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The Maharashtra government advisory to the police on Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code make a mockery of democracy itself. Here is a translation of the five preconditions it has issued.

  1. Verbal or written, words, gestures or images or other content that expresses hate or contempt or dislike, insult or discontent or enmity or treachery or disloyalty towards the state or central governments in a manner that provokes violence or discontent.
  2. Written, verbal, gesture/signs or other communication that suggest that these politicians or public servants are representatives of state
  3. Criticism that intends to create change through legal means and that doesn't demean or create dislike for the government should not be prosecuted under this section.
  4. Only obscenity or indecency should not be applied with this section.
  5. Before this section is applied, opinion of Zilla officials should be obtained. Within two weeks, the the public prosecutor should be consulted.

This advisory has naturally generated significant outrage. The document being in Marathi has prevented many legal commentators who don't understand the language from commenting, while BJP supporters are attempting to discredit the outrage as false by emphasizing the third point and pretending that that is all the advisory contains.

I am not a lawyer, but my reactions.

  1. The vagueness of the parameters identifying sedition rival the notorious IT Rules. Similar to them, pretty much anything that reflects badly on the government could be described by such sweeping descriptors. Irritate normal people, get takedown notices was the UPA2 gift, irritate the government and get booked for sedition seems to be the summary of this point - it covers dislike - you don't even need to read the rest! Disliking a government could get you arrested? How about a government serving people as promised and not being disliked? Something like asking for your promised 15 lakh could now go beyond not just getting your promised riches, but also landing in jail for asking for it, because hey, people would be discontented because of this, right?
  2. This basically amounts to the words/signs being against government representatives.
  3. This seems very magnanimous of them with all the nice promotion by organized trolls, but the fact is that it is rather sinister that legal process to address problems gets covered under a law for sedition to begin with, and then you actually don't have a categoric endorsement of your right to engage the system, you have it as long as you don't demean the government or create dislike for it. It is actually taking a right you had without restrictions, magnanimously handing it back to you with restrictions, and then promoting the hell out of it because they gave it back at all.
  4. This is actually the real "magnanimous point". How generous the government is being, upholding your right to not be prosecuted for sedition over obscenity or indecency. Waitaminit, HOW in the big fat world would either of them be sedition to begin with that their not being has any meaning at all? I doubt that even the sexually repressed Hindutva brigade can anticipate an epidemic of indecency large enough to be a threat to the nation. This is a talking point basically to show that the advisory had a larger aim than creating a set up for people to be arrested and prosecuted for a crime against their motherland for pissing the government off. This point, not having any real stake could even be happily conceded to critics in a compromise.
  5. Nothing much to comment here. Procedural sho-sha. Let us not even pretend either entity cannot be managed to target whoever the government wants to put six feet under.

In my view, a document that advises punishing people for disliking their government or being discontented has no place in a democracy.

There seems to be an organized effort to present this draconian advisory as a requirement emerging from the Aseem Trivedi case. This is a flat out falsehood. This advisory contradicts the High Court guidelines, and as pointed out by Saurav Datta on Twitter, invites contempt of court.

3

Milan Gupta's formal complaint to the Election Commission against Aam Aadmi Party establishes that the 28th march NC meeting was unconstitutional and asks EC to demand unedited footage from all cameras.

To,

Election Commission of India,

Nirvachan Sadan,

New Delhi -110001

Dear Sir,

This is with reference to Aam Aadmi Party's(AAP) press release dated 28 March 2015 made available by the party's secretariat to the media,the party members, the general public (and the Election Commision of India) through the party's official website link http://www.aamaadmiparty.org/aam-aadmi-party-press-release-28th-march-2015 

Vide the aforesaid press release it has been informed that the National Council of AAP met on 28th March 2015 in which certain decisions and resolutions were taken. A copy of the press release is attached for your convenience, as Annexure 1  (You may cross verify the contents of the attachment with the aforesaid internet link too if you like.)In case, Aam Aadmi Party's secretariat has sent a written communication to Election Commission of India(ECI) with respect to the purported National Council meeting of 28 March 2015, kindly consider this email with reference to such a communication also. (Kindly request you to upload such a written communication on ECI's website also, in that case).

