Wednesday, March 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



It’s privatisation of justice

IN his article, "It is privatisation of justice" (The Tribune, March 6) Mr Anupam Gupta has found fault with the media and its role with regard to the proposed amendment in the Civil Procedure Code. He has mentioned that a subordinate judge, if guilty of ordering the examination of witnesses on commission, would invite immediate suspension by the High Court. This is without any basis because in the history of the subordinate judiciary there has been no such suspension till date.

Basically, Parliament is to frame the laws, and advocates and judges are to confine their activities within the four corners of the law laid down by the legislature barring powers of judicial review in the hands of High Court and Supreme Court judges.

The commissioner appointed by the court does not remain a private individual as even in the existing Civil Procedure Code he can be appointed and he acts on behalf of the court. The acts of the commissioners have helped in solving many disputes as it is not possible for the presiding officer of the court to go to the spot in every case. It appears that by calling Mr H.D. Shourie as legally uneducated, the writer has tried to prove that the acquisition of a law degree is a precondition for legal education. In fact, many people holding a law degree know much less than many laymen about the law.

  Our legal system has virtually failed. And when a true reformist like Mr Ram Jethmalani thinks of reviving the dead system, the lawyers all over the country have started finding fault with him. This shows that the lawyers are interested in the continuance of the present system.

Even the privatisation of justice would be much better than inordinate delays which are rampant in the system of administration of justice as prevalent today in this country.


Tackling women’s problems

As in the past, this year also International Women's Day was celebrated with enthusiasm. Seminars, workshops, cultural functions, etc were organised by social organisations and political parties in which a number of problems confronting women were discussed.

On the day women get a chance to discuss their problems and rights. On this day central government launches many schemes for the welfare of women. In the Capital, the Delhi Commission for Women has started a special telephone service, in which legal advice would be provided to solve the problems of women related to divorce, custody of children, sexual harassment, rape, dowry, property, etc.

State governments also, especially the Punjab government, announced certain schemes in which financial support and technical training would be provided to make women economically self-reliant, which are welcome steps.

Today the time has changed. The young generation lives in the world of satellite television, and women are very much aware of their rights. Women nevertheless are far behind men in every field. There are some women who have made it big in different fields like engineering, medical science and civil services. Even in the field of politics remarkable leadership qualities have been demonstrated by women leaders. There have been three prominent women Prime Ministers — Margaret Thatcher from Britain, Golda Meir from Israel and Indira Gandhi from India.

But we cannot ignore certain other realities. Most of the time Women's Day celebration turns out to be a formality. There is need for extra efforts to be done in the direction of progress for women. Even today we talk about women's equality, freedom, etc., because the position of women in India is far from satisfactory. Women continue to be suppressed in our male-dominated society.



Anomaly in pension rules

This is with reference to the report "Punjab pensioners left high and dry", published in The Tribune on 7-3-2000, wherein a number of demands of Punjab pensioners have been highlighted, based on the recommendations of the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission. One of the demands mentioned is regarding the anomaly in the revised rules for those government employees who retired between January 1, 1996, and September 30, 1996, as they have been discriminated against and put to great financial loss compared to those who retired before 1-1-1996 and after 30-9-1996. Similar discrimination also exists between those government employees who retired between 1-1-1986 and 30-9-1986 and those who retired before 1-1-1986 and after 30-9-1986.

According to the revised pension rules, the pay of the pensioners who retired prior to 1-1-1986 is to be raised on a notional basis for determining their revised pension at the time of their retirement. Thus they have been brought on a par with those who retired after 1-1-1986. But the pensioners who retired within 10 months after 1-1-1986 — between 1-1-86 and 30-9-86 — their pension is still worked out on the basis of the average pay for the last 10 months of the date of retirement, partly in the old (pre-1-1-86) scale and partly in the revised (post-1-1-86) scale with the result that their revised pension on 1-1-1996 works out to be much less than those who retired before 1-1-1986, such pensioners have also been discriminated against and put to great financial loss.

The Punjab government, therefore, needs to immediately remove the anomaly in the revised pension rules by extending the benefit of pay fixation on a notional basis as applicable to pre-1986 pensioners, as also to those who retired between 1-1-1986 and 30-9-1986.


Why age limit for teachers?

I was surprised to read the upper age limit as 32 years as given by the DPI (S), Chandigarh Administration, while announcing the vacancies for 108 posts of master and mistress.

When a candidate takes admission to the B.Ed course there is no age bar. What is the point in fixing the age limit for the recruitment of teachers then?



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