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Right to Dignity; The Institutional Deficit

first_imgColumnsRight to Dignity; The Institutional Deficit Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Senior Advocate27 Oct 2020 6:08 AMShare This – xOn the Global Dignity Day (October 21), India joined the world in celebrating human dignity, about which Thomas Paine had famously written that “…the sun never shined on a cause of greater worth”. Regrettably, more than seven decades after independence, we face a legitimate interrogation about our faltering record in the advancement of a defining national aspiration. India stands…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginOn the Global Dignity Day (October 21), India joined the world in celebrating human dignity, about which Thomas Paine had famously written that “…the sun never shined on a cause of greater worth”. Regrettably, more than seven decades after independence, we face a legitimate interrogation about our faltering record in the advancement of a defining national aspiration. India stands at number 94 out of the 107 countries evaluated on the Global Hunger Index with over 14 crore undernourished children (Global Hunger Index 2020). Unabated instances of rape, encounter deaths, custodial torture, abuse of elders and children, deprivation of basic human rights and the resultant loss of dignity of the marginalized multitude, the suborning of fundamental freedoms by a muscular State and a fraying democracy mock the constitutional promise of fraternity, with individual dignity as its principal constituent. Even though the Supreme Court as a designated guardian of the constitutional conscience has declared that the right to life under Article 21, sans dignity, is like “a sound that is not heard… ” (Navtej Johar, 2018), a continuing loss of dignity in its various manifestations remains a painful reality. Recent events of far reaching importance involving the executive and judiciary have raised concerns about the institutional role and failure in advancing the Constitutions’ dignitarian promise. An unprecedented communication by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh to the Chief Justice of India, complaining about interference by a senior Supreme Court judge in the administration of justice by certain judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, has compromised the institutional integrity and dignity of the higher judiciary. Making public his communication, on a sensitive subject under consideration of the Chief Justice, the chief executive of the State has not done justice to his office either. While the concerned Judges are obliged to defend their dignity and vindicate their oath of office, the Chief Minister also cannot escape the burden of constitutional discipline and the high standards of rectitude expected of him. Whether a criminal contempt action against the Chief Minister can alone redeem the prestige and dignity of higher judiciary is debatable. Judging from public response to the contempt proceedings in Prashant Bhushan’s case, only an unanswerable case of criminal contempt founded on clear malafides on the part of the Chief Minister would invest the punitive judicial remedy with credibility and a moral appeal. Whether or not the case for contempt is “clear and beyond reasonable doubt”(Baradakanta Misra,1974) will depend upon “a noetic look at the conspectus of the features and… a constellation of constitutional and other considerations…”( In re Mulgaokar 1978). A credible resolution of a complex situation will indeed test the wisdom of the wise and the inter-institutional capacity to advance constitutional justice. A restrained and sparing use of the unusual jurisdiction combining “the judge, jury and the hangman” (SCBA 2008), in a spirit of “majestic liberalism” adds to the legitimacy of contempt jurisdiction and till recently, such has been the Court’s preferred approach (In re Mulgaokar, supra 1978,Vijay Kurle, 2020). This is because the authority and dignity of the higher judiciary as custodian of the constitutional principle rests not on the “coercive power of the judges but the deference and respect which is paid to them and their acts from an opinion of their justice and integrity”(Baradakanta Misra, supra). Judicial dignity is clearly anchored in its moral rightness rather in a colonial heritage of enforced dignity though retributive exercise of ‘kingly power’, in a republic of free men. The majesty of courts is located in the objectivity, consistency, and intellectual integrity of their judgments which must remain open to public scrutiny and fair comment. Judicial dignity, in the final analysis is a function of the community’s responsive chord to its pronouncements based upon a shared sense of justice. Judicial excessivism or abdication are both fatal to judicial prestige. Unchecked media trials, especially on electronic and social media, which repeatedly transgress constitutional boundaries with a devastating infraction of the right to privacy and reputation mock the promise of fair trial and legal due process under Article 21. Despite several binding interdicts by the highest Court against parallel media trials at various stages adversely impacting the course of justice (Mirajkar 1965, Sahara 2012), the brazen illegality continues unrestrained under the gaze of the highest court. The Sushant Singh Rajput and Kangana Ranaut episodes are jarring illustrations. Instances of such trials still fresh in public memory include, Uma Khurana (2007), Aarushi Talwar (2017), Nambi Nayaran (2018), Hadiya (2018), 2G Spectrum Case (2018), P. Chidambaram(2019) and the ongoing Sunanda Pushkar and Tarun Tejpal cases, to name only a few. Relentless violation of the constitutional guarantee of fair trial have left unanswered, questions about the abuse of freedom of expression and the impossibility of a just recompense for the loss of reputation and dignity of the accused. The profound and poetic pronouncements by the Supreme Court in M. Nagaraj (2006), K.S Puttaswamy (2017), Romila Thapar (2018), Nambi Narayan(2018), Navtej Johar (2018), Tehseen Poonawalla (2018), et; al, espousing human dignity as the foremost constitutional principle remains no more than a pious declaration of constitutional intent. Questions about the apex Court’s vacillation and institutional incapacity to enforce its judgments without which the declaration of law is meaningless have diminished judicial prestige. A seemingly resigned acceptance by the highest Court of the routine and audacious negation of the legal principles of proportionality, neutralization, necessity and postponement of publication enunciated by it ( R. Rajagopal 1962 and Sahara 2012) in relation to media coverage of cases under trial is inexplicable. This is particularly so because in Bhramajeet Singh Sharma (2005) the Court recognized presumption of innocence as a human right and declared unhesitatingly in Sahara, supra that the freedom of expression under Article 19 (1)(a) is subject to the requirement of fair trial (Article 21). A welcome note of caution by Justice Chandrachud in his dissenting judgment in Romila Thapar( supra) is eloquent. “But lofty edicts in judicial pronouncements”, declared the Judge, “can have no meaning to a citizen unless the constitutional quest for human liberty translates into securing justice for individuals… [The Court] “…cannot be oblivious to the overriding constitutional concern to secure the dignity of the individual…”. The highest Court needs no reminder of its own law that “the right to declare law carries with it the obligation of enforcing obedience to it…” (Baradakanta Misra, supra). It is hoped that in the several petitions pending before superior courts on the issue of media trials, an effective framework for the enforcement of law declared by the Supreme Court will be established. Despite a robust dignitarian Constitution whose custody is entrusted to the joint endeavors of the three branches of Government, the recent record of our liberal democracy suggests an institutional deficit in the advancement of constitutional goals. But we need not give in to despair because we know that our dignity like destiny, lies within ourselves. The failure of our representatives and democratic institutions to secure it cannot deter us from pursuing the dignitarian agenda as a purpose in perpetuity.Views are personal only.(Author is the Former Union Minister for Law and Justice & Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India) Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. 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How to excite your CEO