I am a member of Aam Aadmi Party. Attached with this email in Annexure 2 is my profile summary(with my earlier residential address) that was displayed on Aam Aadmi party's official website.

I bring to your attention that the purported National Council meeting of AAP on 28 March 2015, as informed vide the aforementioned press release, was wholly ultra-vires the constitution of AAP on records of the ECI. The irrefutable evidence of its illegality has been furnished by the party's secretariat itself.

The party's secretariat has claimed vide the aforementioned press release in para 2(a) that out of a total of 392 members of the National Council, 311 attended the meet. I shall demonstrate here that total strength of National Council members is not more than 300, and the figure of 392 members is therefore wholly false, misleading and contemptuous of basic respect of rules and laws.

Article IV- F of AAP constitution registered with ECI governs the composition of the National Council. As per the article, the National Council consists of convenors from all the states and the districts. In addition , it can co-opt upto a maximum of 50 members. It is not a matter of dispute, so far, that the no member has been co-opted into the National Council till date(In case, it is claimed so by the party' secretariat, even that will not explain the super high figure of 392 members in the National Council).

AAP;s constitution, like all the democratic parties' constitution, has clearly written throughout that the convenors at all levels are elected, and not appointed. The Active Members with voting rights as defined in AAP constitution are the foundation of the party who make AAP a bottom-up elected organisation. 

Article IV-D-c(i) and (vi)  specify that the District Convenor shall be elected by District executive, which in turn shall be elected by Active members in that district.

Similarly,  article IV-E-c(i) and (vi) state that the State convenor shall be elected by State executive, which in turn shall be elected by Active members in that state.

Article III-C-vi mentions that the list of Active members shall be frozen one month before the call for any party elections.

However, there are no active members list or any such party elections held anywhere in the party through Active members(except, in National Council members' first meeting on 24 Nov 2012). The evidence of this has been provided by the party's secretariat itself in the edited video recording of the purported National Council meeting of 28 March 2015.

Pls refer to the video in this link ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efn4QWGk7fA )made public through AAP's official twitter web page ( https://twitter.com/aamaadmiparty/status/582050559978442752 ).

You may prefer to focus on the contents in that video for duration between 34 minutes 5 seconds to 37 minutes 50 seconds in it.

In the video, the National Convenor of AAP, while commenting and admitting on flaws in the internal organisational setup( between 34 minutes 30 seconds and 34 minutes 40 seconds) states as follows "... अभी Active members की list है नहीं .. आपको भी पता है .. हमने कहा committees बनायीं जाएँगी , हर राज्य में committee बनायेंगे , active members की list बनायेंगे, public कर देंगे.."

Further, the National Convenor admits while specifically taking the example of organisation set up in a particular state  that voting withing party is in fact missing in the entire country, not just that particular state. The National Convenor says ( between 37 minutes 24 seconds and 37 minutes 44 seconds)

"..  एक साल में कितनी voting करायी हरियाणा में ? यहाँ पर हरियाणा के साथी भी होंगे ..हाँ भाई कितनी वोटिंग करायी ?...एक वोटिंग हुई हो पूरे.. कुछ लागू तो कर के दिखाओ ..कुछ कर के तो दिखाओ ..हरियाणा में लागू कर दो हम पूरे देश में लागू कर देंगे ..)

The above statements of the National Convenor ,released officially by the party's secretariat too, are a self-providing evidence that active members list is not available, active members have not been identified, and there have been no internal party elections through out the country.

Therefore, no district convenors or state convenors can become part of AAP's National Council since no elections have taken place throughout the country for them, through a duly maintained Active Members list as per AAP's constitution.

The National Council can be composed, therefore, only as per provision in Article IV- F which states as "All those who come together to form the Party and are present in the first meeting of the Party, shall form the first National Council of the Party."

