Thursday, June 17, 2010

‘War’ against memorial at UN meet

‘War’ against memorial at UN meet
Justice Saldanha refers judgement at eco conference in New Zealand to legal experts, who feel judiciary has again allowed commercial interests to prevail

Justice Saldanha has referred the high court verdict on the proposed National War Memorial at the Indira Gandhi Musical Park, to legal experts at the UNsponsored conference on environment in New Zealand. Their opinion was unanimous: Indian judiciary has once again refused to stop destruction of green cover and allowed commercial interests to override. Saldanha, a former high court judge who champions green causes, is in New Zealand to inaugurate the International Environmental Conference on Saving the Planet.
This is what he had to say. “I am personally very disappointed that the Karnataka high court has once again let down the citizens and public interest. 29 PILs have been dismissed in Bangalore with regard to green cover (Bangalore has lost 13,000 trees as a result). Three PILs were dismissed relating to the safety of Mangalore airport and 160 families were ruined. Will this not totally shatter the citizens’ confidence in judiciary?” he asked.
Saldanha termed the high court ruling “factually and legally erroneous”. “There is a total ban on any form of construction in a park regardless of whether it is under ground or over ground because it defiles the park. The high court has bypassed this issue,” he said.
Saldanha came down heavily on the court for dismissing the PIL. “Any citizen group is entitled to file a PIL and it is downright wrong to hold that a public interest issue of this type is private. Public money to the tune of crores of rupees is involved. The creation of trusts in relation to public property is a dishonest channel to siphon out huge public funds and is a corrupt act and must be struck down,” he said.
Saldanha said wars must be blotted out of history and not glorified through monuments. “These monuments must be confined to cemeteries and not public parks. Wars breed hatred and violence and our youth must be discouraged from such conflicts - the only way forward is the Gandhian way and I hope the judges will propagate this. It is an absurdity to contend that war memorials foster patriotism,” he said.


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