Tag Archives: GN Saibaba

Reading Between the Lines – A Critique of the UAPA: Avani Chokshi

Guest post by AVANI CHOKSHI

It seems ludicrous that in a civilised democratic society like India, a citizen may be practically abducted by police, charged with perfunctory offences and incarcerated without bail on mere suspicion for an indefinite period of time.  But this is indeed the situation in present-day India, with duly passed legislation sanctioning the inhumane state of affairs.

The validity of unjust or immoral laws has long been debated, with two major schools of thought emerging- the positivist school and the naturalist school. The positivist school does not recognise any correlation between the legal system of a society and notions of what ought to be justice. The positivist framework mandates that the law is that ordained by the valid legislator, whereas the naturalist school of thought envisages some rights to be inherent by virtue of humanity of a person. Thus, an unjust law, as per the school of naturalist thought, would be no law at all; positivistic thought, on the other hand, would posit such law to be valid by virtue only of being ascribed to the law-making process. The Hart- Fuller debate  devolved around the law made by Hitler; with Hart contending that laws passed using proper procedure would always be valid and Fuller maintaining that no unjust rule could ever be law. India allows “procedure established by law ” to deprive people of their Fundamental Rights; a state of affairs which reflects positivistic thought in the founders of India. India’s judiciary has slowly moved from this strictly positivist setting to a more naturalistic and liberal interpretation  of the term. This shift has placed India closer to the guarantee of “due process of law” in the United States of America. Continue reading Reading Between the Lines – A Critique of the UAPA: Avani Chokshi

‘Attica, Attica, You Put Them Guns Down!’ Ipsita Barik

On a day when we woke up to the seemingly incomprehensible barbarism of a woman being beheaded in Saudi Arabia, we may do well, apropos Nivedita Menon’s post on MLK, to remember the barbarism that hides in broad daylight within seemingly civilised societies. One such floodlit hideout, so bright it blinds us, is the state of our prisons. Before Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib inaugurated a new era of dehumanisation in the American “correctional system”, there was Attica, and hundreds others like it that continue in the U.S and around the world to this day. We may also remember Professor G.N Saibaba of Delhi University who, despite being 90% disabled, has been not only imprisoned but kept in solitary confinement for almost two years on mere suspicion in an Indian jail somewhere. Really, what more does it take these days?!

This is a guest post by Ipsita Barik

Attica 9

When Al Pacino’s character Sonny Wortzik yells and hollers “Attica – Attica” in the film Dog Day Afternoon, the cops and the FBI officers are left stunned & dumbfounded, but the civilian population collected at the scene, behind the police barricades began to cheer & applaud. The air is soon filled by the chants of the noun and Sonny in his soaked white shirt, flaying his arms and stomping on the ground, gestures at the cops and adds “you put them guns down; you put them down – “AATTICA aattica”. So what was happening here? Why were these people cheering and supporting a man who had come to rob a local bank and was holding hostages inside! And what was Attica all about?

Attica 5

Attica prison riots/uprisings happened at the Attica Correctional Facility, New York, United States; when the prison cells and yards were seized by the inmates, who also held hostages, on September 9th 1971, opening a series of negotiations and dialogues between the establishment and the inmates, which included civilian observers, Tom Wicker of the New York Times, Republican State Senator John Dunne, radical lawyer William Kunstler and Black Panther’s Bobby Seale, on the request of the inmates. The primary demands of the inmates were related to the inadequacies and brutalities within Attica, such as related to insufficient food and medical care, racial discrimination, physical abuse, restricted access to educational and training facilities, all a serious indictment of the prison rules and environment, as the New York State Special Commission on Attica/McKay Commission (set up by the state) subsequently went on to assert and highlight. Continue reading ‘Attica, Attica, You Put Them Guns Down!’ Ipsita Barik

PUCL statement on the police raid at Prof GN Saibaba’s residence

24th September, 2013

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemns the illegal raid and search of the residence Professor GN Saibaba of Delhi University on 12th September, 2013. Professor Saibaba is a differently abled person and is wheel chair bound. Ironically, over 50 police persons and intelligence officers raided his house! Prof Saibaba and his entire family including his minor daughter and the driver were all locked in different rooms, during the three-and-half-hour search. It is believed that the raid is pre-cursor to the imminent arrest of Prof Saibaba.


Continue reading PUCL statement on the police raid at Prof GN Saibaba’s residence