Novel dose of insulin

Diabetic girls no longer find it difficult to get a partner in Gujarat. A matchmaker bureau is helping them find an ideal soulmate.

By Mahesh Trivedi

When Gopal, 22, an Ahmedabad-based bank officer, fell in love with Maya, a comely college girl, his joy knew no bounds. When she reciprocated after a while, he was determined to marry her. But his dream collapsed soon after.

Nurturing Dreams: Make My Life, the first marriage bureau for diabetics in India,  has transformed  hopes into reality.

Nurturing Dreams: Make My Life, the first marriage bureau for diabetics in India, has transformed hopes into reality.

When his parents came to know that Maya suffered from juvenile diabetes, they did not agree to the proposal. Both Gopal and Maya were heartbroken. Maya could deal with regular insulin shots and tests that were a part of her life. But the insensitivity of others around was what hurt her the most.

Dr Seema was a good-looking post-graduate doctor in her early thirties, earning a six-figure monthly salary at a Vadodara hospital. But that hardly mattered when she was looking for a spouse. The fact that she was diabetic was enough for prospective grooms and their families to shy away from her. As time went on, she became depressed and started suffering from occasional convulsions.

These are only two examples of people shunned due to biases and misconceptions regarding diabetes in Gujarat. Many families are opposed to marriage with a person who has to take multiple insulin injections, be careful of diet and manage lifestyle in the face of fluctuating sugar levels. Plus, there is the risk of health complications.

The western state, often considered the diabetic capital of India, has a high incidence, with some 40,000 youths with Type I diabetes. Type-II diabetes is believed to be present in 20 per cent of the adult population in Gujarat.

Seeing the suffering and humiliation that unmarried, Type I diabetic youngsters go through, Ahmedabad-based diabetologist Dr Mayur Patel decided to give them a helping hand and change their lives. He started a help center in the city called, Make My Life. which is probably India’s first marriage bureau for diabetics. And it was apt that the centre was started in Ahmedabad, one of India’s top medical tourism hubs.Untitled

Make My Life was launched by Patel, who is also the chairman of the All-India lnstitute of Diabetes and Research, with the help of well-known matchmaker Sangeeta Patel. “When Type I diabetics fail to find a bride or a groom, they suffer from depression. This worsens their sugar levels. We want to make their lives sweeter,” says a beaming Sangeeta.

Patel, who has treated some two lakh diabetics over the last 27 years, receives countless inquiries from worried parents from all over the country in this regard. “Type I diabetic youngsters, especially girls, are severely discriminated against when it comes to marriage. But all the problems faced by them are easily manageable,” assures Patel.

Almost 90 percent of inquiries received from all over India are from girls. Gita Shah, 31, is one of the beneficiaries of the bureau. “I am a college lecturer and the only diabetic in my family. Would-be grooms pull a long face after knowing about my disease,” says Gita. “However, Sangeetaben has been able to convince some of them that my ailment is well-controlled and I can lead a normal life. I am hopeful of finding a husband soon.”

Patel is doing yeoman service in this field as his counselling and medical services are free. He further boosts the confidence of diabetics by conducting tests and showing the reports to drive home the point that the management of this disease is easy.

Rekha Pamar, 30, is another diabetic. Her parents were worried about her future considering her age and medical condition. So after coming to ‘Make My Life’, they decided to lower their expectations about grooms. “Though I am beautiful and make Rs 90,000 as a public relations manager in a foreign bank, I have decided to go for a boy from a good family background, even if he is not handsome or earns less than me,” she says.

Patel says that as he gets inquiries from outside Gujarat and feels that such marriage bureaus should be started in other states in India as well.
Is there another savior somewhere?

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Is that legal

Nature’s fury

A number of cars were damaged in the recent dust storm in the capital. Can the owners claim insurance for damage in such a case?

