Monday, April 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Impact of strikes by lawyers

IT is disturbing to note that strikes/boycott of courts by lawyers has become a matter of common occurrence these days. As a natural consequence, the normal working of courts is hampered, pace of disposal of cases slows down and the mountain of pending court cases grows bigger and bigger with each passing day.

The litigants at large, who have to bear the brunt of the situation, feel extremely sore about the matter but have perforce to put up with the gloomy situation in glum silence.

The antic in question seems essentially a “pressure tactic” in the hands of the well-organised lawyers’ fraternity to protect/promote its vested interests. Apparently there seems nothing wrong about it provided the “potent weapon” is used very sparingly and most discreetly, without seriously jeopardising the judicial interests of the public at large. However, if the antic is used mindlessly just, for example, to “tame” an upright and fiercely independent-minded member of the judiciary, it has to be deplored and firmly resisted.

Cases of judicial misconduct must, of course, be brought to the notice of the state’s High Court but may best be left to be dealt with by the august body dispassionately. Coercive tactics in the matter can be allowed to succeed only at our general peril. Let the powers that be pause and ponder.

Ambota (Una)

Electrocuted at high noon

The Tribune’s call for a “powerful awakening” (“Electrocuted at high noon”, April 15, 2000) should receive overwhelming support from the countrymen. The news of death of 29 persons by electrocution in Daltonganj, Bihar, came as a rude shock to those celebrating Ram Navami with fervour and zeal.

It is disgraceful, rather scandalous, that a state blessed with abundant coal resources and thermal power should be so negligent towards the maintenance of its power transmission lines. At the same time, the logic behind carrying high flying flags in processions that may get entangled with overhead high-tension electric wires making them snap and fall over people and killing them instantaneously is beyond anybody’s perception.

Do people try to acquire a tall stature by carrying such flags, or do they try to nudge the sky? It was for the district authorities to ban the carrying of such flags, but who would think of that when the rust of soul has already corroded the metal of it leaving us inert and immune to any tragedy or calamity? Post-disaster gestures of announcing ex-gratia payments to the next of kin of those killed come no less than adding salt to the wounds of those hurt deeply.

The reports indicate that the power was not switched off for long even after the tragedy. Shocking indeed! It is also said that there is no regular checking and maintenance of electricity lines anywhere in the state. More shocking that is! Does it mean that no line maintenance registers are being maintained by the linemen? Does it further mean that Line-Superintendents are not keeping any patrol books? If that is the case, then the engineers also will not be carrying regular checks of these books. Such a situation clearly indicates that the rot has deeply set into the system. It can be nullified only by a powerful awakening and a mass movement among the people.

But the resentment that prevailed among the people on the day of the tragedy has already begun to wear off. How can we expect a powerful awakening among the people who are still mentally slaves?



Hire and fire

We, who are of old school regarding work culture, are grateful to God that it has dawned upon some at the Centre that we should follow the policy of hire and fire. It is necessary, if we are really honest and faithful to our conscience and want the country to progress, the way it should and at the speed at which it should.

There cannot be any progress if there is no incentive for honest and good worker and disincentive for the other. With all the resources at our command and manpower, natural sources and all, we have not progressed to the extent we should have. A person gets entry into service by hook or by crook. He is all right during the period of probation. Once the person is confirmed, he cannot be removed even if he is one of the worst workers. He may be disobedient, not work at all, permanent late comer, may abuse and call superiors names on their face. You cannot remove him, except in an extreme case, that too after a long drawn enquiry and even court case. Laws are such.

But in other countries, if your work is not satisfactory or you are absent without permission even if you are really ill (on the basis of medical certificate) you get an envelope with one month’s salary, which means you are politely dismissed. I know of a Vice-Chancellor, whose son, an engineer in America, had come on leave. He had to go back in high fever. In contrast, there was a case of another class III employee in India who even slapped the Enquiry Officer (a retired high court judge).

What progress can such a country make under the circumstances, coupled with very high corruption all around and all over, in all walks and strata?

In other countries, which have progressed, people are punctual, sincere, dedicated and hard working with very few holidays. In many countries, instead of strikes and bandhs, they express resentment and protest in form of more work than normal.



Tunnels & terrorism

In his letter “Tunnels & terrorism” (The Tribune, April 14) Mr S.P. Malhotra wonders as to why his novel remedy of operating the Chenab-Ravi tunnel for paralysing the canals in Pakistan as an anti-dote to cross-border terrorism has not been tried so far.

In my opinion, this is so because the details of this solution are beyond the comprehension of the common man, and our engineers have never made any attempt to explain it to him and secure his support.

Now that it has been explained by him in a lucid and convincing manner, it is for the public and the political parties to pressurise the Government of India for taking action at the earliest as per the three stages suggested by him, and definitely before a second Kargil or a second hijacking of an Indian plane is enacted.


Meaningful cartoon

Kudos to Sandeep Joshi for his cartoon published in The Tribune on April 12.

In the cartoon, the principal headmaster and the teachers are saluting the newly elected Panch (member of a village panchayat) accompanying his goat. The latter is not responding to their saluting gesture!

The cartoon provides good food for thought to hand over the school affairs/matters to village panchayats.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

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