Conviction in domestic violence case on decline

Domestic violence cases have shown a decline in the country in the past couple of years as also the number of people getting convicted in such incidents.

West Bengal has topped the list of cases in the past three years, where also the conviction rate is very dismal. Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are two other states, which have higher number of such incidents.

According to latest official figures, the country has registered 1,23,126 domestic violence cases in which 1,23,213 women were victims last year. In such cases, 2.27 lakh people were also arrested.

Domestic Violence Cases

Year

Cases reported

Conviction in Cases

No of People Convicted

2014

1,35,492

8,260

20,642

2015

1,25,558

8,556

21,882

2016

1,23,126

7,093

17,908

The figures show a sharp decline in such cases from 2014 — while there were 1,35,492 cases and 1,35,923 victims besides arresting 2.55 lakh people in 2014, the number came down to 1,25,558 cases and 1,25,747 victims and 2.13 lakh people arrested in 2015.

Activists and officials, however, warned against reading too much into the decline, saying there may be a number of cases which are not reported and several incidents were police have refused to register also.

Another problem area is the lesser number of cases getting concluded in courts in a year and the conviction rate. Though a large proportion of cases ends up in chargesheets, the figures show that very few cases end in conviction.

Last year, only 7,093 cases ended in conviction of 17,908 people while police had filed chargesheets in 1.03 lakh cases. Similar is the case in 2014 — 20,642 people convicted in 8,260 cases — and 2015 — 21822 people convicted in 8,566 cases.

Though there was an increase in convicted cases in 2015 compared to 2014, last year saw it dropping even below the 2014 figures.

Officials attribute to the low rate of conviction on improper investigation leading to not-so-strong chargesheets. Some cases also do not stand the test of court because of lack of evidence while some are outright fake cases.

Among the states, West Bengal have reported 20,262 cases last year compared to 23,899 in 2014 and 20,896. The number of those who were convicted last year, however, was a meagre 161 in the state.

Rajasthan had 14,444 cases while the conviction was that of 1,919. In convictions, UP had topped the list with 8,483 people being convicted followed by Madhya Pradesh 2,240 last year.

In Karnataka, there were 3,008 cases last year as against 3,560 in 2014 and 3,260 in 2015. Only 107 people were convicted last year while296 were sent to jail in 2014 and119 in 2015.

(Aug 15, 2017)

Next Oppn show of strength in Bengaluru

Bengaluru will host the next show of strength by Opposition on September 5 when Left parties organising a conference on saving the ‘composite culture’ of the country.

The conference jointly organised by CPI(M) and CPI will see the participation of “all secular parties” and could be seen as a follow up to the ‘Save Composite Culture Conference’ called by dissident JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav.

A senior Left leader told DH that top leaders of all parties are expected to attend the conference in Bengaluru and highlight the threat posed by the RSS-BJP combine to the country.

The opposition getting together in Karnataka on single platform would also comes against the backdrop of the state witnessing Assembly elections in April-May next year though none are saying that it is a precursor to a united fight.

In the conference to be attended by CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Yadav and others, the leaders are also likely to highlight the rise in numbers of communal incidents in the state.

Among the 296 communal incidents reported this year till May, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in Parliament, Karnataka was ranked second in the list with 36 incidents after Uttar Pradesh, which accounted for 60. In UP, 16 people were killed and another 151 injured while in Karnataka three people lost their lives and another 93 were wounded.

The Left leader also pointed to the controversy surrounding Baba Budangiri shrine in Chikamagalur, saying all efforts are being made to create communal polarisation in the state.

Yadav himself had said that he would take the conference to other cities like Indore, Patna and Nagpur among others. A joint meeting of Opposition parties had also decided to organise programmes in cities other than Delhi.

However, the leader said such conferences alone would not work and what is needed is a people’ struggle in the grassroots. “Alternative narrative against Narendra Modi can be build through people’s struggle only,” he said.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald website on Aug 17, 2017)

Sharad Yadav may form non-political forum

Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav is likely to launch a non-political forum in his fight against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over BJP alliance even as both sides hardened their stand against each other.

