Arguendo

Arguendo is For the Sake of Argument reborn. It was created based on the principle that one person cannot know everything about law, hence to grow we needed to share knowledge. A free speech platform, it regularly posts interviews from few of the most successful legal start-ups, to lawyers who have made a name for themselves by doing something different. With our very own YouTube channel which attempts to teach basic concepts of Law through animation, Arguendo is the friend, philosopher and guide every law student needs. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or mail us at fsa712@gmail.com

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Aadhaar Now Compulsory To Claim Benefits For TB Cure Under RNTCP Scheme




Despite the fact that the question of the Constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 itself, is pending before a Constitutional Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Justice K.S.Puttaswamy(Retd) & Anr vs the Union Of India and Ors, and the latest the Order of the Supreme Court in Binoy Vishwam vs Union of India declaring that people without Aadhaar cannot be made to get Aadhaar and link it with PAN till the validity of Aadhaar itself is decided, the Central Government has brazenly gone ahead  declared Aadhaar mandatory not only for for Financial Transactions over Rs. 50,000/- , but now also mandatory for prevailing benefits under the RNTCP Scheme.

Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) (sometimes known as RNTCP 1) was started in 1997. The RNTCP was then expanded across India until the entire nation was covered by the RNTCP in March 2006. At that time the RNTCP also became known as RNTCP II. RNTCP II was designed to consolidate the gains achieved in RNTCP I, and to initiate services to address TB/HIV, MDR-TB and to extend RNTCP to the private sector. RNTCP uses the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategy and reaches over a billion people in 632 districts/reporting units. 

As per the National Strategic Plan 2012–17, the program has a vision of achieving a "TB-free India", and aims to achieve Universal Access to TB control services.The program provides, various free of cost, quality tuberculosis diagnosis, and treatment services across the country through the government health system.

The Gazette notification makes Aadhaar compulsory for benefits including compulsory cash assistance, free medical aid etc. It is important to note here that the well endowed can practically afford TB medicines, but those who are genuinely poor and suffering cannot afford the medicines and absolutely need the benefit of the scheme. As such the scheme cannot be made conditional to registration under an Act (Aadhaar) whose very locus is under challenge. 

Apart from this, on the basis of flawed understanding of the Lokniti Foundation judgment, the Government has already started forcing people to link their Aadhaar with their mobile numbers. 

First, they try to get people to link Aadhaar to PAN via a Money Bill and are stopped by the Supreme Court and now they go full steam ahead despite the matter being sub judice. The only explanation to this can be that the Government intends to put us in a scenario where Aadhaar has already been made 100% enforced, thus making any possible negative judgment against Aadhaar in the case of KS Puttaswamy redundant.


List of resources to read with respect to problems with Aadhaar here, here, and here

Monday, 19 June 2017

Narmada Bachao Andolan - The tale of non-existing Compensation, Rehabilitation, and lives of 40,000 Families



Via a Press Release dated 17th June 2017, the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has cleared the final raising of Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) in Gujarat by lowering of gates and impounding of water in the reservoir upto its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of EL 138.68 mts. The NCA which under the Chairmanship of Dr. Amarjit Singh, Secretary (WR, RD & GR) considered all aspects of environmental and Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) issues.

Fifty-six years after the foundation stone for the Sardar Sarovar dam on the River Narmada was laid the Gujarat government got permission from the Centre to shut its gates. While 30 gates of the dam have been closed, it will open the gates of misery for more than 100,000 people, whose houses and land are likely to get submerged.




Besides the statement issued by noted activist Medha Patkar (viewed above) Narmada Bachao Andolan also issued a statement on 17th June. 2017 stating that;
“The level of falsehood involved in the decision taken by NCA on the closure of Sardar Sarovar gates is unprecedented.” Even the media has been spreading such lies about resettlement of Narmada affected families, even the the government cannot claim this: “A total of 46,840 PAFs have been resettled in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.”


