Posted by: Singh Is King | Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A tale of two Superior Courts in South Asia – Part II

A Pakistani court headed by an honest judge which has inspired the people with its’ integrity/ courage & the other in Chandigarh, in Indian occupied Punjab, which is acting like a Kangaroo court presided over by a crooked judge Chief Justice Vijender ‘Praimi’ Kumar Jain whose appointment was opposed by Pres. Kalam

Indian Supreme Court delays hearing of Punjabs’ application, about the illegal Hansi-Butana link canal being dug in Haryana, till 14 August 2007 – an ill omen for Punjab – another Kangaroo Court decision in the offingPunjab Chief Minister Badal MUST scrap Section 5 of the Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004

Washington, D.C – A three-Judge Bench (comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice Dalveer Bhandari) of the Indian Supreme Court has delayed hearing, till August 14, of an urgent application, filed by senior counsel of the State of Punjab, Rajeev Dhavan. The application seeks to restrain Haryana, from proceeding with the ongoing illegal construction of the 109 Kilometer long Hansi-Butana multipurpose Link Channel, which will ‘divert’ (read steal with covert help and a ‘wink and a nod’ from Bhakra Beas Management Board – BBMB) water from the Bhakra Main Line canal to irrigate areas (of non-riparian Haryana state) lying in the River Yamuna basin while Southern Punjab starves for water both surface and underground. Hansi-Butana canal is obviously a reincarnation of the defunct SYL (Sulej Yumna Link) canal!

Punjabs’ above mentioned application, addressed to the Supreme Court, pointed out that the non-riparian state of Haryana has NOT obtained the mandatory clearance, from the Government, for construction of the illegal Hansi-Butana project and the project suffers from technical infirmities, as any submergence of the territory within Punjab, without its consent, was illegal. Further, no prior concurrence – a MUST – of Punjab and Rajasthan, (which like Punjab is also served by the Bhakra main line canal) was not obtained by Haryana. Neither was a clearance, under the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, had been obtained by the state of Haryana.

Punjabs’ application to the Supreme Court also said that the project, undertaken by Haryana, would puncture the Bhakra Main Line Canal (in contravention of the Bhakra Nangal Agreement of 1959) near the village of Ajimgarh in Kaithal district. This embankment would result in floods and consequential damage and ingress into Punjab. The channel would act as a barrier to free flow of water resulting in backwater formation and submergence of land in Punjab and would affect supplies in the downstream reaches of Punjab, which were crystallized into rights under the Bhakra Nangal Agreement of 1959.

Punjabs’ application went on to point out that, “Apart from violating the territorial rights, the construction of the embankment along the link channel abutting the territory of Punjab for 20 km in the direction of West to East would obstruct free flow of surface water in the direction of North to South resulting in backwater formation and flooding in the territory of Punjab.” The application, (according to a July 27 report in the HINDU newspaper, headlined, ‘Supreme Court to hear Punjab plea on Aug. 14’ ( http://www.thehindu.com/2007/07/27/stories/2007072757930500.htm ) “further pleaded that the embankment would result in displacement of over one lakh (100, 000) people living in 70 villages; submergence of 20,756 acres of lands spread over 32 villages; disruption of communication; disruption of the existing irrigation system; cause other damages including the rehabilitation measures and interfere with the health and safety of people”. According to irrigation engineers in the Punjab, the Hansi-Butana canal is an under-handed reincarnation of the defunct SYL canal which was ‘killed’ when the Punjab State Assembly, by a unanimous vote, passed, ‘The Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004′ on 12 July, 2004. (For a backgrounder on Haryanas’ water wars against Punjab, see Khalistan Calling, dated 14 July, 2004, headlined, ‘PUNJAB’s FINEST HOUR ON THE SYL CANAL ISSUE’ by clicking at: http://khalistan-affairs.org/home/khalistancalling/2004/july14.aspx )

Let us hope and pray that the ‘honorable’ Chief Justice of the Indian Supreme Court, K.G. Balakrishnan, from a humble background, who will hear water-short Punjabs’ application, about the illegal Hansi-Butana link canal, on 14 August, 2007, is an honorable jurist like his Pakistani counter part, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry of the Pakistan Supreme Court, who also has humble beginnings and has done his country proud by showing moral courage and respect for the sanctity of the Constitution and ensuring the rule of law. Most Punjabis hope that the Indian Supreme Court judges will not act as ‘birds of the same feather’ as the crooked Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Vijender ‘Praimi’ Kumar Jain. Justice Jain, acting like an ignorant/ corrupt Kangaroo court, arrogantly rejected, on 23 July, 2007, a number of writ ( http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070724/cth2.htm#4 ) petitions – eg. Phul Singh and others Vs state of Haryana – which had been filed against the illegal construction of the Hansi-Butana link canal in Haryana. The crooked Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court had the chutzpah to note in his judgment that, “the Hansi-Butana canal was being constructed by Haryana to take water to parched areas of the state, which was sought to be stonewalled by a spate of writ petitioners.” The High court showed its bigoted bias (or was it a bribe talking) against the Punjab, when it arrogantly observed that, “it was important to unmask the petitioners who had donned the cloak of public interest to raise such issues, which had only laid bare the fangs, which do not belong to innocent face of the farmer but to someone else.”