The owners can claim insurance for damage in such a case, if it satisfies the terms and conditions specified in the policy document. In case of a natural calamity, the first step for claimants is to inform the insurance company about the damage and losses incurred. In the next step, one can submit a claim in writing, giving details of damages and other insurances on the same property, if any. The claim must be in line with the guidelines specified in the insurance policy document entered into by both the parties for processing and disbursement of claim amount.wave

In the Divisional Manager, United India Insurance Co. Ltd. and Anr vs Samir Chandra Chaudhary (2005) case, a car that was insured by the petitioner company was damaged due to the falling of a eucalyptus tree on it. The terms of insurance stated that any accident that arises due to flood, typhoon, hurricane, storm, inundation, cyclone, hailstorm, frost would not be covered by the insurance and hence no claim would lie. The claims made by the owner of the car were for the damages due to repairing and for the loss of hiring charges.

On an appraisal of evidence it was found that the claim of the insurance company that the falling of the tree was due to storm was incorrect, substantiated by the meteorological department’s letter confirming that there was no storm.

Armyman’s liability

An army vehicle, while it’s transporting soldiers for training, hits a car. The occupant of the car dies. In this case, will the driver of the army vehicle be charged in his individual capacity or as an army driver, and will the army take up responsibility?image description

In this case, the driver of the army vehicle will be charged in his individual capacity and not as an army driver. The trial will be conducted as an ordinary trial before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) because in the present case the deceased person is a civilian. Further, the responsibility for paying the compensation to the dead person’s family, if any, will be borne by the army and the driver because the driver was working in his official capacity.

In October 2013, the police arrested Saurab Chanje, a driver employed with the Indian army, who rammed an army vehicle into an Alto car in Old Panchkula, resulting in the death of two youth from Shimla. Chanje was arrested after police booked him for causing the death of a person due to rash and negligent driving. He was handed over to the police by the army.

Green dreams

A builder advertises his project in newspapers showing a lot of greenery within and around the compound. But as occupants move in, they find to their horror that more buildi­ng blocks are coming up. Can they take the builder to court, and what are the precedents of such grievances being addressed?

While builders insert various clauses in agreements to ensure that clients can’t take them to court in case of violation, we see courts now coming up in support of consumers.

A case in point is the Allahabad High Court judgment on the Supertech Towers, Noida—the court had ordered demolition, although the apex court later stayed it. The Central Consumer Protection Council has also safeguarded consumers’ interest.

They share the onus

Tour companies organizing adventure trips ask clients to fill forms that they won’t be liable in case of any accident. For that matter, schools too ask parents to sign a form to the same effect, when they are taking out students for an outing. Does that absolve tour companies, or schools, of all responsibility? What are the legal provisions that an aggrieved party can resort to, if something happens during these trips?Print

The aggrieved person has no legal remedy if something happens to him after signing the said forms. However, if an accident is caused due to negligence on the part of tour company or school authorities, in that instance the aggrieved party can sue the tour company or school and claim damages.

In MS Grewal & Anr Vs Deep Chand Sood & Ors (2001) case, 14 school students of classes IV to VI of Dalhousie Public School, Pathankot, had drowned while on a picnic on the bank of river Beas due to the negligence of the school authorities in May 1995. The court ordered the school to pay a compensation of `5 lakh to the parents of each deceased child.

Whose road is it anyway?

Skirmishes over parking slots in residential areas are quite common in cities. If a man regularly parks his car on the street right in front of his house, can he claim it to be his legal right and debar others from parking at the same place?image description

If the parking space on the street of the residential area has been purchased from municipal authority then the man will have legal right and can debar others from parking at the same place. On the other hand if the said space on road is not purchased then the same comes under the purview of municipal authorities and the man will have no legal right.

Conflicting claims

A widower gets his only son married, and after a couple of years, marries himself. The son walks out of the house in resentment. The father decides to bequeath the property to his wife. Can the son stake a legal claim to a share in his father’s property?Prop 001

The son can legally claim a share in his father’s property if the property of his father is an ancestral property. On the other hand if his father’s property is self-acquired property, he cannot claim any share and the father can bequeath his property in favor of his second wife.

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Illness that separates

In August 2009, Mindi, a 25-year-old struggling new parent, experienced what doctors later concluded was a psychotic episode. She had been staying in a cousin’s spare basement room in De Soto, Kansas, while trying to get on her feet after an unexpected pregnancy and an abusive relationship. She’d been depressed since her daughter was born and was becoming increasingly distrustful of her relatives. Isolated, broke and scared, one Saturday morning, she cracked. She woke to change her 5-month-old daughter’s diaper. When Mindi looked down, she believed the baby’s genitals had been torn.