On the 19th June 2017, supporters of Narmada Bachao Andolan laid siege to the entrance of Ministry of Water Resources protesting against the undemocratic and unjust decision of Narmada Control Authority to close the gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam, in its June 16th meeting. The decision paved the way for imminent submergence of 192 villages and one township of Madhya Pradesh this monsoon season when the full reservoir level will be achieved. 
In past two months, despite many assurances from NCA, NVDA and govt. officials, including citing the Supreme Court order of February 2017, the decision had been taken without verifying actual ground conditions in Madhya Pradesh. The Andolan supporters strongly pointed out that the claims of the almost complete disbursement of the compensation, as per SC judgment, is not at all true since a number of applications are still pending infront of the Grievance Redressal Authority in Madhya Pradesh. 
In these matters, the claims of the project affected families for disbursement of the appropriate amount for the land lost hasn’t been settled yet. It also needs to be noted that those who have received cash compensation, are yet to receive their due R&R entitlements for the loss of their houses and other common facilities, simply because 88 R&R sites in Madhya Pradesh are not complete. In such a situation, it is impossible for nearly, 40,000 families to move to these sites, which lack even most of the basic facilities, including drinking water.

Graphic: Raj Kumar Singh


The Supreme Court order while bringing down curtains on the legal battle had brought relief to the 2,039 displaced families. However, those facing displacement to allow the dam to function at its full capacity say they have nowhere to go


Down To Earth, an on the ground organization which has spoken to many locals shared a grim picture of those trapped on the ground with no place to go. 
“In 2003, I was given Rs 40,000 and a plot on the floodplains of the Khooj rivulet ( a tributary of the Narmada) in compensation,” one Iqbal Reyaz from Dharampuri, who works as a daily-wage labourer, told DownToEarth. Five years ago, Reyaz decided to relocate to the rehabilitation colony, aptly named Dharampuri Basahat, literally Dharampuri resettled. He was the first one to build a house there. But it got submerged the very next year, during the floods of 2013. “No one compensated me for the loss of the new house, and I had to return to my old house,” Reyaz stated. “I was a fool to go there. Since the colony is in the floodplains, no one from my town dares to shift there,”.

But going by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award guidelines, the authorities should also provide a primary school for every 100 families, a drinking water well for every 50 families, a seed store for every 500 families, before initiating the eviction process. Barely a month left to meet the apex Court's deadline, it is unlikely that the requirements would be met. 


The South Asian Network on Dams, Network, and People wrote a detailed article questioning the legality of the lower of the gates of the Dam. 

[Story to be updated. Last updated 20/06/17]

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Interview with Team Periferry-Providers Of Equal Employment Opportunities To Transgenders

PeriFerry is an equal opportunity job consultants for Trans person; that is PeriFerry provide alternative job solutions for them. Accessing the untapped talent pool, and bridging the gap between an inclusive employer and a deserving candidate is their forte. 


Sourya (S): How do you generally introduce yourself? Social activists? Entrepreneurs? Crusaders?

Neelam (N): "Social Entrepreneurs"

(S): What is the story behind the name PeriFerry?

(N): The name actually comes from the word “Periphery” which means the edge. We thought that was a word we could relate to the people who are living their lives on the edge - and how we could, as facilitators, probably act as a ferry and help them get to their desired destinations.

(S): How did this idea germinate?

(N): Doing something for the Trans* community has been on my mind for a long time, ever since college days. Mainly because I'd never really hesitated talking to them whether it was in Trains or beach or anywhere else and I really understood their stories. So during my stint at Goldman Sachs, I had to come up with an idea for an initiative which would have a social impact as part of an internal competition. I came up with the idea of an inclusive workplace focusing on the transgender community. My team in Bangalore and I happened to develop this project along with Solidarity Foundation. Eventually, I realized I was passionate about this cause and so quit my job to start working on this idea.

(S): Neelam, was your family open to the idea of your quitting your job at Goldman Sachs for this? 
(N): I am where I am only because of my family. My parents have taught me from a very young age to take my own decisions and also have, in the process, made me strong enough to face the brunt of bad decision making. That's the only reason I could take such a big step and never regret it. I also have two older siblings, sister, and brother who are also particularly supportive of the things I do. 
(S): Do you think most workplaces can be considered safe and/or equipped for transgenders?

Nanditha (Na): It differs from one workplace to another, to be honest. Fortunately, quite a lot of companies seem to focus on diversity and inclusion these days, which means they are more welcoming towards the third gender. However, not a lot of them are equipped to have them in their offices, when it comes to having inclusive facilities. We are trying to meet these needs through our sensitization workshops.

(S): Have you ever faced trouble convincing potential employers to give transgender/transsexual citizens a fair chance of employment?  

