Waters and their Allocation between Indian and Pakistani Punjab
Punjab had five rivers Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum which ran through
its territory joining the Indus on to the sea and hence the names Punjab and
Indus Basin. During partition in 1947 Chenab and Jhelum remained in Pakistani
Punjab while remaining three rivers ran both in Indian Punjab and Pakistani
Punjab. Thus Indian Punjab ceased to be co-riparian in respect of Chenab and
Jhelum, but it continued to be co-riparian with regards to SatIuj, Beas and
Ravi. Before partition Pakistani Punjab had a canal system which drew waters
from these three co-riparian Punjab Rivers. Indian Punjab being the upper
riparian, during the first year after partition, more than once virtually
stopped water supply to Pakistani canals to the detriment of Pakistan’s
agriculture, which was fed from these rivers. It gave rise to the dispute
between Pakistani Punjab and the Indian Punjab.
partition, Punjab had about 170 MAF of water in its rivers. It also had 5.6 MAF
of waters from Yamuna River flowing to the Ganga basin, because a part of that
river basin was located in the old united Punjab. At the time of partition the
three Punjab Rivers in the state had a total supply of about 38 MAF (including
Yamuna waters). After a dispute regarding sharing of waters, both India and
Pakistan finally agreed that three rivers; Satluj, Beas and Ravi would come in
the share of share of Indian Punjab and the waters of the other three rivers,
Indus included, went entirely to Pakistani Punjab. Under this agreement India
also ‘contributed’ 62 million Pounds to
Pakistan as their share of waters of these three rivers, which had earlier been
used in Pakistani Punjab as well. At the time of Independence, out of about
32.5 MAF in three Punjab Rivers, about 9 MAF were being used in Punjabi area
and one MAF was used in the erstwhile Bikaner state for which it paid royalty
to Punjab, the waters being of the State and not of the Central Government. The
rest of the water was being utilised in Pakistan Punjab or going down to the
Origin of Interstate Dispute
is relevant to state that in 1954 while the Indus water dispute was going on,
the Indian representative, in order to plead before the Indus Water Commission
about the proposed utilisation of waters of Punjab Rivers, required the Central
Government to hastily draw a project report showing utilization of waters of
these rivers in Punjab and Rajasthan. Accordingly, the Centre called an officer
level meeting to frame the ‘project’ for utilisation of 8 MAF in Rajasthan as
well and submitted to the Indus Commission. Apparently it was done only for the
consumption of the Indus Water Commission, which in some of its reports even
termed it as a ‘dubious’ report. However later, after ‘settlement’ of dispute
with Pakistan, it became the basis for actual diversion of Punjab waters to
Rajasthan. This allocation done in that officer- level meeting was, however, either
not in pursuance of any decision by the Punjab Ministry, Government, or the
Legislature, nor it an early post facto endorsement of this allocation sought.
1966, Punjab, like other states, remained the master of its river waters but at
the time of creation of ‘Punjabi Suba’, the Union Govt. of India introduced
sections 78 to 80 in the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, under which it
virtually assumed the powers of controlling, maintaining, distributing and ‘developing’ the waters and hydel power of Punjab rivers. This act was
unconstitutional, discriminatory and violative of the provisions of the Indian
Constitutional provisions on riparian laws. Pursuant to this the Government of
India not only started exercising powers under these sections of the Act, but
also allotted over 75% of the available Punjab waters to the non-riparian areas
of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi.
that this act was contrary to the constitutional provisions is exemplified by
the well established principle of Riparian Law which clearly stipulates that disputes
relating to river waters can only be settled between riparian states and not by
/ between the riparian and a non-riparian state. This established law, the
world over is embodied even in the Indian Constitution vide entry 17 of the
list to 7th Schedule of the Constitution. Rivers, River Waters and Hydel power have
been state subjects.
Article 262 deals with
the adjudication of disputes relating to waters of interstate rivers or river
valleys. It states that;
1-Parliament may by law
provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the
use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-state river or
in the constitution, Parliament may by law provide that neither the Supreme
Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such
dispute or complaint as is referred to in clause (1).
interpretation of law and of the Constitution falls within the ambit of
‘Lawyer’s paradise’, but a layman’s reading of the Constitution indicates that
with regard to a river and its waters, the state has full and exclusive
legislative and executive powers under Articles 246(3) and 162. Thus entry 56
and Article 262 mentioned above gives authority to Parliament to legislate only
in regard to interstate rivers and not in regard to waters of a state river
over which the concerned state alone has full, exclusive and final authority.
