Wednesday, December 31, 2014


CRPF(Central Armed police force) is doing a great service for our nation by guarding our borders,
fighting with maoists and mainitaning law and order in times of emergency but Our Nation has not reciprocated the same
to these forces . We have not given them their rights , dues and respect that they deserve.
The central Reserve Police Act(1949), an act that provides for the constituition and regulation of an armed CRPF has many problems:
1) This act is inherited from Crown’s Representative Police Force Law, 1939 which are not in sync with current times.
2) Our Constitution guarantees Fundamental rights to the citizens of India but there many provisions in the act which violate their fundamental rights-
the right to equality, equal protection in public employment, and the right to protection of life and personal liberty.
3) Legislative changes are not done in accordance with the Modern India and which follow Constitution.
These changes are done for Army, navy, BSF but not for CRPF.
4) CRPF Act is further compounded by the fact that the Commandant, after conducting a judicial trial for convicting and sentencing a member of the force, is also further authorized to punish the same member of the force departmentally dispensing with a formal inquiry on the ground of conviction on a criminal charge. To be given the opportunity of a hearing, a departmental inquiry, or the right of departmental defence, has been dispensed with, without giving any reasons as provided by the CRPF Rules, 1955. 
Government and CRPF higher officials needs to act immediately to revise this act in accordance with the Constitution and Modern India. We need to give respect to the people who are working day and night just to safeguard this country and these changes can be done in line with BSF, Indian Air force and other forces.

institutions and their problems

Our pre independent institutions like the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature have failed to adapt. Collusion between the private sector and all three of these institutions is well known. Swindling of resources runs an parallel and almost equal black economy.
The Judiciary: The pending cases are creating great hardship and the economic burden is crippling to most.
The legislature is but a cacophony. It is used either too stall bills or to guillotine them, but never to discuss.
Post independent institutions, like regulatory agencies, are themselves co-opeted to serve the individual purpose instead common good. 
Panchayat raj institutions are struggling for funds, functions and functionaries.
State owned banks are require frequent bail outs and ever falling standards.
State owned schools are the highest paid per student, with one of the lowest educational outcomes.
Transparency and accountability in all aspects is a must. The fact that the Right to Information Act has brought to light several discrepancies shows that is the way to go.
The legislature must be used for discussion crucial matters. To hammer out contentious points, other fora like the Inter State Council, can be used. Guillotining bills should be avoided.
Judiciary needs a massive overhaul in quality, quantity and technology. Appointment and removal procedures must be streamlined in lines with the reports of various committees and international best practices. Innovative methods like fast track courts, lok adalats should be expanded.
The executive too needs a overhaul in terms of quantity. There is a serious need to fix accountability for their actions, and for this, they should be protected from undue influence.
Once these bedrock institutions begin to work as envisaged, the change will emanate in other institutions.
Appointment procedures in regulatory agencies must be transparent and based on a clear criteria. And in case of regulatory absence, immediate step should be taken to rectify the situation.
Post liberalization has brought in the private sector, but instead of using them to increase competition and quality, their collusion with public agencies for nefarious purposes has created vested interests who will stubbornly resist change. 
There is a need to overhaul the entire structure.

Uranium Import | Nuclear Energy

There has been increase in the demand for electricity due to
various factors including rising demand from manufacturing and domestic sector,
and increased rural connectivity. Nuclear energy is gaining importance over the
years as the supply of fossil fuels is not only limited but they also cause environmental
Country’s uranium reserves are small and thus have to depend
on imports. Besides, the quality of uranium ore is low which is resulting in
escalation of costs. This has resulted in the demand-supply mismatch. Country is
trying to overcome this mismatch by importing uranium fuel.
As India is not a
signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India was kept out of trade in
nuclear materials till 2008, when Indo-US civil nuclear deal was signed which
removed restrictions on the sale of nuclear equipments to India. Since then
many countries have come forward to sell nuclear fuel to India and India has
signed nuclear cooperation agreements with countries such as Canada, France,
South Korea, the UK, and recently with Australia.
Nuclear energy is cheap and clean source of energy. With advancements
in technology, the fuel has become safe. India which has sufficient expertise
in the operation of nuclear reactors has
to take measures to promote the energy with sufficient care.

