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GUJARAT HIGH COURT TAKES RIGHT STEP, TIME FOR SUPREME REFORM

The judiciary has come a long way from the time a judge would not be elevated to a higher court just because he attended the funeral of an RSS leader. Over the decades, it has seen several big reforms. The Gujarat HC’s decision to start live streaming of proceedings is one such momentous move. One hopes other courts follow suit.

Utpal Kumar

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Last week when the Gujarat High Court became the first court in the country to formally start live streaming of proceedings, one realised how some of the most revolutionary steps often get stuck not because these can’t be done but because there’s a natural human—and even institutional—tendency to be comfortable with status quoism. What several committees, reports and recommendations over decades failed to do, a pandemic has done without any fuss!

File photos of the Supreme Court (top) and the Gujarat High Court (above).

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, on the occasion, announced that steps would soon be taken to replicate this in the Supreme Court as well. But why just the apex court, this Gujarat model needs to be applied in all courts across the country.

The Gujarat High Court’s decision to go ‘live’ is laudable for both constitutional as well as practical reasons. Constitutionally, as Justice Ramana said, it would, fulfilling the spirit of Article 19 of the Constitution, “allow the people access to… the functioning of these institutions”. A vibrant democracy needs informed citizenry. It is only on the basis of an informed citizenry that a “representative democracy can survive and evolve”, as he said.

But at a more practical, ‘aam aadmi’ level, the move is revolutionary. It eases their lives, makes things less arduous while dealing with court cases. As a Delhi-based friend of mine said after hearing the Gujarat High Court move, “Wish Calcutta courts, too, follow it!” The gentleman has been fighting a property dispute case in Kolkata for years, and he doesn’t know how and where the case is moving! “I get to know only what my lawyer tells me. That’s quite problematic,” he added.

The judicial opportunity came at the time—and because—of a humongous global crisis. The change we are witnessing everywhere, from the educational field to the judicial arena, is because Covid-19 has forced us to rethink and change our ways. In the ‘new normal’, things as usual just won’t work. Given the situation where the option was to either down the shutters or reorient itself, the judiciary took the second option and, to its credit, in no time made a swift digital turn.

A day before the lockdown was announced on 24 March 2020, the Supreme Court switched to digital hearing of “urgent matters”. Almost overnight, video conferencing facilities were put in place, keeping in mind Covid protocols of social distancing. Courts allowed e-filing of documents, and digital payment systems were set up to let court fees be paid at the click of a mouse. Even the then Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde acknowledged last year that Covid-19 gave impetus to the changes brought in during the lockdown period—the changes which the judiciary had been deliberating for decades without much success.

One can understand—and appreciate—the judiciary’s digital giant leap forward from the fact that the e-courts project was launched way back in 2005 to digitise court records. In 2017, an attempt was made to make the Supreme Court paperless, but in the absence of an efficient e-filing system, it failed. Similarly, e-filing has been in the pipeline for almost two decades. Everyone knew the importance of going digital, paperless, but the impetus was missing. The pandemic provided that urge, that urgency!

At this point, it needs to be reiterated that several courts across the world, including the US Supreme Court, the UK Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal of the UK and the International Criminal Court, enable public viewership of proceedings through live streams or similar technology.

LOOKING BACK

Here, however, it must be said that the judiciary in India, especially higher courts, have had an impressive journey over the decades. It evolved with the passage of time to take up the role as the final arbiters of constitutional disputes, and has shown the courage and aptitude to overturn not only ordinary law enacted by a legislature, but, after the 1973 Kesavananda Bharati case, also constitutional amendments, which in its view violates the “basic structure” of the Constitution.

The Indian judiciary, especially the top court, has come a long way from the days of George Gadbois, the American expert of Indian “jurimetrics”, who, after conducting over 116 interviews with more than 66 judges of the Supreme Court, 19 of whom held the position of Chief Justice, offered a generic profile of an Indian judge: A man in his late 50s, mostly hailing from an influential Hindu family, well educated and with little or no involvement with the national movement. But more specifically—and disconcertingly—Gadbois exposed the growing executive tendency to get a “committed” judiciary in place, especially since the 1970s. He, for instance, learnt how one Madras High Court Chief Justice couldn’t make it to the Supreme Court after Mrs Indira Gandhi discovered that he had attended the funeral of RSS leader M.S. Golwalkar!

