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Right to recall is need of the hour

I do not agree with the view that the right to recall in the case of members of legislatures may introduce an element of instability in the system (“Why recall? Elect carefully” by V Eshwar Anand, May 22). At the outset, we have to understand what recall stands for.

Recall is a term used to describe a process whereby the electorate can petition to trigger a vote on the suitability of an existing elected representative to continue in office. In essence,it gives the voters an opportunity to remove representatives whom they feel are not doing a good job. Recall procedures vary around the globe. Here is a look at the finer nuances of the procedure.

At present, there is no provision in the Indian Constitution or in the Representation of People’s Act-1951 for the recall of a duly elected member. In India, provision for recall exists at the level of local bodies in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Through this decision the power is given directly to the electorate --- if two-thirds of the registered voters of a particular constituency sign a petition, the government can take steps for removal of the corporator. Besides, many countries like the Philippines, Venezuela, some states of the USA, Switzerland, etc, have already made provisions in varying forms in their respective constitutions.

Presently those who are elected once for five years, barring exceptions, do not turn to their respective constituencies and lose the confidence of the electorates. Many of them do not dare to stand for the same constituency. It has been observed that some of the elected representatives remained silent spectators in their respective Houses throughout five years. Under this extenuating position, electorates are helpless and wait for up to five years to make a change. Thus, this is shear wastage of time and money, besides hampering the development in their respective constituencies. The exact process and form of a recall election varies in different countries.

To cleanse the Indian political system, workload of Election Commission does not matter. But after the hard work done by the Election Commission, if we get a representative having impeccable character this is not a bad bargaining in the existing system. It provides the electorate the power to remove the elected representatives who fail to perform their role in a satisfactory manner and who grossly neglect their duties.

These are the landmark reforms in our electoral system and if introduced at the state and national levels, these would go a long way in strengthening one of the features of our democracy which is in peril today.

SK KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Transition problems

Three discrete transitions in social circumstances place older persons at increased risk of worsening of disabling physical and mental health problems. This refers to the “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” (June 15).

The major impact of retirement on well-being relates to reduction in income and attendant increase in various mental health problems. Los of spouse and the accompanying experience of loneliness and bereavement are associated with increased likelihood of a variety of nonspecific mental and physical symptoms as well as excess mortality. Residential relocation, particularly placement in an assisted living facility or a nursing home, represents an unusually stressful event, depriving the old person of a familiar social and physical environment as well as much of her sense of autonomy.

Japan has 47,000 centenarians for the population of 128 million people; around 87.1 per cent are women. The oldest is 114-year-old Chiyono Hasegawa, who was born on Nov. 20, 1896, and the oldest man is 114-year-old Jirouemon Kimura, whose birthday is April 19, 1897.


Honour Indian Army

The Akali Dal government in Punjab is guilty of treason against the state by honouring insurgents and militants who sought to destabilise and disintegrate India during the Khalistan movement (Kuldip Nayar’s article: ‘Playing with fire in Punjab’, June 18).

A democratic state government in the Union of India cannot allow honouring of militants who challenge the integrity of the country. It is an unpatriotic act for any state government to do so.

The Akali government owes not just an explanation but an outright apology to the nation for buckling under pressure of the SGPC and bending down its knees before anti-national elements and their sympathisers in Punjab.

The Akalis ought to be honouring the soldiers of the Indian Army and Lt-Gen. KS Brar who led Operation Bluestar against militants who infiltrated inside the Golden Temple and made the Temple into a fortress and a hideout to carry out their anti-national, subversive activities. The Akalis should be grateful to the nation and the Indian Army that it saved the sanctity of the holiest seat of the Sikh religion by successfully conducting Operation Bluestar.

The Akali-BJP government should be taken to task for allowing memorials for militants and insurgents. Neither any state government nor any religious body or organisation has any right under the Constitution to erect memorials to honour militants in any temple, gurdwara, mosque or church anywhere in any part of India. The state government should respect the spirit of unity and integrity of India.




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