Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A danger to democracy Corporate funding of elections should be banned

A danger to democracy

Corporate funding of elections should be banned

Rajindar Sachar

In a democracy holding regular and free elections to the state legislatures and Parliament is the minimum condition. But more important is to devise laws and policies so that representatives are elected in a transparent manner uninfluenced by undesirable elements, especially money power of the corporate sector. 
These observations are not unnecessarily panicky or woolly. They arise from the reality of the present situation as reflected in the last parliamentary election. No doubt, the BJP represents the majority on its own in the Lok Sabha. But with only 31% of the votes it cannot claim that it thereby represents the majority in the country. Thus the present system of "first past the post" may technically result in a majority in Parliament; in reality it may be a minority view in the country. This danger was flagged as far back as 1789 by French philosopher Mirabeau. That is why we have the "list system of voting" in many parts of world, including Germany, and it fairly represents the voter's preferences proportionately in legislatures. It is heartening to note that the Socialist Party (India) in a memorandum to the Lok Sabha Speaker has recommended a change to the list system under which, depending on the proportion of votes obtained, each party gets proportionate seats, thus reflecting correctly the sentiments in the country.  

Another gravely urgent reform needed is with respect to the part played by big money in elections - an undesirable consequence. As it is, available information indicates that 90% of political funding in 2013-2014 came from big corporates in the country. Under the present law a big loophole is there: only contributions above Rs 20,000 are required to be shown by the parties in their returns. This is a sure invitation to black money and is a big help to the Congress and the BJP. Though Rs 991 crore was donated to political parties, they disclosed the names of 10% donors only, taking cover under the law that requires naming only those who pay above Rs. 20,000. Obviously black money plays an important part in election funding of the major political parties.

That election funding by the corporate sector muddles the election process cannot be denied. As far back as 1960 MC Chagla, Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, warned that "It is a danger which may grow apace and which may ultimately overwhelm and even throttle democracy in this country." Similarly, the Calcutta High Court has warned: "It will mark the advent and entry of the voice of the big business in politics and in the political life of the country". Regrettably, Parliament ignored the warning and rather added in 1960 Section 293A to the Companies Act, 1956, permitting the corporate sector to contribute to political parties 5% of their average profits. The danger signs were visible immediately and the Santhanan Committee Report, 1962, recommended a total ban on all corporate donations to political parties. But it went unheeded.
However, in 1969, pressed by Socialist leader Madhu Limaye, MP, the Congress government was forced to admit that corporate contributions had a tendency to corrupt political life, and therefore passed a law banning corporate contributions. To review the Companies Act  and the Monopolies Act, the Government of India in 1978 constituted a high-powered expert committee headed by a high court judge. Amongst its members were some of the top lawyers, industrialists, trade union leaders and accountants. It unanimously recommended that the ban on donations by companies to political parties should continue: "The Report was apprehensive that if corporate donations were permitted, the danger to democracy can be well visualised". Notwithstanding the warning, Section 293A was amended in 1985 and the Boards of Directors were authorised to make contributions to political parties. Rather the law has been made easier now. Section 182 of the Companies Act 2013 authorises only the Board of Directors (without the approval of the general body) to make political contributions of up to 7.5% of its average net profits during the three immediately preceding financial years. 

In the USA up to 2010 the Supreme Court had banned corporate expenditure on candidates' elections (Austin case). But then in "Citizen United" the U.S. Supreme Court (2014) differed with the earlier view by a narrow margin (5-4) verdict. It held that corporations have the same political speech rights as individuals under the First Amendment (similar to Article 19(1) (a) of our Constitution) and thus struck down a Federal law and also a law in 24 States banning the corporate sector from funding elections.

