Happy Easter

Sydney/ April 13, 2017

Happy Easter!

Holy Friday is the day of reflection and introspection for Christians. This is the day Jesus Christ was crucified.

Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection of Jesus Christ, is Day of joy and celebration.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.Facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.Twitter.com/dryadusingh

Aadhaar number is not mandatory for filing an Income Tax return for many NRIs

7 April, 2017/Sydney

NRIsI have received an important communication from Government of India (GOI) officials, clarifying the issue of Aadhaar card for NRIs.

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It was recently announced in Parliament that it is mandatory to mention Aadhaar Card number in every Income Tax Return and for applying for Permanent Account Number (PAN) number effective from 1 July, 2017.

Several NRIs and Diaspora associations sent petitions to Ministry of External Affairs and Indian Missions requesting that since they file returns in India due to income from Indian sources and do not have Aadhaar Card, NRIs should be exempted from the above requirement. Many wrote to Prime Minister too.

The Ministry of External Affairs took up this issue with the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, which has advised as below:

“As per Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961, every person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number shall, on or after the 1st day of July, 2017, quote Aadhaar number— (i) in the application form for allotment of permanent account number; (ii) in the return of income.  The above provisions apply to persons who are eligible to get Aadhaar. Under section 3 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, only a resident is entitled to get Aadhaar. Therefore, the provisions of Section 139AA quoted above regarding linking of Aadhaar to PAN or the requirement of quoting the Aadhaar number in the return shall not apply to a non-resident, who is not eligible to get Aadhaar.”

Press Release on this issue dated issued  on 5 April by Ministry of Finance is here.

GOI Press-Release-Aadhaar-5-04-2017

Aadhaar card is available to only those people who have been residents in India, which is defined in the Act as the cumulative period of stay in India of at least 182 days in the preceding 12 months. Many NRIs will not fulfil this basic criterion, and are not eligible to have a Aadhaar Card. Consequently, as clarified above, such NRIs are not required to quote Aadhaar number while filing an Income Tax return or applying for a PAN number.

As of now, the requirement of Aadhaar Card number is not mandatory for obtaining Driving License or a SIM Card.  It is one of the several documents recognized for address proof of the applicant.


Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.Facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.Twitter.com/dryadusingh

FIAN was a finalist for Australia Day Awards 2017 by City of Parramatta Council

7 April, 2017/Sydney

Federation of Indian Associations of NSW Inc (FIAN) was judged as one of the finalists for City of Parramatta Council’s Australia Day awards on 26/1/17.

FIAN was included in the list for its community advocacy, community work and events. FIAN was the only Indian community organisation to receive this honour.

FIAN is determined and committed to doing things which are relevant, important and necessary for our community.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

 

Enjoyed GWS Giants vs Gold Coast SUNS football match, Spotless Stadium Sydney Saturday 1 April 2017

1/4/17


It was a pleasure to be invited as a guest by AFL to join their pre-match reception and watch the match on Saturday, 1/4/17.

NSW Minister, Ray Williams and Multicultural NSW Chair, Dr Harry Harinath were present apart from other key members of NSW community.

It was a fantastic match. My favorite team, Greater Western Sydney Giants (GWS Giants) defeated the visitors, Gold Coast SUNS.

Congratulations, GWS Giants!

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Maa Tuje Salaam, Dance Drama by Visiting ICCR Troupe, Sun, 2 April, 2017

Sydney, NSW

We invite you to enjoy this great “Dance Drama” performed by this visiting ICCR (Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Govt of India) Troupe.

Sunday, 2 April, 2017, 6.30pm onwards

Castle Grand, 14 Pennant St, Castle Hill, NSW 2154

Book tickets: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?embed&eid=263648

We are supporting National Defence Fund (Chaired by Prime Minister of India), which assists families of Indian Defence Forces’ martyrs.

Maa Tuje Salaam FB.png

https://yadusingh.com/2017/02/27/maa-tuje-salaam-a-multimedia-tribute-to-indias-brave-hearts-sydney-2-april-2017/

Dr Yadu Singh

fianinc1@gmail.com

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.Twitter.com/dryadusingh

Welcome reception for NSW Minister of Multiculturalism, Ray Williams MP 

Sydney, 22 March, 2017


I attended the reception for new minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams MP at NSW Parliament today. NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian MP, was present. There were about 100 key community leaders in attendance.