first_img Comments are closed. Bryan Davis, director of solutions and production at Wide Learning, looks athow to deliver a genuinely effective e-learning project – and keep the bosshappy at the same timeOK, so here’s the scene: your boss has just had a good idea and wants you torun a “small project” to implement an e-learning programme. Now e-learning sales reps from numerous market-leading e-learning providersare beating a path to your door. They all claim to want to work in partnershipwith you to provide a tailored learning solution that will be aligned to yourspecific business needs, have a positive impact on your bottom line and providea rich and fulfilling learning experience for all of your employees. Well, call me a cynic, but perhaps a more appropriate translation of theabove scenario might be this: the CEO wants to invest in positioning theorganisation as an “employer of first choice”, but doesn’t reallyhave much time for the detail and, more importantly, the CFO wants to reducethe overall cost of the training budget so, guess what? You’ve got the job! So how can you deliver the project and remain sane? Before I address thisquestion, here’s a look at what’s going on. Firstly, let’s understand one thing– only you will know your requirements and, most likely, these will be verypersonal to you. They are probably, I suspect, very complex but will involvethe desire to deliver something that is of demonstrable value to your company. Secondly, there is probably no established mechanism to audit any benefitdirectly to the business’s bottom line – in fact the finance department, andothers, may consider you as a non value-adding cost centre that can be reducedas and when necessary. Thus, the answer may be to provide something that employees “musthave” to remain in employment and that organisations “must have”to stay in business. In other words, a deliverable that is auditable against aconcrete, externally enforced standard and provides an insurance policy forboth the individual and the business. So let’s cut to the chase – if you want to implement e-learning then selectsomething that is “must have” and has the potential to get both yourCEO and your employees excited and use this as a lever to implement thee-learning initiative. If this can be done in a manner that is easilyaccessible, cost-effective, robust and auditable throughout the organisation,then you have a “killer learning application” or, in other words,”must have” training which is ideal for piloting e-learning withinthe company. Bryan Davis is director of Solutions and Production at Wide Learning forTraining. www.widelearning.com Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article How to excite your CEOOn 1 Sep 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Pandemic having an impact on the race for Indiana Governor

first_img Google+ IndianaLocalNews Facebook WhatsApp By Network Indiana – August 4, 2020 6 1089 Google+ Facebook Pinterest Twitter (Photo supplied/State Of Indiana) The coronavirus pandemic has certainly had an impact on the race for governor in Indiana.Gov. Eric Holcomb is seeking another term as governor as he has accepted the Republican nomination. State Democrats are putting forth Dr. Woody Myers, former Indiana state health commissioner, to challenge Holcomb.With exactly three months to go until Hoosiers go to the polls on Nov. 3, Purdue University-Fort Wayne political scientist Andy Downs believes Gov. Eric Holcomb has all the momentum on his side.“The governor has more than enough cash to run a campaign, a very good campaign, in Indiana,” Downs told Indy Politics. “Woody Myers is struggling to raise that cash, and he really has not broken through with his message about how he would do things differently during the pandemic.”Downs said Holcomb’s clear showing of unity within his administration on how to handle the spread of coronavirus in Indiana gives him a leg up with voters, especially with his weekly updates on the pandemic.“It’s clear he’s in control of those events,” added Downs. “He differs to experts when appropriate. The experts are in line with what he is trying to do and the plan he has put forward so you don’t see infighting so to speak.”Downs feels the governor’s handling of the pandemic has been “well received,” but he does acknowledge the push back Holcomb has gotten from conservative voters over his statewide mask mandate. Downs said though Holcomb may lose a few voters because of it, he doesn’t feel very many conservative Hoosiers will be willing to vote for the Democratic alternative in Myers.The Libertarian candidate for governor is Donald Rainwater. Twitter WhatsApp Pandemic having an impact on the race for Indiana Governor Pinterest Previous articleSoul Takers Acres taking the year off due to COVID-19 cautionNext articleTuesday is Primary Election Day in Michigan Network Indianalast_img read more