This decision has been widely criticised in the USA. The critics have favoured the earlier judgment in the Austin case which had had justified the ban on corporate funding by saying "that large aggregations of wealth, accumulated with the help of the corporate firm, may have corrosive or distorting effects, thus justifying a ban on corporate independent expenditures". Predictably the decision in the Citizen United case has led to strong criticism in US. Critics have commented that "the court's decision was a foolish misstep which threatens the fabric of our nation. The ruling will bring a future in which the government is no longer of the people, for the people, and by the people, but rather "of the people, by the corporations, [and] for the corporations"(emphasis added). Thus the danger of a government working as the executive committee of big corporates in our country is already intrudingly manifest.     

There is, however, no possibility in India of a ban on corporate funding being held illegal on the ground adopted by the US courts that the corporations' right to speech is curtailed. This is because our Supreme Court in a series of decisions from 1963 has categorically held that Article 19 applies only to citizens and not to corporations (as they are not citizens) and therefore the corporate sector cannot invoke Article 19 of the Constitution. Will the Opposition show its concern by moving for such a ban? Or will they also, like the BJP, want to keep intact their links with corporates?  

Thursday, 23 July 2015

SYS उच्च शिक्षा के क्षेत्र में WTO-GATS के प्रस्ताव को वापस लेने की मांग करती है ।

सोशलिस्ट युवजन सभा WTO के जरिए उच्च शिक्षा पर अब तक के सबसे बड़े हमले का विरोध करती है । भारत सरकार ने उच्च शिक्षा क्षेत्र को वैश्विक बाज़ार के लिए खोलने का मन बना लिया है। यही वजह है कि WTO के पटल पर प्रस्ताव भी रख दिया गया है। WTO में रखे गए प्रस्ताव के मंज़ूर होते ही शिक्षा का अधिकार क़ानून पूरी तरह से ख़त्म हो जाएगा। इसी के साथ शिक्षा ज्ञान प्राप्ती का जरिया ना होके मुनाफ़ा कमाने का धंधा हो जाएगी। उच्च शिक्षा ग़रीब छात्रों से दूर होकर सामर्थ्यवानों छात्रों को भी नाम मात्र की ही मिलेगी। बाज़ारीकरण के कारण उच्च शिक्षा के स्तर में गिरावट होगी और ये अपने मूल मक़सद से भटक जाएगी । इसके साथ ही अकादेमिक स्वतंत्रता, शोध की आज़ादी और लोकतांत्रिक परंपराएं बीते दिनों की बात हो जाएगी । अगर हम WTO में दिए गए भारत सरकार के प्रस्ताव को वापस कराने में सफल नहीं होते तो हमारा शिक्षा तंत्र हमेशा के लिए वैश्विक बाज़ार के चंगुल में फंस कर रह जाएगा।

इसी साल दिसंबर में केन्या के नैरोबी में 10वां मंत्रीस्तरीय सम्मेलन आयोजित किया जाएगा। WTO की योजना है कि इसी सम्मेलन से विकासशील और अल्प विकसित देशों में शिक्षा को बाज़ार में तब्दील कर मुनाफ़ा कमाया जाए। ज़ाहिर है ऐसे देशों में इस योजना के दूरगाम दुष्परिणाम होंगे। शिक्षा का बाज़ारीकरण दुनियाभर के मेहनतकश आवाम के लिए अत्यंत घातक साबित होगा।

