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    Creative Commons License
    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    September 09, 2008

    The privileged ones

    1. Justice Soumitra Sen, a judge in the Calcutta High Court, misappropriated over Rs. 20 lakhs in a case where he was a receiver (i.e. the trustee of the sum of money that was deposited by the party paying the penalty). The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, KG Balakrishnan, has announced that he will approach Parliament to begin impeachment proceedings against Justice Sen.
    2. Ivan Lewis, an MP in the UK and a minister in the Department of Health, has apologized to a female member of staff in his office for bombarding her with personal and intimate text messages (textual harassment?) in 2007. Despite her complaining to others in the department, no action was taken. She first got herself transferred to a different department. She then quit working for the government. There has been no action taken against Ivan Lewis.
    3. Babubhai Katara, a BJP MP, who was arrested in the Indira Gandhi Airport (New Delhi) in April 2007 on charges of illegally trying to smuggle out a woman and a teenaged boy to Canada on the passports of his wife and son. The Parliamentary Committee which investigated the charges now recommends that Babubhai Katara be expelled from the Lok Sabha.
    The common thread running across all these cases is that if you or I (i.e. the general public) committed these offenses, criminal charges would have been (rightly) laid at the very least (harassment in #2) and most definitely spend time in jail (corruption & misappropriation in #1 and identity theft/impersonation/violating the Passports Act in #3). The Passports Act [See section 12 (1)] provides for a fine of Rs. 5,000 and/or 2 years in jail.

    Yet, because of the concept of 'privileges', these offenders & criminals are merely removed from their posts, or sometimes an apology is assumed to suffice.

    Isn't it high time the 'privileges' granted were balanced with ensuring that the justice administration system took over rather than farcical apologies or expulsions from Parliament? For example, nothing stops Babubhai Katara from contesting the Rajya Sabha elections, or indeed the next Lok Sabha elections.

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