L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Need for electoral reforms

V Eshwar Anand has time and again been sensitising society at large which has lost faith and confidence in the prevailing democratic system. Again through his bold and thought-provoking article Impetus to democracy (Mar 14) he has expressed his serious concern and reminded us that there is need to check criminalisation of politics.

Whereas criminal cases are pending against 153 MPs, there are about 700 MLAs who are facing criminal charges in the country. Our electoral system is entirely responsible for this malaise. Had the electoral system been powerful, a large number of persons who have a criminal background would not have taken seats in Parliament? Jawaharlal Nehru once said that if the people were not vigilant, governance in our democracy would pass into the hands of the strong-muscled and loud-throated criminals. With time, this has come true.

The electoral battle has become the monopoly of moneyed bigwigs and in most cases of hard-boiled criminals. The increase in the ceiling on election expenditure Rs. 40 lakh for the Lok Sabha election and Rs. 16 lakh for an Assembly seat has virtually barred the poor to fight election however competent he or she may be.

To check criminalisation of politics, no political party will come forward to support enactment of any law. There is an urgent need to usher in electoral reforms completely banning criminals from contesting elections. The Peoples Representation Act 1951 needs to be amended. As and when any FIR is registered for offences like rape and murder the person should be barred to fight the election till exonerated by the competent authority.

 SK KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Batcha’s suicide

Whether the prime accused former telecom minister A. Raja’s close aide A.M. Sadhick Batcha’s suicide is the beginning of the elimination process to suppress truth or not only time will tell (news report, Raja’s close aide commits ‘suicide ”, March 17). Interestingly, Batcha who started his career rather modestly and went around on his cycle selling shirt and pant pieces and saris in his Pallippatti village went on to become the Managing Director of Green House Promoters. His wife S Reha Banu said that Batcha had been unable to suffer the ignominy of the scam and in his suicide note he blamed the media for blowing his role “out of proportion.”

People should not forget that corrupt politicians use middlemen like Batcha, for making a fast buck. The tragedy is that the corrupt politicians invariably go scot-free.


Early marriage

The editorial Let them bloom: Stop marriages of minor girls (Mar 3) was thought-provoking. Despite the law, the practice of marrying off minor girls continues and deprives them of their right to health and education.

The law enforcing agencies with the co-ordination of NGO’s must/can play a positive role in curbing this social evil.


Safe Holi

Nowadays, Holi does not stand for all things beautiful as it has become commercialised, boisterous and yet another source of environmental degradation. Are we really aware that we are actually playing with some carcinogenic substances?

Health hazards, including skin diseases, have resulted due to the content of Holi colours. Harsh chemicals in Holi colours can cause itching and rashes. Holi colours sold in the market are oxidised metals or industrial dyes mixed with engine oil.  All these are toxic and can result in skin allergies, eye irritation, blindness and much more. To avoid the hazardous impact of colours, make organic colours at home. Natural colours can be made using natural products like flowers, herbs, leaves, barks, roots, etc. There is a need to bring awareness about the hazardous impact of chemical colours among the general public through NGOs and governmental organisations. An eco-friendly and non-hazardous Holi is possible.

Dr RN KALRA, New Delhi 



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