Friday, November 4, 2011

Another hike in petrol price & the strong remarks of Judge OP Saini.

When newspapers were the only source of daily news – the headlines or those on the first page were the most important ones !

The one liner of Special CBI Judge OP Saini - “The bails applications are dismissed.” – would have  stunned a jam-packed courtroom into silence. There was  lot news on air stating that CBI is not opposed to the bail for 5 of the 8 who had applied for bail.  Some confusion was also sought to be created  by the differential count of quantum of revenue loss as made out by  the various bodies like -  Joint Parliamentary Committee or the Public Accounts Committee or the law ministry, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) or the Comptroller and Auditor General – not taking cognizance of the famous zero-loss theory of Kapil Sibal.

Another hike in petrol prices – is it the fourth hike this year (if someone has the count !).  In good olden days, if you can remember, there were cars drawn by bullocks.  ‘carrot and stick’ policy is for the horse and not for bullocks.  Cart owners used to load the cart to its volumetric capacity unmindful of the weight or the distribution of load.  The bullocks under the yolk were expected to pull the cart, and when strained would get more whips.  Camels are also known for taking loads.  When they feel that the load is too heavy, they would sit down and would not get up.  The camel owner would remove a couple of loads before its eyes, the animal would think (or what we have all along been told) that the weight has been reduced – would rise up to carry the load !

Indian citizens do not even think of whining leave alone protesting !! – in the 4th consecutive hike, Oil marketing companies have announced Rs.1.82 a litre hike in petrol prices yesterday seeking to offset the fall in Rupee’s exchange rate that made imports of crude oil costlier.  Petrol will no  cost Rs.72.64 in Chennai; Rs. Rs 68.64  in Delhi, Rs. 73.74 in Mumbai,  and Rs. 73.10 in Kolkata including local taxes. The new rates  have already come into effect. 

In earlier days, you could atleast brace for the hike as it used to come with budget only – then it started making news every quarter and now almost eery alternate months – the Govt. seemingly is washing its hands as though it has nothing to do with the increases.  It is the second hike in less than 2 months and comes at a time when flood inflation has risen dangerously.   On any issue of importance to the masses, the ruling Govt either remains inactive and silent or tries to divert it elsewhere.  The Congress spokesman Manish Tewari when faced with a volley of questions simply stated that the Q needs to be asked to Petroleum Ministry or concerned oil companies ! After the dismantling of the administered price mechanism (APM), this issue comes under the jurisdiction of oil companies. Oil companies can better answer why and for what reason the fuel price hike took place.

How insensitive !  - there are repots that at current International prices for crude and depreciation of rupee value, Oil companies end up losing close to Rs.10 per litre of diesel and more than Rs.250 per cooking gas cylinder.  Govt.  will not free the price of diesel and perhaps the petrol and aviation fuel are always thought of the avenues to compensate.  The 3 oil companies are raking up huge losses and perhaps the petrol prices can go only one way.  

In denying the bail to 2G scamsters, Judge has sought to make this an example of the case and send out the message to the rich and the powerful that they cannot take the judiciary for granted and make a mockery of the law by manipulating it at will. It is possible they want to reassure the public at large that while other institutions of the democracy have suffered erosion of credibility, the judiciary still stands firm and dependable.  The Hon’ble Judge maintained that his order was not influenced by any external factors but solely keeping in mind the facts and circumstances of the case. “A murder may be committed in the heat of moment upon passion being aroused. An economic offence is committed with cool calculation and deliberate design with an eye on personal profit regardless of consequence to community,” he said.  He asserted that the rights of accused were important but the rights of victims and witnesses were no less valuable. The court also said that lack of opposition from the CBI to the bail plea did not mean much in terms of the law.

A very different and strong message which perhaps augurs well for the Nation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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