सोशलिस्ट युवजन सभा मानती है, कि WTO का गठन विकसित देशों के हितों को संरक्षित करने और साधने कि लिए किया गया है। और भारत जैसे देश WTO में केवल कॉर्पोरेट घरानों के हितों को साधने के मकसद के साथ शामिल हुई है। भारत का उच्च शिक्षा क्षेत्र जैसे ही दुनिया भर के बाज़ारों के लिए खुलेगा भारत के सारे छात्र धीरे-धीरे ग्राहक में तब्दील हो जाएंगे। और दुनिया भर के संस्थान भारत में आकर केवल मुनाफा बटोरेंगे। WTO के इस प्रस्ताव के बाद जितने भी शिक्षण संस्थान भारत का रूख करेंगे, उनका एकमात्र मक़सद लाभ कमाना होगा । विश्व बैंक की तरफ से 2000 में कराए गए एक सर्वे रिपोर्ट में ये साबित भी हो चुका है, कि विकसित देशों के जाने-माने विश्वविद्यालयों ने पिछड़े देशों में घटिया दर्जे की शाखाएं खोली।
WTO के इस प्रस्ताव के जरिए ना केवल विकसित देश मुनाफ़ा कमाएंगे, बल्कि वे पिछड़े देशों के नज़रिए को भी अपने अनुरूप ढालने की कोशिश करेंगे । इसका गंभीर असर हमारी शिक्षा प्रणाली और शिक्षा के स्तर पर पड़ेगा। WTO का मक़सद शिक्षा को उपभोग का माल और विद्यार्थियों को उपभोक्ता में बदलने की है। इस प्रस्ताव के मंज़ूर होते ही शिक्षा से बदलाव और सशक्तिकररण की ताक़त भी हमेशा के लिए खत्म हो जाएगी।
सोशलिस्ट युवजन सभा देश की शिक्षा व्यवस्था पर हो रहे इस नव उदारवादी हमले को रोकने की मांग करती है। साथ ही देश के सभी प्रबुद्ध, प्रगतिशील और जागरूक लोगों से अपील करती है, कि वे आगे आएं और WTO-GATS को दिए गए प्रस्ताव को वापस कराएं।

नीरज सिंह 
राष्ट्रिय सचिव 
सोशलिस्ट युवजन सभा

Friday, 17 July 2015

ईद मुबारक

ईद का त्यौहार पूरी दुनिया में भाईचारा लेकर आए। असमानतासाम्राज्यशाही और हिंसा मिटाए।
हम सब पर खुशीअमन और नेकनीयत की बारिश हो।

सोशलिस्ट पार्टी की तरफ से सभी बहनों और भाइयों को ईद मुबारक

सोशलिस्‍ट पार्टी का नारा
समता और भाईचारा

डॉ प्रेम सिंह

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Visit of civil society organizations at Atali village, Ballabhgarh, Haryana, today( 5th June,2015)

Press Statement for favour of publication: (attached also) 

Visit of  civil society organizations at Atali village, Ballabhgarh, Haryana, today( 5th June,2015).
Today a team consisting of members of PUCL, NAPM,  Khudai Khidmatgar and Socialist Party visited the Atali village in Ballabhgarh District (Haryana) led by  Justice Rajinder Sachar (Retd). Team met the Muslim residents who were attacked on 25th May,2015, whose houses were burnt,  belongings  looted or destroyed and who had to flee from the village  to save their lives and   had taken shelter in a police station at Ballabhgarh till 3rdJune.  The  team was happy to see that elders of the majority community had approached them and assured them of their co-operation in protecting them and support in building the ‘mosque’ and  on their assurance, as well assurance of the administration, they have returned to the village from  3rd  June, 2015. However since their houses were burnt  and their belongings  totally destroyed or looted by the anti-social elements, they have to  rebuild their lives from scratch. The interim compensation at the rate of Rs.5000/- per family  given to the victims by the administration is totally insufficient.
      Besides the Muslim residents, the  team members met SDM Dr. Priyanka Soni, some police officials including two ACPs who were present at the spot as well as members  of the majority community of the village. Though  the administration and the elders of the majority community  asserted that they are committed to the building of the mosque,  still there are some mischievous elements who, inspite of the court verdict against them and inspite of the compromise,  seem to be unsatisfied and have again gone to the court of CJM, Faridabad,  in appeal claiming that the land of  the  mosque belongs to the Panchayat and got a notice issued to the Mosque committee as well as the Panchayat.  Matter is fixed tomorrow for hearing. However the team is surprised to note that though there are more than eight temples, there is no properly constructed mosque in the village and the Muslim residents  have been  offering their prayers  in a make-shift tinshed for more than a century.
      The team urges upon the  Haryana Govt. that (i)  the task of building the mosque must be given top priority and urgency, and proper protection be given to the mosque  committee  for this purpose; (ii) Adequate compensation be given to the victims of violence so that they are able to rehabilitate themselves  in a dignified manner; (iii) that  those responsible  for  violence should be immediately arrested and prosecuted and (iv) that due protection be given to the  Muslim families and their properties.
 The team members were Justice Rajinder Sachar, N.D.Pancholi, Prof. V.K.Tripathi, Vimal Bhai, Faisal Khan, Rizwan Ahmad, Farah Sakib and Abdul Malik.

