Citizens' Issues
BBC Nirbhaya documentary: Delhi HC says media trials tend to influence judges
The HC said prima facie it is not opposed to airing of BBC's Nirbhaya documentary, it should be released after the Supreme Court decides the appeals of the convicts
 
Media trials tend to influence judges by subconsciously creating a pressure, the Delhi High Court observed Thursday while hearing a petition on the airing of the controversial documentary on 16th December gangrape case.
 
A bench of justices BD Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said although it is prima facie not opposed to airing of the documentary, it should be released after the Supreme Court decides the appeals of the convicts in the matter.
 
"Media trials do tend to influence judges. Subconsciously a pressure is created and it does have an effect on the sentencing of the accused/ convict," it said in support of its observation.
 
The bench was of the view that the documentary could "interfere with the justice system" but refused to pass any interim orders saying it has to be decided by an appropriate bench of Chief Justice.
 
"We are prima facie not opposed to airing of the documentary, but only after the Supreme Court decides the appeals."
 
"Had it been originally placed before us, we would have asked you to place material before us on why ban be lifted. But it has come here from the roster bench of Chief Justice, so we will not pass any interim orders. Let the roster bench decide it," the court said and listed the matter for hearing on 18th March.
 
Observing that airing of the video could make or ruin the case of one of the rape convicts, Mukesh, it said, "Whether he has shown remorse or not would be considered at the time of his sentencing. Why not wait till the Supreme Court decision?"
 
On the contention that ban on airing of the video till apex court judgement could also lead to gag on reporting of all sub-judice matters, the bench said,"We agree."
 
It said that earlier media had a self-imposed code of not reporting sub-judice matters, but now "media has thrown it (the code) to the winds".
 
The Central government, represented by advocate Monika Arora, opposed airing of the documentary saying it would give a platform to the convict to air his views and that it also contains derogatory statements against the victim.
 
She also said that Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry only issued an advisory to cable TV networks to abide by the magisterial court's order banning airing of the documentary.
 
The petitioners, on the other hand, claimed that as the government failed to control spread of the documentary via Internet and since its viewing by lakhs of people caused no untoward or law and order situation there are no grounds for banning the video.

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Unreasonable to expect big bang reforms in India, says Arvind Subramanian

According to the Chief Economic Advisor although it was unreasonable to expect big bang reforms announcement in annual Budget, the Narendra Modi government is moving ahead slowly but steadily

 

In vibrant democracies like India, with multiple veto centres, it is “unreasonable” to expect “big bang reforms”, feels Arvind Subramanian, the country’s top economist.
 
In his maiden public appearance in Washington after being appointed as India’s Chief Economic Advisor last year, Subramanian, also told a top American think-tank this week that India is “still very much a recovering economy, not a surging economy“.
 
He said though it was unreasonable to expect big bang reforms announcement in annual budget, the new “government is moving ahead” slowly but steadily with a series of key policy and fiscal reforms that “would change” the face of India in the years to come.
 
“This budget maintains and accelerates the reform momentum,” he said.
 
“Big bang reforms in robust - what I say frustratingly vibrant democracies such as India - are the exception, rather than the rule. In countries like India power is so dispersed, there’s so many veto centres - the Centre, the states, different institutions.
 
“You know, the power to do, undo, block, is so extensive, that, you know, it’s a bit unreasonable,” Subramanian said in his address to the prestigious Peterson Institute for International Economics.
 
“India is neither in crisis or was neither in crisis. I mean, nor is it one of those places where you can just pull these levers and expect a big bang reform. So the argument we were making is this is just a completely unreasonable standard to apply to India,” Subramanian told the global financial think-tank, where he worked before being appointed as India’s Chief Economic Advisor.
 
In his power-point presentation on the annual Indian budget presented by the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, he said it focusses on key areas including push for public investment.
 