(Na): Yes, most of them think of hiring Trans* community only as a societal initiative so dismiss us thinking we are trying to sell something out of sympathy. What they don't realize is that they're equally or more skilled and sometimes possess great education qualifications as well. They can help a team become much more diverse and also bring new perspective and viewpoints in a team. We have to make them look at the business objectives when they hire them.



(S): How does PeriFerry sensitize a workspace to make sure it is easier for the employee to fit in?


(Na): We take on a two-fold approach for this. One is to ensure the employee is given personalized training for him/her to fit in a corporate environment through skills development and training. The other is to sensitize the existing employees in a workplace to ensure they know how to be inclusive through their communication, the facilities they offer and the benefits they extend to the third gender.



(S): Does PeriFerry periodically follow up with both employees and employers? 

(Na): Yes, we have the policy to follow up consistently until the first six months of placement to make sure things are going smooth. Also, take feedback through the lifetime of the placement. 

(S): What would you consider to be the proudest/defining moment of PeriFerry yet?

(Na): Well, naturally when we made our first placement. Our candidate had struggled for a really long time in getting a job despite having good education qualification. She had gone door-to-door at different companies all rejecting her only because she was a trans-woman. And seeing someone as deserving as her get an opportunity through PeriFerry made it worth the effort. 

(S): Where do you see PeriFerry in a year? 

Team: We ourselves covering all the major cities in India, in terms of employment opportunities. Also, our objective is to see a less transphobic and homophobic society through our awareness programs. 



(S): Have companies been generally receptive to transgender/transsexual employees?

(Na): Definitely! In fact, the team was overwhelmed by the response we received from them after we launched. We had so many employers reaching out to us expressing interest in collaborating with us or even to just appreciate us for our initiative. It was indeed heartening.

(S): In case there is a potential employer reading this, could you briefly describe the process via which someone could employ a transgender through PeriFerry?

(Na): We would request them to fill out a form on our website www.periferry.com We would then reach out to them, understand their requirements or profile they are hiring for and put them in touch with a client who would be suitable for the role. In the meantime, the team would conduct sensitization workshops in their company. If our client gets placed in that company, we would ensure we follow up with the employee and the employer as well till the client settles down in the workplace.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

MP, Gujarat Police Stop Narmada Bachao Andolan - Protesters Arrested.

On the 3rd day of the ‘Rally For The Valley’, which is a campaign of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, leaders of the rally, Medha Patkar, Prafulla Samantara, Soumya Datta, Dr. Sunilam, Jasbir Singh (All India Kisan Sabha, MP), Nita Mahadev (a noted Gandhian, Gujarat) along with hundreds of protestors have been detained at Kavta check post, kavta village of Chhota Udaipur district.

Police check post at Katva Village

As per reports, the rally was going to visit the Jeevanshala (a school run by Narmada Navnirmaan Abhiyan) of Chimalkhedi, Maharashtra when police officials stopped them from crossing the Gujarat border. The police officials failed to produce any written order. Even the vehicles with Gujarat number plate and local buses were stopped from crossing the border.
The protestors, under the leadership of social activist Medha Patkar have been detained by the Gujarat Police while they were moving from Madhya Pradesh to Maharashtra via Gujarat. The protestors have been stopped at the Gujarat Border and are not allowed to cross the Gujarat border.

Activist Medha Patkar (second from the right) with an injured boy
“A group of people, who were on their way to Chhota Udepur, were detained at Kavta check-post on Gujarat-Madhya Pradesh border,” the police official from Kawant police station said to Newsd.
“They were detained as per the notification under section 144 of CrPC, which prohibits unlawful assembly or processions in the district,” district collector Vijay Kharadi said to Newsd.
According to Idrish Mohammed, a law student at Jamia Milia Islamia University took to Facebook and posted a picture of detained school kids from Kerala who joined the rally, the Gujrat Police assaulted protesters infront of the Madhya Pradesh Police. 

As seen above Idrish last posted on Facebook 11 hours ago painting a bleak picture of the administration stating, "The kids who were beaten up by the police were sent to the hospital for medical examination. The medical officer is completely drunk and not in his senses. He SLAPPED the kids and harassed them badly. Another face of Justice System"
Local villagers gathered for Protest. 
The Narmada Bachao Andolan has been going on since 1985. 




Story to be Updated.
All Pictures are sources from the Facebook of Mr. Idrish Mohammed and are his property.