such, both under the definition of the basin and the valley; Rajasthan and
Haryana are beyond the basin of the three Punjab Rivers namely Satluj, Beas and
Ravi. Moreover Haryana lies in the Ganga Yamuna basin, and partly in the Ghagar
basin which is clearly distinct from Satluj basin.
have been some ‘arguments’ in favour of Haryana that even the water assets of ‘pre
Punjabi Suba’ Punjab needed to be divided with Haryana as per the agreed upon
‘division of assets formula’, but for the sake of argument even in that case
the waters of Ganga Yamuna basin as also of Ghaggar Basin needed to be
allocated to Punjab in the same ratio subsequent to the creation of ‘Punjabi
Narbada River Tribunal vs. Claim of Rajasthan
riparian principle there are clear judicial decisions favouring the stand of
Punjab and the single most important one is with regard to Narmada River which
passes through the territories of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, but
not through Rajasthan. State of Rajasthan sought a share in Narbada River as
well. The Tribunal, however, held that case that Rajasthan being a non riparian
state had no right on Narbada waters. On the issue of Rajasthan getting waters
from Punjab, It held that Rajasthan was getting Punjab waters not as a matter
of right but on account of ‘an agreement’ with Punjab about the sharing of
retrospect, Rajasthan’s argument about the claimed ‘agreement’ was also gravely
erroneous and mischievous because no such agreement was ever signed by the
state of Punjab. Government of India, on its own had apportioned Punjab river
waters and Rajasthan was allotted 8 MAF out of a total available quantity of
15.85 MAF and that too as an argument which was put to the Indus River
Commission and state of Punjab was not a party to it in any way.
important facts are, thus, clear from the Narmada Judgement. Firstly that
Rajasthan accepted that it is non-riparian vis-a-vis Punjab waters, and secondly
that Centre has been allocating Punjab waters to Rajasthan, despite objections
from the former and fully knowing that non-riparian Rajasthan has no claim to
ROOT CAUSE OF DISPUTE
real causes of this dispute are Sections 78 to 80 of the Punjab Reorganisation
Act 1966, which provide for three things.
that in case of difference between Punjab and Haryana, the power of making
distribution and allotments of the River waters and the hydel power from the
Punjab Rivers would lie with the Central Government. This power was later
exercised by the Central Government vide its orders of 1976, which gave over
75% of the available river waters of the Punjab to the non-riparian states of
Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi i.e. 11.7 MAF out of 15.2 MAF.
that after 1966 all powers of control, management, administration and
maintenance of the multipurpose projects of the three Punjab Rivers shall vest
in a Board appointed and controlled by the Central Government.
the powers of extension and development of the multipurpose projects involving
irrigation and power on the three Punjab Rivers shall also vest in the Central
result of these provisions is that after 1966 the State subjects of Irrigation
and Hydel power, which are solely in the state list under the constitution, virtually
became Central subjects.
Further Developments to the Detriment
Punjab, under the Riparian Law is said to be not entitled to Yamuna waters
after 1966, similarly Haryana is also not entitled to any water of the Punjab
rivers except what could be contracted on grounds of actual appropriation
before 1966 according to which only 0.9 MAF of water could be used by Haryana,
which was earlier, a part of the erstwhile Punjab. There was no ambiguity in
this regard but since the scheme had not actually been fully implemented before
the division of Punjab, Haryana became non-riparian and ceased to be entitled
even to 0.9 MAF envisaged in the Project. Punjab too was denied the share of
Yamuna waters on this very ground. This project was erroneously and
mischievously made a ground for the inclusion of Sections 78 to 80 in the
Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966, thereby giving an illegal lever to Haryana to
claim Punjab waters, and the Central Government to become the masters and the
arbitrator of the untenable claims of the non-riparian states.
the Union Government under Indira Gandhi convened a meeting of Chief Ministers (all
Congress) of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. This meeting gave a new legally untenable
‘award’ under which Punjab was given 4.22 MAF, Haryana 3.5 MAF, Rajasthan 8.6
MAF, J & K 65 MAF and Delhi 0.2 MAF after over-assessing waters at 17.17
MAF as compared to 15.2 MAF as in 1976. It is in spite and despite the fact
that the amount of river waters had, in fact, been shrinking and not
increasing. After this so-called agreement, a case pending in the Supreme Court
regarding the constitutionality of the PR Act was also withdrawn by Punjab. The
Prime Minister soon thereafter laid the foundation of the disputed SYL Canal.