Dr Harry Harinath and Hakan Harkan (Chair & CEO of Multicultural NSW respectively) were the key officials.

Ray was sworn in as the minister for Multiculturalism 6 weeks ago.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Federal MP Julian Leeser quotes us in his speech on 18c inquiry

Sydney, 16 March, 2017

Here is the speech of Federal MP for Berowra, Julian Leeser, which quotes me (Dr Yadu Singh) and Federation of Indian Associations of NSW. Thank you Julian.


Julian Leeser MP for Berowra

Speech: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights | Inquiry Report

 

Mr Speaker, I rise to support the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.

The Committee’s Report marks an historic breakthrough in what has been a long and difficult debate on section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Section 18C has been an intractable political issue since 2011.  Both sides of the debate have dug into their trenches around the principles of freedom of speech and the need for protection from serious abuse on the basis of race.

For the first time this Report provides a path to fix the problems with section 18C, while maintaining its important role as a limited protection against serious racial abuse.

Since late November, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has been conducting an inquiry into the operation and administration of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act. The Inquiry has received submissions and heard evidence from a full range of interested parties, including complainants, respondents, jurists, academics, administrators, news organisations, Indigenous and ethnic communities.  In total, the Inquiry received more than 11,000 submissions and heard evidence from 100 witnesses.

The great success of this Inquiry has been that it has revealed the underlying problem that has fuelled the debate on section 18C. That is, that the problem lies in the way the law has been administered and on that point there is bipartisan consensus.  The process for handling section 18C complaints as it currently stands can be slow, onerous for respondents and is at odds with the case law.  The threshold for making a complaint is so low it is virtually redundant.

The problem with having such a poor administrative process is that it makes section 18C seem, to non-experts, to be much broader than it actually is. The way in which the law has been administered, including the extremely low threshold for making a complaint – sometimes only one line dashed off in a quick email – has totally undermined the original intent of the provision.   The ability to make complaints based on very little information, almost a year after the action was taken as in the QUT case, has understandably warped the public perception of 18C, which was always designed to be a very limited protection available for the most serious types of complaint.

Over the course of our Inquiry we have heard from scores of people who, despite having vastly different views on section 18C, have all agreed that the complaints handling process needs to be fixed or as some put it to us: the ‘process is the punishment’.

The QUT case illustrated the problems with the administration of the law. During the Inquiry we heard from some of the students who shared with us their terrible story of not knowing for years a complaint had been laid against them, of being hauled before the Commission and then taken to Court. Over a period of years they incurred significant cost in time, money and damage to reputation, only to have the complaint brought against them struck out as having no reasonable prospect of success.

We also heard from cartoonist Bill Leak who spoke of the stress and anxiety he suffered throughout the process, despite the clear artistic exemption that should have seen the complaint rejected instantly.

Ms Helen Kapalos, Chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission made the following comments about focussing on process change, ‘I think you are absolutely right in endorsing a stronger process and looking at the complaint-handling mechanism’.

The President for the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW, Dr Yadu Singh, appeared before the Committee and noted that the QUT case highlighted problems with the process. Dr Singh told the committee, ‘…I believe the Australian Human Rights Commission Act should be amended so that the complaints-handling process could be streamlined.’

The Institute of Public Affairs, which has been a vocal supporter for repealing section 18C has conceded that process changes would be an improvement in the law.

Even the Commission itself recognised the need for changes to the way the law is administered.

The process changes recommended in the committee’s report will address the problems identified by the hard cases and ensure that cases like QUT and Bill Leak won’t happen again.

On this point I would like to note the comments of Tony Morris QC in today’s Australian. Tony Morris was the lawyer to the QUT students. He is a hero to many fair minded Australians for offering his services pro bono to the students.

Tony Morris is a supporter of the Repeal of section 18C but his comment illustrates why the reforms to the complaints handling process are so important. I want to draw the attention of the House to these comments because they are very significant.

Mr Morris told the Australian:

“When you analyse all the impediments that they (and in this, he means the Committee) are putting in the way of someone making an unjustified complaint, the reality is they are putting an end to the industry….The recommendations are not what some of us who oppose 18C wanted, but I suspect they will do the job.’’

