119 years of Trust M A I L B A G THE TRIBUNE
Monday, June 28, 1999
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Endless wait for justice

I DO not hesitate to say that in India justice is not only delayed but also denied, abused and ridiculed (“Endless wait”, June 23). Our Founding Fathers had made justice—social, economic and political — the first principle of our Constitution.

Where do we look for justice in our land today? Should we look for it in the criminal courts where the number of pending cases is counted in millions? Or should we look in the civil courts where cases which took 20 years for a decision may now take 30?

There are mountains of pending cases with little hope of a case being decided for decades! The decision in a murder case, if it comes five to 10 years after the murder, is likely to be an acquittal and this acts as an incentive to crime.

A celebrated US judge, Mr Justice Holmes, once remarked that denial of justice through delay was the biggest mockery of law. Long detention without trial is a gross violation of the fundamental rights of a citizen. What aggravates the situation is the abysmal conditions in which the detainees are forced to live for long years.

Several law commissions have suggested judicial reforms from time to time which, if implemented, would have reduced the long delays and led to a corresponding decline in case arrears. The rapid rise in the number of under-trial cases in the courts has to some extent been aided by the government’s almost casual attitude towards filling judicial vacancies. The judiciary itself must have say in determining the strength of courts and taking the initiative for filling the vacancies. For if justice delayed is justice denied, it is the judiciary that will be accused of time-lags and arrears, and public faith in justice will be undermined.

The appointment of the requisite number of judges will, however, marginally improve the situation. So long as the individuals and the state governments continue to file bogus petitions and seek “time buying” adjournments, there can be no speedy justice. They should exercise more restraint in filing cases and going in appeal against lower court verdicts on grounds of prestige.

A decade back there was a proposal for the constitution of three or four separate and independent national tribunals for income tax cases, revenue matters, labour disputes and service cases which would have gone a long way in reducing the congestion of work in High Courts and the Supreme Court. There was also a suggestion to establish Supreme Court Benches in different regions of the country as a step to cut the legal cost of litigants in areas far way from Delhi and also to afford lawyers in different parts of the country an opportunity to have access to the highest judiciary in the land.

A partial remedy lies in the Supreme Court evolving a set of guidelines on what cases to entertain and what to reject in a short time.


Procession of donkeys

As mentioned in the news-item “Procession” published on June 21 on page 16, about 100 Congress volunteers took out a procession of donkeys in Chennai in protest against the Pakistan-backed infiltration in the Kargil sector.

Was there a shortage of party workers in a big city like Chennai that droves of donkeys were collected for the procession? Was it not a ludicrous exercise? The asses had nothing to do with what was going on in the Kargil and Dras areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

Besides dirtying the roads with their dung, the obstinate animals might have blocked traffic and also caused inconvenience to other road-users.

It would have been better if the Congress volunteers had organised rallies and passed resolutions condemning Pakistan for its aggression on our side of the Line of Control, eulogising the splendid gallantry our jawans are displaying while combating the intruders on inhospitable high mountains, and paying glowing tributes to the martyrs. Blood donation camps should have been organised and money collected for giving financial help to the bereaved families.

It is not mentioned in the report whether some people sat on the donkeys or they simply goaded them. Anyhow, I am reminded of an Urdu verse having some aptness to the occasion “Taraf har ik sey bais karna nahin hai kuchh iftikhaar apna/Ajab tarah ki hui faraaghat gadhon pe daala jo bhaar apna” (We do not take a pride in having discussion with everyone and feel a strange relief on putting our burden on donkeys).


Nostradamus predictions

I am surprised to read in The Tribune of June 24 that in Japan the followers of Nostradamus believe that the end of the world is only weeks away. It is correct to say that Nostradamus has predicted that World War III will break out in July, 1999.

Nostradamus seems to foresee the coming of the millennium and the particular quatrain indicates the coming of the World War III leader from the East. He foresees war before and after his coming and does not envisage an instant disappearance of the world.

I may, incidentally, mention that Nostradamus did not predict the events in a straight manner, and left it to the commentators to decipher the quatrains. That is why no two commentators interpret most of his quatrains in the same manner. Moreover, Nostradamus in most of his predictions did not indicate the year and month of a prophecy. However, where he has given the year and month of any event, the same cannot go wrong according to commentators.

How many predictions of Nostradamus come out true, only future will tell.


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Depositors’ right

Many depositors are denied normally available facilities by bank officials trotting an excuse that there is a Reserve Bank of India circular. Depositors are entitled to get a copy or at least an inspection of any such circular, as they are not confidential and are published by RBI in its statutory reports.

If bank officials refuse to give or show the RBI circular, a complaint should be made to the nearest Reserve Bank of India office to check whether such a circular exists at all in the first place. If it does, then it has not been made available when demanded. If there is no RBI branch nearby, the complaint should be sent to the Chief Officer, Department of Banking Operations and Development, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Centre 1, World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai-400 005.

Jt Secretary,
All-India Bank Depositors’ Association

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BJP goes Jayalalitha way

By withdrawing support given to the Bansi Lal government, the Bharatiya Janata Party has proved that it is in no way different from any other political party or personality in respect of coalition culture.

When the AIADMK withdrew its support to the coalition government headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, a bitter tirade was launched against Ms Jayalalitha and the Congress for toppling the Central government subverting the mandate of the people, plunging the nation into a chaotic situation and thrusting another mid-term election on the nation.

Now the same party set aside all considerations of propriety and coalition culture when expediency and electoral considerations compelled it to topple a state government. And when this government, according to general opinion, was making all efforts to ensure uninterrupted power supply and implement developmental projects.

The BJP took the unwise decision on the flimsy pretext that this government had failed to honour its commitments made in the election manifesto.

The charges levelled by the BJP carry no conviction. By taking such a step, it has forfeited its moral right to condemn the AIADMK for overthrowing the central government.


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I have read with great interest the middle “The so-called tender gender” by Mr Shriniwas Joshi (June 23). It reminds me of a French proverb which says that a piece of translation is like a woman; if it is faithful, it is not beautiful, and if it is beautiful, it is not faithful.



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