In 1983 Chief Justice,
S.S. Sandhawalia of Punjab and Haryana High Court admitted a long pending
petition by a group of Punjab farmers challenging the unconstitutional supply
of Punjab waters to non-riparian states under the Reorganisation Act. He also announced
the constitution of a Full Bench, with himself as Chairman, for the hearing of
the case the following Monday, the 25th November, 1983, but he was overnight
transferred to Patna and the full bench never sat. Moreover on the oral request
of the Attorney General of India, the case was also transferred to the Supreme
Hydel Power Issue and further Arm
above indicates how over 75% of the available waters of riparian Punjab was
allotted to non-riparian states, and the channel of approach to the Supreme
Court closed. But there was a snag still left. The agreement of 1981 among the
three Chief Ministers dealt with only the water issue. In relation to hydel
power, a possibility of challenging the constitutional violation of Articles
14, 162 and 246, and item 17 of the State List by Section 78 to 80 of the Reorganisation
Act still existed.
such in May 1984, a situation was deliberately created whereby the Hydel Power
issue too could not be referred to the Supreme Court.
For that end, a new ground was found to twist
the arm of Punjab and to have an ‘out of the Court agreement’ regarding the
hydel power issue as well. By this time, Punjab had a thermal plant at Ropar,
which was to yield over 400 megawatts of electric power. For its smooth and
efficient working, appropriate cooling it was essential which necessitated drawing
of water from the Satluj channel. Cooling was to be done by circulating water
which was to be flowed back in to the irrigation channel. Rajasthan and Haryana,
both non-riparian states, objected to even this temporary use by Punjab, of the
water of its own river. Centrally appointed Bhakra Board refused to allow the
proposed necessary circulation and raised the issue to the level of a major
dispute. Instead of advising Rajasthan to follow the constitutional path and
obtain the verdict of the Supreme Court, the Government became a self-appointed
mediator and used the issue of the cooling channel as a lever for pressurising
Punjab into entering a ‘Hydel Power Agreement’. It only reminded one of the arms
twisting of the kind that was made in 1981 on the water issue. The Governor of
Punjab readily signed that agreement because the state was under his ‘rule’ at
that point of time.
in effect provided for arbitration by a nominee of the Centre. It envisaged
that the Centre could refer any dispute on the issue, for the opinion of the
Supreme Court, and in case it declined to give such an opinion, the States
would request the Supreme Court to appoint a Judge for giving an award on the
dispute and if the Supreme Court declined to do so, the Centre would itself
nominate a Judge to give an award on the claims and the award will be binding
on the parties. Evidently, the object of the agreement, as in the case of the
1981 agreement, was three fold, which in a few words could be summarised as ‘Arm
the 1981 Water ‘Agreement’, the 1984 Hydel Power ‘agreement’ closed the door of
the Supreme Court for its verdict on the hydel power issues ‘under’ the Reorganisation
Act. It also became a subject of arbitration by the Centre or its nominee.
Thus, ‘the ultra vires character of the Section 78 to 80 of the Reorganisation Act
remained unchallenged and unexposed. The agreement of 1981 and 1984 appear to
be clear instruments both to legitimise the permanent channelising of 75% of
the Punjab waters, and hydel power to non- riparian states, and to destroy the
constitutional right of Punjab under Article 131 to have the SYL drain set
aside by a judicial verdict of the Supreme Court.
Needs of Punjab
As per available
estimates, Punjabi has about 105 lakh acres of cultivable land. Needs of modern
agriculture, double cropping, and hybrid seeds etc. place minimum water needs to
over 5 to 6 acre feet per annum for the commonly followed paddy- wheat
rotation. Thus, Punjab’s minimum water need comes to 52.5 MAF, of water per
annum whereas Satluj, Ravi and Beas, have a water flow only of about 32.5 MAF.
these requirement only about 37 lakh acres of Punjab lands are estimated to be ‘canal
irrigated’. The sanctioned water supply per acre of commanded area is hardly
adequate for the requirements of assured irrigation necessary for modern
agriculture. On the basis of minimum requirement of water, the supply necessary
for 37lakh acres comes to about 18 MAF, whereas the agreed allotment to Punjab
is only about 15 MAF. It means that after 1947 out of the available waters less
than 25% have been allotted to Punjab.
Dismal Future of Tubewell Irrigation
the peasant is perforce required to sink tube wells to make up for the
deficiency of canal water supply. It is estimated that more than 14 lakh tube
wells exist in Punjab and applications for more than 3 lakh more tube wells
await the nod of the concerned power commission. The cumulative result is
dangerously dwindling water table which, in its wake has also been bringing
serious health (read cancerous) problems in the entire state particularly those
areas where the water table has gone dangerously low and radioactive minerals
and elements are being thrown up along with water.
cause of this ironical health and dwindling irrigation situation is nothing
but the injustice to Punjab by way of unconstitutional allotment of over 75% of
Punjab water resources to non-riparian States.
