"Public servants and political opponents have natural misgivings against commissions appointed under section 3 of the Inquiry Commission Act 1952 as motivated, slow, ineffective and costly luxur y. The report is never submitted within time, seldom published, action rarely taken. The commission's report is binding on the government who may accept or reject the same.
FOR every act of omission, appoint a Commission. There are sittings, a lot of noise and then the matter is dropped.The history of independent India is replete with numerous commissions of inquiry which have proved to be tools in the hands of ruling parties, whether at the Centre or the state. The Shah Commission, Jain Commission, Commissions of Inquiry into the 1984 communal riots,Thakkar Commission, Lentin Commission. The list is endless. All inconclusive, reducing the whole exercise to a farce, forget the burden on the exchequer.
What did the Jain Commission's interim report on the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case achieve, besides enabling our politicians to thrust an election on the country? It got 12 extensions and took six years to complete the probe—Jain wasn't given an extension when his term expired on February 28. Now, more than a month after he submitted his final report, it's still with the government. Says Shanti Bhushan, senior Supreme Court lawyer: "Commissions have been used and misused for political purposes. They've been used to suppress a controversy rather than determine it, since the findings will embarrass the ruling party."
On February 16, Justice B.N. Srikrishna submitted the 700-page, two-volume find-ings of his five-year probe into the Bombay riots of 1992-93. Coming as it did on the eve of elections and while the Sena-BJP was wooing minorities who constitute 10 per cent of the population, Chief Minister Manohar Joshi kept the report under wraps. And despite repeated demands in the state assembly that the report be tabled, the government gave in just an inch, agreeing to file an action taken report.
But the Srikrishna Commission is not the only one which is struggling to see the light of the day. Most commission reports are tabled only after court orders. Take the Justice Thakkar Commission of Inquiry that probed Indira Gandhi's assassination. In his final report submitted in March 1986, Justice Thakkar wrote: "The Commission after due deliberation has formed the opinion that while there is no objection to the interim report being made public, the larger public interest demands that the present report (final report) may not be made public." The Thakkar Commission was not tabled in Parliament, till a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court. Ditto the Lentin Commission, which probed the deaths of 14 patients in Bombay's J.J. Hospital. The findings were made public only after a Bombay High Court ruling.
Former chief justice and NHRC chairperson Ranganath Mishra, who headed the controversial commission that probed the 1984 riots in Delhi, admits that the "whole purpose of a commission of inquiry is lost if the report is not made public."
Soon after the Mishra Commission report was presented in Parliament in 1986, with its findings on whether the Sikh riots were pre-planned, it gave way to the appointment of the Kapoor-Mittal and the Jain-Renison (later Jain-Banerjee) panels in 1987 to probe other aspects of the riots. Two years later, the investigation by the Jain-Banerjee panel was stayed after a Delhi High Court order. In 1990, it was replaced by the Poti-Rosh Committee whose term ran out; then, the Jain-Aggarwal panel was appointed. Finally in 1993, the Jain-Aggarwal duo recommended registration of 333 cases and reinvestigation of a 129 cases to be taken up by a riot cell. In 1995-96, 11 years after the carnage, 136 persons were convicted; Congress MP Sajjan Kumar was sent to trial; Congress leader H.K.L. Bhagat was jailed but was later released on bail.
In the days of Nehru and the old Congress, however, inquiry panels had a better fate. The M.C. Chagla Commission, which took up the Life Insurance Corporation scam, is unique in more ways than one—it is the only Commission that submitted its report in less than a month. Then, the report led to the resignation of then Union finance minister T.T. Krishna-machari and the Special Police Establishment indicted Haridas Mundra, the wheeler-dealer businessman who masterminded illegal transactions of LIC shares, and handed him a 22-year prison term. This was perhaps the first, and till date the only, commission which fulfilled its objectives.