The Australian noted that:

Mr Morris said that if the recommendations were introduced, a complaint similar to those against the QUT students would go nowhere.

Mr Morris went on:

“The best part is the combined effect of all the protections they are proposing to put in for respondents to complaints… If the report’s recommendations are adopted, it will lead to a level playing field so that respondents enjoy rights similar to complainants.”

Tony Morris’ intervention in this debate is highly significant.

We can all take a philosophical position on either side of this issue but what this Committee report does is address the practical concerns raised by the QUT and Bill Leak cases. Taking a practical approach provides us with a way forward for the first time in six years. I encourage all members to consider the report and reflect on it carefully.

Some commentators have suggested that the recommendations don’t do anything. Might I suggest that they have a closer look at the report as the recommendations dealing with the complaints handling process are highly significant.

Recommendations 

The recommendations will do a number of things.

Firstly, they will raise the threshold for complaints – so that less serious matters will not warrant consideration by the Commission. Specifically, any complaint will be required to allege an act which, if true could constitute unlawful discrimination.  It will need to set out sufficient details of the allegation and a lodgement fee will be required to be lodged with the Commission.  This will set a deterrent for nuisance cases. Penalties would be introduced for legal practitioners who institute complaints that have no reasonable prospects of success and for legal practitioners or complainants who act unreasonably in the process.

Second, the proposals are designed to create a more level playing field by empowering the Commission to give reasonable assistance to respondents to match its current powers for complainants and by imposing time limits on the complaints handling process, in particular for notifying respondents.

Third, the recommendations give the Commission greater powers to terminate complaints, allowing the Commission to terminate earlier and expanding the grounds so that a complaint can be terminated if it is assessed to be unwarranted or to have no reasonable prospect of success.

Fourth, the recommendations will also restrict access to the Courts following a complaint’s termination by the Commission by requiring complainants to seek leave of the Court and to provide security for costs before commencing proceedings.

And finally the recommendations create greater accountability by providing for parliamentary oversight of the Human Rights Commission – which has been accused of being a law unto itself.

The recommendations are ground-breaking for what they will achieve.

First and foremost, they will get section 18C off the front pages and allow it to perform its intended function as a limited but effective protection against racial hatred; they will place the onus on the Human Rights Commission and on the lawyers who bring complaints to get the process right; and they will help bolster freedom of speech by limiting the types of complaints that are deemed worthy of further consideration by the Commission.

I know this Report has been criticised yesterday for providing the Government options for dealing with section 18C reflecting the diversity of opinion on a bipartisan committee. To be clear my own preferred option is to codify the test set out by Justice Kiefel in 2001 and repeatedly applied for the last 16 years that 18C refers to the discrimination which must have “profound and serious effects not to be likened to mere slights.”  Such a codification will help the public understanding that the words in section 18C, have not been given their natural and ordinary meaning but apply to a far more limited range of complaints.

But I want to be crystal clear. The root cause of problem is that the legislation has not been administered properly.  The way in which the legislation has been applied by the Australian Human Rights Commission has allowed nuisance complaints to be treated with the same level of consideration as serious complaints.

But when you look at the problem forensically.

When you try to uncover the root cause.

When you try to properly diagnose so that you can then prescribe the required medicine, all the evidence indicates that the process is the problem.

That is why we have recommended significant and serious process changes.

Should these recommendations be adopted, they will go a long way to bridging the gulf between the public perception of what the legislation does and the reality of its legal application.

It is important that we provide some protection against the worst types of hate speech. While freedom of speech is fundamental to any democratic society the Anglo Australian tradition is not one of unrestrained free speech.

The case law on section 18C is settled. It has provided a limited but important protection against Holocaust denial and serious racial abuse against Indigenous people and ethnic communities. At the same time the defences in section 18D, described by Professor Adrienne Stone as a ‘set of defences which have no equal in their extensiveness in any of the law anywhere in the world’, have allowed fair and reasonable public comment and artistic expression through cartoons and satire. The real problem has been the process. For the first time in six years, the Parliament has bipartisan support to fix it.

Section 18C should go back to being a limited protection for only the very worst kind of behaviour – an ‘in case of emergency break glass’ provision – which is what it was always intended to be.

Mr Speaker, I commend this Report to the House.


Dr Yadu Singh

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