Tuesday, August 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Misinterpretation of Article 25 

THE confusion around Article 25 of the Constitution of India qua the Sikhs is required to be cleared without further loss of time. One section of the Sikhs feels that Explanation II to Article 25(2) compromises the identity of the Sikhs as a separate faith and nation because the reference to Hindus is construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion.

Operative portion of Article 25 reads as under:

“Explanation II — In sub-clause (b) of clause (2), the reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly.”

The Explanation II relates in fact to the entry of Harijans, whether Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists, into their respective temples. This is the only Article under which the Government can enact an All India Sikh Gurdwaras Act and it also entitles the Sikhs to wear kirpans. As per the Supreme Court of India, Article 25 is an article of faith in the Constitution, incorporated in recognition of the principle that the real test of a true democracy is the ability of even an insignificant minority to find its identity under the country’s Constitution. This has to be borne in mind in interpreting Article 25.


During the Akali agitation launched from April 24 to 31, 1984, those pages of the Constitution were torn and then burnt on which Article 25 was inscribed. This in fact was not against the content of Article 25 but because during that agitation the Government was not arresting the Akali satyagrahis thereby taking life out of the agitation. In order to ensure that satyagrahis were arrested, the pages on which Article 25 was inscribed were burnt compelling the government to arrest the agitators.

This is significant to note that the demand for the deletion of the words “the Sikhs”, contained in Explanation II, was never a part of the demands formulated by the Akali Dal.

Article 25 ensures equality of religions thereby promoting secularism and protecting minorities in respect of their separate identities, languages, scripts and cultures and in no way does it operate oppressively or prejudicially in that respect. Nor does it show even by implication that the Sikhs are the part of the Hindus.


Tunnel as a weapon

Umpteen suggestions regarding how to tackle the growing menace of terrorism have been coming up from all sides — from the big thinkers as well as the laymen. It is a task entirely different from putting those suggestions into action: You can suggest one thing at one time and another at another time; you can suggest anything which may not be even feasible but somehow somewhere some suggestion appeals to your heart.

One such suggestion which I have come across a couple of times during the last few months in the Editorial Column is one from Mr S.P. Malhotra i.e. constructing a tunnel to divert the water of river Chenab into the river Ravi. This idea has been hovering in my mind like an obsession since then but for the fear of this being another fig of imagination I never dared to endorse it openly. But another letter to the Editor dated August 21 in support of that view makes me come out with full support for it. There is really some worth in it. When we have tried so many why not to think about the feasibility of this one also?


No direct train

Several Keralites are living in Chandigarh, out of whom a sizeable number is that of defence personnel. Most of them visit their home town at least once a year and those occasions are some of the most exciting moments in their life. During the summer vacations and other festival seasons, there is heavy rush in all the south-bound trains.

While we have the facility of reserving tickets for all the south-bound trains at Chandigarh, there is no direct train which starts from Chandigarh or passes through Chandigarh. Therefore, one has to take a train from Delhi. Since no train from Chandigarh goes up to Nizamuddin station, one has to get down either at New Delhi station or at Old Delhi station. With luggage and family consisting of small children, one finds difficulty in reaching Nizamuddin station by bus or autorickshaw. A taxi ride is prohibitively expensive.

I make a fervent appeal to the railway authorities to introduce at least direct coaches from Chandigarh in south-bound trains. Initially, there should be at least one direct coach each to be attached with two of the major trains i.e. Kerala Express starting from New Delhi station and Mangala Express starting from Nizamuddin station. Since the number of passengers is increasing every year, the Railways will not find these arrangements unremunerative. In fact, with the introduction of direct coaches from the City Beautiful, more people may like to visit South by train during vacations/holidays.


Stray animals

Stray animals roam freely in Panchkula. Their number is increasing. Cows, horses and pigs are often seen sitting in the middle of road posing a great risk.

Most of them are sick, hurt and starving. Garbage containers provided on the roadsides are their main source of food.

Old person and children are scared of them. Animals are even seen in the public parks, meant for morning and evening walk.

Huda is requested to safeguard public properties and lives by having a proper check and control on stray animals.


Inordinate delay

This is to draw the attention of the PU to the fact that the result of the BCA (Bachelor of Computer Application) exam has not yet been declared even four months after the examinations. The university has not even declared a date for the results.

Even on inquiry no PU faculty member can tell us, whether the papers have been checked or not. It all seems as a matter of another month or so, as we anticipate it to be, for the result to be declared.

To top it all, came the 25 per cent fee hike for the BCA course increasing the fee from Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 p.a. for an actual session of just 7-8 months.



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