But why do the Commissions fail? Many times, the blame is put on officialdom which often doesn't part with documents citing 'privilege'. Take the controversial Jain Commission, probing the conspiracy angle of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. The Commission had complained that certain vital documents had been withheld by the government on the plea that they were highly 'sensitive'. Later, as it turned out, the information withheld included the minutes of a cabinet meeting held on February 10, 1994, under then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, where a proposal to wind up the Commission was discussed.
THE Srikrishna Commission's request to allow it to examine certain documents relating to the correspondence between the state government and the police was turned down. Asks former Union home secretary Madhav Godbole: "If the objective of the commission is to get to the bottom of truth, then what is the point of hiding vital information from the Commission?" Sometimes there are functional hurdles too. Before the Commission began its hearings, Jain wrote to the government that he did not even have an office.
The Verma Commission set to examine "official lapses" in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination held some key former officials of the V.P. Singh and Chandra Shekhar administration guilty—but long after the officials
There is also no uniformity on whether the tainted minister should continue in office when a Commission of inquiry has held him guilty. The only minister who resigned when indicted was former FM Krishnamachari. For others, it did not matter. In 1967, the Justice T.L. Venkataraman Aiyar Commission set up by Mahamaya Prasad Sinha indicted half-a-dozen ministers of the K.B. Sahay government in Bihar for financial irregularities. Two of them, Mahesh Prasad Sinha and Satyendra Narain Sinha, went on to become chief ministers.
Soon after the Emergency, when the Janata Party swept to power, several Commissions were instituted to deal with Emergency excesses. Prominent among them were the Justice J.C. Shah Commission to inquire into the misuse of power by then prime minister Indira Gandhi and the Justice A.C. Gupta Commission to probe into alleged irregularities in Maruti Udyog, a public sector undertaking. Once the Congress(I) bounced back to power in 1980, these Commissions fell out of favour. During its two-year term, the Shah Commission submitted an interim report—the panel was soon wound up. Nothing came of the Gupta findings.
In West Bengal too, when the Left Front government headed by chief minister Jyoti Basu assumed power, he appointed three Commissions for atrocities committed during the Emergency and the years leading up to it. The Ajoy Bose Commission set up to probe the misuse of official power between March 16, 1970 till April 30, 1977; the Haratosh Chakravarthy Commission to probe excesses of jail and thana officials; and the J. Sarma Sarkar Commission to probe the assault on democratic rights—all the reports continue to gather dust.
"Commissions are effective in that they awaken public awareness—for that the media must be given credit—otherwise they are a total waste of time and money.Besides public memory is short," admits former Justice Bakhtawar Lentin, who headed the probe into the J.J. Hospital deaths. The two-year probe into the deaths of patients (who were administered glycerol adulterated with toxic diethylene glycol) highlighted the nexus between drug makers, politicians and the Food and Drug Administration.
The Lentin Commission report which was tabled after a court order in 1988 found the then state public health minister, Bhai Sawant, guilty. But without batting an eyelid, the state government recommended another probe. "In retrospect, they all got away except one person who was penalised because he helped the Commission." Says Lentin: "For Commissions to be effective, they must have the power of proceedings in perjury and the power to proceed in contempt." But who says a Commission has to deliver, in India that is?
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
when as a student I started a campaign against "Muslim women's bill" and was confronted with massive support from people hostile to muslims, which I was not. That ultimately lead to work with victims of Bombay riots 1992/3 when I was still a student. You consider myself to be brainwashed by marxism, whatever that means. My convictions come from my experiences and in 1993 I had extensive interaction with the Rapid Action Force men, who were sent for our protection in the resettled colony. They were stationed for about two weeks, a new group every day. To lend moral support to the victims as also to reassure the women, I spent the nights with them, so had long conversation with the RAF men late into the night. They all had been in Ayodhya before being airlifted to Bombay. From them I learnt of small and big communal incidents from all over the country. My dissatisfaction with newspaper reportage dates back to those times. No newspaper caught any of the reality of Bombay riots. A whole generation of journalists including Teesta Setalvad were a product of Bombat 1992/3 and they can tell you how difficult it was to get their reportage published. Things have changed for the better, but not enough.''