President, PUCL (Delhi)

कारपोरेट घरानों के मन की बात का एक साल

प्रैस रिलीज 
कारपोरेट घरानों के मन की बात का एक साल :
गरीबीभूखकुपोषणबीमारीबेरोजगारीआत्महत्याओं में बढ़ोतरी
आरएसएस का राष्‍ट्रद्रोह पूरी तरह उजागर

                सोशलिस्ट पार्टी का मानना है कि प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने अपनी पूर्ण बहुमत वाली सरकार के मार्फत पिछले एक साल में देशी-विदेशी कारपोरेट घरानों को करों से लेकर देश के बेशकीमती संसाधनों और श्रम को लुटाने का काम पिछली कांग्रेसनीत यूपीए सरकार से ज्यादा तेजी से किया है। प्रधानमंत्री बार-बार जो मन की बात’ सरकारी रेडियो पर कहते हैंवह दरअसल कारपोरेट घरानों के मन की बात होती है। इसीलिए जाहिरा तौर पर गरीबीभुखमरीकुपोषणबीमारीबेरोजगारी और किसानों की आत्महत्याओं का पहले से जारी सिलसिला और तेज हुआ है। किसानोंआदिवासियों,छोटे व्यापारियों/उद्यमियोंमजदूरोंकारीगरों की तबाही का सिलसिला बदस्तूर जारी है।   
                पिछले एक साल में प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने प्राकृतिक संसाधनोंश्रम और हुनर से समृद्ध भारत की छवि पूरी दुनिया में भिखारी की बना दी है। वे स्वतंत्रता और स्वावलंबन की विरासत को पिछले प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह से भी ज्यादा तेजी से नष्‍ट कर देश को पूरी तरह से नवसाम्राज्यवादी शिकंजे में फंसाने में लगे हैं। आरएसएस के स्वयंसेवक प्रधानमंत्री का निर्णायक रूप से मानना है कि भारत का विकास विदेशी कंपनियां और सरकारें करें। राष्‍ट्रवाद और स्वदेशी का राग अलापने वाले आरएसएस और भाजपा के बौद्धिक’ पूरी तरह चुप हैं। इस एक साल में आरएसएस और भाजपा का मजदूर-किसान-अल्‍पसंख्‍यक विरोधी चेहरा ही नहीं, राष्‍ट्रद्रोही चेहरा भी पूरी तरह उजागर हो गया है।
       इसमें कोई हैरत की बात नहीं है कि सरकार की कारपोरेटपरस्त नीतियों से लाभान्वित होने वाला तबका और मीडिया अभी भी नरेंद्र मोदी की देश के उद्धारक नेता की छवि बनाने में लगा है। इसीसे उसका स्‍वार्थ सधता है। लेकिन देश को बेचने और तोड़ने की असलियत सच्ची देशभक्त ताकतों से छिपी नहीं रह सकती।
                सोशलिस्ट पार्टी का मानना है कि इस नवसाम्राज्यवादपरस्त राष्‍ट्रद्रोह का मुकाबला विचारधारात्मक आधार पर ही किया जा सकता है। पिछले दिनों जिन्होंने विचारधाराहीनता का नारा लगा कर दिल्ली राज्य की गद्दी कब्जा की हैवे नवउदारवादी विचारधारा के वाहक हैं और नरेंद्रमोदी के साथ नवसाम्राज्यवादपरस्त जमात में शामिल हैं। 
                सोशलिस्ट पार्टी का दृढ़ मत है कि संविधान और उसकी अनुकूलता में समाजवादी विचारधारा के आधार पर ही स्वतंत्रस्वावलंबी और समतामूलक भारत का विकास संभव है। सोशलिस्ट पार्टी ने पिछले आम चुनाव के वक्त इस दिशा में लगातार कोशिश की थी कि एका बना कर कांग्रेस और भाजपा का चुनाव में मुकाबला किया जाए। लेकिन वह कोशिश कामयाब नहीं हो पाई और भाजपा 31 प्रतिशत वोट लेकर केंद्र में बहुमत की सरकार बनाने में कामयाब हो गई।
                ऐसे में देश की सभी सामाजिक न्याय और समाजवाद की विचारधारा को मानने वाली राजनीतिक पार्टियों और नागरिक समाज संगठनों में एका की तत्काल जरूरत है। व्यक्तिवादपरिवारवाद और क्षेत्रवाद की प्रवृत्तियों को छोड़ कर आजादी की लड़ाई और संविधान के मूल्यों के आधार पर यह एका होना चाहिए। यह होने पर अगले चार साल बाद होने वाले आमचुनाव में कारपोरेट ताकतों के खिलाफ देश की मेहनतकश जनता की जीत निश्चित होगी।