While Kumar-led party suspended 21 Bihar-based leaders who are close to the rebel leader, sources said Yadav is determined to stay put with his fight against JD(U) joining hands with the BJP. He would be going ahead with a conference on composite culture on Thursday where he has invited opposition leaders.

Yadav has also invited Maharashtra farmers’ leader Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, an ally of BJP-led NDA that is not in good terms with the saffron party, as well as Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B R Ambedkar. Both have accepted the invitation while Opposition leaders from Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad to CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury are also attending the function among other leaders.

Sources said Yadav is likely to announce his plans to launch a forum after the name of the conference ‘Sanjha Virasat Bachao Sammelan’. They said one of the names being considered for the forum is ‘Save Composite Culture Forum’.

On Monday, Yadav also met CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury with whom he had held discussions soon after Kumar snapped ties with Grand Alliance in Bihar, dealing a blow to opposition unity against Narendra Modi-led BJP.

The conference comes days after Yadav held road shows in Bihar. Several leaders close to him are being targeted by the leadership with 21, including Dalit leader and former minister Ramai Ram, being suspended from the party on Monday for their participation in Yadav’s road shows.

In the war of attrition, Yadav camp claims that it has the support of 14 state units. However debunking these claims, JD(U) General Secretary K C Tyagi said only five state units are recognised by the Election Commission.

On Saturday, JD(U) had removed Yadav as the leader of its Parliamentary Party leader while another close aide Ali Anwar Ansari, also a Rajya Sabha MP, was suspended from the party a day before after he attended a joint Opposition meeting called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald website on Aug 15, 2017)

Cess on construction not collected properly: Par Panel

States collected Rs 32,632.96 crore as cess for construction workers’ welfare in 20 years but a Parliamentary panel has expressed doubts that this amount does not match with the building activities carried out so far.

Of this, a dismal 23% (Rs 7,516.52 crore) has been spent, which includes Rs 375.82 crore as salaries for officials who run the state welfare bodies. As per the Building and Other Construction Workers Act 1996, 1% of total construction cost could be collected as cess to fund workers in case of an emergency.

A report by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour headed by BJP MP Kirit Somaiya has articulated the huge mismatch in the collection of cess as well as spending.

India Economy

For example, Karnataka with 10.74 lakh registered workers had collected the highest cess Rs 3,861 crore but spent only 6.21% (Rs 240 crore). In contrast, its neighbour Kerala collected Rs 1,474.73 crore and spend Rs 1,455.88 crore.

Haryana, which has a construction hub Gurugram near Delhi, collected just Rs 1,847.05 crore and spent only Rs 172.07 crore. Gujarat collected Rs 1,564.64 crore but expenditure is only Rs 35 crore or 2.23%.

Raising questions of Ministry of Labour and Employment’s cess figures till March 31, the panel said it “does not match with the construction activities carried out” in the past 20 years after the promulgation of the Act. It wondered whether these figures could be that of central agencies like Railways and National Highway Authority of India among others and not that of state.

The Committee are of the view that had the cess been collected/deposited fairly, it could run into crores of rupees,” it said. Going by the figures, it also said, the collection of cess from private bodies has not been “properly done”.

The committee are astonished to note that no efforts have been made to compare the collected cess futures with the total construction activities carried out in the respective state,” it said.

**************************************************************************

State

No of registered workers (in lakh)

Cess Collected

(in Rs crore)

Amount Spent

(in Rs crore)

Uttar Pradesh

32.14

2,943.80

598.90

Haryana

6.71

1,847.05

172.07

Tamil Nadu

26.45

1,706

600.00

Kerala

15.63

1,474.73

1,455.88

Karnataka

10.74

3,861

240.00

Bihar

Gujarat

7.74

4.54

921.92

1,564.64

75.23

35.00

All India

2,58,17,780

32,632.96

7,516.52

**************************************************************************

When it came to spending, the panel said salaries and allowances accounted for 5% of the expenditure from cess. Actually, only Rs 7,140 crore has been spent on the welfare of workers and recommended that the expenditure should not be mixed with the spending on workers’ welfare.

