Human Rights Law Network

Media Reports

Budget 2015-16 Will Give You Less Than 3% Percent GDP, Says Colin Gonsalves

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Behind all the jargons of budget figures it is business as usual, politics has changed but the budget remains the same, says Colin Gonsalves 

Colin Gonsalves, Sr. Advocate, Supreme Court of India & Founder Director of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), spoke to BW|Businessworld's Sapna Bhardwaj on his expectations from the Union Budget 2015-2016. He asserted that behind all the jargons of the budget figures it is business-as-usual, politics has changed : the budget is the same. He was talking on the sidelines of BW|Businessworld Urban India Conclave 2015.


Remove DAA to revoke AFSPA, says Justice Nazki

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SRINAGAR: The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which provides immunity to soldiers operating in J&K, can’t be revoked as long as the Disturbed Area Act (DAA) is in place, a former Chief Justice of Orissa High Court said Saturday.

AFSPA is in place because DAA is here. To invoke AFSPA power is with President of India or Governor of the state,” said Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki while speaking at a seminar here. He said Kashmir was declared as a ‘disturbed area’ “on the instructions of the then Home Minister of India, who happened to be a Kashmiri (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) through then Governor of the state.”

Nazki, who is chairperson of Bihar’s State Human Rights Commission, said AFSPA can be revoked if there is a political will. “But there should be a mechanism even within the AFSPA. Let them decide first.”

Nazki said AFSPA has been a problem for the Northeast as well where it is in place for the past six decades. He said J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah “tried his best” to get AFSPA revoked from certain areas of the state but he didn’t get support from any corner. Omar talked for the revocation of the law from certain areas for years. Did he get the support? No. If it was an issue like age enhancement (of employees) he would have got it,” Naziki said that human rights situation in many parts of India, where AFSPA is not in vogue, “is worse than Kashmir.

In his address, senior Supreme Court lawyer Colin Gonsalves said certain parts of judiciary “take part on the side of state.”He said though most of Kashmiris do not trust Indian judiciary, “certain latest judgments have kindled a ray of hope to get certain amount of justice.”
We all know how difficult it is to get justice. Chance of victory may be small but it is there. You must take whatever opportunity you may have slight chance and that chance is worth taking,” Gonsalves said.


After a gap of five years, justice has been delivered today

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In Imphal with the CBI Special Judge Vinay Kumar Gupta On June 30 2014 finally pronouncing the quantum of punishment for NSCN-IM's S/S Lt Col Hopeson Ningshen in connection with the murder of Dr Kishan, Rajen and Token, the JAC formed against the gruesome triple murder has been dissolved.

On behalf of the JAC, he conveyed gratitude to Supreme Court Senior Advocate and founder director of Human Rights Law Network Colin Gonsalves, High Court of Manipur Senior Advocate Hemchandra, Advocate Khaidem Mani, CBI Senior Prosecutor AK Singh and CBI SP and IO Ganesh Verma. He also conveyed gratitude to all the people of Manipur, civil society organisations, students' bodies and Meira Paibis who rose in unison for a sustained mass movement against the triple murder.He also hailed the media fraternity.

Speaking to media persons this evening at Mapari Ningshingkon at Gandhi Ghat, Uripok which was specially developed as a memorial site for the trio, JAC chairman Retd Col Soram Tiken said that the JAC has been dissolved as all its demands have been achieved. Saying that Mapari Ningshingkon is yet to be fully developed, Tiken informed that the responsibility of developing the memorial site would be shouldered by the registered body Mapari Ningshing Lup (MANIL).


The demand for a Uniform Civil Code

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In the wake of a renewed demand for a Uniform Civil Code, Moumita Chaudhuri decodes the contentious code that would have a common personal law for all communities

The demand for a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) — wherein all personal laws in the country would be guided by one set of laws applicable to all communities — has been raised from time to time. Recently, Union minister for agriculture Radha Mohan Singh brought it back into the public discourse, throwing open the debate around a UCC once again. Of course, Singh’s comments immediately evoked a rush of protests and the charge that the BJP government at the Centre wanted to steamroll the legislation without taking the sensitivities of particular communities into account.

Despite the criticism, however, there are many who advocate the adoption of just such a code. A “civil code” refers to all the laws that deal with matters such as marriage, divorce, maintenance, adoption and inheritance, and property rights in different communities.“These personal laws are merely the codification of each and every community’s cultural practices and customs and governs family-related issues,” says Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, Delhi.


Mean and petty labour reforms

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Even decades after independence, the introduction of a ‘secret ballot’ for labourers to recognise trade unions remains elusive

The National Democratic Alliance government, on June 5 and June 17, notified the proposed amendments to the Factories Act, 1948 and the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Given that the process of amendments began in 2008 and went through a number of expert committees, one would have expected the amendments to be carefully thought-out. On the contrary, they are petty, anti-labour and poorly conceived. Given also that these are the Narendra Modi-led government’s first pronouncements on labour, one can only lament the absence of a vision that a global power ought to have: that increased productivity comes from having satisfied workers, who produce quality products.

One would have thought that since these two statutes have hardly been implemented, the emphasis would have been on bringing in amendments to make them effective. The Thermal Power station case, decided by the Supreme Court recently, had on record data showing hundreds of workers dying prematurely and over 50 per cent of the workforce suffering from lung diseases, deafness and other occupational illnesses. The Commonwealth Games case decided by the Delhi High Court found workers living in conditions akin to bondage — without safety equipment, sleeping in sheds without mattresses and fans, and using toilets without doors and water. This is the reality of labour in India.

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HRLN is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.