SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

Time to tackle judicial aberrations

B.G. VERGHESE’s penetrating account of judicial accountability (September 5) is most timely. Aberrations by the CJIs have never been frowned upon during their tenure. Even after their exit, it is only once in the court history that one such aberration was sought to be recompensed.

It was recognised that there might be cases, though very rare, which would require reconsideration of a final judgement to right miscarriage of justice. After a debate, it was realised that “Almighty alone is the dispenser of absolute justice”. And that “it would not only be proper but also obligatory, both legally and morally to rectify the error” (AIR 2002-SC-1771).

But, shockingly, after the CJI’s retirement, who headed the Constitution Bench which settled this parth-breaking law, all the pious sentiments, which motivated and prompted it, were thrown to the wind so much so that all the 440 curative petitions filed up to December, 2005, were summarily rejected on the specious ground that no case was made out within prescribed parameters.


 

The facts that speaking orders were not passed despite the mandatory certification by senior advocates nor the provision of imposition of punitive costs invoked go to show that the salubrious institution of curative petition has virtually been discarded. Obviously, the court relished the skeletons tumbling out of its cupboard.

This shows that accountability is fast diminishing. The Bar and the Bench are in collusion. As for Parliament, the initiative has to come from the government which means the Ministry of Law.

Clearly, only the CJI can be petitioned to restore to his court the lost sense of accountability by reviving the institution of curative petition, restoring all such petitions dismissed summarily without speaking orders since its inception and ensuring their decision on merit by constituting fast track benches. The instances of judicial aberration mentioned by Mr Verghese can also be taken up through fresh curative petitions.

VISHWA MITRA, Panipat

Wishful thinking

I read Girja Shankar Kaura’s ‘Defence notes’ under the caption, “All prepared for it” (Aug 29). It was amusing to read that Defence Minister A. K. Antony informed the Lok Sabha that “Armed forces medical services have not expressed any apprehensions regarding the preparedness of handling the ill-effects of a nuclear attack on the country”

How the armed forces medical services have given such a surety? In the nuclear war, the armed forces medical services may not be able to look after their affected troops, leave aside the whole country. Such a statement is no more than wishful thinking and keeping Parliament and the country in good humour.

NARINDER SINGH, Kapurthala

Mockery in Punjab

I commend the piece “Justice at doorstep”. I sought some information under the RTI Act in my letter of April 10, 2007, from the Additional Director of Industries, Punjab and MD, Punjab State Hosiery and Knitwear Development Corporation, Ludhiana. Since then, several reminders have been sent to the Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab, seeking action against the MD and the GM for non-supply of information. But the CIC has been keeping mum.

It reveals the sorry state of affairs where the bureaucracy in the State Information Commission was making a mockery of the law. Let us see to what extent justice would reach the doorsteps.

N.K. DHIMAN, Jagadhri

Correct info

Surprisingly, the name and mobile telephone numbers of former Himachal Transport and Tourism Minister G. S. Bali continues to be displayed in the HRTC and private buses in the state, providing wrong information to the people. The present incumbent, Mr S.S. Pathania, should issue suitable directions to the transport authorities concerned to get the information corrected immediately.

R. S. HAMDARD, Hamirpur

The battle of Saragarhi

The Battle of Saragarhi was fought on Sept 12, 1897, between 21 soldiers of the 36th Battalion of Sikh Regiment commanded by Hav. Ishar Singh and 10,000 Orakzai and Afridi Pathans led by Gul Badshah. The Saragarhi Signal Post located between Forts Gulistan and Lockhart in Waziristan (now in Pakistan) was attacked and surrounded by Pathan invaders at 9.30 a.m.

Brave Sikh soldiers, having inflicted heavy casualities, repulsed the attack. Hav. Ishar Singh spurned Gul Badshah’s offer to surrender and get safe passage to Lockhart fort. The whole unit embraced martyrdom fighting one by one with rifles and bayonets up to 3 p.m. Over 400 bodies of the invaders were counted.

Compared with the battle of Thermopylae (480 BC), the British Parliament paid eloquent tributes to the Saragarhi martyrs who were posthumously awarded “India Order of Merit” (equivalent to Victoria Cross and Paramvir Chakra), two Murabbas (50 acres of land) and Jagir of Rs 500 each. Two gurdwaras were built at Ferozepur and Amritsar in their memory. Hav. Ishar Singh hails from Jhorran village in Ludhiana district. It deserves a full-fledged college which could be named as Saragarhi College.

S. S. BENIWAL, Chandigarh


 


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