A law that failed to keep pace with time | CRPF Act

From fighting insurgents in Kashmir, the Maoists in Chhattisgarh, and terrorists in strife-stricken areas to acting as troubleshooters in sensitive areas, guarding the borders of Punjab and maintaining law and order during times of emergency, the 230 battalions of India’s largest Central Armed Police Force, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), are staunch sentinels. But despite the valiant services that they perform for the nation, they get a raw deal. Gallant soldiers must get their due and the first step towards this is to examine their rights and the laws that govern them.
The Central Reserve Police Force Act, 1949 (CRPF Act), an Act that provides for the constitution and regulation of an armed CRPF, is a colonial inheritance of the Crown’s Representative Police Force Law, 1939. Despite 67 years of independence and the framing of our own Constitution, we have retained certain provisions in the CRPF Act which are violative of fundamental freedoms — the right to equality, equal protection in public employment, and the right to protection of life and personal liberty. These ought to be granted to members of the CRPF in course of their duties and service to the nation. Fundamental rights provided by the Constitution, which have evolved over a period of time, need to find recognition in the CRPF Act.
According to the Act, the extent of heinous offences are to be judged by the Commandant of a Battalion by exercising powers of a judicial magistrate conferred by the Central Government. All trials are to be held in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (CrPC). Even though CrPC 1973 repeals CrPc 1898, legislative changes have not followed in the CRPF Act. This leaves no option but to read down the CRPF Act by assuming applicability of CrPC 1973 to confer a presumption of constitutionality on the pre-constitutional CRPF Act. However, this does not make palatable the exercise of judicial powers by the Commandant of Battalion, as CrPC 1973 clearly separates the judiciary from the executive in line with Article 50 that mandates this separation.
However, the CRPF Act follows CrPC 1898. The provisions of this code invested executive officers with judicial powers to try as a magistrate all offences not punishable with death. The 41st Report of the Law Commission of India, which was submitted in September 1969, recommended the separation of the judiciary from the executive on an all-India basis to ensure improvements in the quality of justice by having judicial magistrates, who were appointed by the High Courts. Dispensing with the arbitrary exercise of discretionary powers and acting in a manner consistent with known principles of law was desired. After being discussed by a joint select committee and being approved by both Houses of Parliament and the President, CrPC 1973 came into force. Consequently, all functions relating to appreciation of evidence, imposition of punishment, detention in custody, inquiry or trial, came to be exercised by a judicial magistrate under the CrPC 1973, and all ministerial functions were left to the executive magistrates. Since then, all judicial magistrates are appointed by the High Courts and special judicial magistrates can be notified by the High Courts, if they possess such qualification or experience in relation to legal affairs as the High Courts’ rules may specify. However, executive magistrates can be appointed by the State governments to perform executive functions.
Further authorisations
The dilemma in the CRPF Act is further compounded by the fact that the Commandant, after conducting a judicial trial for convicting and sentencing a member of the force, is also further authorised to punish the same member of the force departmentally dispensing with a formal inquiry on the ground of conviction on a criminal charge. To be given the opportunity of a hearing, a departmental inquiry, or the right of departmental defence, has been dispensed with, without giving any reasons as provided by the CRPF Rules, 1955. In a hypothetical situation, a Commandant may be framing the charge as a prosecutor, convicting and sentencing as a judicial magistrate and then punishing summarily as departmental head, without any separate inquiry to complete the process in closed quarters, in one or two weeks.
In the light of the 1973 code, providing for criminal trials by judicial magistrates or duly notified special judicial magistrates — besides constitutionally mandating a departmental inquiry except in certain situations — the CRPF Act is a pre-constitutional law caught in a time warp. Members of an emergency force may require a high degree of discipline, but they do not deserve such a straitjacket procedure which not only circumvents the law but also defies all canons of the process of natural justice. The government cannot remain oblivious to laws requiring equality in matters of public employment and at the same time ignore the mandate of basic criminal laws of the land. CRPF soldiers need to be treated fairly and with a spirit of natural justice.
Revisiting the Act
The CRPF could consider revisiting the CRPF Act and CRPF Rules to amend them in line with the existing provisions of the CrPC 1973 and the Constitution. Changes can be made by creating a rank and file of judicially trained officers lettered in law. They could constitute a separate cadre in the force to exercise special functions. Alternatively, a special court, such as the Security Force Court of the Border Security Force (BSF), could be constituted. Amendments can be made in the CRPF Act in tandem with the provisions of CrPC 1973 for the exercise of judicial functions to suit the requirements of this special force. Legal practices adopted by the BSF, the Indian Army, the Navy and the Air Force, which all meet the test of time and are in consonance with the prevailing provisions of law, can be emulated without compromising on the need for an independent disciplinary procedure. A separate judicial forum can be legislatively made in the CRPF. Leaving the current state of affairs to the outmoded colonial position of the CRPF Act makes it an unjust, arbitrary, unfair and discretionary process subject to bias and misuse. Members of the force who sacrifice their lives for the nation deserve to be treated better. It would be unfair to leave them to their fate while they serve us well.