At this point, kindly refer to letter number 4/RTI/32/2015/PPS-II/347 dated 25th February, 2015 sent by Sh Suman Kumar Das, Under Secretary, CPIO, to the undersigned in response to an RTI application filed by me in this regard wherein I had requested to be provided the names, in serial order, of the persons who came together to form the Aam Aadmi Party.

I was informed that document in this regard runs to 957 pages, and I could get the same on payment of Rs 1914/-. I made the payment vide receipt number 20098 dated 09/03/2015 to the ECI, and received the required documents accordingly

The total number of persons, in the records of ECI shared with me as above or otherwise, who came together to form the Aam Aadmi Party does not exceed 300. This is clearly a matter of record with ECI and is verifiable.

Therefore, the National Council members cannot exceed 300 in total as per records available with ECI, the AAP constitution registered with ECI, and the admitted video evidence shared as above.

It is thus demonstrated that the purported National Council consisting of 392 members as informed vide the press release that met on 28 March 2015 was completely ultra-vires the AAP constitution, and the figures quoted by the party secretariat are false, misleading and demeaning to average constitution abiding party members and citizens.

Also ,there are many National Council members on records of ECI  also, who have not been served any notice of expulsion by AAP, but were not allowed to attend the purported National Council meet of 28th March 2015. Such members are also willing to make a written statement to that effect and this has been reported in the media too.

Besides, the aforesaid evidence, there have been much more serious and grave reports of violence, subjugation & coercion having held inside the private and heavily guarded closed venue of the aforementioned purported National Council meet. In fact, the local law and order administration has had to duly register a FIR (Number 143 of 2015 dated 30/0/2015 at P.S. Kapashera) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. A copy of the FIR is attached in this mail as Annexure 3.

Aam Aadmi Party is not only a registered party under section 29A of Representation of People's Act, 1951, it is also a recognised party by the Election Commission of India, under the Election Symbols(Reservation and Allotment) Order , 1968. Under para 16A of the Symbols order, every recognised party is expected to follow lawful directions and instructions of the Commission which it discharges under broad authority of article 324 of Constitution of India.

In exercise of such powers under para 16A of Symbol order, article 324 of Constitution of India, and with view of safeguarding general public interest in maintaining faith in democracy based on certain concessions to recognised parties and with the evidences presented to you I sincerely urge you to kindly

1) Instruct the Aam Aadmi party's National Secretary, Sh Pankaj Gupta, to share the full unedited video recording of the proceedings of the purported National Council meeting of 28 March 2015 with the Election Commission of India. The unedited video recordings must contain recordings from all cameras present in the venue. No record of Election Commission of India, shall be updated with respect to the National Council meet of 28 March without making the full unedited video recordings available to the Commission.

2) Instruct the SHO, P.S. Kapashera, to share the full collected video evidence against FIR 143 of 2015 with the Election Commission of India.

3) Declare that the the aforementioned press release in Annexure 1 from Aam Aadmi Party's secretariat  or any written communication to Election Commission with regard to the purported National Council meeting of 28 March 2015,as ultra-vires in light of evidence available and made available. 

4) Declare the purported National Council meet of Aam Aadmi Party of 28 March 2015 as ultra vires of the AAP constitution in light of evidence available and made available to the Election Commission.

5) Declare the purported National Council meet of Aam Aadmi Party of 28 March 2015 as ultra vires in light of  sufficient coercion and violence  at the venue.

Thanking you,

With regards,

Making of the Constitution of India - A vision document.

  • The Constituent Assembly took 2 years, 11 months and 17 days to prepare the Constitution of India. Constitution of America was prepared in 4 months and that of South Africa in 1 year.
  • 296 Representatives including Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendraprasad, Vallabhbhai Patel, Alladi krishnaswamy , Nazuruddin Ahmed, Thakurdas Bhargava, Hridaynath Kunzru, Pattabhi Sitaramaya discussed and adopted the Constitution. These were people of intelligence, eminence and learned scholars of Constitutional law. These people were devoid of any partisan motives.
  • Total 7635 amendments were tabled while 2473 amendments were actually moved to make changes in the draft Constitution in Constituent Assembly.
  • There are 5 volumes of the Constituent Assembly debate each one of more than a thousand pages.
  • This proves that the Constitution was made by a very rigorous thought process and a thorough consideration of democratic and constitutional principles.