FIT TO FEND FOR SON, NOT DAUGHTER? Mindi retains the right to bring up her son, but her daughter has been taken away from her on account of mental illness.

FIT TO FEND FOR SON, NOT DAUGHTER? Mindi retains the right to bring up her son, but her daughter has been taken away from her on account of mental illness.

Mindi’s mind raced for an explanation. The one she came to? That her baby had been raped the night before; that someone—she did not know who—had put sedatives in the air vents.

Mindi called her pediatrician’s office. A receptionist told her to take her daughter to a children’s hospital in nearby in Kansas City, Missouri. Doctors found no evidence that the girl had been harmed or that any of what Mindi claimed had actually happened.

After Mindi started arguing, medical staff sent her for a psychological evaluation and notified local child welfare authorities, according to court records. (As is typical in child welfare cases, the court documents do not include the full names of anybody in the family. Mindi has asked ProPublica to use only her first name, as did other parents in the story.)
That night, authorities took emergency custody of Mindi’s daughter, who is referred to in court documents by her initials, QAH.

A court-appointed doctor later concluded that Mindi had experienced postpartum psychosis. But Mindi rebounded after the episode. She began to attend therapy and to see a psychiatrist, who prescribed an antidepressant. She found a job as a shift manager at Kmart and moved into her own apartment. Each morning, she’d call the foster home where her daughter had been placed and she’d read QAH a book.

In time, her psychiatrist, therapist and even a panel of judges concluded that Mindi should get her daughter back. “I found the help I needed to be healthy,” says Mindi, a wide-eyed woman with a round face and a chatty affect. “I was dealing with some mental battles at the time.”

Dr Stanley Golan, the psychiatrist who treated Mindi, diagnosed her with a mix of post-traumatic stress disorder—likely, a therapist later said, related to abuse—depression and possibly a kind of “mild delusional disorder.” Still, the diagnoses, Golan said in court testimony, “do not interfere with her parenting and she is able to adequately care for QAH.” “You can have these diagnoses and be symptom-free,” he testified.pp_pills_mindi_960x640_140530

Indeed, in September 2011, Mindi, who was in another relationship, gave birth again, to a boy named Jace, whom she’s now raising capably on her own. Citing Mindi’s pending case over QAH., Kansas authorities took Jace at birth and placed him in foster care. But they soon returned him after finding no evidence that Mindi posed any risk to her son. As a family therapist testified, Mindi has provided a “nurturing, loving environment and had met all of [Jace’s] needs.”

Yet four years later, after a protracted series of court fights, Mindi does not have her daughter back. “I couldn’t see how they could keep one while I had the other,” said Mindi, sitting on the carpet in a living room with her son, surrounded by toy trains and a pile of books. “I don’t think I should have to fight for my own child to come home.” (Missouri and county child welfare officials declined to discuss the case.)

The question in Mindi’s case is not about what authorities did when she plunged into a mental health crisis—nearly everyone invol-ved in the case, including Mindi’s own attorneys, agrees it was likely appropriate to remove her baby that day. Instead, the issue is whether a mental health diagnosis itself, in the absence of any harm, should be enough to keep Mindi from ever getting her daughter back.

SENSE OF LOSS: Mindi clings on to memories of her daughter.

SENSE OF LOSS: Mindi clings on to memories of her

Under a concept sometimes called “predictive neglect,” Missouri and about 30 other states allow courts to terminate a parent’s connection to a child if authorities conclude a mother or father has a mental illness that renders them incapable of safely raising the child. Officials usually must present evidence that the illness poses a threat. Most cases involve significant mental illness, not run-of-the-mill depression or anxiety. Yet there need be no evidence of actual harm or neglect, just a conclusion that there is a risk of it.

States typically do not track how many parental termination cases are related to mental illness, or how often parents have lost children based on a diagnosis. New York, one of the few states that does tally such cases, has about 200 parental terminations annually based on mental disability, a cate-gory that includes both mental illness and “mental retardation.” If there were a similar rate nationally, that would amount to several thousand cases per year. The cases are typically sealed, and there’s no way to know how many involve court overreach.

