Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Meeting Veerappa Moily - Our Minister for Law and Justice

For those of you that know me personally, also know this - I am an impatient person - too impatient to act, rather than a more prudent approach of think, consider, digest, before re-coursing to action. So after the usual ranting on the unfairness, unsoundness, the down right unacceptability, objectionability, crass unfair and meanness of the proposed Nuclear Liability Bill, I decided to do something about this...I contacted Nityananda Jayaram the author of the Tehelka story that first alerted me to this issue. And...based on his advice, yesterday I called up our Law and Justice Minister, Mr. Veerappa , Moily, and wonder of wonder, I was given an appointment...ok, I did cheat a bit, I did refer to myself with a "Dr." prefix, that I usually do not acknowledge, and also said "I am calling from IISc...", which is also true - I live here!

Today, I went at the appointed hour with my husband, who happens to be a bonafide IISc Professor, to meet the Minister. We were shown into an unassuming office with racks of interesting books. I was curious and looking through the bookcase when VM walked in. Since he was leaving back for Delhi in less than one hour, we got immediately to the point. We told him that we wanted to see him as concerned citizens deeply troubled with what we had read in the media.We had two points to make:1. The Nuclear Liability Cap Bill was the only legal gauruntee for future victims, in case of a nuclear disaster - and so had to be commensurate with the level of likely damages and 2. The nuclear industry in the US was responsible for $10 billion towards damages in case of a disaster event in their country and with our far higher population density, the extent of damage was certainly going to be far greater - another sentence on how another Bhopal could not be allowed to happen etc.

Through all of this, VM gave us his undivided, focused, quiet attention, accepted the literature that Atul (my husband) had accumulated from the internet, read the underlined portions, and agreed to look into the matter. He also graciously offered us tea/coffee, that we declined. We left, satisfied that we had been heard, our concerns aired to a receptive, intelligent human being, who seemed to have taken us seriously.

We planted a seed today and left.


  1. Mr. Moily is known to be a sensible and fair person, with a sound head on his shoulders. If he senses a serious upwelling of concern around the nuclear liability bill, he will act on it. Perhaps, you could consider floating a fax or email petition to his office and get lots of people to send notes to him expressing their concern about the bill.

  2. Good Idea - WILL DO! Thanks.

  3. Mr Veerappa Moily reads this blog?
    How can I let him know my opinion?
    Mr Veerappa Moily I was reading an article in TOI about you planning to amend the Law against women victims and an excerpt " That a women police officer or Government official or a Social Worker would take a statement of a victim"
    Not undermining the abilities of the women but welcoming the idea of women taking a statement because a woman could make the victim more comfortable doubtlessly.

    Well its a good move on your part but a very strong suggestion is that atleast 2 women be involved in taking a statement as emotions or pressure should not play in case only one woman is taking the statement.
    Sometimes when more then one woman is involved one of them might be less emotional and would get a statement in the right context or else we always can expect some injustice in case one woman takes the statement and comes under the emotional pressure or pressure from the perpetrator. Please give it a thought as in India people who hold office can manipulate justice this is the truth whether accepted or denied and in India justice is not done immediately takes its own sweet time.
    Some victims of male harassment could be really victims and some could use the law for exhortations and settlements too. So my opinion is that 2 to 3 ladies be involved in taking a statement and later be questioned individually this is my suggestion. THANKS

  4. At the risk of sounding like a cynic, I can only say that VM is a good politician. Politicians cultivate a certain proximity with the people they meet and they connect across to all sections of the society. I must share my experience of meeting Yeddiyurappa when he was only a leader of the opposition. It was at the time when the Cogentrix Project was very meuch in the offing. My friend, Ramakrishna and I, with the same kind of innocence that I found so touching in your husband and you, sought an appointment with him. We were given one and at the appointed time ushered in. He was dealing with a dozen other people, but as we enetered, he stood up and greeted us with a very sincere Namaskara (head bowed and all that). He gave us almost 30 minutes to explain the faulty Cogentrix scheme. My friend being a businessman-engineer had all the details worked out: such as the debt-equity ratio, power purchase agreement,deemed generation clauses, its association with Chinese companies etc (remember, this was much before the Enron project crumbled here India and then in the US)! Needless to say, my friend was prophetic. Both Cogentrix and Enron took to their heels for reasons of their own. After we had our say and our tea, as we rose to leave, he stood up and another deeply bowed Namaskara. I thought, we had planted a seed as well! But, look: He is lording over the biggest illegal mining scandal in history!