Worse, the appointment of a judge to the Supreme Court wasn’t just on the basis of ideology, but also region, religion, caste and gender. And, of course, it was often the result of personal idiosyncrasies of those in power. The appointment of Justice A.N. Ray, who infamously superseded three senior judges who had voted against the government in the Basic Structure case, is a perfect manifestation of the political interference. Interestingly, when Godbois asked him during an interview how he would recommend an appointment, Justice Ray said matter-of-factly: “Oh, he must be from a good family.” To this Godbois said, “Doesn’t that sound like a matrimonial ad?” Justice Ray said nothing further but smiled.

Justice Leila Seth, in her memoirs, talked about religious and gender issues influencing the appointment of a Supreme Court judge. Justice Seth lost out to Justice Fathima Beevi in her endeavour to join the Supreme Court, despite the support of two Chief Justices of India. She recalled in her memoirs, On Balance, that Justice Beevi had lobbied for the position on the ground that “she would be the first Muslim woman in the world to be a judge of a Supreme Court”, and that she would also be the only Muslim judge in the country at that time.

Justice Seth’s assessment of Justice Beevi’s appointment was scathing. She wrote, “It showed that lobbying worked. It showed politics worked. It showed that the misuse of religion worked. Above all, it showed that every decent convention could be broken and that merit was no consideration.”

Abhinav Chandrachud, a Bombay High Court advocate and a well-known author of the 2018 book Supreme Whispers, writes how after 1971, the method of appointing judges changed in three ways. One, where political appointments in earlier years had been made only on the basis of political patronage or regional or religious consideration, after 1971, the government started looking for “committed” judges. Two, the extent of executive interference in judicial appointments increased many-fold. Three, there was a growing tendency in the government to corner the judiciary by using means of supersessions and transfers.

Today, after introducing a series of reforms, the Indian judiciary, especially the apex court, has overcome these challenges to a great extent. With the advent of the collegium system, despite its limitations, the ideology of a judge is no longer a deciding factor in judicial appointments. And over the years, it has not only strengthened the walls of its autonomy vis-à-vis executive and legislative encroachments, but also, especially after the advent of the PIL phenomenon, taken a proactive role in shaping the journey and character of the Indian republic.

The Gujarat High Court’s decision to formally start live streaming of proceedings is another big and truly momentous step towards the much needed judicial reforms. One hopes other courts in the country, including the Supreme Court, follow suit without delay. For, we have already deliberated too much over the issue. It’s time for action. More so in the ongoing pandemic times!

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‘We Women Want’: Fitness on agenda

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Clinical nutritionist Dr Ishi Khosla, Fitness Expert Vesna Jacob and Dr Rita Punhani IVF Specialist of Indira IVF appeared on ‘We Women Want’ to discuss fitness tips and bust some diet myths.

The panel stressed that it is important to monitor what you eat but also the timing of the meal. Diet such as intermittent fasting and Ketos were discussed with their pros and cons. An important point was also made regarding fitness that its best to exercise when you can even if its for ten minutes and not wait for the half hour – forty minute slot for a warm up. For as Vesna Jacob said our body is primed to be active, the primitive man did not see a tiger and then say wait let me first warm up before I defend myself. Dr Punhani pointed out how a good diet is essential for a woman’s health in various stages of her life from maturity to motherhood to menopause while Dr Khosla talked of the importance of gut health. The show was moderated by Priya Sahgal, Senior Executive Editor ITV Network.

Catch fresh episodes of ‘We Women Want’ every Saturday at 7:30 PM on NewsX. The program will also streamed live on major OTT platforms- Dailyhunt, Zee5, MX Player, ShemarooMe, Watcho, Mzaalo, Jio TV, Tata Play and PayTm livestreams.

