Sanjeev Sabhlok's blog

Thoughts on economics and liberty

My strong opposition to the Women’s Reservation Bill

Today is Womens' Day. I applaud the work done to bring liberty to women, commencing perhaps from the work of J.S. Mill. I have written extensively on this subject in the draft manuscript, "Discovery of Freedom" (http://discovery.sabhlokcity.com/) and won't write much about it here.

However, I chanced upon the following extract from my book, Breaking Free of Nehru and I think this short paragraph ought to be highlighted to emphasise that this Bill is ANTI-FREEDOM. Reservations of any sort are NOT the way to freedom. It is a shame that there are no proponents of freedom left in India.

EXTRACT

There is another problem brewing on the horizon. In addition to caste-based affirmative action, gender-based affirmative action is gathering momentum, namely, reservation of seats for women in elected bodies. This, once again, is primarily a matter for social reformers to deal with. There can never be any justification for a government to legislate quotas for women. Reservations for women (or any other group) in Parliament or any other elected body goes against equality of opportunity. Sweden doesn’t have any reservation of seats for women, but its political parties have a voluntary norm under which 50 per cent of their candidates are women. As a result, women constitute 45 per cent of Swedish parliamentarians. The way out for India would similarly be for political parties to take the lead and not to have the government do things which are none of its business.

ADDENDUM

In India, Politics Is Often a Marital Affair

 
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The Vikram Buddhi case

I have been made aware of Vikram Buddhi's case over the past few months (please search Google for details if you haven't heard of it yet). But I was hesitant to comment publicly on this matter, for upon a (relatively cursory) examination of public documents available in this case, I found it too complex for me to form a judicious view one way or the other. However, in my recent trip to India I met Somnath Bharti who explained this case to me, and I'm now ready to write about it.

Somnath is an IIT-Delhi engineer who later took a degree in law and now works as a lawyer in the Indian Supreme Court. A few months ago, this case somehow came to Somnath’s notice. He did not know Vikram or his family before taking up this case, but after examining the facts of the matter he was convinced that Vikram has been denied justice in the USA. He therefore took up Vikram’s case on a pro-bono basis.

After my detailed discussion with Somanth I am now convinced that Vikram is innocent, noting that my conclusion is not based on first hand examination of all the facts personally, but on the explanation of key issues provided by Somnath. Hence this blog post that seeks to inform the public of India (and USA) about the injustice meted to Vikram Buddhi.

VIKRAM DID NOT WRITE THE EMAILS 'THREATENING' THE US PRESIDENT

Somnath being an ex-IITian possesses certain expertise in technical matters. He has formed a view after examining the facts of the case that the US investigators did not offer a fool-proof case to prove that Vikram wrote the alleged threatening emails. The case was built primarily on suspicion by certain persons in the University for reasons which are totally unrelated to the case against Vikram.

The facts of authorship of the emails are extremely weak. Many others could have very well written this email. THERE IS NO DIRECT LINK TO VIKRAM. Vikram almost certainly didn’t write them, leave alone remotely threaten the US President in any form or manner (even assuming that the emails were considered a direct threat – which is a matter I believe irrelevant to the case against Vikram if he did not even write the emails in the first place).

To convict someone of a crime there must be a direct proof (that excludes others entirely) linking the facts of the crime to the person who is alleged to have committed the crime. NO SUCH PROOF EXISTS. To thereafter convict Vikram based on such a flawed basis is a travesty of justice. I am now convinced by the explanations provided by Somnath that on the balance of probabilities, Vikram has been unjustly treated by the law in USA.

GOVERNMENT LAWYERS PROVIDED WEAK DEFENCE

Vikram's defence lawyers provided by the US Government (Somnath was yet to even hear about this case) chose to provide a very weak defence which did not seek to dismiss the case on the grounds that the basic allegation – that Vikram had drafted these emails – had not been conclusively proved. They argued second order and essentially irrelevant issues, such as where was a threat implied by the emails. Why they did not argue that the case be thrown out entirely because of a lack of direct link of emails to Vikram is not known. Possibly incompetence.

APPELLATE CASE

By the time Somnath got to the Vikram Buddhi case, it had been mangled to an extent that made it extremely difficult to fix it. The main obstacle now is that an appeal cannot introduce new evidence (if such evidence were allowed, Somnath should be readily able to demonstrate that Vikram did not draft the emails). 