But if it’s impossible to know how many parents lose children unnecessarily because of the stigma of mental illness, it’s clear that the process for deciding such cases is deeply flawed.

Courts’ decisions rest on the recommendations of evaluators who often do not observe parents at home or examine their actual record of parenting. Instead, they rely on psychological tests and case notes.

Incomplete evaluations are an “endemic problem,” said Joanne Nicholson, who direc-ted a unit that conducted parenting assessments for Massachusetts child welfare agencies and is one the country’s leading researchers on parents with mental illness.

“Parents are often evaluated without a real analysis of their supports, of the life they actually live,” said Nicholson, currently a psychiatry professor at Dartmouth College. As a result, “the diagnosis starts to speak louder than real life.”
Children can also pay a price when courts overstep. Research shows that forcing children in and out of different homes can leave lasting emotional scars.

The logic of removing kids from parents with serious mental illness is straightforward. Studies have shown that serious mental illness correlates with higher rates of child neglect and abuse. Parents who can’t take care of themselves aren’t going to be in a position to take care of a child. And delu-sional thinking can lead to irrational, dangerous behavior.

“You have to put protection first,” said Mary Kay O’Malley, who worked for years as a foster care caseworker, is now a professor at the University of Missouri Law School and has dealt with many cases like Mindi’s.

When officials fail to intervene to protect children from mentally ill parents, the results can be tragic, irrevocable and front-page news. In one notorious 2008 case, a Long Island, New York, mother drowned her three children after county officials failed to res-pond to repeated warnings from relatives that she was dangerously unstable.

But O’Malley says she’s seen agencies and courts unnecessarily cut off parents from their children. She says that’s what happened to Mindi.

Six months after Mindi brought her daughter to the hospital, in February 2010, a parenting counselor reported that Mindi “is ready to be there for [QAH] emotionally, mentally, and [she] can support QAH.”

“The parent changed in this case,” said O’Malley, who consulted for Mindi’s attorneys for free after learning about the case. “But the court didn’t.”

The laws permitting termination of parental rights were mostly written in an era when serious mental illness was assumed to disqualify patients from participation in normal life, including parenting. Parents like Mindi may have been institutionalized. In many states, the mentally ill or intellectually disabled could be sterilized. The phrasing in the law has often changed—states have removed words like “feebleminded” and “depravity”—but the same concepts echo.

In Mindi’s case, her daughter’s foster parents and the state of Missouri asked the judge in 2011 to terminate Mindi’s parental rights and for QAH to be adopted. The reason her rights should be terminated? Citing state law, lawyers for QAH’s foster family wrote that Mindi has “a mental condition which is shown by competent evidence either to be permanent or such that there is no reasonable likelihood that the condition can be reversed.”

The petition rested largely on reports of the event three years earlier, when, after the delusion about her daughter’s rape, Mindi brought her daughter to the hospital.

In 2012, a Missouri trial court granted the petition to terminate Mindi’s parental rights, formally severing her connection to QAH. Mindi was “unable to knowingly provide [QAH] the necessary care, custody, and control” because, the judge wrote, she “has delusions that then become her reality.”

Earlier in the case, Mindi had regained custody of QAH after eight months of separation only to lose it again after refusing to allow visits from QAH’s father, who Mindi says was abusive. Such lack of cooperation is not legally sufficient to permanently separate children from their parents, but the judge who terminated Mindi’s parental rights chalked up her claim of abuse to ongoing delusions—though no evidence was presented on this, one way or the other. QAH was placed back in foster care, this time with a new couple.

The judge also said in his opinion that Mindi had made strange faces while sitting in court, an “affect,” the judge wrote, which “is quite unusual in termination of parental rights proceeding, but is consistent with mental health diagnosis given by [the court-appointed psychiatrist].”

Mindi’s lawyers and other attorneys who represent parents like her say the judge’s reaction is common: Actions and statements that might pass without notice in people without a mental illness are pathologized in people with a diagnosis. “People who have those records at the back of their mind are looking for something to support their theory that she’s not stable,” said Sandra Wirtel, Mindi’s court-appointed attorney.