Satluj -Yamuna Link Canal
is a strong expert opinion that 3.5 MAF allocated for the SYL Canal, the waters
of which have to join Yamuna waters to be lifted for irrigation in Gurgaon (in Yamuna
basin), would not be available to it without substantial decrease in supply’ to
the old running canals of Punjab, thereby reducing the irrigated area of the
state by about ten lakh acres. The corresponding damage, it has been stressed,
would be serious in districts like Bathinda, Faridkot and Ferozepur, especially
because the ground water in those districts is saline and carries toxic
elements like boron and fluorides. Supplies to the level of allotments made by
the Central Government for Rajasthan and the SYL Canal would never be available
from Satluj even if the MB Link were completed, although before its completion
the question of supply to SYL ‘Canal cannot arise.
Contribution of Punjab
Punjabis are our worst enemies. This is the conclusion that I have, once again,
arrived at after studying court orders, newspaper clippings, articles and other
material available on net regarding the Punjab water crisis.
our politicians, irrespective of the parties are the biggest enemies of our
Punjab, Quom and Race. They become Punjabis only when elections are around the
corner and then hibernate only keeping their ‘financial interests alive. And we
gullible Punjabis as such are simple, straightforward and amenable to emotional
blackmail by most of these politicians.
that the issue of SYL canal, which some politicians are raking-up as on date,
is just to befool gullible people like us, simple hearted and straightforward ‘emotional
and sensitive Punjabis’. SYL canal, I feel cannot be constructed, will not be
constructed and made operational, on account of the reasons enumerated in preceding
paras, in our lifetimes. The entire issue will be forgotten after elections and
re-emerge during next elections. Even now, no politician is doing anything to seriously
raise the issue of continued river water supply to other states through
existing canals which are flowing full stream despite acute shortage of water
in Punjab. Half hearted statements of our politicians remind me of what we call
‘chid chid and khich khich’ in Punjabi. It all is neither here nor there. Just
some weird sounds and that is about all it. Damn such opportune leaders and
damn their ‘Gairat’.
‘drama bazi started after the recent verdict of the Supreme Court of India
invalidating PUNJAB TERMINATION OF AGREEMENT ACT 2004 by which Punjab had
terminated its ‘water pact’ with Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan, Jammu
&Kashmir and Delhi for sharing its river waters.
second Drama Bazi is ‘seeking royalty’ from other states. Were they sleeping
till now? It is just an election oriented gimmick and what hurts most is that
people still believe such loudmouthed yet insincere politicians.
has always been victimised in all possible ways, be it funds, our own water,
drugs, health plans, royalty for electricity / water/ development etc etc. Just
political leaders and even we civilians have some guts then they need to descend
on ground and make serious legal efforts to prevent out flow of Punjab waters.
The writings of S. Daljeet Singh and
other writers, particularly the former in his article ‘Punjab River-Waters
as they appear on internet are graciously acknowledged in interest of Punjab. Their
in-depth writings will certainly help in creating a favourable air in the
country as such which unfortunately is shrouded in anti Punjab myths and
propaganda. Without their ground work this attempt could never have been
PRIME MINISTER'S SURGICAL STRIKE ON BLACK MONEY (A day in
In light humour: A day in post surgical strike Modi Raj
This day of November 9, 2016, started with a bit of humor,
a bit of laughter and a bit of anxiety. A couple of few thousand rupees worth
of useless money was lying between me and my wife. It was in high denomination
notes which were scrapped last night by our Prime Minister. We had just one,
hundred rupee note which I had photographed and flashed proudly on the whatsapp
last night. I was a proud owner of a hitherto condemned one hundred rupee note.
We did not know how to manage with banks being shut and ATMs closed for next
two days and we did not want to spend this particular proud possession.
The first one to ask for money, and that too right
in the morning was the milk vendor. His payments are weekly. It was awkward
asking him to take his payment a few days later. He just grimaced but left
without saying anything. Then came up the problem of getting bread and some
eggs for the breakfast; because the cook told us that the vendor had refused to
accept money as also to give credit and we did not have any smaller
denomination note. So we had no option but to settle for lovely overstuffed ‘aaloo
ka patantha’… Lol
Later in the day, around noon, came up the event for
which we always wait rather impatiently. Today was the day when our tenant pays
up the monthly rent. Today for the first time, he came up on his own but we
grimaced when he gave us five hundred rupee notes. Full of disgust, we returned
them back to him with folded hands requesting that he can pay us a few days
later but in hundred rupee notes. At this he too made a face and went away. Perhaps
he wanted to dispose of those worthless pieces of green back Gandhis.
