NHRC seeks report in case against Lawyers Collective
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday asked the CBI to submit a status report, within four weeks, regarding its investigation against the human rights group Lawyers Collective and its President Anand Grover.
 
The NHRC direction came after it received two communications -- one from Henri Tiphagne, a rights activist associated with Human Rights Defenders' Alert, HRDA-India, and from Maja Daruwala, Senior Advisor of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative who expressed grave concern over the criminal cases filed against Lawyers Collective.
 
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a FIR on June 13 under the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act (FCRA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on June 13 after getting a Home Ministry report. 
 
Tiphagne said the Ministry's communication to the CBI was made after a petition was filed by an NGO, Lawyers Voice, in the Supreme Court on May 8. 
 
The HRDA has urged the Commission to exercise the provisions laid down under section of 12 (b) of the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHR) Act, 1993, and act on its long-standing request of urgently reviewing FCRA.
 
Under 12 (b) of PHR Act, the Commission can intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights.
 
Both right activists said that the Lawyers Collective was a group of lawyers with a mission to empower and change the status of marginalised groups through the effective use of law and engagement in human rights advocacy, legal aid and litigation. 
 
Grover, the UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Health between August 2008 to July 2014, and Indira Jaising, who served as an Additional Solicitor General between July 2009 and May 2014, are the founders of Lawyers Collective.
 
Tiphagne and Daruwala said that registration of criminal cases against the group was aimed at intimidating and harassing it.
 
Daruwala alleged that there was a pattern of intimidation against anyone who challenged government policies. 
 
The complaint from the Home Ministry said that the NGO was registered for carrying out social activities and it received Rs 32.39 crore from 2006-07 to 2014-15. 
 
However, the violation of the FCRA was noticed in 2010, the complaint said, adding that the response filed by the Lawyers Collective was not found to be satisfactory.
 
In November 2016, the Home Ministry cancelled the registration of Lawyers Collective under the FCRA, stopping the organisation from accepting funding from abroad.
 
Six months earlier, the NGO's foreign funding licence was suspended.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Mumbai's 150-year old Esplanade Mansion barricaded, awaits redevelopment
    Mumbai's 150-year old landmark building, Esplanade Mansion, has been barricaded and a footpath beside it has also been cordoned off as it awaits a nod for redevelopment, a top official said here on Friday.
     
    "We would have liked to restore it since it's a world-class monument. However, the cast iron used for its construction is not available now. So, we await the Bombay High Court orders for its redevelopment under the guidance of Heritage Conservation experts," Mumbai Building Repairs and Reconstruction Board (MBRRB) Chairman Vinod Ghosalkar told IANS.
     
    The building, figuring on the World Monuments Watch's list of 100 most endangered buildings globally, falls in the UNESCO's recently declared Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles region in south Mumbai.
     
    Ghosalkar said that while all five dozen odd remaining tenants have already vacated the building, there are concerns about its stability and potential risk to pedestrians and traffic on the adjacent road in view of the approaching monsoons.
     
    The MBRRB wanted to barricade the building last July when a part of a fourth-floor balcony collapsed and crushed a taxi parked on the road. In July 2005, two balconies had crashed killing one person and injuring another six.
     
    In view of its creaky condition, the Bombay High Court last April ordered all remaining tenants - residential and commercial - to quit by May 15 and the Supreme Court extended the deadline to May 30, which has been complied with.
     
    Known as the erstwhile super-deluxe "Watson's Esplanade Hotel", it was built for its British owner, John H. Watson, by the architect Rowland M. Ordish at the prime Kala Ghoda site between 1867-1869, with imported cast iron and a sleek finishing in teak and mahogany.
     
    It functioned as a popular hotel with 130 rooms and 20 suites, patronised by Mumbai's elite and Europeans - long before other luxury hotels like the Hotel Taj Mahal Palace came up - for around a hundred years before it was shut down in the 1960s.
     
    The building had already gone down in history as the first Indian venue where the Lumiere Brothers screened their short films collection - each barely 30-45 seconds long - on their Cinematographe (projector) during their historic world tour in 1896.
     
    They included: "Entry Of A Cinematographe", "Arrival Of A Train, "The Sea Bath", "A Demolition", "Leaving The Factory" and "Ladies And Soldiers On Wheels" screened in one of the large rooms of the hotel, with a grand entry fee of Re 1 per patron.
     
    Incidentally, this was a good 17 years before the Father of Indian Cinema, Dhundiraj G. Phalke alias Dadasaheb Phalke, made his first full length feature film "Raja Harishchandra" (1913), marking the birth of the world's biggest film industry, Bollywood.
     
    Earlier in 1896, one prominent guest at the hotel was the legendary American writer Samuel L. Clemens, renowned by his pen-name Mark Twain, who wrote about the Mumbai crows he saw from his balcony in the book, "Following The Equator", during his three-month sojourn in India.
     
    Subsequently, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, later the founder of Pakistan and a lawyer, used to play pool in the hotel for some extra pocket money.
     
    After its demise as a hotel, the building's new owner converted into a commercial complex with small offices and cubicles, mainly leased out to lawyers who could hop across the road to Bombay High Court and the Mumbai City Civil and Sessions Court.
     
