SC upholds EC criteria on symbol issue

Permanent symbol would be granted only to political parties which have garnered at least 5% votes in assembly elections or have managed to win two assembly seats or one seat in the parliamentary elections from the state

New Delhi: In a majority verdict, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the criteria of the Election Commission (EC) for granting symbols to unrecognised registered political parties, reports PTI.

A three-judge bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir, S S Nijjar and Jasti Chelameswar upheld the panel's symbol order by a two to one majority. Justice Chelameswar wrote the dissenting order against EC's symbol criteria.

The court passed the order on a batch of petitions filed by state political parties, challenging the symbol order of the EC.

According to the EC's order, permanent symbol is granted to those political parties which have garnered atleast five per cent votes in assembly elections or have managed to win two assembly seats or one seat in the parliamentary elections from the state.

Several parties including, the then Praja Rajyam Party, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam had approached the apex court in 2008 against the EC's decision to change their symbol from what was allotted to them previously.

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Public Interest Exclusive
Ministry of defence had questioned ‘precedence’ of allocating defence land for President Pratibha Patil’s retirement home

RTI documents reveal that the President’s office twisted home ministry rules in its communication to Defence Estate Office, Pune, to get allotment for President Patil’s much-desired land in Pune. The very nature of the land ‘A1’ makes occupation illegal for any civilian which includes the President

Thanks to documents procured by activists under the RTI (Right to Information) Act, it is interesting to note that S Balakrishna, deputy director general, Defence Estates, ministry of defence, in his letter dated 14 March 2011 to the Principal Director, Defence Estates-Southern Command, Pune asked this specific question: “Also, intimate if there is any precedence case in detail.”

Through his 14 March 2011 communication to the Principal Director, Defence Estates Southern Command, Pune, forwarded the much-discussed letter dated 1 February 2011 from the President's office identifying the two bungalows 38 and 26-A and wrote:  "It is requested to forward a detailed report in this regard to this Dte Genl, on priority basis. Also, intimate if there is any precedence case in detail".
 
The Defence Estates Southern Command, Pune, reacted to Mr Balakrishna's first request and called for details from Dr T Arochianathan, Defence Estate Officer, Pune circle, on 15 April 2011 about the two plots.
 
From the reply giving details of the two plots that Dr Arochianathan sent on 29 April 2011 to the Defence Estates Southern Command, Pune, it is clear that the latter did not raise the "precedence case" issue in his 15 April 2011 letter.  The defence Estates Southern Command, Pune, conveniently did not later bother to "intimate" to Balakrishna about the "precedence case in detail". 

After Moneylife’s story on President Patil’s luxurious defence land allotment for her post-retirement home went viral and became the nation’s talking point last Wednesday, citizens are worried and angry that Ms Patil is setting a bad and dangerous precedent of people in high government posts by usurping common man’s land for their own personal benefit. None of her predecessors ever asked for such a favour and were happy retiring in modest residences.

How President’s office manipulated wordings of the rules

Commodore Ravindra Pathak (retd), a retired naval officer who is spearheading the campaign against President Patil’s allotment of 2,42,000 sq ft defence land for her post-retirement home states that, “the story of manipulation and half truths started after the President identified and indicated her choice place for residence.” He is not far from the truth when he points to the letter written by Dr Christy Fernandez, secretary to the President of India on 1 February 2011 to GK Pillai, home secretary, ministry of home affairs, New Delhi.

The secretary to President of India’s letter dated 1 February 2011 to the home secretary has certain factual errors as follows:

How President’s office twists facts: The bungalow number 38 does not have adequate space to set up the office and related facilities required to be provided to a former President.

Facts: As per the inspection of the site conducted by the Defence Estate Office, Pune Circle on 23 and 24 June 2011, the report dated 24 June 2011, bungalow no 38 has more than enough space to accommodate the President as per her entitlement for post-retirement home.

The inspection report, which Moneylife has accessed, states: “in so far as bungalow no 38 is concerned (which is one of the bungalows selected for accommodating Her Excellency the President of India) it is the residence of SWE, admeasuring 2.97 acres (which means 1,29,373 sq ft, way above her entitlement of 4,498 sq ft). Between this bungalow and the CWE’s office which is situated adjacent a vacant area of approximately 0.61 acre is available and combined with the area of B no 38, the total area available can be 3.40 acres.”