The committee said that the utilisation is “very poor” as there was no fool proof system developed by the states.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Aug 14, 2017)

CPI(M)’s problem with Oppn unity

Increasing influence of Trinamool Congress in Opposition camp and reluctance to see itself as an ally of Congress has made CPI(M) distance itself from future Opposition programmes.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday left a meeting of 17 Opposition parties midway, which called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to chalk out future strategy.

Yechury “deliberately leaving” after 40 minutes into the meeting came after he put his party’s views about building an alternative narrative and “indulging in any tamasha”, sources said.

The CPI(M) was part of formal and informal meetings of opposition in the past couple of months and stood together in the Presidential and Vice Presidential polls as well as floor coordination in Parliament. However, it has hardened its stand with its Central Committee deciding against taking Congress support to send Yechury to Rajya Sabha.

The Bengal unit, which demanded Yechury’s renomination, had argued that the CC decision would make Congress and TMC closer in the state that would go against CPI(M)’s interest.

In the meeting, sources said, Yechury said the Left parties are working towards building an alternative narrative against NDA government through people’s struggle.

Sources said there was a suggestion, which was keenly supported by some parties, that there should be joint public meetings in major cities. However, Yechury said the Left has a problem with such a programme as “just meetings alone would mean electoral alliance”. The CPI(M) leader told the meeting that they have problems with Congress on electoral alliance.

“Such meetings are not effective. It would look more like a ‘tamasha’ if we go to public without any narrative,” sources quoted Yechury as saying. He said if there is a people’s struggle, the Left would support but reminded them some of the parties had chickened out on protest against demonetisation.

Referring to JD(U) leaving the Grand Alliance, he also cautioned against rushing to stitch up ‘Maha Gadbandhan’ elsewhere as cosmetic political moves would not work. To buttress his point, he then pointed to the absence of NCP leaders in the meeting and said one need to have programmes.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad then asked Yechury whether his party would attend programmes called by other parties. To this, another senior Congress leader A K Antony quipped the CPI(M) will have to go step by step.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Aug 12, 2017))

Yechury gets an emotional farewell

A teary-eyed Ramgopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party choking for words, Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad wondering why cannot CPI(M) changes its rules, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva who cannot see anyone else in seat No 126 and Akali Dal’s Naresh Gujaral wondering about the Left party’s another ‘historic blunder’.

Rajya Sabha on Thursday witnessed an emotional farewell for CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, whose term ends on August 18, as leaders cutting across party lines virtually targeted his party for not renominating him while showering praises on him.

Along with Yechury, two others – BJP’s Dilip Pandya and Trinamool Congress’ Debabrata Bandyopadhyay – are also not returning to the House while six other retiring MPs were re-elected.

sita

From Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who “literally grew (with Yechury) together” from student days to Parliament, to arch-rival Derek O’Brien and Yadav, who sits next to the CPI(M) leader, all spoke in unison why Yechury should be back in the House.

“Yechury had made valuable contribution to Parliament through every debate. He raised the level of every debate and others had to measure up to his standards,” Jaitley said adding he hoped to see him back in the House sooner.

In a lighter vein, he said Yechury never had an opportunity to be in the government and that is why he has the privilege of giving “idealistic and unimplementable” suggestions. He said probably Yechury would come up with more pragmatic suggestions if “this vacuum is filled”.

Azad described Yechury as a “national treasure” and wondered why CPI(M) cannot change its rules of not allowing more than two terms for Rajya Sabha MP. Yadav also echoed, “country’s Constitution can be changed, then why can’t CPI(M)’s Constitution?”

