Citizens' Issues
Public Interest Exclusive
More than 300 lawyers, activists and law students converge at Indore

Justice Ganguly speaks at the Conference of Lawyers for Social Justice and calls upon lawyers to contribute to the new freedom struggle waged by social movements

Justice (Retd) Ashok Kumar Ganguly, presently chairperson of the state human rights commission, West Bengal called upon the community of budding lawyers to join the “second freedom struggle”, by engaging with the mainstream of social movements in order to ensure that all the constitutional doctrines and judicial principles are protected and carried forward. Justice Ganguly was addressing a packed hall of hundreds of lawyers, activists, law students and farmers from over 14 states and various districts of Madhya Pradesh at the “Conference of Lawyers for Social Justice”, co-organized by the Indore Institute of Law and the National Alliance of People’s Movements on 25th and 26th August. More than 300 lawyers, activists and law students converged at Indore.


According to justice (Retd) Ganguly, the Constitution of India is essentially a human rights document. The Constitution alone can liberate this country, feed the hungry millions and clothe the masses.


Justice (Retd) Ganguly was joined by justice (Retd) PD Mulye, former judge, Indore High Court, who lamented that notwithstanding the ‘glorious’ legal regime in the country and bountiful judicial pronouncements, the implementation of these is very tardy, be it the case of the Bhopal gas victims or the Narmada project oustees.


Satish Chandra Bagadiya, senior advocate, Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore welcomed the idea of the conference and saw this as an opportunity for two different streams i.e. judges, lawyers, social activists and the emerging group of lawyers to interact with each other. He stated that at a time when the legal profession itself is becoming ‘corporatized’ and ‘commercialized’, and most young lawyers are assessed by the firms they represent, fat packages they receive and fees they charge, this conference provides a real scope for reflection, both by the social movements and also by the legal fraternity.


Senior lawyers and activists also spoke to the participants on a range of issues, through two plenary sessions.


BJP criticises PM for making statement on CAG report in Parliament

BJP said it will continue to demand resignation of the Prime Minister and boycott the 'corrupt' government in Parliament

New Delhi: Criticising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for making a statement on the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on coal block allocation in Lok Sabha, India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday said it will continue to demand his resignation and boycott the "corrupt" government in Parliament, reports PTI.


"Personally, I think for any minister or anybody to make a statement on the CAG report inside the House is wrong. It’s absolutely wrong. Because the only forum in which the CAG report can be discussed is the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)," BJP leader Jaswant Singh told reporters outside Parliament House.


BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said his party is not going to take things lying down anymore on this issue and will continue to press for the Prime Minister's resignation as it has already extended enough opportunities to him in the last eight years.


"This is a corrupt government," Rudy said. He maintained that BJP will not allow the forum of Parliament to be used to "legitimise corruption".


BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar expressed disappointment with Singh's statement.


"The country is upset with the Prime Minister's statement. It is not a statement but a list of points of excuses. He is hiding the facts," he said.


Javadekar alleged that Singh has accepted his role in coal allotments.


"He has said one thing correct that he is wholly responsible for the decision and that is why we are saying he has allotted and has put his stamp of approval on every coal block allotment. There are wrong-doings and so he is responsible and that is why he must resign," he said.


Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and former deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha (Upper House) Najma Heptullah said the Prime Minister's statement should not be considered by Parliament as there was no "order" in both the Houses when they were laid.


"According to me no statement was made today. When the House is not in order, the proceeding is not on record", she told reporters outside Parliament.


"I have been deputy chairman for 18-19 years. I have said this repeatedly and today also I told the deputy chairman is a rule, a convention and a record that if House is not in order, than no proceeding should not come to record," she said to buttress her point.


Further, she accused the government of adopting two yardsticks as it allowed former telecom minister A Raja to resign following CAG report on 2G allocation but is shielding the prime minister on the coal allocation scam.


No coal block allocated in my tenure: Jaiswal

In a hurriedly called press conference, Jaiswal reiterated that except the coal block allocations made in UPA-I, no allocations have been made by him

New Delhi: Minister for Coal Sriprakash Jaiswal on Monday said no coal block was given away during his tenure and only allotment letters were issued to some firms to whom coal mines were allocated in the first term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, reports PTI.


"I have said time and again that except the coal block allocations made in UPA-I, no allocations have been made. If any Member of Parliament (MP) is making any such statement, then that MP is misleading the media as well as the nation," he said.


In a hurriedly called press conference, Jaiswal also refuted BJP MP Hansraj Ahir reported allegations that he sanctioned coal blocks to three private companies, SKS Ispat and Power, CGSponge Manufacturers Consortium Coalfield and API Ispat and Powertech.


"Only two coal blocks were there, whose names have been mentioned. They were already approved (in UPA-I), but allocation letter was not issued because general elections were declared. Those allocation letters got issued when UPA-II came in to the power," he said.


"Forget 35 blocks, not even 0.35 coal blocks were allocated in UPA-II. You can come to our office and find it out, there is no basis (of the allegations)," he said.


Ahir has reportedly alleged that Jaiswal sanctioned the allocations to three private companies in late 2011 without following the auction route despite the fact that rules for auctioning had come into effect in 2010.


Jaiswal also requested the opposition parties, particularly BJP, to allow Parliament to function after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh making a statement today.


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