Mindi and her lawyers appealed the 2012 ruling, and the following year a Missouri appellate court sided with her. The trial court decision, a three-judge panel ruled, “utterly fails to establish that [QAH] would be harmed by a continued relationship with Mother.” The appellate judges added that the judge’s observation of Mindi’s facial expressions “does not constitute reliable and substantial evidence on the critical question of Mother’s present mental condition.”

Mindi began preparing for QAH to return, setting up a bedroom with a pink bedspread. They had not seen each other for nearly a year, and to rebuild their relationship, Mindi and QAH were allowed to begin visits. Her daughter was bigger, more talkative, her dark blond hair now in long curls. At first, QAH was shy, feeling out her relationship with this woman she’d been separated from. But then she asked her mother to play a game Mindi had made up when QAH was younger. “She remembered that,” Mindi said.

Mindi thought her daughter would be home for Christmas. But in late 2013, Mindi’s lawyer called her to tell her the case was not over. QAH’s foster parents, joined by the state, had appealed the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. Visits were halted again. The judges heard arguments in the case two months ago.

When she’s with her son, Mindi can, for a moment, forget that for the last three years her life has been consumed by the fight for her daughter. Mindi enrolled in college again. She spends a lot of time at her Baptist church—Wednesday night Bible study and Sunday services. She now lives in the home of a family friend who is mostly away—Mindi’s father died when she was young and she’s estranged from her mother. Late last year, she started to meet with the foster parents for monthly mediation sessions. QAH had lived with them for more than two years now.

To her attorneys, Mindi’s case still seemed like a sure win. In 2007, the Missouri Sup-reme Court restored the parental rights of a young mother who’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Judge Richard Teitelman sits on the Supreme Court of Missouri. Speaking broadly about such cases, he told ProPublica, “given the number of people in this world who are bipolar, or have some mental illness and who raise children very effectively, it would not seem to me that it should be a status thing—that anyone can say, if you’re mentally ill you can’t be a parent, you can’t have a child. That does not seem to comport with today’s reality.”

In the early afternoon of March 25, Mindi received a phone message from the lawyer appointed to represent her in her parental rights case. The news was what she feared. “I just lost my daughter,” Mindi wrote in a message to ProPublica.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled, 6-to-1, that the lower court should be granted broad discretion in making decisions about the facts of a parental termination case. Tho-ugh the judges noted that the state still had an obligation to prove that a parent’s mental condition poses a risk to the child, they wrote that since the trial court had believed Mindi was a danger, the Supreme Court, which did not hear testimony from witnesses, was in no position to disagree.

Judge Teitelman issued a short lone dissent. “The evidence in this case…fails to demonstrate clearly that the Mother is currently unable to adequately care for the child and that she will be unlikely to do so in the future,” he wrote, adding that the court’s decision had been “simply speculative.”

In early May, QAH’s adoption went through. Mindi has no contact with her daughter.

Published courtesy ProPublica-  This is the first part and the second part of the article will be published in the next issue of India Legal

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No room for free enterprise

Why ordinary entrepreneurs, giving out rooms or spare cars on rent, may face a rocky path fighting American regulators.

By David E Gumpert

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Targetting the Island Nation


