour from Khilji), claimed that about 1900 would commit "jauhar" if the film were released (though nothing like that happened). To avoid identification, several goons had covered their faces. The agitation subsided only when the state governments started arresting the troublemakers and the people enthusiastically went to movie halls to watch the film being screened under police protection. Many of those who watched the movie openly said that all the allegations levelled by Kalvi and his supporters were absolutely baseless.

Though the agitations for the ban on the film have subsided, the Rajputs, particularly Kalvi and his supporters, must have the last laugh. The stations brought the Rajputs of rival parties on a common platform to fight for the common interest.

The next move of such mischievous leaders needs to be closely watched. They are unlikely to sit idle for long.

The sixth ugly incident that I would like to mention took place in the afternoon of the Republic Day, January 26, 2018. In Kasganj, a district town of Uttar Pradesh, around 36 volunteers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad decided to take out a rally on motorbikes with national flags as a mark of their participation in the Republic Day celebration. When they were passing through a particular locality, there were verbal altercations between two religious communities (there are different versions of how it all started). Soon the altercation took communal colour and turned violent. An angry mob damaged more than 12 vehicles and properties. In the clashes and firings, a 20 year old boy was killed and about a dozen persons sustained injuries. In the evening, the authorities claimed that the situation was under control. (Communal violence in Kasganj: stone pelting on VHP ... -

Let us hope and pray, it remains a local incident. In our country often a small incident triggers large-scale violence.  We should ask ourselves a very serious questionis, “Is the centuries old Hindu Muslim relationship in India so fragile that even minor altercation can lead to violent communal clashes?” Both the communities have to live together peacefully in their own interest.

The modern democratic system with all its institutions is the result of thousands of years of progress of civilisation. There is a famous saying that ‘democracy is the worst form of the government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’ (Though attributed to Sir Winston Churchill in the House of Commons on November 11, 1947, the real author of the sentence was someone else.)

By its very nature, democracy is a quite civilised system. It can work successfully only in a civilised environment. Like a gentleman, it finds it difficult to deal with goons and thugs. As a gentleman needs the state to protect him from the antisocial elements, the democratic system needs a strong government to work as its protector, to stand as a shield. When the state machinery becomes weak, the anti-social elements try to weaken the democratic institutions. We saw this during the current violence let loose by the Karni Sena and its supporters. The strong Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh took firm preventive measures. The goons of the Sena could not do much there. On the contrary, the weak Chief Ministers of Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat could not provide timely shield. As a result, the criminals became bold enough to destroy public and private properties and attacked innocent persons not just on roads but also staying inside their houses. They did not spare even small children going in a school bus near Gurgaon in Haryana.

There are three important lessons of these developments in the name of backward castes, dalits, emotions of certain castes, etc.

One,  threats to democracy are also attached to economic development. When political agitations have upper hand, economic developments get less attention. When goons get upper hand, public and private assets created after years of heard work are destroyed in minutes. It is like two steps forward and one step backward.

Two, India is getting polarised. During the protest days, the communal minded leaders propagated “two nation” theory that led to the partition of the country. In the present day India, there is danger of fragmentation of the society on communal, caste and sub- caste lines which will damaged the social and democratic fabric of India and India’s image as One Nation.

Three and the most important, democracy can survive only when a strong government and alert people protect it from criminals, firmly and decisively. Effective medicines are needed to cure a serious disease that is not self-limiting. It is unfortunate that most of our political leaders do not have guts to oppose the criminals. Large number of politicians themselves have criminal record or support criminals in the hope of political gain in future.

The next general election to elect the next democratic government at the Centre will be held in less than 18 months. That will be a crucial test whether democracy is going to become stronger or weaker. The defeat of Narendra Modi is bound to result in fractured mandate and weak coalition government, not only at the Centre but also in several states. This will make the anti-democratic forces stronger and more ambitious. If Modi loses, it will be due to the weak chief ministers of his party and coalition partners. The real enemy is often within.

Devendra Narain

January 26, 2018

As apprehended, the violence in Kasganj has not ended. The anti-social elements do not want restoration of peace. Yogi Adityanath has to prove that he is a ‘no-nonsense’ Chief Minister even in the times of communal violence.

