"Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true." - Swami Vivekanand

Sunday, December 5, 2010

TATA Salt : कुछ ज्यादाही नमकीन!

Media and journalism in our country have created a distinct culture. While reporting news, a journalist should not take active part in the happening. He should report as a spectator and not as an active participant, because otherwise the view may become partial and biased.

Corruption seems to be omnipresent. And media is no exception. Political field is full of betrayals, treachery and confusions. Leaders show callous attitude towards development, health, education and such other social issues that need aid and attention of these people’s representatives. The nexus between media and politics is dangerous. And with the outbreak of ‘2G scam’ and ‘Radia tapes’, the busy businessmen like Tata have jumped in.

The question arises, why Mr. Ratan Tata felt the need of interference in the matter? Why suddenly he stands in defense of ‘Right to Privacy’?

It is accepted fact that ‘Right to Privacy’ is a fundamental human right. And Mr. Tata is basing his argument on it to save Niira Radia, Barkha Dutt and alike. Rights are double-edged weapons. They coincide with a duty to respect other’s rights while claiming one’s own. This seems simple in letter but difficult in spirit. There are always ‘reasonable restrictions’ on Rights for larger interests of the public. So the right to privacy is. The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (hereinafter called as the Act), provides for interception of messages and phone calls in accordance with the provisions of Sec. 5(2) of the Act.

Adequate guidelines are given by the Supreme Court in the case of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v/s Union of India [(1997) 1 SCC 301]. In its Judgment at para 27, 28 the Court accepts that it’s a fundamental right to have our conversation secured and to keep it private. But there are certain grounds available for Government and its investigation agencies, under which they can exercise their power to intercept.

Sec. 5(2) of the Act permits the interception of messages in accordance with the provisions of the said Section. “occurrence of any public emergency” or “in the interest of public safety”. Also it provides that the competent authority, under Section 5(2) of the Act, is empowered to pass an order of interception after recording its satisfaction that it is necessary or expedient so to do in the interest of
i.                    sovereignty and integrity of India,
ii.                 the security of the State,
iii.               friendly relations with the foreign states,
iv.               public order, or
v.                 for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence.

When any of the five situations mentioned above arises upto the satisfaction of the competent authority, then the said authority may pass the order of interception of messages by recording reasons in writing for doing so.

Hence, the Supreme Court while deciding a petition, states that these provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act do not come in the way of fundamental right viz. right to privacy and such other rights enshrined in the Constitution of India under Articles  14, 19(1)(a), 19(2), 21, 32, 51 etc.

The various controversial talks (phone calls) is now available on the net to listen to. One such is between Barkha and Niira Radia.
It is claimed that Radia talked on behalf of her ‘client’ Tata Teleservices and she got Rs. 60 crore for the ‘consultancy’[1]. Can we gauge the spectrum of these transactions?
This matter therefore comes surely under ‘public order’, ‘security of the State’ and some other grounds provided in Sec.5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 as prerequisite for phone tapping. Let the CBI, ED (Enforcement Directorate), CAG and Supreme Court investigate the issue. If Radia is clean, why to fear? If not, then let her face the consequences. It’s a simple algorithm.

So it is disheartening to see that Tata has made strong the ugly nexus of politicians, journalists and businessmen. Earlier also, Mr. Tata should have shown courage to disclose the name of the then Minister who had demanded money when Tata was thinking of venturing into airline business. There he protected that minister by not disclosing his/her name. And now he has stood up as custodian of Radia’s rights.
You may safeguard her rights Mr. Tata, but at the same time you will fail in your duty towards general public who have faith and trust in you for atleast a century now.

This will be like adding an excessive salt in the ongoing recipe which is hard to digest for the common public and detrimental to digestive system of our country. Is Tata Salt meant for this?

--- Adv. Vikram Narendra Walawalkar


  1. Surely such nexus must be booked and bring down before courts. But I have another fear everybody knows that CBI in our Country is not an independent agency, though it is always claimed by the Government. For example not a single report was filed by the CBI in Supreme Court for whole a year in 2G Spectrum investigation and for that Supreme Court repriminded CBI recently. But on the otherhand on the same day when CBI was reprimanded, CBI filed petition in Supreme Court against bail of Mr. Amit Shah within 24 hours of Gujarat High Court's order granting him bail. In such situation I am afraid about booking of real culprits by CBI in 2G Spectrum scam.

  2. Good points!!

    I think you should also see this link objectively (i.e.without any prejudices): http://manan.posterous.com/ndtv-panel-debate-with-manu-joseph-barkha-dut

  3. Ok I thought I posted NDTV link from my browser history, but looks like it is some private webpage.

    Anyway, there is that content I wanted to have you look at anyway, so there is not a problem...

    Anyway, in case that guy happens to remove that video, here's the link:

  4. Seriously, I dont recall when I have seen Ratan Tata so flustered and so nervous in public.

  5. Ratan Tata has managed to soil the good name of the Tatas for good.