भाई वैद्य

One year of Modi’s Man ki Baat in service of corporate houses Increase in poverty, hunger, malnutrition, unemployment and suicides Anti-national character of RSS completely evident

31 May 2015
Press Release

One year of Modi’s Man ki Baat in service of corporate houses
Increase in poverty, hunger, malnutrition, unemployment and suicides
Anti-national character of RSS completely evident
            The Socialist Party states that in the last one year Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while heading the majority government, has done the task of giving tax exemption to selling out of country’s invaluable natural and labour resources to national and international corporate houses faster than the last Congress led UPA government. The ‘Man ki Baat’ that the Prime Minister keeps on talking about on the government radio is actually the Man ki Baatof the corporate houses. As a direct result, the already prevalent trend of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illnesses, unemployment and farmers’ suicides has gained even more speed. The trend of the devastation of farmers, tribals, small traders/businessmen, labourers and artisans is continuing in the same fashion.
            In the last one year Prime Minister Narendra Modi has changed the image of India in the world from that of a country rich in natural resources, labour and talent, to that of a beggar. He is working towards destroying the legacy of independence and self-reliance with even more speed than the last Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is trying to embroil the country in the trap of neo-imperialism. The Prime Minister, who is a swayamsevak of RSS, decisively believes that the foreign companies and governments should develop India. The baudhik of RSS and the BJP, who used to sing paeans about nationalism and Swadeshi, are keeping complete silence. Thus, not only the anti-labourer-farmer-minority face but also the traitorous face of RSS and the BJP has become evident.
            It is not surprising that the media and a small section, benefitted by corporate policies, are still trying to project the image of Narendra Modi as a saviour leader of the country. This feeds into their selfish interests. But the reality of selling and breaking up the country cannot stay hidden from the true patriotic powers.
            The Socialist Party firmly believes that this anti-nationalist stance of the present government can be contested only on the ideological grounds. Those who recently snatched power in Delhi through slogans and shouts of ‘there is no need of ideology’, are themselves agents of neo-liberal ideology and are a part of the neo-imperialist group along with Narendra Modi.
            In view of the Socialist Party the building of an independent, self-reliant and equitable India can only take place on basis of the socialist ideology in accordance with the Constitution. During the time of the last general elections, the Socialist Party constantly suggested to put a united fight against the BJP and the Congress in order to achieve electoral success. But its efforts were not successful and BJP could form a majority government merely with 31 percent votes.
            In this scenario, there is an urgent need for the parties and civil society organizations, which believe in the ideology of social justice and socialism, to come together. This unity should be based on the legacy and values of the freedom struggle and the Constitution rather than individualism, family/dynasty politics and regionalism. When this happens, the hardworking masses of the country will definitely win against corporate powers in the next general election to be held four years from now.

Bhai Vaidya

उभरती शूद्र चेतना की सीमाएं

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