Press Releases Archive

Village Courts Bill Historic: Dr. JP

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today termed the passage of the Gram Nyayalaya Bill 2008 by the Rajya Sabha as historic in that it seeks to restore the culture of the rule of law which is becoming gradually extinct.

Addressing the media, Dr. JP pointed out that poor rural and urban people have not been able to access courts because of barriers posed by costs, distance, language and procedural difficulties. Under the proposed legislation, judges of the rank of first class judicial magistrates will themselves go to the people, conduct the proceedings in the local language and dispose of the cases on the spot. The absence of such a system for disposal of small offences or disputes at the grassroots level has emboldened perpetrators of small offences to mature into big time offenders. It has also made perjury (lying under oath) all pervasive. The advent of grama nyayalayas will reduce, if not eliminate, perjury as the guilty will think twice before lying in the presence of co-villagers.

Dr. JP recalled that the Lok Satta movement had been seeking the formation of local courts ever since it took birth in August 1997. It had in consultation with jurists and other experts in Andhra Pradesh prepared a draft Bill in February 2003. The National Advisory Council, of which Dr. JP was a member, accepted the draft Bill prepared by the Lok Satta in 2005. The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill yesterday. Dr. JP hoped the Lok Satta too would adopt the Bill soon and make justice accessible to people at their doorstep.

Dr. JP referred to the unconscionably large number of cases pending in courts all over the country and said, “Justice delayed is justice denied”. He cited how the killer of Jyotirmoy, a Telugu student in Birmingham, was sentenced to life imprisonment within seven months of the offence taking place whereas it took more than seven years for the court to award its punishment in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination case.

Referring to the Pranahita-Chevella lift irrigation scheme, which Chief Minister Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy has been defending as essential to turn Telangana green, Dr. JP demanded that the Central Water Commission review all the big lift irrigation projects taken up by the Andhra Pradesh Government. Even according to the Chief Minister’s own admission, the capital cost of irrigating an acre under the Pranahita-Chevella scheme costs Rs.2.5 lakh. The recurring expenditure of supplying water per year works out to Rs.30,000, not to take into account the farmer’s investment in raising a crop. How could agriculture be remunerative in such a context, asked Dr. JP.

Dr. JP said that the Pranahita-Chevella would be a white elephant and not a “Kamadhenuvu”, as is being claimed by the Chief Minister. If the same amount was spent on tapping water in streams and rivulets, and on small lift irrigation projects, 20 lakh acres can be irrigated.

Dr. JP said the skewed priorities of the Andhra Pradesh Government could be gauged from the fact that a woman had tried to sell her just-delivered baby at Hanamkonda as she could not take care of it and yet earn her livelihood as a daily wage worker. The mother of two children had been deserted by her drunkard husband.

Friday, December 19, 2008 - 17:34

Former DGP joins Lok Satta

Mr. Devendranath Pandey, a retired Director General of Police of West Bengal now settled in Hyderabad, today joined the Lok Satta Party.

Inducting him into the party’s Working Committee, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta Party President, said that Mr. Pandey’s joining the party underlined the quest for change that is evident among youth and middle classes in the country. Having been fed up with traditional parties which had failed the country, more and more number of people throughout the country are looking for a meaningful alternative that will change the nature of politics.

Mr. Pandey, a post-graduate from Allahabad University, joined Indian Police Service in 1956. He had the reputation of fighting against corruption and political interference in administration.

Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 09:32

Will Dr. JP face contest?

Will there be a contest to the post of the President of the Lok Satta Party, now being held by Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan?

It seems likely, going by the party’s State Election Authority’s disclosure today that three sets of nomination had been collected by party workers. Nominations will be accepted on December 24 and 25, 2008.

Elections to leadership at all levels of the party are due to take place by secret ballot during January 4-7, 2009. The election results will be declared on January 9. 2009.

Talking to the media, Mr. P. S. Bhagawanlu, Mr. K. Madhusudhana Rao, Mr. M. Satyanarayana and Mrs. A. Annapurna, members of the Election Authority, said returning officers are being trained in conducting the elections in which nearly 500000 ordinary members and 70000 active members are expected to exercise their franchise.

It is for the first time in the history of political parties that organization elections to elect presidents and other office-bearers from the mandal to the State level are taking place directly and that too through secret ballot.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 09:20

GHMC succumbed to blackmail, Charges Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party today termed the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation succumbing to religious pressure in agreeing to reconstruct a demolished temple obstructing traffic at Kothi here as a disgrace.

Lok Satta Party’s Working Committee members Laxman Balaji and N. Ravinder told the media that while the Constitution guarantees every one the right to worship the God of his or her choice, it does not permit construction of places of worship in the midst of roads and obstructing traffic much to the inconvenience of all road users. “No scripture says that the best place for worshipping God is in the midst of a road”, they said and added it was an insult to God and the to the faith people adhere to.

The Lok Satta said that the Government was duty bound to remove all such encroachments irrespective the religion to which they belong.

By agreeing to reconstruct the temple and suspending officials for undertaking the demolition, the authorities succumbed to religious blackmail, said the leaders. They also condemned the Sangh Pariwar for resorting to violence and obstructing officials from discharging their duty.

They accused the Government of interfering in religion by subsidizing Muslims’ travel to Haj initially and now Christians’ for places associated with Jesus Christ to serve their narrow vote bank politics. “One need not be surprised if a future Government subsidizes travel to Hindu places of worship like Kasi and Tirupati.”

The Lok Satta recalled that the Mulayam Singh Government had to withdraw its order declaring Friday a weekly holiday in its bid to placate Muslims when Muslims said they were interested in education, health care and job skills and opportunities and not a Friday holiday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 14:25

Lok Satta demands capital punishment

The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the law be amended to facilitate award of capital punishment to perpetrators of crimes like rape and disfigurement of women with acid attacks. The police should be made independent and the courts made to give out their verdicts in a specified period.

“But under no circumstances police should be allowed to take law into their own hands and render instant justice,” said the Lok Satta Party.

Party spokesmen B. Krishna Reddy and Katari Srinivasa Rao told the media that the Lok Satta Party fully empathized with the parents of the Warangal girl students who fell victims of an acid attack. Perpetrators of such crimes deserve no sympathy and the harshest punishment should be meted out to them.

“But in our agony and anguish we should not condone the police killing criminals since they might kill innocents on another day at the instance of those in power or the moneyed since we live in a society which subscribes to the ‘might is right’ theory.”

The Lok Satta leaders said there had been instances of the kin of politicians in Andhra Pradesh getting away with murder while the son of a Minister in Goa accused of rape was allowed to go scot-free. Unless the police were liberated from politicians, justice would continue get derailed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 14:20