    Though the MBRRB and Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) attempted its repairs 10 years ago, the works was abandoned, while this year MHCC also voted to restore it.
     
    However, a report by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) put the final nail in the coffin, ruling out any possibility of repairs and restoration, and leaving the way open for redevelopment, said Ghosalkar.
     
    On the costs to be borne for the redevelopment project, Ghosalkar said the high court has already said it will decide on the cost distribution between the current owner, the tenants and the MBRRB after the work is completed.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Here's a treatment for mob violence against doctors in India
    Now that the doctors' strike has been called off, the moot question is, will this find space in the news again only when another doctor is roughed up or killed by disgruntled relatives? With the Supreme Court ruling out protection to doctors at the cost of public money, yet another question is, at whose cost is a politician given protection? Why are the doctors less deserving?
     
    If a solution to the mob violence against doctors and their properties is not found then medical profession will be considered "dangerous" and the clamour to take up medicine as a career will go down. As members of a profession which is supposed to respond to human suffering, doctors have a social responsibility. But will society reciprocate? 
     
    There is an outrage when it comes to violence against women, children or the common man. People gather in large numbers with placards and raise slogans on the injustice meted out. Rightfully it exerts pressure on the concerned establishments to act. 
     
    But have we seen an outrage, eve, when a doctor is grievously injured by a mindless mob? Why don't we see people on the streets holding placards and seeking action against those unleashing violence on the medical fraternity? 
     
    Violence against doctors is certainly not India specific. It is a global phenomenon. The US, Britain, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan have all had victims of violence. A few years ago, a paediatrician in China's Fujian province was injured after leaping out of a fifth-floor window to escape angry relatives of a newborn baby who had died under his care. 
     
    According to a study by the Indian Medical Association, over 75 per cent of doctors have faced violence at work. But how many cases have been registered on the patients and their relatives under the Prevention of Violence Against Doctors Act?
     
    A cycle of violent strikes and negative media coverage has tarnished the image of the medical community at large. Many people now view doctors with a feeling of troubled dependence. Doctors have turned a soft target not only to the public but the media too. Most mainstream channels and newspapers seldom highlight the other side. 
     
    To lean on to the side of the patient/relatives and turn a blind eye to the doctor's stance is nothing but prejudice. Whenever there is an allegation of medical negligence, only the patient's side gets prominence. Either there is no hospital version or it is given a few seconds in the passing. The anchors who debate on prime time come with a fixed stance. Why call it a debate then? 
     
    Doctors are given very little time to reason out their side. They are repeatedly pounced upon as though they entered the medical profession with a sole purpose of killing someone.
     
    Doctors have traditionally been regarded highly by society. But the present impression of private business-mindedness of some in the profession has led to a poor image of doctors. That said, how much has the government facilitated in providing electricity or water at non- commercial rates? 
     
    What hides in the hospital bill of a patient is the increasing costs on medical equipment, the commercial rates imposed on electricity, water and the manpower that has now become far more expensive. Can the government and public expect state-of-art treatment at dirt cheap price?
     
    On one hand the public is bombarded with unsupervised ads that promise short-cut cure, one stop solution to various ailments, over simplified medicines, easy alternatives and so on; on the other hand there are news reports that scream of medical negligence (most often inaccurate or judgmental) shaking the faith and trust that the people have on doctors. 
     
    While the news on achievements of hospitals and doctors are a few and subtle, the reports on medical negligence are sensationalised and blaring. 
     
    It is impossible to curb violence against doctors unless there is definitely a complete overhaul of the existing economic system and healthcare system, with increased communication between the doctors and patients, filling crucial gaps in communication between doctors, patients and relatives. Doctors should be not be overburdened and should have enough time to exchange the prognosis, complications and side effects of treatment with patients and their relatives. 
     
    Doctors should play a proactive role and ensure ethical medical practice. The medical curriculum should include soft-skills and communication skills required to empathise, remain calm and be patient irrespective of repeated prodding by the anxious patients. 
     
    Rather than intimidating the doctors and nurses by barging into wards and shelling them with a barrage of questions even as they grapple with the high patient inflow in available infrastructure, it is important for the media to play a responsible role in bringing out the best of the doctors and project role models such that the others are inspired to be ethical.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    vaishali archik

    6 months ago

    one of the most sensible articles ever written on the subject. Unfortunately, the quality of graduates taking up medicine has already gone downhill in the last 5 years because of this mob violence. We will soon see a reverse medical tourism i.e Indians going to Asian neighbors like Singapore and Thailand for medical treatment ( the ones who are higher middle class and upwards) since they will experience poor healthcare even in corporate hospitals as the quality of doctors will go down. The lowest in the ladder who go to government hospitals will get even worse treatment and will increase their outbursts at poor resident doctors. The mob which uses violence against doctors does not realize that it is their own elected representatives who spend minuscule amount on their healthcare budget. There is no point targetting doctors instead of the policymakers. Unfortunately, the horse has bolted and good, intelligent, hard-working students who want to take up medicine as a career have started leaving India long ago.

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