I had to ring up my lawyer asking him about the
procedure of getting bail. I have some maliciously fabricated so called ‘defamation’
cases going against me and I had to seek bail in one of them. My lawyer asked
me to get some surety but hardly anyone is ready to stand by me because of the
fear of the government, the Punjab police and the mighty drug lords of Punjab. I
have not been able to gauge the reasons for the hostility of the Punjab government
and Punjab police against me. In the absence of the surety, the next way is to
deposit cash surety but it has to be in either in one hundred rupee notes or in
new, yet to be released currency. My lawyer told me that my check was not
likely to be accepted. Yeh to problem hai bhai jee…
A bit later, my wife had to go somewhere and her car
refused to start. A mechanic was called who said that the car battery was to be
changed, but there was no money for that either. In the mean time the guy who
had gone to deposit the electricity and water bills in the municipal office
also returned saying that they had refused to take the cash payment with five
hundred rupee notes. Arguments that government installations were supposed to
accept the notes till eleventh fell on their deaf ears. Now the bill will have
to be paid through check after a few days with the surcharge / late fee
charges. Arguments had continued past five and now office was to get closed. Damn it.
Things were to go on like this but we then geared up.
Whatever rations are at home are being used. Our helpers including the maid
servant have been kind enough to lend us some hundred rupee notes and some ‘chillar’
and we are fine for the remainder of the day.
PRIME MINISTER'S SURGICAL STRIKE ON BLACK MONEY AND ITS LIKELY EFFECT ON PUNJAB ELECTIONS
…Hope and wish that the government of India does not succumb to
the pressure of certain political parties and extends the dead line of using
present currency notes up till the elections. It will be a very mischievous
move and will expose the government but knowing the ways of the government,
anything is possible…
My afternoon of November 9, 2016, started with my
friend Gurav of India TV dropping in. He asked me about the possible fall out
of the successful Prime Ministerial surgical strike on black money, on the
forthcoming Punjab elections. Man what an original question had struck him. I had
not thought of this. I started scratching and raking up my hairless head when he asked
this question, adding that another of our friends Anand Patel of NDTV was also
on his way to ask me the same question.
When we started discussing and dissecting it then it
turned out that it was the timeliest and a billion dollar question. Assembly
Elections in Punjab are due in February 2017. It is a well known fact that often Punjab elections are nothing but a mockery of Indian democracy and a tight slap
on the face of an election commission which mostly remains a worth less
spectator. I wish and hope that the current Chief Election Commissioner, Naseem Zaidi, who has been a fine officer, remains alert and pro active.
Elections in Punjab are often managed with money,
drugs, liquor, gifts of electrical and electronic items including motorised two wheelers besides blackmail and intimidation. Now that the Prime Minister has delivered surgical
blow on black money, on account of the reasons best known to him, some of political
parties may be in for a doom. Normally all these goodies are distributed and disbursed around
elections but in a scenario where the current currency is sucked up by the end
of December and new currency may not be all that freely available, the
political scenario in Punjab may be with a difference.
We should thank god it.
Political parties will now have to
start distributing and disbursing money, goodies and gifts in kind from right now till the end of December
to purchase votes but people do change later on. They will also have to spend
money for bookings and purchase of election related material, book tents,
pay to labour contractors who will be arranging the crowds for them at
appropriate time besides managing all other sundry poll related material. Some of the
political parties are likely to raise hue and cry urging Prime Minister and the
Finance Minister to extend the dead line fixed to suck up the current high
denomination currency notes. Though it may be a wishful thinking but let’s hope
and wish that the Government of India does not succumb to the pressure of some
of such political parties and does not extend the dead line for the use of
current high denomination currency notes up till the elections. It will be a
very mischievous, calculated and motivated move and will expose the top echelons
of the Central Government but knowing the ways of the Government, anything is impossible.
And if they do not succumb to this likely pressure to
extend the dead line till or beyond the forthcoming elections (to be fool
gullible masses like us) then drugs, liquor and the infamous gangsters of Punjab,
who are aligned with one of the other party, will play havoc. The use of muscle
men and gangsters’ during elections is a black spot on Indian Democracy but the
Punjabi gangsters, who are now mixed up with their brethren from other states
as well, are particularly mean, malicious, ruthless and now trigger happy as
The forthcoming elections may, in all likelihood and unfortunately may witness unprecedented violence and use of drugs. Lets us see how well the Election Commission of India rises up to the occasion and controls some of the political goons who have devastated the state of Punjab.
