July 22, 2007

Statement in HC

Shailesh Gandhi is an IIT graduate and career engineer. A couple of years ago, he sold his factories and turned into arguably the country's most diligent and innovative user of the RTI laws. He has used the material he gets under RTI to file litigation and carry on various battles.

Here is a recent bit of email from him, no further explanation needed. Please feel free to circulate. If you would like to get in touch with Gandhi, please ask.


July 20 2007

I had filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court asking for police investigations into crimnal complaints filed in SRA [Slum Redevelopment Authority] matters.

Though the High Court gave three outstanding orders in March the Government is refusing to follow the orders and the High Court has kept the matter [for hearing] nine times - and had kept it for the tenth time today. I had prepared a statement which I read out today since it again did not hear the matter.

This certainly acted as a wake up call for the judges who have promised to hear the matter on Wednesday. But I have raised some deeper issues which they are unlikely to dwell upon. The statement is about 790 words and I would like to share it with as many people as possible.

shailesh gandhi


20 July, 2007

Chief Justice Shri Swatanter Kumar
And Justice Shri S. C. Dharmadhikari

Sub.: My PIL no. 156/2006

Dear Sir,

I had brought a grave matter before this Court by the PIL mentioned above,in November, 2006. Very powerful criminals were ensuring that no investigation would take place into criminal complaints filed with ACB in SRA matters. I had given documentary evidence of how this was being done by a clear collusion with the State. These investigations could have exposed wrongdoings of forgery, coercion, intimidation, corruption, appropriation of Public property and impacted a scam of a few thousand crores. The Criminal Procedure Code of the Country was being subverted openly and brazenly.

On March 7 and 21, this Court realizing the gravity of the charges gave clear orders to the State to provide adequate resources to investigate the crimes and asked the State to ensure that investigations would be completed within six months - i.e. by September, 2007. I pointed out to the Court that the Government was misinterpreting its orders and showing no intentions of following them. The Advocate General on 28th March claimed that the Court’s orders were being implemented and that my apprehensions were wrong. The Court again clarified its orders leaving no chance for any mischief and had fixed the next date at 13th June, when the various agencies were to report on the progress. Consequent to this the Government moved a Notice of Motion 208/2007 and Speaking to Minutes in April, claiming that the Advocate General had not said what the Court had recorded in its orders and that the orders should be recalled!

The Court has neither stayed its orders nor recalled them. In the meantime the matter has been placed before the Court nine times. I have in my affidavit brought to the notice of the Court that its orders are being treated with complete contempt by the Government and no investigations are taking place. The only effective action of the Court has been to force me to implead the SRA as a respondent in my PIL, and it also appears that a number of other parties have been joined. After that last four times, a roll call has been taken when the matter is called out and it is either kept-back or adjourned. By now the dirty tricks department in the Government instead of providing the additional resources ordered by the Court, has transferred two of the three officers who were investigating the SRA crimes!

If the Court feels my PIL lacks merit, it should dismiss it. By continuing to make a show that it is seized of the matter, the PIL has been rendered meaningless. My Country’s Criminal Procedure Code and the Court’s own orders are being blatantly flouted with the full knowledge of the Court. Investigations in criminal matters need to be carried out expeditiously. Time only serves the objectives of the criminals. It is an irony that after apparently allowing a delay, the judiciary might complain about the inadequacy of proper investigations. I hope the Court will realize that by its actions it is guilty of contributory negligence in the subversion of the Law and Contempt of the Court’s orders.

“In the largest democracy in the world the judiciary is the sentinel on the qui vive to protect the people from any violation of law and grant them justice. It is essential to maintain the faith of the common man, failing which it would lose its respect and esteem.”

Besides, I would like to bring to your attention that the Court’s behaviour in calling me several times and not hearing the matter though it is called out, without assigning any reasons is humiliating and an affront to the dignity of human beings. The most normal courtesy a humanbeing shows to another has been missing in your behaviour. This is clearly unacceptable to any self-respecting Citizen who is the Sovereign of India, and I shall no longer we willing to subject myself to this humiliation and indignity. The Court by allowing the Government to delay this urgent matter has already made the purpose of speedy investigations meaningless. It would be dishonest to continue this matter to make a show of being concerned with Public Interest by holding on to this petition. I am withdrawing from appearing in this matter to protect my human dignity. I hope the Court will show honesty in letting go of this petition and not continuing this charade any longer.

Yours truly,
Shailesh Gandhi

“Real Swaraj will come not by the acquisition of authority by a few but by the acquisition of capacity to resist authority when abused.” – Mohandas Gandhi


csm said...

dilip - you posted a few days ago on how media uses labels randomly.
but you start this post stating that "shailesh gandhi is an IIT graduate.."
how does that make the rest of the content any more important!?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Good point CSM! My mistake. It is a completely irrelevant detail, really.

In my defence, such as it is, I'll just say this: I've always been struck that this IIT graduate with a successful business gave it up to become a RTI activist.

wise donkey said...

anyway bloggers online can help in this matter?

btw think the IIT is relevant, here.

csm said...

hi dd - this is the latest report on this matter. see this report in todays's mumbai mirror, page 4

seems like ego hassles dog the judiciary big time. instead of the primary contents which needed to be addressed, the furore over the trivial issues of humiliation etc has been highlighted.

Unknown said...

Hello, I m a 3rd yr law student of Mithibai College n I m willing to use this informaion in writing an article for my college, "Objects of Slum Rehabilitation Authority are frustrated in Mumbai". We mite not be lucky to hav a proper judicial and administrative system in our country, but we r quite lucky to hav people like Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, i will be quite happy if i can be of ne help in fighting for this good cause.

yours sincerely