16 Notes & Comments

posted Aug 14, 2018, 9:09 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 14, 2018, 9:09 AM ]
In the early 1980s, the Archdiocese of Bombay responded to the call of Healing the Addict. A role model of a recovered addict, who almost became a legend, was Russel Pinto. With the help of Fr Ronald Braganza, he began a treatment centre called Seva-Daan on the mezzanine floor of Mt Carmel Church. Within a year or two, another recovered alcoholic, Ossie, also began working on the street cases of addiction. Bandra was known for not only the growing menace of addiction, but there were also many gangs; Chapel Road was the place for regular fights. It was with the three patients of Asha-Daan of Mother Teresa 's Home and the many street addicts that Kripa was born. The then Municipal Commissioner, SS Tinaikar responded to the plea of Herbert Almeida, the retired IGP of Imphal, to use the temporary structure behind Mt Carmel Church for the purpose. After the new church was constructed, this structure had to be demolished. However, as a special favour, Tinaikar granted the use of the Annexe, only if it was utilised for the recovery of addicts and alcoholics.

From that humble beginning, both Kripa and Seva Daan have served in the field of addiction, and have been the longest partners of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of the Government of India. While Kripa Foundation grew exponentially all over India and spread out into ten countries in collaborative projects, its special component, Kripa Foundation Iyengar Yoga™ has spread in over forty countries. Seva Daan meanwhile set up a facility in the remote village of Dahanu. A couple of years ago, in a joint venture between Kripa and Seva Daan, we introduced a model of Recovery that would help marginalised people find their "original Blessing" through the love and care of the Environment. With the fertile land and ample water, the addicts have deeply experienced the love of the Earth, and the flora and fauna to become a source of income generation as well as grow organic vegetables, rice and fruits, both for the kitchen table and for the nearby villagers. Both Kripa and Seva Daan are Church-based Rehab Projects and emphasise the spirituality of the Twelve Step Programme. The common factor of the healing process is the principle that 'the commonly shared vulnerability empowers the Human being '.


Day of Mourning for Dalit brethren


Catholic and Protestant Churches in India observed August 10 as the Day of Mourning for Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin. Christians, cutting across denominations, jointly organised meetings, rallies, demonstrations, hunger fasts, candle vigils and other forms of demonstration at state capitals and district headquarters to show support and solidarity to their brethren of the Scheduled Caste Origin.

In the national capital, various Christian groups observed an hour of mourning from 4 pm at the downtown Parliament Street. They demanded that the federal government should immediately resolve the demands of Dalit Christians and Muslims for reservation. The government should also give appropriate reply to a Supreme Court query based on the recommendation of Justice Ranganath Misra Commission.

The Constitutional rights of Dalit Christians and Muslims are denied, based on religion for more than 68 years, bemoaned Fr Zacharias Devasagayaraj, secretary of the Office for Scheduled Caste and Backward Caste under the Catholic bishops ' conference, one of the groups that organised the nationwide protests.


Fight evil with action


It is not enough for Catholics to not do bad things; they must counter evil by actively living out charity in the performance of good deeds, Pope Francis told young people and others in St Peter 's Square on Sunday, August 12.

"If we do not oppose evil, we feed it tacitly. It is necessary to intervene where evil spreads; because evil spreads where there are no daring Christians who oppose with good, 'walking in love, ' according to the warning of St Paul," the Pope said.

Speaking to around 90,000 people before the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis warned that people are guilty of the sin of omission, when they could do something good, but choose not to.

"It is not enough not to hate; it is necessary to forgive," he said. "It is not enough not to have a grudge; we must pray for [our] enemies… it is not enough to not speak badly about others; we must stop when we hear someone talking badly."

The Pope addressed, in particular, Italian young people who had made a pilgrimage to Rome as a way to pray for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on youth, urging them to be "protagonists of the good!"


RERA jurisdiction

News Flash: Aug. 7, 2018: Bombay High Court rules that RERA has jurisdiction over 'long-lease' agreements as well.

In a ruling running into 56 pages, and that has far-reaching implications, Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi, after analysing the salutary object of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), held that "merely because the legislation excluded allotment, when given on rent, it does not exclude long term lease… That would be defeating and frustrating the object of the Act." The judge dismissed three appeals filed by Lavasa Corporation, which is developing a township project registered under RERA. (also see order on Lavasa Corp V/s Jitendra Tulsiani and Others)

The HC held that the legislative intent could never have been to exclude "long term lease" as it would defeat the purpose of the law, with developers executing 'agreement of lease ' and "conveniently escaping from clutches of provision of this Act". The intention was only to exclude 'rent ' as lessees there have not invested substantial amounts like the purchase price. But one cannot exclude persons who have paid 80% of an apartment 's purchase price. It also held that the 999-year lease was as good as a sale.