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A BLAST FROM THE PAST

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When we reach our late twenties and early thirties and realise how much we miss good television, we tend to go down the nostalgic path. Growing up, with summer vacations lasting a full month and shorter school days, picking a show to watch was perhaps the most challenging assignment. Our TV schedules were quite set, and included everything from Disney cartoons to Indian comedy. This edition includes a chart of five programmes we watched over and over again as children and would gladly reserve time in our work calendars to watch.

TOM AND JERRY

Everyone has heard of “Tom and Jerry”, the only well-known programme where a mouse routinely outwits and humiliates a cat ten times its size. Tom and Jerry had the most straightforward stories, but you never lost interest in them because they were so humorous and snarky. You were eager to learn what new scheme Tom had in mind and how Jerry was going to thwart it. Even though the show ran under a different name and with different studios in each decade, Tom and Jerry continued to air in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and even the 2000s.

TAKESHI’S CASTLE

For a generation raised during the Pogo and Nickelodeon periods, watching “Takeshi’s Castle” meant seeing people fall into mud puddles. This programme will return in more than 240 markets in 2023 thanks to Amazon Prime. Takeshi’s Castle, an Indian adaptation of a Japanese programme, became well-known for its entertaining chores and Jaaved Jaffrey’s hilarious commentary.

COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG

The majority of cartoons from the early 2000s were often highly joyful and heartwarming. However, “Courage the Cowardly Dog” was a show about scary monsters that looked like they could be straight out of some Steven King book or an old horror movie. It wasn’t really the most kid-friendly show, but it had to be one of, if not the all-time popular cartoon of the 2000s.

SHARARAT

How we wished we were three magicians who lived in a house where they could make anything happen. For us, that was “Shararat”. This childhood show was almost like a fantasy world for Indian children—a mansion with three generations of magicians living in “Muggleland.” Therefore, we had this tiny region of Indian magicians long before the world had Harry Potter and the country of Hogwarts. It was seasoned with sweetness, spice, and just the proper amount of vice.

SCOOBY-DOO

Everyone who was born after the 1960s has seen “Scooby-Doo” at some point in their lives. In essence, Scooby, Shaggy’s talking dog, and four youngsters (who appear to be in their mid-20s) look into numerous crimes that happen around town. The twist is always that the crimes were perpetrated by some type of monster, ghost, spirit, beast, or pretty much any extra-natural entity. The characters on the programme were Fred, who was slick and sophisticated, Velma, who was nerdy, Shaggy, who was laid back and easily scared, Scooby, who loved scooby snacks, and Daphne, who played a sort of damsel in distress role.

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A SPRAWLING PIECE OOZING WITH LOVE FOR EVERYTHING INDIAN

Every 10 minutes during the first half, the movie keeps switching its genre, undergoing brilliant tonal shifts with the assurance of a master conductor at work.

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Laal Singh Chaddha

The long-awaited Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer “Laal Singh Chaddha,” which has finally hit the theatres this week, is an adaptation of the 1986 novel titled “Forrest Gump” by the American author Winston Groom. The novel was famously adapted by Eric Roth for the 1994 Hollywood film of the same name, directed by Robert Zemeckis, which bagged 6 Academy Awards. Directed by Advait Chandan, Laal Singh Chaddha also stars Naga Chaitanya (in his Hindi film debut), Manav Vij, Arun Bali, Mona Singh, and Aaryaa Sharma.

Given the narrative’s sprawling nature, making a film like “Laal Singh Chaddha” is like making 15-20 films. That’s how herculean the task would have been for Aamir, Advait, and the team. Remaking a film like Forrest Gump is no kid’s play. I don’t think anyone but Aamir Khan could have delivered a film of this scope and scale. It’s heartening to see the kind of respect that the film pays to historical accuracy as well as getting the different aspects of Sikhism right.

Every 10 minutes during the first half, the movie keeps switching its genre, undergoing brilliant tonal shifts with the assurance of a master conductor at work. Credit must also go to Atul Kulkarni for beautifully adapting “Forrest Gump” to an Indian setting and for seamlessly weaving the important historical events of the last 40 years into it. When it does the Kargil War, it seems to do it better than ‘Shershaah.’ When it does sports, it seems to match “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.” When it does comedy, it seems to do it better than most. And as a drama, it really excels in terms of cinematic storytelling for the most part.