-- Anil Malhotra | Source:

Huge population at fluorosis risk / SMRITI KAK RAMACHANDRAN

With drinking water in 14,132 habitations in 19 States still containing fluoride above the permissible levels, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry fears that a huge population is at risk of serious health conditions such as skeletal fluorosis.
The Ministry has now urged the Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry to ensure the supply of safe drinking water in these habitations.
Data collated by the latter say Rajasthan has the highest number of such habitations (7,670), affecting 48,84,613 people. Telangana has 1,174 such districts with 19,22,783 affected people. Karnataka has 1,122 such districts and Madhya Pradesh 1,055. Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh too face the problem.
The World Health Organization guideline value for fluoride is 1.5 mg per litre, with a target of between 0.8 and 1.2 mg per litre to maximise benefits and minimise harmful effects. Fluoride levels in the body depend on climate and intake of the chemical from drinking water and other sources, the WHO says.
Fluoride contamination affects the teeth and bones and long-term excessive exposure causes abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea, vomiting, seizures and muscle spasms.
The WHO says fluroide levels above 1.5 mg per litre causes pitting of tooth enamel and deposits in bones. Levels above 10 mg per litre cause the crippling skeletal fluorosis.
The government has started the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis in 2008-09. In 2013-14, the programme was brought under the National Rural Health Mission, which has so far covered 111 districts.

The programme includes surveillance of fluorosis in the community, training and manpower support, establishment of diagnostic facilities, treatment and health education. The Indian Council of Medical Research has formed a task force on fluorosis to address issues related to prevention and control.


Sebi flags down govt on India-US tax pact | FATCA / Jayshree P Upadhyay

Signing of an (IGA) between India and the US on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca) might not be smooth, despite New Delhi getting a one-month extension for this, as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has raised some concerns over the US tax norms.

According to sources in the know of the matter, the market regulator has written to the finance ministry, saying in its current form lacks complete reciprocity from the US counterparts, and there is an asymmetry in due-diligence requirements.

"In a note to the Fatca council, has sought that the council iron out the issues, including the registration requirement, penal provisions and reciprocity from US counterparts," said a source.

In June this year, India had in substance reached an agreement on the terms of an to implement Fatca; India is treated as having an IGA in effect from April 11, 2014. But the inter-government pact can be signed only after the Union Cabinet's approval. It was originally to be inked by the end of this year but the US has now extended the deadline for it to January 31 next year.

Sources close to the development say the signing has been delayed because of Indian financial institutions' unpreparedness.

Fatca was enacted by the US to detect and discourage tax evasion by persons living and earning in that country. Under this Act, the in signatory countries have to report their American clients to the US' Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - failure to do so leads to a withholding tax liability of 30 per cent on the institutions concerned.

After reaching an in-principle agreement with the US, the Indian government set up a council, with representatives from the and regulators as members, to frame rules on reporting under the Act.

According to policy-makers, the thinking within is that there should be a Common Reporting Standard (CRS) acceptable to the nations, instead of rules for reporting of American clients alone.

Market participants believe the penal provision of 30 per cent liability for non-reporting is 'too-high'. "The 30 per cent withholding tax liability on assumption of non-compliance is not creditable under the Indian Tax Act. The Indian institutions will need to work on processes to be able to furnish information and comply with the regulations and avoid being penalised for unintentional lapses," said Rahul Garg, leader (direct tax), PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Other tax experts believe the extra-territorial aspect of Fatca remains a concern.

"The Indian tax laws do not have provisions to extract data or information on Indian income from other countries. The question of complete reciprocity from US counterparts does not arise, as the Indian tax laws do not tax non-residents even if the income generated is based out of India," said Sunil Shah, partner, Deloitte Haskin & Sells.

The Indian government is to sign the IGA under 'Model A', which will entail reporting by financial institutions to the US authorities through the Indian regulators and government.

Accounts under $50,000 in value will not be scrutinised. Large broking and mutual fund houses predominately tapping foreign investors are likely to be affected, as compliance norms for high-value accounts will be more stringent. Financial institutions might be required to assign relationship managers for these accounts and clients.

According to data on the Sebi website, the total investments by non-resident Indians through custodians this financial year stood at close to Rs 2,000 crore until November. More than 90 per cent of the accounts involved were higher than $50,000 in value.

The amount likely to come under scrutiny is close to Rs 130 crore under the mutual fund route.

  • Sebi has written to the finance ministry over lack of complete reciprocity from the US counterparts
  • Regulator has raised market concerns on penal provisions and lack of symmetry in reporting standards
  • Fatca council to draft common reporting standards for market intermediaries that are acceptable to G-20 nations
  • As of Nov, had invested a total of Rs 2,000 cr through Indian custodians
  • Rs 130 cr channelled through the mutual fund route could come under scrutiny