January 28, 2018

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Rahul mantra to become rich

The NDTV (January 23, 2018, on internet ) has summarised how and what Prime Minister Modi addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged with a namaste the loud applause as he was introduced as the keynote speaker at this year's World Economic Forum's plenary session at the Swiss mountain resort of Davos. Speaking in Hindi, PM Modi showcased ease of doing business in India to world leaders and global CEOs, also calling for countries to unite to tackle what he called the three big challenges that the world faces - "climate change, terrorism and a threat to globalisation with powers of protectionism rising."

As expected, Rahul Gandhi, the Congress President and the Prime Minister aspirant in 2019, got one more opportunity to attack his arch-rival. He is perennially sad that Modi is occupying the position that is his birthright. He tweeted, “Dear PM, please tell DAVOS why 1% of India’s population gets 73% of its wealth? I’m attaching a report for your ready reference.”

By the way, the tweet proves that Rahul reads newspapers. The report he attached has been released by the Oxfam and published in the newspapers today (January 23, 2018). I would also like to add that being a “great leader” (at least in the opinion of his supporters in his party) and the latest President of one of the oldest parties in the world, he should ask the leaders of other countries attending the Davos meet to answer similar question about their countries. According to the Oxfam report “globally, 82% of the wealth generated last year went to the top 1%, while the 3.7 billion people who account for the lower half of the population saw no increase in wealth.” About scenario in India, the report says, “the richest 1% in India got 73% of the wealth generated in the country last year. Additionally, the 670 million Indians who comprise the poorer half of the population saw their wealth rise by just 1%.” In other words, the record of India is better than the record of the rest of the world. I wonder, if Rahul remembers the answer given by his party colleague Jairam Ramesh on July 29, 2016 during a panel discussion and interaction on “25th Year of Reforms: A Retrospective of What Happened in June-July 1991” . Ramesh had said, “Poverty has declined significantly since 1991 while inequality has gone up during the same period. Inequality has become sharper; it has become worse. Inequality in health, inequality in access to education, the inequality in access to public services has certainly gone up after 1991. This is the paradox of reforms.”

The debate on growing disparity, not just in India but worldwide has been subject matter of debate and research since time immemorial and most probably will continue indefinitely.

More relevant for the poor is that Rahul should also tell them how to solve this perennial problem. At least, in the larger interest of the poor of the country, he can tell us how the ‘Sonia-Rahul-Motilal-Oscar Mantra’, in fact Rahul Mantra (RM) was conceived that made his mom and him multi-millionaires in only one deal and that too without any investment. The Mantra could benefit large number of poor people who want to do do business but have no resources. His Mantra would be much more beneficial than the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Loan Bank Yojana (PMMY) conceived by Modi and under active implementation. I say “much more” because the loan taken under the PMMY has to be returned whereas the RM casts no such responsibility. Of course, there is risk that people like Subramaniam Swamy do not take liking for such a Mantra.

Well, Rahul will never admit that there is or was any such Mantra, here is a brief account of the RM.

First the background. On November 19, 1937, the 18th birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru’s darling daughter Indira Priyadarshini Nehru set up a company known as Associated Journal Limited (AJL) for the publications of newspapers started in 1938. After independence, the central and state governments, controlled by the ruling family, allotted prime lands at throwaway rates in New Delhi, Lucknow and other towns. Despite patronage of the Nehru-Gandhi family, AJL incurred losses for decades. Though the people voted for the Congress for decades, they had little interest in the party’s newspaper, the National Herald. By 2010-11, the AJL had accumulated losses of Rs. 90.21 crore.

The chanting of the RM, perhaps jointly composed by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes, began in 2008 when the family decided to close down the publication and bring the ‘goldmines’ (the real estate now worth several thousand crores) under the family ownership. An ingenuous method (I call it Mantra) was devised. Sometime in 2010, the Congress party gave loan of ₹ 89.71 cr, to the AJL to tide over the financial crisis. (At least this is what people were told.)