Prime Minister Modi's
surgical strikes on Pakistan had indeed failed to shock Pakistan or even the
world community, India included. But his surgical strike (November 8, 2016) on
the black money has indeed shaken the entire country, all segments included.
Surgical strikes on Pakistan had expectedly only led to the increase in our
cold war with China and renewed commencement of a low intensity warfare from
Pakistan which is being matched with by India.
It is about time to study the impact of his
surgical strike on black money within the country. The National Government of
our country had indeed miserably failed on its ‘Jumla baji’ of promise to bring
the black money stashed abroad, particularly the massive amounts lying in the
coffers of the Swiss banks and other banks located in the USA, Europe and even
in some small island republics. The Government failed miserable on this
promise. It was also failing on almost each of other fronts as well; both on
the front of the international diplomacy as also on sundry domestic fronts.
Some master stroke was indeed expected. People had also failed to gauge the
purport and importance of successive warnings by the government about time
bound declaration of black money by people.
I remember the time when
last night, Prime Minister's address to the nation had just started. The electronic
media had gone into a kind of frenzy about the sudden information given to them
about the Prime Ministers address in the prime time. A lot of people had
started listening to it but then tuned in to their favourite channels thinking
that it was yet another of his gaseous speeches.
But they were not to realise that yesterday he was
there to take out the gasses out of the breath of the masses. A masterstroke it
was. A facade was created in the form of a highly publicised meeting with the
chiefs of all the three wings of the armed forces and the National Security
It was followed by a cabinet
meeting during the day. Thereafter was to come the sudden declaration that the
Prime minister was to address the nation. In view of the cold war with China
and the low intensity warfare with Pakistan, speculation went rife that it his
address to the nation was to have something about these two rogue countries.
But man, hats off to the Prime Minister. The delivered
the much needed and long overdue death blow on the black money circulating with
in the country and it was in a way which was to reek of mystery, intrigue,
suspense, romanticism etc; all nicely kneaded into one in a style which is the
forte of Ajit Doval, the NSA...the banks had closed down by that time,
the stock market had also got wound up for the day, shops were about to close
down generally, if not already closed down. Then bank holiday, the next day.
ATMs closed for next two days. High currency notes demonetised within a few
hours of declaration, currency notes of lower denominations not to be seen
anywhere. Panic amongst the hoarders of black money. Worry writ large on the
faces of those who did not have smaller denominations, long queues at petrol
pumps and ATMs, worry writ large on the faces of the labour class who were rightly
worrying about their meals the very next day.
The entire country in
But, again, a much needed
and timely step
Blow dealt with precision
and delivered right on target
Salute to both gentlemen...
...to be continued (impact on masses and
(Disclaimer: I am writing
this blog strictly on the basis of my experience in Central and State
Intelligence Agencies. I have no malice either for Judiciary or for Government)
Failing Indian democracy is
on dialysis because of its renal failure. It is just a matter of time when this
renal failure leads to an imminent multi-organ failure. Because of malicious
polity and political environment, India has never ever been out of a crisis
situation. Currently it is passing through yet another crisis of sorts which, though,
does not appear to be as grave as ongoing cold war with China one hand and low
intensity warfare with Pakistan on the other. Internally; deteriorating law and
order situation, corruption, failed domestic, economic and foreign policies etc
have but added to the pace of overall rot which is ‘violently’ eating into the very
fabric of Indian democracy.
‘Institutional crisis’ between three pillars of Indian
‘democracy’ is becoming ominous.Any
independent democratic sovereign state stands on three pillars; Executive,
Legislative and Judicial. A precarious balance has to be maintained by this
three legged leviathan failing which this monster will fall flat on ground. Without
going into nitty-gritty of political philosophy, in Indian context the
unblemished repute of all these three pillars of democracy has suffered to
varying extent. Good name of legislative wings both in Centre and in States is
tarnished beyond redemption because of general criminalisation of Indian
politics. They have become houses 'less of name and more of shame'. Lesser said
of executive, the better. It has become thoroughly corrupt and inefficient; protected
and shielded by equally, if not more corrupt politicians whose feet most of
officialdom is ready to lick bending backwards. Being a proud yoga activist, I
am using this tongue twisting phrase otherwise my American friends have a
simple word for it, 'Butt Licking'.
