Friday, June 6, 2008

Vedas and the Dantas

Vedas prescribe the philosophies and

I am a person who wants peace and hence it is often difficult for me to be a litigant. However when the local communities or people who are directly affected and rarely I myself ( taking care of the constitution and particularly protecting the environment are, not only mine, every citizen's duty) put on a wrench have to take to litigation and it must be considered fair in the current context of varied `vested' interests'.

Veda: Since it was the first it is "Veda Vakhyam"

The first real litigation on public purpose where I was involved was a convincing visit to Borra Caves, an unique geological monument made of the Karst topography in the Eastern Ghats Visakhapatnam district accidentally happening in our lives and furiously I wrote on the ruled sheets that I in the midst of about 300 people sitting in a marriage hall, the real concerns of people.

Samatha for whom I made the visit, thanks to a visionary driver, fought `tooth and nail' ( there is an incident of a graet activist losing teeth during this period and how not only nails but lives were later taken - subject for along blog) and a verdict was delivered in the favour of the tribals first time in the history of colonial and independent India. Wonderful it was that the client Samatha and the eminent advocate Dr Rajiv Dhawan never met face-to-face during the four year struggle. Wonderful because it is only a great pleader who can know the pain of his plaintiff without having to meet him. (In restrospect many believe that it was possible only that way.) No wonder that a major victory had been won for the adivasis of India. That was circa 1997! It was hailed later by the honourable advocate himself that this verdict was as historic as the Mabo judgement in Australia, another common wealth.

Just a decade later, the famous lawyer had to counter his own erudite and illustrious arguments and plead for the Orissa Government to allow mining in the tribal tracts. Was it due to the shabby treatment meted in the sale of Balco where pro bono he pleaded and was grossly undersupported by his clients and the clients had perhaps catapulted! Is there a reason to believe that advocates have also catapulted - and that is my serious concern- as some of these insightful and visonary lawyers are needed to be pro bono!

The lawyer pleads in an article in down to earth that institutions like CEC is micro-managing the affair. It was conducive to Veda-anta (sic) for the Supreme Court to micro-prescribe, that despite the fact that their activities were derogatory of the laws and their investors had condemned them for vioation of Human Rights and Environmental Safeguards, to ask for a joint venture to enable them destroy the land and deity of the Dongaria Kondh - the NIyamgiri hills for `just a few dollars more". Where does collusion end in India - (there is market for public office and sometime I wonder if I would rake in moneys if I start and Exchange for Public Office) and there is the market for selling of the land - in the name of SEZs or Mining leases or for mere industrial estates which periodically haunt local communities - and today the specific logic of the CEC which has been a body actually created for this micro-prescription by the Hon Supreme Court hurts!

I have nothing to say except that windfall profits must be shared with communities and that we need not pock-mark our country with numerous mining pits but seek a rational way of using our resources and at a time and context that will be appropriate for our future and the future of the globe- but who will listen to sane voices if Environment Day is also to be an event marketed and made use of by the channels to add to their advertisement revenues and Vedantas have to plead through citizens magazines a license to loot this Earth and the citizens therein!

1 comment:

Samatateam said...

hey sreedhar a good one and i guess we should do this more.