Counters Comm Pathak:  “The total plot area of Bungalow No 38 is 2.970 acres (1,29,373 sq ft).This size of plot can easily accommodate 4,498 sq ft plinth of the bungalow as authorized (Type VIII) (See Government of India, Ministry of Urban Affairs & Employment (Works Division) by Memorandum No 11011/2/95-WI  New Delhi, the 12th April, 1996 urban india and yet have adequate space to accommodate facilities for office and attached amenities which are again listed in the memorandum being quoted and the total area for these offices and amenities is:

The total requirement as per rules is as follows:
Office:      500 sq ft
Security   465 + 20* 4 (Security Post) = 565 sq ft
Total        1065 sq ft of which 200 sq ft is portable.
 
The plot size of bungalow no 38 being 1,29,373 sq ft is more than adequate to meet all legal needs of the President. Yet she was given another bungalow 26 A, admeasuring 2.10 acres making the total to 5.60 acres which is 2,42,000 sq ft.

Both Bungalows 26 A and 38 are on A1 meant strictly for military use. How can President Pratibha Patil be entitled to build a home here?


As per orders the classification of Defence land is as follows
Land in Cantonment Area Classification
Category     Land Ownership/ Use    

A1 Land        Under Active occupation of Army
A2 Land        Reserved for the future occupation of Army (Vacant)
B1 Land        Placed under management of Central Govt.
B2 Land        Private Land   
B3 Land        Land belongs to Ministry of Defence but given on lease (outside civil area)
B4 Land        Defence Land (Vacant)

Counters Comm Pathak:
“The land awarded to the President on retirement is Class A1 Land which means it is in active occupation of the Army. Now if the land is in active occupation of the army, how can it be given for construction of a new building for the President who would be a civilian after she retires? This is illegal occupation of Defence land in active use.”
 
What a President of India is entitled to after retirement
 
In terms of the President's (Emoluments and Pension Act 1951) the President on  demitting office is entitled to a rent-free, furnished government accommodation of Type VIII category along with facilities for office and attached amenities.
Fact: Extracts from the Act.
(d) a retired President shall be entitled without payment of rent to the use of a furnished residence anywhere in India at the choice of the retired President, without payment of water and electricity charges for the remainder of his life;
(e) at places where government-owned accommodation is allotted to a retired President, the size of the residence shall be comparable to a residence allotted to a minister in the Union Council of Ministers and if the highest type of government residence available at a particular place is less in size than a residence allotted to a minister in the Union Council of Ministers. The highest type of accommodation available at that place shall be allotted to the ex-President.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is a consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting, which she won twice in 1998 and 2005, and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte. She can be reached at [email protected])

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COMMENTS

B V KRISHNAN

5 years ago

Why is the Defence Minister who is so "correct" is silent. How can he allow defence land be misused illegally? Can we sign a mass on line petition to him asking to stop this wrongdoing?

B V KRISHNAN

5 years ago

Moneylife - please let me know how to join the on line campaign. I will make sure every person known to me is also roped into the campaign to stop this illegal act of the person whom I am ashamed to call as the President of India. The construction should not be allowed to continue at any cost. I am prepared to die for this cause.

N SRINIVASA RAGHAVAN

5 years ago

I wish to become a member & a volunteer to contribute to the cause of stemming the rot of a decaying society.

Nagesh Kini FCA

5 years ago

I don't see any way in which a Lok Pal can stop the construction for the Prez.

Suraj-ji -Since when was Dr. Kalam knighted "Sir" by HM, the Queen?

Suraj

5 years ago

This is the new shining india with no law for powerful.there is strong need for strong lokpal and whoever is against it he/she is in the same pool of her like corrupt people.No need to give respect to such people.I'm amazed to see that how old she is and for whom does she want this illegal house?
Our country leaders should be like Sir APJ Abdul Kalam(the missile man of India) or Mr Vajpayee like

dayananda kamath k

5 years ago

rajeev gandhi allowed kotrochi to acompany him on vikrant which was not acessible to any indian. may be that was his qualification to get commission in bofors deal.

malq

5 years ago

More land for Pratibha Patil . . .