This month the United Nations human Rights Council will again vote on a US-backed resolution on Sri Lanka relating to accusations of war crimes during the last stages of the eelam war in 2009. But President Rajapaksa’s government believes that there is a continuing western bias against his country trying to recover from the brutal aftermath of the 30-year war.
By Inderjit Badhwar
Some five years have passed since the defeat of LTTE’s terror army by Sri Lankan forces and the killing of V Prabhakaran, who was listed not only by the Interpol but also by the US, leading European countries and India among the most wanted international terrorists. But instead of hailing the end of Prabhakaran and his terror group as the first successful victory against terrorism in this century, the west and the UN have concentrated on human rights violations, alleged war crimes and civilian casualties associated with the last and decisive surge of the war. This anti-Sri Lanka campaign has been demonstrated repeatedly in votes against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Commission and in criticism from western nations, including Canada, which boycotted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2013. India, under pressure from domestic Tamil groups, voted with the US last March, and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh chose not to attend the CHOGM held in Colombo. Navi Pillay SRI LANKA-UN-POLITICS-PROTEST
The indisputable fact remains that unlike Yugoslavia and Cambodia, Sri Lanka has made remarkable progress in restoration efforts in just four years since the end of the conflict.
Inexplicably, even though nearly 400,000 war refugees have been settled in record time, reconstruction and reconciliation between ethnic groups has made headway, demilitarization is proceeding rapidly, and a free and fair election has been held for the first time in the northern province, which has elected a Tamil Chief Minister CV Vigneswaran, the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, has fired the latest shots against Sri Lanka and called for an international inquiry into allegations of the war crimes in the island nation.
Pillay has astounded analysts both in Sri Lanka and India. She was invited by Sri Lanka in August 2013, where she travelled freely for a week, talking to whoever she wished to see. Among them were the president and defence secretary. She chose to ignore the palpable progress being made in Sri Lanka such as the return of democracy in the north and rehabilitation of former LTTE cadres, and chose to focus on the negative. She has levelled allegations which Sri Lankans label as unfounded: that Sri Lanka is moving towards authoritarianism; journalists are being harassed; disappearances of civilians are not being adequately addressed; and there is an oppressive military presence in the north. Sri Lankans are used to trenchant criticism.
What they resent is the grossly onesided portrayal. For example, while Pillay criticized the army for occupying private land in the north, she did not even touch on the central issue of land: the Herculean efforts made by the government in re-distributing land to those from whom the LTTE had forcibly acquired it and destroyed title deeds. And she totally glossed over a cardinal post-war issue, of which Sri Lanka can be justifiably proud: the re-integration of LTTE’s child soldiers into the educational and social mainstream. Foreign Minister GL Peiris has blasted Pillay for her failure to produce empirical evidence to substantiate her allegation.
Why, five years after the end of the war, when the Sri Lankans are moving ahead in a peaceful environment after three decades of terrorism, is the UN, backed by western powers, persisting in persecuting the Sri Lankan government? Ordinary Sri Lankans wring their hands and ask: Do they want to damage and set back the peace process now under way following the work of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission, whose report has been praised by several world leaders?Prabhakarant
IGNORING THE OBVIOUS  (L-R) UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillai, who has raked up human rights violations issue against Sri Lanka; a demonstration by Sinhalese monks in support of the government; file photograph of LTTE leader rabhakaran. (Previous page) A child disabled during the Sri Lankan war observes his friends playing cricket in Kilinochchi, North Province, Sri Lanka Many observers believe that the UN moves against Sri Lanka are nothing short of interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, and are backed by western powers who want to jeopardize the country’s independence which is fiercely championed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has openly resisted western pressures on him before, during, and after the war. Many of these western interests are still influenced by the well financed LTTE sleeper cells, which also influence important politicians in western nations and would not like to see a stable Sri Lanka. But the indisputable fact remains that unlike Yugoslavia and Cambodia, where post-conflict reconstruction took years, Sri Lanka has made remarkable progress in restoration efforts in just four years since the end of the conflict. The government has already invested US $3 billion in infrastructural development and in creating new opportunities for the people of the north. When Osama bin Laden was killed, there was widespread celebration in the western world. Why wasn’t the elimination of Prabhakaran, one of the bloodiest icons of international terror, greeted with similar approbation? Yet, the tone and substance of Pillay’s initial report, issued shortly after her visit, as one prominent Sri Lankan politician observed, showed such a distressing lack of balance “that it appears Ms Pillay had formed her views before reaching the shores of the country.” President Rajapaksa has now openly expressed his concern that such irresponsible and one-sided condemnations of his country are part of an orchestrated campaign by powerful foreign and local elements “trying to create divisions between the communities and religions to bring anti government groups to power and bring Sri Lanka under their heel. They should realize that this government has the blessings of the masses who love this country… who therefore would never allow them to succeed.” It is true that Pillay for the first time characterized the LTTE as a “ruthless”, “murderous” organization. This begs the question, why Pillay never used these epithets for the LTTE before its downfall and when Prabhakaran was reigning supreme. Why does she maintain a silence on the functioning of the still remaining LTTE fronts, some of whom drum up support and lobby in Geneva? Last August, Pillay devoted an unparalleled seven days to Sri Lanka — a democratic country now devoid of terror. This is more time than she or her predecessors have ever devoted to Iraq, Libya, or Syria. The distressing and glaring common denominator explaining why the UN does not find equal time for visiting conflict areas like Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Libya is that powerful foreign countries invaded these nations. As excuses — often blatant propaganda — in defense of these incursions mounted, the UN was turned into helpless spectator of the violation of international law.PresidenA CASE OF COMPULSION  President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The latter chose not to attend the CHOGM in Sri Lanka under Tamil pressure