Coming to Judiciary, the third leg, one has to be
as cautious as one can be. This organ of state power also consists of humans,
some of whom radiate positivity and some reflect negativity. A human is
basically a human and any reflection on human nature should not be taken as an ‘institutional
onslaught’. This organ of state power generally remains hidden from public gaze,
thriving behind the cloak of its brahmastra; doctrine of 'Contempt of Court'. This
weapon has often been mis-utilised both in and out of the court rooms, in
certain cases even on the roads. This mis-utilisation has only brought
disrepute and alienation from a section of society in general. Whether people
talk in hushed voices or openly, damage is done in both cases. Notwithstanding
the fact that for some time, media has been bringing misadventure of some of
its members, particularly at lower levels, to public view but the fact remains
that it still remains the most protected organ of state power. It is this
single reason which makes it most vulnerable as well. Executive leg of democracy,
the ‘Government’, consisting of politicians coming from legislatures in cahoots
with so-called ‘public servants’, invariably keeps trying to devise ways and
means to ‘control and manage’ the Judiciary which in turn struggles to maintain
its ‘independence’. This conflict becomes a tug of war because the government
needs ‘judicial support’ for its (right or wrong) policies, programs and
decisions. It does not want them to be struck down, even rightly, when aggrieved
approach the courts of law.
Elaborating upon this ‘tug
of war’; Judiciary tries to maintain its ‘independence’ by way of judicial
pronouncements, made either in court rooms or outside in public forums, like ones
made by the current CJI on the issue of dragging of feet by Central Government
in clearing judicial appointments, apparent cohesiveness of judicial fraternity,
in-house deliberations within collegiums and to top it all the ‘Brahamstra’ of ‘Contempt
of Court’. The recent controversy about Government sitting on appointments (some
names have reportedly been cleared today) has also given rise to allegations
that often judiciary tries to favour their own ‘families and confidants’.
Ways of the Government are
more complex and treacherous. A civil servant knows Government often ‘arm twists’
lower judiciary, both directly as also through its district level officials. In
political philosophy it is called the power of ‘patronage and punishment’. Sometimes
it can be managed to this extent, but State and Central Governments encounter
serious problems when it comes to Higher Judiciary. Here ominous weapons include
use of ‘emissaries’, phone tapping and then in rare cases even straight
blackmailing. I have already said that I do not have any malice but am
referring to it all just in a bid to clean the waters. This nasty work is generally
done through the intelligence wings. Each of the State and Central Intelligence
and Investigative Agencies has had their own phone tapping units. Often they
also have their own ‘unapproved’ setups as well which are used for absolutely clandestine
purposes. They are called top secret NGO units or given appropriate code names.
They work directly under the head of the unit or his duly authorised senior
official. Based on inputs from such NGO or ‘X’ branches; ‘further necessary
action is taken’ under the guidance of political leadership. Required money
comes from the unaccounted ‘secret service funds’.
Coming to ‘long term
management techniques’; Judges of higher judiciary are either from judicial
services or from amongst practising lawyers of repute. State Governments often
try, successfully or otherwise, to get their ‘own’ men short listed at the
state level. In case of same party rule in Centre and in State, ‘directions’
also emanate from Centre. Intelligence agencies like Intelligence Bureau and investigative
agencies like C.B.I. often play a vital role not only in ‘vetting’ the names
but also by way of getting ‘commitments’. As a former official of the
Intelligence Bureau, I remember how a certain ‘Law Minister’ used to ‘communicate’
through senior field intelligence officials and only ‘cleared’ names used to be
approved. Even after the clearance of names, he ‘successfully dealt’ with ‘errant’
judges grossly mis-utilising such of the Central Agencies.
Undoubtedly independence of Judiciary is the
very basic tenet for the success of democracy, but is also about time that the
Judiciary also brings about more transparency and rare use of its ‘brahamastra’
of Contempt of Court. A lot many people have since started talking about corruption
by a few in the judicial fraternity. The fraternity itself has to rise to the
occasion and deal with such deviants. All these steps will not only install the
judiciary at a still higher pedestal but will garner more respect from amongst
people to ensure its independence. It need not play the gallery but it
certainly needs to further strengthen its bonds with the masses. It can take a
leaf from the righteous stand taken by the current CJI who is said to be stalling the bid
of some in power to safforonise the Judiciary.
UNDERSTANDING KASHMIR, Part 3 Pakistan’s attack on Kashmir under the disguise of ‘tribal forces’…
Indo-Pakistan War of 1947–1948
...Continued (Note; Maps have been taken, as they are on the net and in some books on the subject. They may or may not be authentic. Our stand rightly remains and shall remain that the entire Kashmir, including the areas occupied by Pakistan and China, are an integral part of India)
October 3-4 to October 26, 1947
The first so-called tribal attack, with active support and participation of Pakistani militia / forces, took place at Thorar on October 3-4, 1947 followed by another on October 22 in the Muzzafarabad sector. State forces were quickly defeated. The aggressors engaged in massive looting and committing crime against civilian population, including women and children.