No wonder, a crooked jurist like Justice Vijender Kumar Jains’ appointment as Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, on 28 November, 2006, shocked a special correspondent of the HINDU newspaper. In a dispatch published, on 01 December, 2006, ( http://www.thehindu.com/2006/12/01/stories/2006120107340100.htm ) headlined, “A controversial judicial appointment,” he reported that, “the appointment of Justice Vijender Kumar Jain as Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court took place under contentious circumstances. The HINDU correspondent quoted from an appointment file noting, by President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, which included the comment that, “It is well recognized that the image of a Judge and his credibility with the public are of utmost importance. Divided opinion at the level of the [recommending Supreme Court] collegium’; a collegium that was expanded, in the first instance, from three to four members ‘in departure from’ para 5.1 of the relevant Memorandum of Procedure; ‘dissenting’ and ‘deprecatory’ written remarks against the appointment by three brother Supreme Court judges against Shri Vijender Jain therefore become significant.” Having expressed his reservations on the file President Kalam returned the file to the political Government for reconsideration.” President Kalam noted on the file that, he was, “not jumping to any conclusions,” therefore he requested that, “the Prime Minister to go into the matter further in view of the recorded observations.”

Chief Justice Vijender ‘praimi’ Kumar Jain, formerly a senior judge in the Delhi High Court, (currently Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court since 28 November, 2006 and is due to retire in August 2008) is also in the line of fire of Committee on Judicial Accountability – COJA. This is an organization formed by lawyers like Jethmalani, Shanti Bhushan and retired justices like Rajendra Sachar, Indira Jaisingh and Hardev Singh to fight corruption in the Indian judiciary. Incidentally Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain was accused in 2001 of renting out his official residence for the wedding of a grand-daughter of, one Mr. Hariram, who, Justice Jain later claimed he did not know. Surprise, surprise, in 2004, there was a civil dispute between Mr. Hariram and his brother and this suit was said to have been disposed of by Mr. Justice Vijender Kumar Jain in favour of Mr. Hariram, again claiming, when challenged, that he did not know Mr. Hariram. A wishy-washy statement was released by, now retired, then Indias’ Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal who tried to defend a crooked fellow judge, ( http://www.thehindu.com/2007/01/14/stories/2007011407451000.htm ) by playing with words. Incidentally, the standing counsel, UT, Anupam Gupta, Esq., (an outstanding lawyer of integrity widely known for his great legal knowledge) recently made a submission before the Punjab & Haryana High Court in which Gupta questioned the court’s jurisdiction to entertain a writ petition, on 29 June 2007, submitted by the Haryana-based criminal/ rapist Baba/god-man of Sirsa Dera, who styles himself as ‘His Holiness Huzoor Sant Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh Ji Maharaj the third’. Justice Vijender Kumar Jain, reported to be a ‘Praimi’ of the phony Sirsa Baba is some crooked Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court! Some role model for the younger judges of the superior courts in India!

Even a layman can see that the application filed in the Indian Supreme Court by the Senior counsel of Punjab, Rajeev Dhavan, is a wishy-washy effort. There is something fishy about the weak application to the Supreme Court when Punjab sits on high moral ground viz. Haryana. It is strange that this weak application was filed in the Supreme Court by Punjab after the boastful, chauvinistic and provocative remarks made by Haryanas’ Irrigation and Revenue minister, Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav, during a press conference in Dharuhera last week. Capt Ajay Singh Yadav was quoted, in the media, as saying ( http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20070725/haryana.htm#4 ) that, “With the Punjab and Haryana High Court (read Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain) setting aside PIL petitions filed against the on-going construction work of the Hansi-Butana Bhakra Main Line Link Canal, the decks have now been almost cleared for its undeterred completion”. “Chori uss par seena zori”!

It is obvious that either the Punjabs’ Senior counsel, Rajeev Dhavan, is not competent enough or he is intentionally sabotaging Punjab’s ‘protest’ or Punjab Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is again engaged in a ‘Nura Kushti’ to fool the Punjab public a la his ‘drama’ and his posturing during the Udham Singh Nagar crisis, some years ago, when that district was being transferred to the new state of Uttarakhand, from UP, despite opposition from the Sikh settlers there, who had developed the jungle land over the years into fertile farms.

Punjabi politicians, like Punjab Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, ought to remember that, “any dereliction of duty, or compromise, or conspiracy, or ‘Nura Kushti’ by any Punjabi politician on the water issue which effects Punjabs’ children, and their children, is an unforgivable and punishable offence. If Haryana continues with the construction of the illegal Hansi-Butana link canal, which will illegally tap into the Bhakra Mainline canal, with a ‘wink and a nod’ from the Superior Courts, and covert help from the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), then ‘what is good for the goose is also good for the gander’. If the (now defunct) SYL (Sutlej-Yumna-Link) canal could be stopped many years ago, so can the illegal Hansi-Butana Link canal! There are many ways to cook the goose! If the superior courts brazenly join the conspiracy against Punjab then it will be fair to launch mass movements in the Sikh Homeland which not only educate and arouse but, also thwart the covert plans against the water resource of Punjabs’ future generations. To start with Punjabi farmers could tap into the canals, which crisscross Punjab (in their neighborhood) on their way to non-riparian Haryana, to recharge the underground water with siphons which will lift canal water into the thousands of shallow abandoned wells which pockmark the Punjab country side. This action would partly replenish the falling underground water level in the Punjab which is increasing the cost of growing food and is the raison d`etre for numerous farmer suicides.

In the ultimate analysis the ONLY solution to solve Punjabs’ water woes, and defeat Haryanas’ water wars on the Sikh Homeland of Punjab, is to scrap Section 5 of the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, by legislation in the Punjab State Assembly, which will help decrease the export of FREE water to ungrateful non-riparian states like Haryana and possibly earn millions for Punjab.

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