In November 2010 Sonia, Rahul (owning 38% share each), Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes (owning 12% share each) formed a new company,  Young Indian Ltd (YIL). On December 21, the Board of Directors of the AJL transferred loans of Rs. 89.71 cr to the YIL. The shareholders ratified the decision a month later. In addition, the YIL gave loan of Rs. 50 Lacs (difference between Rs. 90.21 crore and Rs. 89.71 crore) to the AJL to meet the remaining obligations. The AJL now owed Rs. 90.21 crore to the YIL. To liquidate the loan owed to the YIL, the AJL allotted 9, 02, 16, 898 equity shares of Rs. 10 each to the YIL. The AJL became a subsidiary of YIL  76% of which is owned by Sonia and Rahul. On October 11, 2012, Rahul had clarified  that YIL being a not-for-profit company, it had no intention of starting any newspaper. 

Whatever was done was an in-house drama. As Congress treasurer, Motilal Vora, gave loans to AJL and then wrote all the loans off. As Chairman of AJL, he presided over the meeting of Board of Directors that requested YIL to take over the company’s debt to the Congress and as a shareholder of YIL, he was party to the decision to accept that request.

Following the investigations carried out by the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax (IT) Department served notices on Congress, AJL and YIL to explain, inter alia, unsecured loan by a political party and carried out further investigations. The 105 page IT assessment order passed by an Asstt Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi, on December 27, 2017, throws more light on what had happened. According to the IT order, actually the Congress had not given any loan to the AJL. It was just a book entry. Nor did the Congress actually give any loan of ₹ 50 lakh to the YIL. The latter took accommodation entries of Rs 1 crore from M/s Dotex Merchandise Pvt Ltd, a hawala entry operator in Kolkata, for which commission of Rs 1 lakh was paid.  The IT order has estimated that the fair market value of the assets acquired by the YIL is Rs 413.40 crore. Holding that though the company had  been registered as a charitable company, it did not carry out any charitable activity, the Asstt Commissioner of income tax assessed its income at ₹ 413.40 cr. for the assessment year 2011-12, cancelled the tax exemption certificate of YIL, raised demand and initiated penalty proceedings f under section 271 (1) or concealment of income. The penalty could be in the range of 100% to 300%. The order says that YIL is now worth more than ₹ 2000 crore.

Mercifully, the IT department has not initiated proceedings under section 276 C (1) for wilful attempt to evade tax under which the tax evader is liable to imprisonment which may be six months to seven years and with fine.

Devendra Narain

January 23, 2018

Sunday, 21 January 2018

बहना मोरी, राखी के बंधन को निभाना

आपके २० विधान-सभा सदस्य अयोग्य घोषित। ममता का केजरीवाल को साथ का वादा।

बहना मोरी, राखी के बंधन को निभाना।

छोटे भईया को भूल जान।

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Rot in the Roster System of Judiciary

February 12, 2017 may go down in the history of Indian judiciary as a Black Day. In an unprecedented and shocking manner, on that eventful day, four senior most judges of the Supreme Court - next only to the Chief Justice in seniority – Kurian Joseph, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi (who may be the next the Chief Justice) and M.B. Lokur held a press conference and made public their joint letter, full of serious grievances, against the Chief Justice of India (CJI). They expressed their anguish that the age-old tradition of drawing of roster of judges, an acknowledged privilege of the CJ, “for an orderly transactions of business and appropriate arrangements to deal with case or class of cases”, was not being followed in a desirable manner. They pointed out that this shortcoming and the possibility of a judicial body arrogating to itself “the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matter which ought to be heard by appropriate Benches” would create “doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution”. Without giving specific instances, they pointed out “of late, the twin rules mentioned above have not been strictly adhered to.” (

Since then while attempts are being made to restore cordial relationship between the CJI and his colleagues, millions of words have been written on what could have prompted such an outburst by men who are supposed to be always composed and balanced in their views, utterances and judgements.

My purpose of writing this article is not to join those who have been expressing their opinion on the January 12 episode and subsequent developments but to share my own bitter experience with the roster system. I do not have any personal experience of how the system works in the Supreme Court but I have been a victim of how the system works in the Delhi High Court.

In late 2010 I filed a Writ Petition (Civil) in the Delhi High Court against a rule framed by the Department of Revenue, Government of India, which adversely affected my service conditions as a member of a national tribunal (Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Property)[i] after I had joined. Thanks to the roster system and the defective manner of its implementation, five different Benches heard my case over a period of more than four years.

