Somesh Arora:CESTAT or Frequent Fire Club

Ever since the formation of CESTAT (earlier CEGAT) in 1980s if there is one thing that has been regularly haunting the occupants, then it   is the outbreak of fires in the building. The last one till reporting was in the chamber of one of the Members Judicial on December 21. The present Member (P&V) and Member (L&J) have also grown up from their early youthful days, witnessing and running to the oral fire alarms in CESTAT building in early 90s. Divine intervention has somehow always prevented a major mishap despite highly inflammable and ever mounting loads of files. But even the fortune in the long run does not favour those who fail to learn from mistakes. Therefore, all those  concerned with administration, whether in the Bar or Ministry or CDR office or in the CESTAT,  should stop taking things as they come. The building does not even have enough firefighting apparatus as even there is hardly any water available in the toilets and it is only because of the guidance of fellow advocates that one comes to know which tap in the toilet has water. It is another thing that search for drinking water or for washing hands after a visit to the toilet may lead to dismissal of case for non-appearance, in the meanwhile.

It is good that while the cases of foreign  investors worth crores of rupees are being dealt with by the CESTAT, they do not visit the building. For even the strongest of, Other Than Indian Hearts( OTIH) can faint at the smell emanating from the toilets. The Members of the Bar will do well to build a component of  Toxic Zone Visit fee in their overall fee and officers of the Chief Commissioner (Authorised Representatives) will do well to seek a Frequent Fire allowance in the 7th Pay commission and the Ministry if it has a Long Term Inaction Plan about the CESTAT Building will do well to prescribe ‘athleticism’ as added qualification for Members of the CESTAT.

Prisoner of no war

This one is about a monkey from our Motherland who strayed into the Pakistan territory. The sleuths on the other side, after chasing the unwelcome intruder, who dared to defy their territory and boundary, and fearing that another Osama may not stay on in any Garrison town without their knowledge, finally caught him. This led to extensive search of his body and after ruling out any intelligence mischief, the animate being was handed over to Zoo authorities who have since then kept him in the captivity after naming him ‘Bobby’. (Whether it is a compliment or not is for Dimple Kapadia to decide?.) Giving company to Bobby in the next cell are a couple of the same species, in love named Raju and Raani.

The Zoo records show that when Raju managed to escape, it was only the Raani’s love which managed to bring him back to the captivity of the Zoo. This indeed can be a plot for an interesting love triangle for a Hindi movie. Again, whether or not Bobby will ever get to come back to its native land and natural habitat will depend upon the seriousness of efforts of Indian authorities and Animal Right Activists like Madame Maneka Gandhi. The animals defying manmade boundaries is not a new phenomena. But there have also been instances of outlaws putting them to use. In deserts of Rajasthan, camels even without riders have been known to cross with gold consignments with some recoveries being made on the basis of their footprints trail on the sand. But most famous perhaps was the black mare (though she may not figure in any dossiers) of  notorious smuggler Nimma Rasulpuria of V.P.O Rasulpur on Punjab Border. Known to command a price better than the best Derby horses of  her time. Her best known qualification was to run of her own, at a speed at night in the fields to cross the border and bring the gold consignments to the house of Nimma. Even when in early 90s, she became largely unemployed due to fencing of the Punjab border, she commanded the best loyalty of her master who took good care of her till her last.

Happy New Year

New Year surely means different things to different people. For the youth of today, every year means a year in which so and so item song became a hit. So, we have 2010 being the Year of Sheela and Munni, 2011 as Year Jalebi Bai, the coming year is likely to belong to Chikni Chameli. For political class, it can mean which quota in which quota and next year may see Muslim quota in already crowded backward quota or year of new anti-poverty programme with earlier one being forgotten or demand for a new state. For anti-corruption activists every year is remembered by the scam of the year. For poor, it is one child each year. For planners of the country, it is figure and statistics changing each year. For cine-heroes, it is new cosmetic help each year with hair-dyeing year to anti-aging cream year to hair-transplant year to heart transplant year. For retiring senior bureaucrats, it is the Year of each extension post retirement. For advocates and courts, it means new pile of old and dusty files. For the Army, it means new acquisitions  and inductions of outdated and antiquated technologies in the name of edge in conventional warfare each year. And last but not the least, for our Babus and Bureaucrats (B&Bs), it means putting that elusive, exclusive and rare autograph on a decision making file with a numerical of a new year

However, I wish all the readers a real new year of a change, which actually betters our collective and personal lives and turns our sustained hopes to a reality.