During Pillay’s meeting with Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the outspoken younger brother of the president bluntly quizzed Pillay about human rights violations such as drone attacks by the US and western allies. Pillay was apparently left speechless. So the question remains: Why is Sri Lanka being singled out by UN with such rapid regularity? When Osama bin Laden, along with some civilians, was killed, there was widespread celebration in the western world. Why wasn’t the elimination of Prabhakaran, one of the bloodiest icons of international terror, greeted with similar approbation? One theory currently gaining currency and acceptance among international analysts is that the major powers are once again  using the UN to gain economic, strategic and political supremacy in smaller, weaker nations by using human rights as an ideological justification. It is small wonder then that Pillay’s proposal that the Sri Lankan Government should enact a “witness protection” legislation is being lambasted in Sri Lanka as an example of how the office of the UN Human Rights Commission is deviously trying to bring a sovereign country’s law and order system under its aegis.

During Pillay’s meeting with Defence Secretary Gotabaya, the outspoken younger brother of the president bluntly quizzed Pillay about human rights violations such as drone attacks by the US and western allies. Pillay was apparently left speechless.
However, there is a method to the UN’s double standards. It is now demonstrable that powerful nations such as the five permanent members of the UN Security Council cannot be subjected to the controversial Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine under which, for example, Libya was invaded. R2P was accepted by the UN as a preventive and preemptive course of action against genocide and ethnic cleansing. But its critics argue that it is now being honed as a new tool by UN emissaries, whose veiled threats would compel smaller nations, who wish to preserve their independence and non-alignment, to seek the shelter of the Big Five, all of whom want to expand their spheres of influence. This is the fear that haunts most Sri Lankans.

– See more at:

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Death Penalty Still Hanging

On June 2 this year, when the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of Yakub Memon, the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts that killed 257 people, on account of his having been incarcerated for the last 20 years, it was just the latest in the series of commutation decisions in the last one year.

By Meha Mathur

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How did she die?

Disturbing pictures taken immediately after her body was found in a posh hotel show severe bruises, raising enough questions and warranting a more extensive probe

By Vishwas Kumar


Soon after news of the sudden death of Sunanda Tharoor, wife of Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, spread on January 17, questions began to be raised about the cause of the death. Her body was found in Suite 345 at the capital’s Leela Palace Hotel that winter evening just a day after she had put to rest speculations about her marriage to Tharoor having gone wrong.

Sunanda Tharoor (8)

TILL DEATH DO US APART  Tharoor says Sunanda’s father, brother and son stand by him in this hour of grief

Did she die because of a drug overdose? Did she commit suicide? Was she murdered? Was there an underworld and Indian Premier League (IPL) link? Was she killed because she threatened to spill the beans about the wrongdoings in the league, which is
now plagued with charges of illegal betting by the underworld and spotand match-fixing against franchise owners, players, and umpires? (see accompanying story)

Days after her death, Sudhir Kumar Gupta, head of forensic medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), who was part of the threemember team that conducted the autopsy, said, “After post-mortem examination, we found it was a case of sudden unnatural death.” While he agreed there were bruises on her body, he said he could not reveal the details as the case was under investigation.

While she was cremated within 24 hours, the Delhi police still awaits the visceral report. A month later BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy raked up the issue again. He categorically said she was murdered.