Look at the timeline of the case summarised in a tabular form for the ease of getting the picture.
Writ Petition (Civil) No. 8502 of 2010
Devendra Narain vs Union of India
S. No.
Date of Hearing and Judges on the  Bench
(First Bench, with one replacement, to hear the WP)

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Justice M. L. Mehta
Government counsel accepted the notice and was directed to file rejoinder within two weeks.

Next date 09-02-2011

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Justice Rajiv Shakdher
Since the government failed to file the counter affidavit within the time granted, the court imposed cost of ₹ 3000/- on the government and allowed four more weeks. The petitioner was required to file rejoinder within two weeks thereafter. Next date 21-04-2011.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Justice Rajiv Shakdher

Since the government again failed to file the counter, the court imposed additional cost of ₹   7000/-with the condition that that if the amounts were not not paid within time, the counter affidavit would not be taken on record and the matter would be disposed of on the basis of the petitioner’s pleadings.  
Next date of hearing: 01-06-2011

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Justice Rajiv Shakdher
The government finally filed the counter. The petitioner was given six weeks to file rejoinder. The next date of hearing 07-9-2011 (but no hearing on 7-9-2011.)

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Justice Rajiv Shakdher
The court granted the government request for adjournment on the condition that no further adjournment would be granted in the matter and gave 19-03-2012 as the next date.

 Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Justice Rajiv Shakdher
On the day of hearing, the Bench realised that it had no jurisdiction over the case which was a service dispute between the petitioner and   the government and the pay scale entitlement of the petitioner and stated that in terms of the current roster and subject to the orders of the Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice it should be listed before “before the appropriate Bench on 23.3.2012 for directions.”
(Second Bench to hear the WP; the first Bench was not the appropriate one)

Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed & Justice V.K. Jain
The Bench passed a simple order: “For directions”.

Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed & Justice Siddharth Mridul
The court adjourned the case to February 8, 2013 on the ground that that no time was left on the day to hear the matter.
(Third Bench to hear the WP; change due to new roster)

Justice Pradeep Nandrajog &   Justice Veena Birbal
The court adjourned the case “for hearing” on March 14, 2013.


Justice Pradeep Nandrajog & Justice Pratibha Rani
The court observed that considering the importance of the issues raised, assistance of the Additional Solicitor Gen (ASG) was required and ordered the government counsel to ensure his presence after properly briefing him on May 24, 2013, the next date of hearing.

Justice Pradeep Nandrajog & Justice V. V. Kameswar Rao
 The case was adjourned to August 23, 2013.

(Though not mentioned in the court order order, the reason was that ASG was not present.)

Justice Pradeep Nandrajog & Justice V. V. Kameswar Rao
The government counsel stated that the ASG was not available.  The case was adjourned to October 23, 2013. (ASG was busy in another case before other court.)

Justice Pradeep Nandrajog & Justice V.V. Kameswar Rao
Adjourned to December 10, 2013.
(Though not mentioned in the order, ASG, who finally appeared asked for time to study the case. Obviously, even after more than seven months, the government counsel had not briefed the ASG.)

Justice Pradeep Nandrajog & Justice
Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.
Adjourned to February 19, 2014. (ASG had not appeared.)
(Fourth Bench to hear the WP; change again due to new roster)

Justice Reva Khetrapal & Justice Pratibha Rani
No hearing. Adjourned to May 19, 2015.


Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani
After hearing for a few minutes, the Bench stated that it had no jurisdiction over the case since “the matter pertains to a service dispute between the Petitioner and the Governments and the pay scale entitlement of the Petitioner. Accordingly, subject to orders of Hon'ble   Chief Justice, list before the appropriate Bench as per roster on 21st July, 2014.” (Though not mentioned in the order, the Judges said that their Bench was not meant for non-civil service cases.)
(Fifth Bench to hear the WP; the fourth Bench was not the appropriate one)

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and justice Vipin Sanghi
There was no hearing. Only next date was given.

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and justice Vipin Sanghi 

Arguments heard. Judgement reserved
Judgement delivered. WP against the government allowed.

  The results of the analysis of the information presented above are quite revealing.