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_pr...

SSORNAVEL

5 years ago

How the Minister's \ President are takeing secreat oth ?.If the President doing Manipulation and etc..What about others ?

SKDAMANI

5 years ago

Why is the Hon. President opting for her home: Jalgaon or Amravati? what is wrong with these small cities? With her efforts, at least Jalgaon has got an Airport, though it is not operative at least at present. May be after she opts for her post retirement residence at Jalgaon, the Airport may get activated.
Think Think!!!!!!!!!!!

REPLY

nagesh kini

In Reply to SKDAMANI 5 years ago

The Prez. can land up at Jalgaon airport, set up for her, if, and only if, the entire Pune Cant. work is stopped forthwith, even by a Court of appropriate jurisdiction.

Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

IS IT HALO EFFECT BLINDING AUTHORITIES?
PREZ IS CIVILIAN BUT SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE INDIAN ARMY TOO. A1. OFCOURSE.
HOW CAN SHE BE DOWNGRADED TO No. 2.
Should we refer the matter for
PRESIDENTIAL REVIEW?
IT IS BETTER TO GIVE KEYS TO THE THIEF AS THE SAYING GOES.

Nagesh Kini FCA

5 years ago

The approvals, if any,obtained by misrepresentations by the President's Office under her direct instructions, need to be revoked suo moto. If not a stay to stop work brought in by seeking appropriate judicial directions as this classified A1 Land simply cannot be 'awarded' away to any one, President or aam janata, it smacks of Orwell's "some people are more equal than others".
Besides it goes beyond the entitlement and needs to be halted here and now.
What is this lady's contribution to the nation? On a sworn affidavit she has stated that she owns a city and a farm house. She is not homeless. There are millions of homeless and roofless many living with families on the pavements of Mumbai.
When all the other school kids are directed to bus it to the school this lady's grandchild reportedly enjoying Z security comes to school in a limo - another instance of "some are more equal".
Their limo Double/triple parks on Mumbai's high density main road - the Veer Savarkar Marg.
Tomorrow she's likely to put in a demand for constructing a house in the reserved Recreation Ground Dhote Udyan on the Shivaji Park beach because it is bang in front of an elite school, there is no need to bus or triple park!
Will the Madam voluntarily withdraw and get the work stopped?

Pankaj

5 years ago

excellent article. and facts.. Sad state of affair to witness.

Dr VLLokre

5 years ago

What is the status of free bungalows that were given to retired Presidents who are not alive? I would be interested to know whether the dependents of Presidents have surrendered to the Govt.
D. V.L.Lokre,
Retired DRDO Scientist,
Pune
April 18, 2012

REPLY

Ravindra

In Reply to Dr VLLokre 5 years ago

You should be lucky if you find the places are at least occupied by the descendants.

Do not be surprised if some of these are already sold years back.

Pankaj

In Reply to Dr VLLokre 5 years ago

very well query..

nagesh kini

In Reply to Pankaj 5 years ago

If I remember right the heirs of deceased PMs have retained control over the structures as 'memorials' and don't pay a paisa!

Shadi Katyal

5 years ago

Evidently she was well aware and must have asked or demanded from her underlings and the game was on. When her name was nominated, questions of her ethics were raised and now one can see the truth.
Why does she need any such accommodation.Will she become homeless after leaving such office.
Has any of the retired President been allocated such lavish accommodations??? If she has any respect for the nation and self dignity she should refuse it now.
While millions live without any roof on their heads our leaders want palaces.
This must be stopped immediately. Time to wake up and dont let these people loot the nation.

vijayendra

5 years ago

It's a shame we have to live with president of her nature, she has no respect for the people of India and she is total disgrace to Rastrapati Bhavan, No Indian deserve her as their president.

Life Exclusive
Cereal Offenders

Doctors, stunned by the increase in patients with gastro or digestive-system linked cancers, are suggesting the need to do away with sugar—and breakfast cereals

Over the last few years, an amazing and visible change has taken place in India, and that has to do with the easy availability of such processed and manufactured foods as well as the ailments which follow, with digestive and gastro issues taking pole position.  Certainly, low sanitation has one part to play with this, especially the quality of water we drink. But more importantly, it is the rapid change in dietary habits in urban India which is a major change in the reasons behind medical issues, and only one of the areas where it is showing up in huge numbers is cancer.
 
