The amendments came in at that time while the discussion on the bill was about to begin. There was no warning. The excuse given was that the sections of the ministry that produced these provisions, they had worked overnight and presented them on Friday. But they could have worked on them and presented them over the weekend. Or on Monday. And there was nothing in it that needed urgent last-minute rectification.
I think so, yes. They wanted it to be insidious. They didn’t want people to know and discuss and discover.
Not in the last three Lok Sabhas that I have been a part of. Even in this Lok Sabha, the last two times the Budget was presented, they didn’t do this. Only now.
Yes, I think it indicates a shift in the style of functioning. Bringing a bill in at the last moment, getting it passed in the House, making sure people don’t discover what it contains, and once the laws are in place, they can be used any time required. It’s like 66A (the section of the Information Technology Act, 2000 dealing with “offensive”, “menacing” and “false” information sent through a communication device), which was passed in some six minutes. Like that, people don’t realise while passing them.
I doubt it. I don’t think people really got it, before it [Finance Bill] was passed.
Now, everything becomes incognito. You are not liable to give your name, whom you funded. You can just write political funding. There might be many companies that will write political funding and take out 30% of the money, and not have to show whom they’ve paid, and the owners can even cheat in the name of political funding. That also opens up an opportunity. Because there is no limit that a company making this much profit or more can alone donate. Anybody can donate.
The Supreme Court has only been giving out opinions, they haven’t been giving rulings. So these people are just going ahead steamrollering. The Supreme Court, if it has something to say, should either give a judgment or shut up.
The concept of privacy doesn’t exist with us Indians in the Western sense. What is the word for privacy in Tamil? In Hindi? In Konkani? In Oriya also, I don’t know. The word doesn’t exist. There is secrecy, not privacy. There is solitude. There is no concept of privacy here. So that is what they are cashing in on. The few Indian languages I know, I have not been able to trace a word that signifies or denotes the English word privacy.
We are in the 21st century. If you go to a metro city like Mumbai or even Kolkata... [there are] small rooms, small apartments, whole families living there, so for married couples to have a private moment, they have to go out to a park or railway station or elsewhere.
I don’t have Aadhaar till now. I don’t know how I will file returns. Eventually, I think I will have to get Aadhaar. I’m entering a cul-de-sac.
What can we do? We have introduced the Right to Protection of Speech and Reputation Bill (to decriminalise defamation). Do you really think it will ever see the light of day? The moment people hear of the speech bill, they ask what it is about. I say it’s freedom of speech while striking down criminality. Their response: “Does that mean jo chahega wo bolega [people will say whatever they wish to]?” That’s always the first reaction. “How can you do that?” “Hindustan mein Pakistan zindabad bolega [in India, people will say long live Pakistan]?”. But why would anyone say that? Our bill, the understanding is that you will also be responsible. It’s not to make citizens irresponsible. It is there to trust the citizens.
I think money bills should also go to the Rajya Sabha. Should be a balancing factor. Especially in times when a brute majority turns brutal.
They have destroyed it. They’re not devaluing it, they’re destroying Parliament with the sole intention being that since we can’t do away with it altogether, we will make sure that it is as mechanical as possible.
The Congress is done for. Nobody’s interested, nobody comes forward. Without the Gandhis, they feel like it’s an anath ashram (orphanage). They probably, individually, don’t think they can get re-elected and come back. Look, I may lose next time, let’s be honest, but I’m going to put up a fight. Winning, losing, I can’t tell you now but I’m going to put up a fight. Because my party has the wherewithal, I’m not just talking about money, I’m talking about the base network, we can put up a fight in Odisha.
They won’t succeed. We’ve put a spanner in their works.