Yadav also recalled a conversation he had with CPI(M) veteran Harkishen Singh Surjeet who told him to watch out for the “bright” Yechury. “Yechury, we will remember….,” Yadav said as he broke down and stopped his speech mid-way.

Congress had offered its lone seat in West Bengal to CPI(M) if it fielded Yechury as his presence would add to Opposition fire power but the party’s Central Committee decided against it with a faction led by Prakash Karat strongly opposing Bengal unit’s demand.

In his speech, Yechury spoke about the post-truth era and said one needs to come back to the reality of farmer suicides, youth feeling insecure, unemployment and other issues. “Let is not get into issues of ruptures,” he said.

There were also lighter moments when Congress’ Jairam Ramesh narrated how they drafted the Common Minimum Programmes of the United Front government in 1996 and UPA in 2004.

“Yechury was responsible, of course, for the troubles that both the Governments had. I
used to often refer to him not as Sitaram Yechury, but as Sitaram ‘Obituary’, because he was the one who wrote the ‘obituary’ for both the UPA Governments in a way but, certainly, for UPA-I when the Left Front withdrew support on the 123 Agreement,” Ramesh said.

Yechury countered saying Ramesh did not tell the whole story and he used to call the Congress MP Jairam Mortuary. “If his policies are followed, your party will be in mortuary,” Yechury said as Jaitley quipped, “Jairam has not changed. He continue to write obituaries.”

While leaders like AIADMK’s Navaneethakrishnan and CPI’s D Raja recalled Yechury as an inspiring and role model, Siva said, “we will only see Sitaram Yechury in that seat No 126.”

Gujral said CPI(M) was committing another “historic blunder”, a coinage by CPI(M)’s Jyoti Basu on party’s decision not to allow to become Prime Minister, by denying a renomination for Yechury.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Aug 11, 2017)

Sharad Yadav readying for showdown with Nitish?

Senior Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadav will embark on a three-day road-show in Bihar from Thursday amid speculation that he is preparing for a showdown with JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar, who has now aligned with BJP against his wishes.

Questions are also being raised whether Yadav would join RJD led by Lalu Prasad, who has already invited him to his party after Kumar junked the Grand Alliance to join hands with BJP to form the government in Bihar.

Sources are also not ruling out Yadav attending the August 27 rally called by Prasad in Patna, which could turn out as a show of opposition unity.

As per the plan, Yadav would visit Sonpur, Hajipur, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Madhubani and Madhepura among other town for “a dialogue with people of Bihar”.

This road show and a convention on August 17 in which a Yadav has invited Opposition leaders from Congress’ Sonia Gandhi to CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s D Raja, comes ahead of JD(U) National Executive in Patna on August 19.

His invitation letter to leaders for the convention has said that the country is “passing through a difficult period socially and politically as there is tension amongst masses on account of various reasons”.

Sources also said one of Yadav’s close aides could attend a meeting of Opposition parties, called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, this Friday evening in Parliament House to strategise the future programmes against Narendra Modi-led NDA government. Ali Anwar Ansari, a Rajya Sabha MP who has voiced the opposition against Kumar’s move, is speculated to attend the meeting.

Yadav’s defiance has been interpreted by political watchers as preparing ground for a battle with Kumar and testing the ground before taking any action.

The JD(U) leader, who has five more years in Rajya Sabha, could also return to the Upper House even if he quits in a scenario where Prasad opts to send him from Bihar. RJD-Congress combine with 107 MLAs in Bihar Assembly can send at least two nominees on its own next April when six MPs retire.

Prasad has also announced that he would support BSP chief Mayawati, a prominent Dalit leader who quit Rajya Sabha last month, if she wishes to contest polls to the Upper House from Bihar.

By bringing in Yadav to his fold and supporting Mayawati, Prasad thinks that it would further boost Yadav consolidation in his favour as well as the support of a large chunk of Dalits to his side.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Aug 9, 2017)

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