19 Oct| Sunday|10 AM|Talk on Karnataka Goondas Act

Recently, the Karnataka State Government introduced amendments to The Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-Offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Slum-Grabbers Act, 1985, commonly known as The Goondas Act. This act identifies certain classes of individuals who indulge in specified “dangerous activities”, which adversely affects public order, and provides for their preventive detention for up to a period of one year.

Who is a Goonda? Anyone.

A slum-dweller can be a land-grabber, a girl making a Facebook post can be a digital offender, and anybody who downloads music can be an Audio Pirate.

And the act does not require you to prove the commission of a crime- it is enough if it seems that you may commit the crime. But the Goonda Act does not just penalize the innocuous- it criminalises dissent. Within the amorphous contours of the phrase ‘public order’, lie, among other things, anything that questions injustice, or tries to organize the oppressed into collective action.

The Act, and the recent amendments to it, hark back to the colonial state where goondas, thugs and rowdies were just different names for the belligerent and dissenting native.

Today, we are all natives of that paranoid state, capable of upending public order through a whatsapp message. If free expression, dissent, and simply the earning of a livelihood is to be a Goonda, then perhaps all of us are Goondas.

This will be an open session where Darshana Mitra, Lawyer, Alternative Law Forum will give us the historical depth and contemporary context of this Act and we continue with an in-depth discussion on the impact of this Act as well as our responses to it.

Date: 19th October, 2014
Time: 10 AM
Place: Alternative Law Forum, 122/4, Infantry Road, Next Balaji Art Gallery
Contact: +91 9632506195