(1)   Out of five Benches, which heard the case, two were not “appropriate” Benches to hear civil service matters. One wonders, how the case was assigned to wrong Benches, not once but twice. In the process, a year-end half was wasted.

(2) Every judge has his/her own way of dealing with the case before him/her and every judge takes his/her own time to comprehend the case. (Not a shortcoming of the roster system.)

(3)  The first Bench, which was not the “appropriate one”, realised so when the case came up before it on the sixth occasion. Had any judges on the Bench read even the first page of the writ petition, it would have become clear that it was about a service matter. Obviously, none had come to the court prepared. May be, since it was not composed of the judges conversant with service matters, they took time to realise what was before them.

(4)  The third Bench wasted one year because it was not ready to hear the case without the presence of the ASG. (Again, not a reflection on the roster system per se.)

(5) Two Benches were not allowed to proceed with the case because the case was transferred to another Bench under a new roster. Every time a new roster is drawn, cases being heard by the previous Benches are transferred to new Benches. When a case comes before a Bench for the first time, it is a new case for that Bench and the parties have to repeat their arguments already heard by the previous Benches.

(6) In my case the fifth and the last Bench was the most appropriate one. The judges understood the case in only one hearing. (Devendra Narain vs Union Of India on 6 January, 2015 - Indian Kanoon;

As mentioned by the four Supreme Court Judges and as we all know, it is the Chief Justice’s prerogative to draw the roster. It must be quite a job. For example, presently the Delhi High Court has 38 judges including the Chief Justice. The latest roster drawn by the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and effective from January 2, 2018, has eight Division Benches comprising two judges each for 60 categories of cases. In addition, there are 22 Single Judge Benches for more than 90 categories of cases. These judges hear about 1000 (one thousand) cases on a working day. It is impossible for any Chief Justice to allot such a large number of cases to different Division and Single judge Benches. At the most, he/she can decide the cases that the Division Bench headed by him/him would hear and personally allot some important cases to the “appropriate” Benches. Most of the work is done by his/her office. Therefore, if my case was assigned to “inappropriate” Benches twice, it must have been done by the office of the Chief Justice.

My grouse is that there is no supervision to ensure that cases are not assigned to the “inappropriate” Benches. Had there been such a mechanism, the mistake would not have gone unnoticed for a long period and would not have been committed more than once. This is the primary “Rot in the roster system”.

My other grouse is that under the roster system, the cases are transferred from a Bench that have become familiar with the case to another Bench for fresh start. It is like ‘snake and ladder game’.

   The most damaging effect of the roster system, compounded by its faulty implementation, is the huge pendency in courts. All cases are not complicated and can be decided in two-three hearings but are heard, adjourned, heard again and again by new benches. The process goes on and on for years.

    The victims of these shortcomings are the litigants. I have written what I have experienced in one writ petition. I am sure, there must be large number of persons facing similar problems. Apart from delay in the Justice, a lot of money is wasted due to rot in the roster system. I had to work very hard to prepare counters to the false arguments given by the government and had to visit my lawyer frequently to explain the case to him.

Though my lawyer was not very costly, I paid ₹ 212,200/- to him to fight this particular case over a period of more than four years. Out of this amount, ₹ 174,100/- was wasted on hearings before “inappropriate” Benches and the Benches that were not allowed to proceed due to changes under the roster system. Had there been proper system, my expenditure would have been ₹ 38,100/- only.

Who will compensate me for delay in justice and wastage of money?

Perhaps, one will listen to what people like me suffer and the “rot in the roster system” will continue.

Devendra Narain
January 19, 2018

[i] The WP was part of a long legal battle that had started in 2000 when I was working as Member, ATFP. After joining the Tribunal I discovered that the appointment letter mentioned the pay scale which was lower than prescribed the under the rules. My representations were rejected and the government revised the service conditions to my disadvantage. The Central Administrative Tribunal (Principal Branch) ruled in my favour in May 2003. The government filed a WP in the High Court against the CAT order which was allowed in 2010 on technical grounds. Back to square one, I was constrained to start my battle afresh by filing a WP to challenge the illegal order of the government. The High Court verdict in my favour on January 6, 2015. Since then I have fighting another legal battle, through contempt petition, for the implementation of the High Court order. I have mentioned these developments only to give a background of the WP filed in 2010.