“We are pushing growth via public and private investment. It is not coming at the cost of fiscal consolidation. It’s accompanied by an improvement in the quality of fiscal consolidation. So this is a big part of the budget,” he said.
 
“The impulse to growth has to come in the short run from public investment. And that’s going to depend to a great extent upon implementation capacity in the public sector,” he said. 
 

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COMMENTS

vishal

2 years ago

the reforms are taking place in a snail pace not solving any major problem we are facing. Plenty of scope is still allowed due to rampant corruption in Government circles. Poor mans money is wasted for inefficiency in PSUs for supporting organised workers. Every one knows, big bang reforms will be stopped by the process of elections and votes in our system. When will the Indian people will see the light of hope.

Railways secures Rs1.50 lakh crore funding from LIC. What next?
Railway Minister Prabhu can lend, lease excess properties for building up huge food, grain storage yards, near stations to help faster movement and delivery. This would reduce the dependence on FCI godowns and still bring in the much needed finance, as rent for Railways!  
 
Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu, should be congratulated for swiftly being able to obtain the required assistance of Rs1.50 lakh crore, spread over the next five years, to finance various projects for the development of Railways in the country. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Rajalakshmi Ravi Kumar, Finance Commissioner of Railways with SK Roy, Chairman of LIC, in the presence of the both the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
 
It is expected, according to the press, that this assistance will be made available from 2015-16 fiscal year and will help Railways to fund part of the total plan budget of Rs10,011 crore for this year.
 
In a separate development, while speaking at the international conference organised by industry body Assocham, which was also attended by Ambassadors of China, France and the Czech Republic, Suresh Prabhu sought the assistance for technical cooperation and upgrading of Railways from foreign participants.  He assured those present that the Ministry proposes to set up a special body to enhance partnership with private investors and raise the efficiency in implementing various rail projects.  At the same time, he mentioned about the urgent need to develop the capacity to haul additional coal that would be mined now, as a sequel to the coal block auctions that are taking place right now.  He mentioned that these auctions have generated substantial amounts of funds that would help to develop various projects in the country.
 
Additionally, he mentioned that to further upgrade infrastructure, the Railways would seek help from other organisations, such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Finance Corp (IFC).  It would follow that the Railways themselves may go in for issuance of tax-free bonds.
 
It may be recalled, not long ago, the Coal Ministry itself had identified 50 Rail projects to ensure evacuation of coal from the mines.  There is no doubt that some of these will be taken up, possibly, during this fiscal itself.
 
In the meantime, it would be necessary for Railway Minister Prabhu to review the working of so many organisations that form part of the Railway system.  For example, Rites was established in 1974 (40 years) for consultancy services in transport, infrastructure related technologies; the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (2006), Pipavav Railways Corporation (2001) for rail infrastructure services, besides the Railway Finance Corporation, the financing arm of the Railways.  A study would indicate the changes that have to be made in the functioning of these organisations and duplications that may have occurred in some of them.  
 
Organisations, like the Dedicated Corridors, now need to have fixed time frames for the jobs on hand as most of the projects have been delayed for one reason or another. It would be in the fitness of things that a study group be set up to look into the various organisations associated with Railway development in the country and then decide what steps should be taken to bring about improvement in the effective functioning of each set up.
 
Likewise, there are large tracts of "land banks" that Railways own.  In order to utilize these most effectively and still be able to serve the country, Suresh Prabhu can lend, lease these for building up huge food, grain storage yards, in the vicinity of Railway stations that would help faster movement and delivery. At the same time, it would reduce the dependence on Food Corp of India (FCI), and still bring in the needed finance, as rent for Railways!  This would be some food for thought, for Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who needs the funds to finance the railway projects!
 
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)

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COMMENTS

vishal

2 years ago

lot of positive things are happening. Yes. But the public are yet to see the result. Only action will prove if these measures will see the light of the day. As for coal, much will depend on the working of the CIL and of course Railways. Otherwise everything will go waste.

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