Somnath is now constructing a much weaker (technical) appeal the chances of success of which are significantly lesser than would have been the case had a competent lawyer argued the initial defence, or the initial judge been more inquisitive about the facts. It is also possible that in order to avoid public humiliation of its justice system and damage to its human rights record, the US could well compound the mistakes already made in this case during the appellate process.

One can only hope that the US system will uphold ITS HIGHEST CONCEPTIONS OF LIBERTY AND JUSTICE for the defence of which the US came into existence. I suggest that the US Government deploy its best experts to study the case carefully and seek to confirm for itself beyond doubt that Vikram did indeed author the emails he is being convicted for given that it is almost certain that he did not.

LET THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CASE SEE PUBLIC LIGHT

Even if the position of the US Government does not change during the appellate process and the original (wrong) conviction against Vikram is upheld, I do hope that Vikram will, upon his release which is set for 6 May 2011, write a book that tells the world of the misjustice against him and the consequent loss of liberties he suffered in USA, the alleged greatest free nation on earth. One only hopes he does not harbour any personal bitterness against the USA or any individual during this process.

CONCLUSION

I would like to wish Somnath (and Vikram) success in the appellate process, and trust that Vikram is finally given justice and not only his reputation reinstated, but due compensation awarded by the US Government for the many years of wrongful imprisonment he has undergone (and will still undergo for the next 14 months).

I would also like to urge you, dear reader, to explore the case carefully and provide comments on this blog. I’ll seek Somnath's comment on issues that I am unable to address.

My comment added on 13 April 2010, being an extract from my draft manuscript, The Discovery of Freedom: "The USA became the first nation to comply with the rule of law, with the USA constitution insisting on the ‘due process of law’. It is a moot question whether the USA actually delivers the rule of law today."

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Indians killed in Australia in allegedly racist splurge in violence

It was a bit of shock to me during my trip in India to find out that not only are most people I met totally confused about the security situation in Australia, but that an extremely eminent person, one of India’s greatest thinkers, is of the view that 100 (ONE HUNDRED) Indians students have been so far killed in allegedly racist violence in Australia.

To me this means a total victory for the disinformation spread by the Indian media which has so ‘beautifully’ turned the reality up side down. My understanding is this (supported from my research and readings so far), that: Melbourne is perhaps the safest city in Australia, and Australia is perhaps the safest place (overall) compared with the rest of the world. [also see this article] It is quite a freakish distortion of reality to suggest that one of the safest big cities in the world (or one of the safest countries) is a place of mass killings: almost as if a genocide is underway against Indians!

NEED FOR A COMPETENT STUDY

The unfortunate reality is that NO ONE OF COMPETENCE has provided a systematic analysis of issues so far. Definitely not in the Indian media or Government but also in the Australian media or Government. I don’t have time to conduct such analysis but I have written extensively on this issue on my blogs and elsewhere on the internet – suggesting how such an analysis may be undertaken. Let me continue to make this simple and OBVIOUS suggestion: that someone COMPETENT who understands data properly be charged with an objective study that is peer reviewed and published in an international journal of high quality. In the meanwhile let all of us simply offer our views but not rush to judgement.

THE FACTS

In the meanwhile, on this blog I will list the precise names, reported details and circumstances of the deaths of Indians students (and other Indians) in Australia in recent years.

If anyone IN THE WORLD has more information on this please let me know – at sabhlok AT yahoo DOT com. Let the facts speak and all fanciful flights of fancy be put to rest.

List of Indian students/ Indians killed in Australia: Killers not known (or only suspected)

1. Pradeep Kumar

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report_five-months-after-his-murder-in-australia-indian-s-body-cremated_1357874

2. Nitin Garg

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/nitin-garg-murder-appeal-to-hungry-jacks-witness-20100224-p22y.html

It is not clear to me yet from the published facts of which I am aware that this was in any way a racial attack, or who did it.

Finally, on 17 June 2010, a possible 15 year old suspect announced by the Police: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/teen-in-court-over-stabbing-murder-of-nitin-garg-20100617-yiaz.html?autostart=1 The Police announce that “”Our inquiries, at this stage, we don’t believe it was racially motivated

The conclusion, after inquiry: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/nitin-garg-stabbed-to-death-for-mobile-phone-20101209-18qun.html

3. Upkar Singh Babbal

http://www.unp.co.in/f46/harbhajans-nephew-killed-aus-racial-atta-49618/

http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100122191437AATQsLE

It is not clear to me yet from the published facts of which I am aware that this was in any way a racial attack, or who did it.