“Laal Singh Chaddha” comes across as a breath of fresh air at a time when the Hindi film industry needs it the most. Aamir Khan’s innocence personified as Laal Singh Chaddha, and his chemistry with Kareena Kapoor is the major highlight of the film, along with his bromance with Naga Chaitanya and Manav Vij. There are some beautiful segments of magic realism that are beautifully crafted. Like a boy who walks using crutches, suddenly starts running like P T Usha when subjected to bullying. The colour grading is so good that the movie looks stunning visually, and honestly, I haven’t seen a more beautiful looking period film made in India.

Aamir Khan transforms into ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ in no time and brings the character to life as only he can. Chaddha’s simplicity, to go with his honesty and a sense of contagious optimism that he carries with him at all times, lights up the screen. Whether he is narrating some story, trying to save lives on a battlefield, or making an effort to sell undergarments, Aamir’s Chaddha always makes us root for him.

Mona Singh is wonderful as Chadda’s loving mother. It’s easily the performance that will take away all the accolades. I was in school when ‘Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi’ used to air on TV and having seen Mona Singh all these years, I have always known that she is a fine actor, but seeing what she achieves in ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ made me realise that she is actually one of the finest actors working in the country right now.

But the biggest surprise of the movie is Kareena Kapoor. Who would have thought that a wafer-thin character that Robin Wright played in “Forrest Gump” would become the centrepiece of the Hindi adaptation almost three decades later. This is Kareena Kapoor’s finest performance since ‘Jab We Met.’ It is a layered performance, and we can see the character’s dichotomy throughout the film’s running time.

It can be said with absolute certainty that technology has been put to use to de-age Kareena (and Aamir) for this. But the end result is so good and it makes me particularly happy that we have aced the use of this cutting-edge technology better than what Hollywood did with, say, ‘The Irishman’.

I also would like to praise both Naga Chaitanya and Manav Vij for their wonderful cameos. For me, their characters’ bromance with Laal Singh Chadda is one of the film’s major highlights. It’s a masterstroke to make Manav Vij’s character a soldier from the enemy ranks, as opposed to ‘Forrest Gump’, where Gary Sinise’s Lieutenant character was Gump’s compatriot. I would be remiss to not mention Pritam, Arijit Singh, and Amitabh Bhattacharya, who have done wonderful work with the film’s music, songs, and lyrics. Overall, I must say that Laal Singh Chadda has reinstated my faith in Hindi cinema. It’s not a perfect film. It suffers from pacing issues in the second half. It’s probably not even Aamir’s best work. But it is cinematic storytelling at its purest. Here’s a sprawling period piece oozing with nostalgia and an abundance of love for everything Indian. The naysayers can denounce him, but so long as we have stalwarts like Aamir Khan working in the Hindi film industry, Bollywood is here to stay.

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In the blink of an eye

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Gallery Dotwalk is all set to organise a group exhibition show titled “In the Blink of an Eye”. The show, curated by Shruti Ramingaiah, has already started and will be held till 10th September 2022. ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ considers the states of transcending into sleep and being awake as a metaphor to reflect on time as extended, indefinite, and nonconsecutive happening, event, and passage.

The show features ten artists from different cities in India with the diverse practises and approaches they bring to this exhibition. Each artist in this exhibition explores events from the past and even recent times. They reflect on the many meanings of memory, from personal to collective. Going back to their roots, a group of artists revisit their relationship to a site, place, and events.

The ten artists are Bhisaji Gadekar, Chandan Bez Baruah, Jyothi Basu, Kundan Mondal, Midhun Gopi, Rachana Nagarkar, Prajakta Palav Aher, Saju Kunhan, Shruti Mahajan, and Sneh Mehra.