October 27th to November 17, 1947
After signing of the Instrument of Accession, Indian forces were air lifted to reinforce the forces of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Despite adverse terrain and climatic conditions, Indian forces fortified their potions. Pushed back the Pakistani militia and tribals from the out skirts of Srinagar, defended Badgam. Successful operation in Badgam, pushed Pakistanis till Baramulla and Uri and these towns were recaptured.
18 November 1947 – 26 November 1947
After recapturing Uri and Baramulla, forces moved towards Poonch and Kotli.
Pakistan captured Mirpur on November 25th. Atrocities were perpetrated on Hindu women. Many committed suicide but several were ‘captured’ by Pakistanis and sent to Pakistan.
25 November 1947 – 6 February 1948
The tribal forces attacked and captured Jhanger. They then attacked Naoshera unsuccessfully and made a series of unsuccessful attacks on Uri. In the South, Indian forces secured Chamb. By this stage of the war the front line began to stabilise as more Indian troops became available.
Operation Vijay: counterattack on Jhanger 7 February 1948 – 1 May 1948
Indian forces launched a counterattack in the South and recaptured Jhanger and Rajauri. In Kashmir Valley the tribal forces continued attacking the Uri army base.
In the North Skardu brought under siege by the Gilgit scouts.
Indian Spring Offensive 1 May 1948 – 18 May 1948
India held onto Jhanger despite numerous attacks openly supported by regular Pakistani Forces.
In Kashmir Valley Indian forces recaptured Tithwail
The Gilgit scouts advanced in the High Himalayan sector, infiltrating troops to bring Leh under siege, capturing Kargil and defeating a relief column heading for Skardu.
Operation Gulab. 19 May 1948 – 14 August 1948
Indian forces continued operations Kashmir Valley, driving north to capture Keran and Gurais. Repelled a counterattack aimed at Tithwal.
In the Jammu region, the forces besieged in Poonch broke out and temporarily linked up with the outside world again. The Kashmir State army was able to defend Skardu from the Gilgit Scouts impeding their advance down the Indus valley towards Leh.
However in August the Chitral and Pakistani armies besieged and captured Skardu with the help of artillery. They further tried making move into Ladakh.
Operation Duck 15 August 1948 – 31 October 1948
Front began to settle down. The siege of Poonch continued. An unsuccessful attack was launched by 77 para to capture Zoji La pass. Operation Duck, the earlier epithet for this assault, was renamed as Operation Bison by Cariappa. M5 Stuart light tanks of 7 cavalry were moved in dismantled conditions through Srinagar while two field companies of the Madras Sappers converted the mule track across Zoji La into a jeep track. The surprise attack on 1 November by the brigade with armour supported by two regiments of 25 pounders and a regiment of 3.7 inch guns, forced the pass and pushed the tribal and Pakistani forces back to Matayan and later to Dras. The brigade linked up on 24 November at Kargil with Indian troops advancing from Leh while their opponents eventually withdrew northwards toward Skardu. Pakistan again attacked Skardu on 10 February 1948 which was repulsed by the Indian soldiers. Thereafter, Skardu Garrison was subjected to continuous attacks by Pakistani Army for the next three months and each time, their attack was repulsed by the Indian forces which held the Skardu with hardly 250 men for whole six long months without any reinforcement and replenishment. On 14 August Indian General Sher Jung Thapa had to surrender Skardu to the Pakistani Army.
Operation Easy. Poonch link-up 1 November 1948 – 26 November 1948
Indian Army started to get upper hand in all sectors leading to massive uproar by Pakistant and escalation of massive international pressure on India to halt. Poonch was finally relieved after a siege of over a year. The Gilgit forces in the High Himalayas, who had previously made good progress, were finally defeated. Indian army persued them as far as Kargil before being forced to halt due to supply problems. The Zoji La pass was forced by using tanks (which had not been thought possible at that altitude) and Dras was recaptured.
Moves up to cease-fire. 27 November 1948 – 31 December 1948
Under heavy international pressure on India and protracted negotiations, a cease-fire was enforced on 1st January 1949. Terms of the cease-fire as laid out in a United Nations resolution of 13 August 1948, were adopted by the UN on 5 January 1949. This required Pakistan to withdraw its forces, both regular and irregular, while allowing India to maintain minimum strength of its forces in the state to preserve law and order. On compliance of these conditions a plebiscite was to be held to determine the future of the territory. Pakistan, however, did not withdraw its forces from the Line of Control, as it was on that day.
Indian losses were 1,500 killed and 3,500 wounded.
Pakistani losses were 6,000 killed and 14,000 wounded.