I am impressed you say that you worked Riots victims .
I have simple Questions which you will answer easily since you worked with Riot Victims .My respects for the noble deeds you performed .
Q. 1. Can you give the Names and addresses of some Victims so that
we can assure them that sister Saroja is still available to help.??
Q.2 If once one engages with the victims of carnage naturally the bonds are life long .
So you can easily confirm now : How many Victims whom you assisted are Muslim women ?
And how many victims are Hindu women ?
Ok if you feel question is divisive then at least give the total number of the victims you assisted ?
Q3 . How many Hindu and Muslim victims you had taken to Srikrishna Commission for recording their statements for ZOOLMs they suffered ?
Q 4. How much aid those victims got ,when and how much ?
You must be knowing those roughly details.
Q. 5 What is the role of Teesta in fighting before Justice Srikrisna Commission for the victims ??
Q6. Which camps you were associated ??
I can ask more questions but I will desist further .
You are free to call my questions as stupid or else .But if you have have rendered services to victims you must know the answers too .
OK Bye Bye !
What an uncouth post! Moron, you want me to give the names and addresses of some 800 families that I was dealing with and much larger numbers that other people in my group were dealing with? I was dealing with people in three different settlements around Dindoshi if that helps you in understanding. I was associated with an NGO which had Shabana Azmi,Anand Patwardhan etc as members.
I was to take some of the victims to depose before the Indian People's Human Rights Tribunal under Krishna Iyer.However, the night before the hearings, the witnesses were scared off by goondas. So I had to hurriedly prepare and submit an affidavit before the commission, naming the culprits. It is published in the report.
None of us took Srikrishna commission seriously as it was sarkari. It turned out to be much better than the tribunal report. But then our report was out by end of March 1993. Also, I chose to go back to my normal life.
About compensation, we immediately arranged for the compensation given out through collector's office ( of few hundred rupees per head).
The Srikrishna report came into public domain through the efforts of Sabrang and they published it.
I am impressed that you prepared a Draft to be filed before the Srikrishna Commission .CAN WE SEE THAT DRAFT prepared by you in the night .
And in the past you said here that you were not in Mumbai hence you were not aware much of the Srikrishna Report and 1993 Riots but promised that you will read it and revert back .
Now you became the Drafter of the DRAFT BY NGO .Surely you will claim since it was filed in name of NGO hence naturally your name will be not there .
By this yard stick even if you write you Wrote the Constitution of India with Dr Baba Saheb we will accept that too .!!
WONDER OF WONDERS !
And you will cut and paste pages from Constitution too drafted by you as a Proof .WONDERFUL MADAM WONDERFUL.
Wonderful madam wonderful !
By the way did you draft the Drafts which were filed before the SIT and Courts for the Gujarat Riot victims of 2002 that is 10 years after you drafted for Sirikrishna Commission ??
" What an uncouth post! Moron, you want me to give the names and addresses of some 800 families that I was dealing with and much larger numbers that other people in my group were dealing with? I was dealing with people in three different settlements around Dindoshi if that helps you in understanding '
Couple of months you bravely asked me to give the names and addtresses of 250 Hindus killed by Gujarat Police in 2002 so that you could verify that actually 250 Hindus were killed by Police firings 2002 .
Unfortunately I was under the impression since Bi had asked this question from me a couple of months back & she is NEITHER UNCOUTH NOR MORON SO it will be all right for me to ask the details .How wrong I was !
Never knew that a person is UNCOUTH AND MORON IF ONE ASKS ABOVE DETAILS !!
Forgive my insolence in asking your own question back to back from you..
[[Now you will say never asked the Question -I must prove --.
Scrol back pages and find out yourself.]]
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