In a candid conversation, curator Shruti Ramingaiah said, “This curatorial is interested in the idea of transition and how we understand the element of time in our everyday and the changing world around us. This show is an attempt to reflect on time that is non-linear. It asks us how we connect with the past, present, and future that are taking place, overlapping simultaneously. The exhibition considers a brief state of transcending into sleep and being awake as a metaphor to explore the possibilities of going beyond our preset notions of time in our daily life. The exhibition probes the viewer to rethink, what it means to be constantly on the move. At the core of all this, how then do we make sense of reality? “

The show will be on view from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm.

Headquartered at Delhi-NCR, Gallery Dotwalk is an art gallery committed to building an art space that pivots on integrity and genuineness that converses with art enthusiasts around the world, utilising the prowess of technology and positive contributions to the art milieu.

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THE ART OF COMMUNICATING WITH ANIMALS

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We all love our little furry friends, don’t we? But what if we tell you that you can actually talk to your pet or any animal around? What if we tell you that you can understand your pet’s feelings and emotions and help them lead a better, happier life?

Sounds unbelievable, right?! But guess what, it’s true. Read on as we decode what “Animal Communication Therapy” is all about. 

WHAT IS THIS THERAPY?

Animal Communication Telepathy simply means to connect with animals in order to understand their feelings with the help of intuitive abilities. The word ‘telepathy’ in itself means distance communication, and in this therapy, the communicator or the owner converses with the pet (or even a wild animal) by focusing on their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

It is similar to the mechanism of counselling and guidance sought by humans, but here it is meant for animals. Once an individual gets connected to the animal, they keep on counselling them and assure that things change for the better.

IS IT FOR REAL?

While there are no clear-cut claims or sureties of this therapy, several researches, academic literature, and animal therapists emphasise that the communication between humans and animals is facilitated because they share similar mental capabilities and perceptions.

Rupert Sheldrake, Director of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Cambridge University, is one of the notable researchers who explored the psychic connections between humans and animals. He defined this phenomenon as ‘invisible’ connections’ or ‘morphic fields’ created through social interaction.

Since it’s a psychological thing, one needs to believe in the process, as the moment you start to trust, things start working.

Animal communicator Kiran Narang says that this therapy is guided by our belief system, energy, and spirituality.  She adds, “Everything that’s happening around us is a result of the exchange of vibrations, and we all vibrate at a particular frequency. When our frequency matches the animal’s, we connect with them on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level. “

HOW TO COMMUNCATE WITH ANIMALS?

Telepathy with a pet is not at all difficult and just requires learning some basic principles as this art is present in all—it is ‘innate’.

One doesn’t need to be in physical proximity or in front of the pet for telepathic communication. The communicator can talk to the animal even when they are in some other corner of the world, are lost, or are sleeping or eating.

Kiran suggests, “Setting the intention and a desired goal before starting the interaction is important as it helps the communicator or parent calm down, unwind, engage in deep breathing, and slow down their pace. That is how one gets connected to the pet and their frequency. “

One can also do some animal telepathy courses and attend workshops as it aids the process of learning and unlearning.

ANIMAL TELEPATHY SESSION

Animal communication could be done either out of curiosity or when a need arises. It’s just like a normal counselling session or a routine consultation that’s conducted to help and understand pets. This, in turn, also helps their parents. One can also have a session done for their pet to find out what makes them happy or sad, what they like and what they don’t. “If there’s any behavioural problem that the pet or animal is facing, then going for animal telepathy becomes all the way important,” Kiran concludes.

Animal comunicator Kiran Narang said,“Everything that’s happening around us is a result of the exchange of vibrations, and we all vibrate at a particular frequency. When our frequency matches the animal’s, we connect with them on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level.

“BENEFITS OF ANIMAL COMMUNICATION

The benefits that such communication provides for people are widely discussed in Alan Beck and Aubrey H. Fine’s Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy. Researchers and communicators note that animal telepathy leads to an overall sense of happiness, the ability to recover from serious illness and to cope with trauma and loss, and an increased willingness to engage in positive social interactions with others.A BETTER BOND WITH THE PARENT

Once the parent and their pet undergo the telepathic process, a positive change in terms of their bonding and relationship can be observed. The parent gets to know what their pet is feeling and that makes their relationship wholesome. This happens since when one feels the pet’s energy, they make sense of the vibrations and thoughts coming their way.