What has the Constitution given to people of India which never before we relished during Vedic, Puranic, Mughal or British India?

  • The Constitution of India gave the below to all Indians –
  1.     Total Independence from the British Rule
  2. India became a Sovereign, Republic and Democratic country.
  3.     Modern vision and commitment of India of ensuring the principles of Equality, Liberty, Fraternity and Justice to each citizen in every walks of  Life.
  4.     Affirming to the Fundamental rights - Freedon of speech, Freedom of practice and Propagation of Religion, Right against exploitation etal. -  Part 3 (Articles 12 to 21).
  5. Parliament, Judiciary, Executive became the pillars of Democracy under the Constitution as Supreme Law. With Judiciary keeping check on the acts passed by the parliament whether affirming under the ambit of the articles and basic principles of the Constitution.
  6.      Ensuring equal rights and safeguards to women unlike during any previous rulings in India.
  7.     Idea of glorification of Multi-culturalism under the spirit of National unity and oneness.
  8.     Single-citizenship which enables and safegurds individuals from various states to pursue the opportunities in any part of the country.
  9.     Right of Writ under Article 226 and 32
  10.      Notion of The Rule of Law
  11. Principle of One Man, One vote hence One Vote, One value empowering each citizen with equal basic value, eradicating  the previous   monopoly of power through caste order
  12.    Right to amend the Constitution under Article 368
  13. Federal Structure under normal conditions but Unitary in emergency.

Condemning the Constitution: A Treacherous act and a conspiracy of the Communal forces

  • It is a habit in this country to blame and condemn the Constitution of India for every failure in this country. People usually say that since our laws are weak and have so many loopholes that is why the guilty are not brought to justice. This however is quite far from the truth.
  • The Law in this country is based on the universally accepted principle of natural justice that even if thousand criminals are set free but the innocent should never be punished.
  • If the criminals are not brought to justice it is not because the Law is weak but that the government’s machinery i.e. the CBI, CID, police etc has failed to produce the essential evidences, proofs before the court so as to book the guilty. If sufficient proofs are brought before the judiciary the laws are so strong that there is no way that the guilty can walk free.
  • Also, people generally mistake Acts (Laws) like the Indian Penal Code, Civil Procedure Code etc as the Constitution and hence they blame the Constitution. But there is a difference between the Acts made by the Parliament and the Constitution of India.
  • Some are ignorant and therefore they blame the Constitution. But some ingenious people are deliberately with full knowledge misleading the ignorant masses trying to inflate their minds with the feeling of hatred and disrespect for the Constitution of India.
  • Condemning the Constitution and showing disrespect to it is an act of treachery.
  • It is the worst kind of conspiracy of the Communal forces disguised in the Hindutva i.e. Hindu nationality movement. It is a conspiracy to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra and make India lose its secular character and democratic system.

Constitution day recalls its Chief Architect, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar categorically pointing out that Indians lack this kind of Constitutional morality in the below words:

“Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realize that our people (Indians) have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.”

Oh Indian! Pledge to save the Basic Structure of the Constitution of India!!! Pledge to diffuse in us the Constitutional Morality!!!

Happy Constitution Day!

Guest post by Sumedh Ukey and Pratik Tembhurne.

Sumedh Ukey has done Mtech from IIT Delhi, LLB from Mumbai university and now pursuing M.A. in political science from Mumbai university. He also conducts classes on Ambedkar writings called 'India needs Ambedkar' in Kalyan, East.

Pratik Tembhurne has a B.E in Electronics from Mumbai university. He is currently working for a pvt firm. Politics watcher and constitutionalist.