Oxfam Inequality Report – 2019

Oxfam Inequality Report 2019: Nine Richest Indians Own Wealth Equivalent to Bottom 50% of the Country While the top 1% own 51.53% of national wealth, the bottom 60% own merely 4.8%

Amitabh Behar, CEO, Oxfam India said:

” It is morally outrageous that a few wealthy individuals are amassing a growing share of India’s wealth while the poor are struggling to eat their next meal or pay for their child’s medicines. If this obscene inequality between the top 1 percent and the rest of India continues then it will lead to a complete collapse of the social and democratic structure of this country.

The report reveals India added 18 new billionaires last year raising the total number of billionaires to 119. Their wealth crossed the US$400 billion (INR 28000 billion) mark for the first time. It rose from US$325.5 billion (INR 22725 billion) in 2017 to US$440.1 billion (INR 30807 billion) in 2018. This is the single largest annual increase since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

  • Getting the richest one percent in India to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth could raise enough money to increase government spending on heath by 50 percent.
  • Last year, wealth of top 1 percent in India increased by 39 percent whereas wealth of bottom 50 percent increased at a dismal 3 percent.
  • Globally, tax rates for wealthy individuals and corporations have also been cut dramatically. For example, the top rate of personal income tax in rich countries fell from 62 percent in 1970 to just 38 percent in 2013. The average rate in poor countries is just 28 percent.
  • India’s combined revenue and capital expenditure of the Centre and State for Medical & Public Health, Sanitation & Water Supply is Rs 2,08,166 crore (INR 2082 billion), less than the wealth of India’s richest billionaire Mukesh Ambani at Rs 2,80,700 crore (INR 2807 billion).

Here is the executive summary of the report – Click Here

Here is the link to the full report – Click Here

Environment reporters facing harassment and murder, study finds

Tally of deaths makes it one of most dangerous fields for journalists after war reporting

Thirteen journalists who were investigating damage to the environment have been killed in recent years and many more are suffering violence, harassment, intimidation and lawsuits, according to a study.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which produced the tally, is investigating a further 16 deaths over the last decade. It says the number of murders may be as high as 29, making this field of journalism one of the most dangerous after war reporting.

On every continent reporters have been attacked for investigating concerns about abuses related to the impact of corporate and political interests scrambling to extract wealth from the earth’s remaining natural resources.

These resources end up in all manner of products – from mobile phones to pots and pans – with consumers largely unaware of the stories behind them.

The study was produced for Green Blood, a reporting project whose aim is to continue the reporting of local environmental journalists who have been forced to abandon their work.

Pinterest
 Goldmining in Tanzania. Photograph: Handout Acacia Mining plc

Led by Forbidden Stories, a group of 15 media partners, including the Guardian, El País and Le Monde, have come together to shine an international light on the way these activities affect local environments and communities.

“Environmental issues involve some of the greatest abuses of power in the world and some of the greatest of concentrations of power in the world,” said Bruce Shapiro, the director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

“I’m hard put to think of a category of investigative reporters who are routinely dealing with more dangerous actors. Investigative reporting on the environment can be as dangerous a beat as reporting on narco smuggling.”

Click Here to read the full story

Who can file an FIR

Who can lodge an F.I.R ?
1) Complainant who is an aggrieved person or some body on his behalf.

2) By any person who is aware of the offence (a) as an eye witness and (b) as an hearsay account.

3) Provided the person in possession of the hearsay is required to subscribe his signautre to it and mention the source of his information so that it does not amount to irresponsible rumour. The rule of law is, if general law is broken any person has a right to complain whether he has suffered an injury or not.
(a) By the accused himself.
(b) By the SHO on his own knowledge or information even when a cognizable offence is committed in view of a officer incharge he can register a case himself and is not bound to take down in writing any information. Under the order of Magistrate uls 156 (3) Criminal Procedure code, when a complaint is forwarded to officer incharge without taking cognizance. If information is only hear say, then SHO should register case only if person in posses- sion of hearsay subscribes his signature to it and mentions the source of his information so that it does not amount to irresponsible rumour. The information must be definite, not vague, authentic, not baseless, gossip or rumour, clearly making out a cognizable case.

4) The information is only by a medical certificate or doctor’s ruqqa about arrival of the injured, then he (SHO) should enter it in daily diary and go to hospital for recording detailed statement of injured.

 

For more FAQs on F I R – Click Here

Stifling Dissent

The Criminalisation of Peaceful Expression in India – Human Rights Watch

Freedom of expression is protected under the Indian constitution and international treaties to which India is a party. Politicians, pundits, activists, and the general public engage in vigorous debate through newspapers, television, and the Internet, including social media. Successive governments have made commitments to protect freedom of expression.

“Our democracy will not sustain if we can’t guarantee freedom of speech and expression,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in June 2014, after a month in office. Indeed, free speech is so ingrained that Amartya Sen’s 2005 book, The Argumentative Indian, remains as relevant today as ever.

Yet Indian governments at both the national and state level do not always share these values, passing laws and taking harsh actions to criminalize peaceful expression. The government uses draconian laws such as the sedition provisions of the penal code, the criminal defamation law, and laws dealing with hate speech to silence dissent. These laws are vaguely worded, overly broad, and prone to misuse, and have been repeatedly used for political purposes against critics at the national and state level.

While some prosecutions, in the end, have been dismissed or abandoned, many people who have engaged in nothing more than peaceful speech have been arrested, held in pre-trial detention, and subjected to expensive criminal trials. Fear of such actions, combined with uncertainty as to how the statutes will be applied, leads others to engage in self-censorship.

In many cases, successive Indian governments have failed to prevent local officials and private actors from abusing laws criminalizing expression to harass individuals expressing minority views, or to protect such speakers against violent attacks by extremist groups. Too often, it has instead given in to interest groups who, for politically motivated reasons, say they are offended by a certain book, film, or work of art. The authorities then justify restrictions on expression as necessary to protect public order, citing risks of violent protests and communal violence. While there are circumstances in which speech can cross the line into inciting violence and should result in legal action, too often the authorities, particularly at the state level, misuse or allow the misuse of criminal laws as a way to silence critical or minority voices.

This report details how the criminal law is used to limit peaceful expression in India. It documents examples of the ways in which vague or overbroad laws are used to stifle political dissent, harass journalists, restrict activities by nongovernmental organizations, arbitrarily block Internet sites or take down content, and target religious minorities and marginalized communities, such as Dalits.

The report identifies laws that should be repealed or amended to bring them into line with international law and India’s treaty commitments. These laws have been misused, in many cases in defiance of Supreme Court rulings or advisories clarifying their scope. For example, in 1962, the Supreme Court ruled that speech or action constitutes sedition only if it incites or tends to incite disorder or violence. Yet various state governments continue to charge people with sedition even when that standard is not met.

While India’s courts have generally protected freedom of expression, their record is uneven. Some lower courts continue to issue poorly reasoned, speech-limiting decisions, and the Supreme Court, while often a forceful defender of freedom of expression, has at times been inconsistent, leaving lower courts to choose which precedent to emphasize. This lack of consistency has contributed to an inconsistent terrain of free speech rights and left the door open to continued use of the law by local officials and interest groups to harass and intimidate unpopular and dissenting opinions.

The problem in India is not that the constitution does not guarantee free speech, but that it is easy to silence free speech because of a combination of overbroad laws, an inefficient criminal justice system, and the aforementioned lack of jurisprudential consistency. India’s legal system is infamous for being clogged and overwhelmed, leading to long and expensive delays that can discourage even the innocent from fighting for their right to free speech.

Click Here for the full report and more from Human Rights Watch