List of Indian students/ Indians allegedly killed by Indians in Australia

1. Navdeep Singh Dhaliwal and brother, Kawaldeep Singh Dhaliwal

Two Indains in Perth allegedly killed by another Indian

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/indians-abroad/Two-Indians-die-in-Australia-after-fight-over-money/articleshow/5564463.cms

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/52397/two-brothers-killed-australia.html

Police charge against Jagdeep Singh an Indian: http://www.in.com/news/current-affairs/indian-remanded-over-double-murder-12949441-cc9c09e6914dbb239c887b753dd65520a03c4d2d-rhp.html

2. Ranjodh Singh – a semi-burnt Indian found in NSW

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Partially-burnt-body-of-Indian-migrant-found-in-NSW/563609/

Reality: Indian couple arrested for the murder

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/couple-arrested-after-indian-mans-body-found-burnt-and-dumped-third-person-to-be-charged_100310874.html

List of Indian student/s who have committed violence against themselves but blamed ‘racial Australians’ for that

1. Jaspreet Singh (a student allegedly “set” alight in Melbourne but who set his car on fire himself)

In my view this is purely in the speculative realm and if any of these people were actually Indians or killed (i.e. not suicides) I’m not aware of them.

References to my other write-ups on this issue – some far more extensive than this.

a) Fully agree with Brumby on this

b) The Indian media need to show restraint.

c) Amitabh Bachchan’s baseless generalisation about Australia

d) How justified are India’s beliefs about Australian racism?

Addendum:

1. How many foreign visitors to India have been assaulted/killed? Chanced upon this article:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Austrian-tourist-attacked-in-Uttar-Pradesh/articleshow/5658104.cms. There must surely be some evidence of this somewhere within the Indian system?

2. Why is S M Krishna so keen to make comments on the death of a person of Indian origin in Australia? http://www.theinfosage.com/i-express-deep-condolences-to-gurshans-family-says-krishna.html. Does India make similar comment on the death of countless children who are lost in India every day, not to talk of every year. Perhaps a million children are lost/killed/trafficked in India each year. Does the PM of India make comments for each child? If not then why this endless commentary on every incident that occurs to any person of Indian origin in Melbourne?

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Freedom Team of India event on 27 February in Delhi

India FNF Alumni Network (IFAN)

in partnership with

Friedrich Naumann Stiftung fr die Freiheit

Invites you to a discussion on

India needs you! – An introduction to the Freedom Team of India

27 February 2010, New Delhi

Resource Person: Sanjeev Sabhlok, Freedom Team of India
Moderator: Barun Mitra, Liberty Institute

Registration: 1530 hrs onwards
Discussion: 1600 hrs 1800 hrs
Hi-Tea: 1800 hrs –1900 hrs

Venue: DLF Room, ASSOCHAM House, 47 Prithviraj Road, New Delhi 110 003

RSVP: Email: sabhlok AT yahoo DOT com, dipinder AT gmail.com

PLEASE WRITE TO SEEK AN INVITATION. Participation by invitation only.

The Freedom Team of India (FTI), a not-for-profit trust created in 2009, is a forum for policy, strategy, and leadership development to promote freedom in India. Members of FTI are committed in principle to contest elections in India with appropriate preparation. They will offer their leadership to India along with a platform of world-best policies, hoping to directly reform Indias governance. FTI is not a political party. Proposed electoral activity will be conducted under a separate banner or platform. For more information on FTI visit http://freedomteam.in

Sanjeev Sabhlok has a doctorate in economics from the University of Southern California. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1982 and resigned in January 2001to pursue possible political and other goals. Presently he works in Victoria (Australia) in regulatory policy. His 2008 book, “Breaking Free of Nehru” (Anthem Press) highlighted Indias expensive but disastrous experiment with socialism. It also offered a way forward for India to become a great nation with freedom and ethical governance. The Freedom Team of India is a major step forward in the proposed solution

Sanjeev is visiting India after a gap of two and a half years primarily to attend FTI’s first conference (in Mumbai) and to extend his search for leaders. He is keen to get meet those who believe in the principles and policies of liberty and have contemplated the possibility of participating in electoral politics to reform India‘s governance.

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