From the Editor’s desk: December 2013

Between November and early December this year elections would have been held to the legislative assembly in five states of India – Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Mizoram. The police have been working overtime at curbing the flow of illicit money into and within these states, as over the last 10 years, crime and money have been playing a larger than ever role in Indian electoral politics. In parallel, there has been a marked rise in the number of winning candidates with criminal records as also in their wealth.

In July this year, in a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court (SC) struck down a section of the Representation of the People Act that allowed a convicted lawmaker to remain in office while there were cases still pending against him. As per the SC judgment, the disqualification of an MP or MLA would’ve come into effect immediately after the representative was convicted by any court. The SC order also says that the representative cannot contest elections again and a representative cannot cast his vote from jail, under any circumstances.

However, the Union Cabinet later passed an ordinance to protect convicted MPs and MLAs from immediate disqualification — a move that sought to nullify the SC order. The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2013 allows convicted MPs and MLAs to continue in office, if their appeal is admitted by a higher court within 90 days and the conviction stayed. But they won’t be entitled to vote during House proceedings or draw salaries and allowances until the case is ‘finally’ decided. And, as we all know, this may take decades!

Although the SC order has been diluted by the government’s ordnance, I hope that this has some impact on our leaders, as it goes without saying that corruption starts at the top. I also hope that this is the new beginning of the cleansing of a ‘corrupt system’.

In this issue, SECURITY TODAY explores campus security. It does not matter whether our children are kindergartners or college going young adults, parents and educators would do anything to keep students safe. Nothing is more important, too outlandish or over-the-top when it comes to protecting them.

According to Wikipedia, the earliest known shooting on school property happened in the United States in 1764, when four American Indians entered a school and shot dead the schoolmaster and nine children. Since then armed violence and killings have been frequently reported and documented all over the world and, especially in the United States.

Indian schools and universities, in comparison, have experienced almost negligible incidents of campus massacres, but this may not be the case in future, as the faith of our restless young generation in the ‘law taking its due and correct course’ is eroding fast. They do not believe speedy justice can be done under out present system. It’s just a matter of time when they will resort to settling scores directly. The cottage arms industry of ‘Munger’ may find young clients in future.

As we head for IFSEC-India, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a SAFE and Prosperous 2014

Cheers & Happy Reading