For example—sweetened coloured carbonated soft drinks, were sold and available out of small cottage industries which had not learnt the art of adding more salt so that they could make you crave for another within a short time. And to counter all that salt, they then had to add more sugar. And since sugar was expensive, other chemicals masquerading as sweeteners have now been added. (Readers may be glad to observe that the number of celebrities endorsing soft drinks appears to have come down now, especially after Yuvraj Singh’s unfortunate episode with cancer. (Cancer Colas: Slowly being outcast by the West, Colas exploit India through unaccountable celebrity endorsements)
 
Or take another example—pre-packaged polished rice or refined flour was simply not available. Indian food simply didn’t taste the same with this base for a meal. Besides, everybody knew that the real nutrients as well as value came when you ate it without losing all the good parts. And the end products, bread or biscuit, were mostly made locally—from fresh ingredients sourced locally, too. Not loaded with garbage in the name of add-ons. (How does the wood in your bread, biscuit taste today?)
 
However, within the Indian context, even in the poorest of families, breakfast was the main building block of the day’s meal. Something which had to provide everybody with a reason to go, work, study or whatever. It was healthy, freshly cooked, and it was of prime importance that people knew what went into it.
 
A lot of that appears to have changed in the last decade or so. And one reason for it is the massive push being given to packaged breakfast cereals. Famously, it has been said more than once, including in the US Congress that the boxes they came in provided more nutrition than did the breakfast cereals themselves—and this was never contested or denied by the breakfast cereal industry. But, based heavily on advertising and marketing, the push for space on your table is huge. Simply put, the more they spend for the effort involved in getting breakfast cereals, the less you will get in terms of value.
 
This heavy push to try and change Indian breakfast eating habits does not come cheap, for anybody who knows what the cost of advertising is, or the charges levied for retail display space. After soft drinks, breakfast cereals are now the second highest marketed food products in India, and that is saying something for a category that simply did not exist here a decade ago. In the words of one advertising guru, the brief given was to make it a lifestyle product for children, with the power of pestering their parents. So, free toys, provocative advertising, and somehow connecting breakfast cereals to “family values” and “healthy lifestyles”, all this and more, made sure that you brought cereals home.
 
But what, then, is the link with cancer?
 
Doctors one speaks to are not very sure, but that old villain—excess sugar and salt—raises its head again. And why is there so much of it? Well, sugar provides the ‘bulk’ feeling and salt provides the taste, and the manufacturers have to provide something for the Indian palate—so up goes the sugar and the salt. In effect, when you are eating a bowlful of cereals, especially the so-called high fibre sorts, you are likely ingesting more salt than an equal weight of potato chips.
 
So where is the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India on breakfast cereals? As usual, nowhere, other than saying that they adhere to Indian standards. Which, actually, say nothing about the process to be used to make them in the first case, which is where the trouble starts. What sort of corn goes into making corn flakes sold in India, for example?
 
Even the crows don’t touch GM corn anymore...
 
Typically, when you manufacture a breakfast cereal, you are simply running the base grain through high temperatures, using a variety of processes to remove most of the natural nutrients, and then replacing them with artificial additives. This is done to (a) prevent the cereal from going rancid and (b) keeping the cereal crisp. The additives can include the mythical Vitamin D as well as our famous plant fibre, and of late, the new buzzword is Omega-3. The problem is, all these make the whole thing taste unpleasant, at least to children, so add more sugar.
 
Of course, after that you add milk and you guessed right—added more sugar.
 
So does this conclusively prove that breakfast cereals are now an additional possible cause for cancer?
 
The point is this we still don’t know what goes into breakfast cereals sold in India. And like there are people still denying that tobacco causes cancer, there are those who will sing the glories of breakfast cereals, so strong is the cereal lobby.
 
But if you ask the doctors, mostly over-worked and some absolutely stunned by the vast increase across all social and class levels of patients coming in with gastro or digestive system linked cancers, they are increasingly suggesting lifestyle changes need to do away with sugar. And breakfast cereals.
 