EMOTIONAL VENT OUT

Since animals are emotional creatures, they feel all sorts of emotions such as anger, joy, grief, etc. just like humans. However, animals can’t vocally express themselves, and so they convey it all telepathically. Establishing a comfortable, safe zone of communication also helps the pets overcome any past traumas or unresolved conflicts from their childhood.

DEALING WITH BEHAVIOURAL ISSUES

Being a pet owner comes with a lot of added responsibilities, and it becomes very problematic if the pet is not behaving properly, peeing, or littering around. Animal communicator suggests talking to the pet and making them realise that their ways are becoming a hurdle for their owners. Kiran suggests, “Talking it out works the best and is very beneficial as the parent can manage everything and also ensure health and hygiene with ease.”

RESOLVING THE PROBLEMS

The process of resolving the problem or issue is a two-way arrangement and is dealt with not only from the pet’s side, but also from the pet owner or parent’s side. The pet owner is asked to look into the problems and amend their ways accordingly. Once the parent changes their behaviour towards the pet, the latter starts showing signs of improvement instantly.

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The unbreakable bond between siblings; find out some sibling duos

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Brother sister bond

Rakshabandhan is considered a symbol of love and affection between brother and sister. If you have grown up with a sibling you must have experienced fights over silly things which build an inseparable bond. On the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, here is a list of the five brother-sister bonds.

Let’s learn about some of the sibling duos:

Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are children of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandia. The brother-sister duo shares a very special bond and has always been publically expressive of the love and the bond they share. Priyanka is two years elder than Rahul. The two are each other’s friends and protectors. Talking about her sister, Rahul said, “There is a special place in my life for my sister. We are not only friends but also protectors of each other.” The brother-sister duo had been each other’s pillars for all these years. However, Priyanka is married to Robert Vadra and they both have two children. They both are from the most influential political family in India.

Salman Khan and Arpita Khan Sharma

Salman Khan and Arpita Khan Sharma

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan shares a close bond with her sister Arpita Khan Sharma. Arpita Khan is a much beloved younger sister of Salman, Arbaaz, Sohail, and Alvira. Salman adores Arpita and considers her to be his lucky charm. Every single member of the Khan family adored Arpita. However, Arpita is married to Ayush Sharma and the couple is parents to son Ahil Sharma and daughter Ayat Sharma. Even though they are not biological siblings, Salman loves and adores Arpita more than his biological sister Alvira.

Isha Ambani and Akash Ambani

Akash Ambani and Isha Ambani

Akash Ambani and Isha Ambani are the twin heirs of one of the richest men in the world Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani. Isha once told Vogue India about her childhood and brother Akash. She said, “she was “naughty” and had to “fight for survival” many times.” The twins share a very precious bond as Akash changed his wedding date for her sister Isha. Both Isha and Akash are involved in the family business for years now. Moreover, Akash is married to Shloka Mehta and Isha is married to Anand Piramal.

Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya (Pandya Brothers)

Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya

Pandya Brothers are probably the most famous pair of siblings in Indian sports currently. They are Indian International cricketers. Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya hail the city of Vadodara in Gujarat. “It’s difficult to explain my equation with him in words. Hardik and I literally think the same things all the time,” Krunal said. Talking about Krunal, Hardik said, “We have this incredible bond and cricket has been our life. He is someone I have spent most of my life with, more than friends and either of our parents.” Pandya’s brother’s story is nothing short of a fairy tale.

Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat (Phogat Sisters)

Babita Phogat and Geeta Phogat

The journey of the Phogat sisters is incredible they need no introduction. They are born to a wrestling-crazy father Mahavir Phogat. Breaking the stereotypes of dominating male wrestling Geeta and Babita Phogat have won everybody’s hearts with their wrestling skills. Geeta is India’s first-ever wrestling gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Meanwhile, Babita won bronze at World Championship.

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