In an interview to a TV news channel, Headlines Today, he maintained that “credible sources” told him that there were bruises on the body “from belly up”, and “it seemed that someone had held her nostrils so that her mouth was open”. He added there was evidence that her blood stream had traces of lethal poison of Russian origin. He claimed that all the photographs of Sunanda’s body, which were taken by the police, were destroyed.

Going a step further, Swamy added that it was rare in criminal jurisprudence that the body of a person, who died in ‘mysterious’ circumstances, was cremated within 24 hours. He wanted the doctors who had performed the post mortem to be made witnesses by the police.

Tharoor made headlines, and brought his 52-year-old wife’s death back on to the front pages of newspapers, when he reacted to Swamy’s allegations. He said that the BJP politician had raised the issue for political reasons, and “it has been a long time in Indian political history that anyone

Troubling questions
  • Why was the probe handed over to the local police, and not the Crime Branch?
  • Why was Tharoor’s mobile taken away, but hurriedly returned even before the case was closed?
  • If she had taken an overdose of drugs, why did the police not find any medicine bottle or foil of tablets in the room?
  • How come in a five star hotel room there was nothing that the police found, not even a bottle of water?
  • What did the close circuit television system of the hotel show? Was it in working condition?

has taken Subramaniam Swamy seriously”. The minister claimed that the Delhi police was on the same page. No FIR had been filed, and there was no chargesheet until now. It implied that the investigators had found no evidence that Sunanda’s death was unnatural or suspect.

Tharoor said it was increasingly clear that there was no reason for taking the process further, adding, “Sunanda’s son, father and brother have stood with me solidly; no one has any suspicion of foul play, and we are not going to let Sunanda’s memories to be soiled by other people’s petty politics or the media’s quest for cheap TRPs.” He told Headlines Today that since Swamy claimed to know about the alleged murder, he should produce the evidence. He added that he loved Sunanda and missed her every day.

While India Legal does not wish to get into the politics of the Tharoor-Swamy brawl, and personal issues of the minister, we do see Sunanda’s death as a high-profile case as it involves a cabinet minister. There is justifiable public interest to expose the truth  behind her death. This is the only reason why we finally decided to publish these photographs taken after she died. If you look carefully you will see injury marks on her wrist, chin, neck and other parts of her upper body. These bruises throw up enough questions to justify a more detailed investigation into her death. Swamy asked the news channel what the hurry was to lose the case. We merely reiterate it.

Hours before she died, she had called Rahul Kanwal who heads Headlines Today, Barkha Dutt of NDTV and TV personality Nalini Singh, who was Sunanda’s close friend. Kanwal said on television that Sunanda had told him that she wanted to disclose facts to him about the controversies that surrounded Tharoor. But before they met, she was dead. Nalini Singh told a television channel that Sunanda was disturbed with the alleged relationship of her husband with a Pakistani journalist. She said that she was not the kind of person who would commit suicide.

Two days before Sunanda’s death, Tharoor had found himself in the midst of a controversy when intimate messages he had sent to Mehr Tarar, a Pakistani journalist, appeared on his highly popular Twitter account. Tharoor posted a message that his account was hacked. Sunanda tweeted that it had not been and that she had been posting the exchange between her husband and Tarar so that the world would know.

Speaking to The Economic Times, she said, “This is a Pakistani woman who is an ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) agent and she is stalking my husband. And you know how men are. He is flattered by the attention. I took upon myself the crimes of this man during IPL I will not allow this to be done to me. I just can’t tolerate this.”

Swamy said it was rare in criminal jurisprudence that the body of a person, who died in ‘mysterious’ circumstances, was cremated within 24 hours.

In her statement to the sub-divisional magistrate, Nalini Singh said that Sundanda had called her at around 12.10 am on January 17 and was crying. She was reportedly upset with her husband’s alleged relationship with the Pakistani journalist.

Tharoor had to resign in 2010 as junior minister for external affairs after Lalit Modi, the then chairman of IPL, alleged that Sunanda had been gifted sweat equity in a consortium that was bidding to become the Kerala team. At that time, Tharoor said that he was just a mentor to the consortium and had not benefitted financially.




(See the accompanying piece
on Justice Mudgal probe on links
between the underworld and IPL)


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