Breakfast cereals on their way to becoming serial offenders? It’s your life and it’s your money. Why do you want to spend it on cancer?
 
 With credit to Felicity Lawrence’s books, “Eat Your Heart Out” and “Not on the Label”.
 
(Veeresh Malik had a long career in the Merchant Navy, which he left in 1983. He has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, loves to travel, and has been in print and electronic media for over two decades. After starting and selling a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing.)

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COMMENTS

Dillip

4 years ago

We are in a state of complete blindness about the truth. We don't know what to believe and what not to. We are killed by advertisements and promotions and the tragic part is whom we consider our hero are the guardian of devil's products.

Awdhesh Kumar

5 years ago

Good interesting fact at one place
people should be educated and ofcourse should remember

Tks V M
Keep it up

DrSharmila Rao PN

5 years ago

Good to see the article, it has been an against the current swim, when we try to educate patients, brocholi, olive oil, all these are crap in Indian context,
Maggie, kellogs are not necessary, our traditional foods are good enough.
I am still trying to figure out with 85% water content how can fresh coconut be contributor or imbalanced diet.
Of course sugar is definitely not as healthy as jaggery, or honey
Anyway keep the good work going.
we are being brainwashed into being a robotic consumer society.

REPLY

malq

In Reply to DrSharmila Rao PN 5 years ago

Dr. Sharmila Rao, thank you for writing in, and request you also to guide your patients accordingly.

About 4 years ago, I was given all of 3-6 months more to live, but then met some doctors and others who worked on and improved my lifestyle.

One of the bigger constituents of this was the food we eat. Moved out as much as possible from all forms of soft drinks, packaged food, as well as refined flour, white sugar, polished rice, packaged attas, and substituted spices and herbs for salt.

Seems to work. I'm still around, overweight sure, but off medications totally.

And yes, fresh coconut water whenever spotted or mausambi juice - even with the evening vodka or rum.

Brgds/VM

Rahul

5 years ago

Hi,

Thanks for the wonderful article. Exactly since 1 year i started eating sweet corn and developed lot of digestion issues.
Till I read your article, i thought some issue with my food habits or with my health.
After reading your article, things became pretty clear to me. I will stop eating sweet corn now onwards..

Regards,
Rahul

REPLY

malq

In Reply to Rahul 5 years ago

You are welcome, Rahul, and thank you for writing in.

All the best.

rgds/VM

Nagesh Kini FCA

5 years ago

Cereals and colas are by no means truly home breakfasts, they are unwarranted imports from the West.
Mis-sold by glitzy ad. spree. It is time for FDA to act. They have no nutritional value, full of chemical preservatives. - not to be found in any of our own upma, idli, ragi balls, saraso ki sag, makke ki roti,junka bhakar, aloo parota.

REPLY

malq

In Reply to Nagesh Kini FCA 5 years ago

Nagesh Kini ji, the FSSAI in India are laike a shameless bunch.

People who will try to co-opt or pass answers which don't make sense.

Better to go to try and change things, and shame the bunch of jokers there, with their assorted committees and boards largely stacked with the same purveyors of packaged garbage.

rgds/VM

Narendra Doshi

5 years ago

Dear Veereshji,
Could you please highlight on Kellog's All Bran Wheat Flakes especially for a Diabetic 60 year old person?

REPLY

malq

In Reply to Narendra Doshi 5 years ago

Dear Narendra Joshi ji, thank you for writing in.

1) I would not wish to comment on a particular branded product, but overall markings on packaged, processed and manufactured foods say one thing and contain another.

2) For diabetics, I would suggest fresh ground options - there are a variety of porridge/dallia mix available, wheat, oat, and other grains, which are with bran because it is not sieved out. Likewise, at many of the "chakkees" that are increasingly coming up, a variety of fresh ground "diabetic mix" attas are available - with a mixture of wheat, bajra, jawar, soya, channaa atta and even some roughage, which you can adjust to your personal requirements. In addition, for diabetics, doctors and others would incresingly suggest unpolished "red" rice.

I hope this helps.

rgds/VM

Chandraprabha V

In Reply to malq 4 years ago

Veeresh, thanks for opening my eyes, I won't serve Chocos or Kellogs breakfast cereals to my grand children, thanks very much for opening our eyes

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