Monday, April 30, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



Takht’s welcome move

The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Mr Joginder Singh Vedanti, has called upon the Sikh community not to indulge in female foeticide because this is violative of Sikh principles. Female ratio is already on the decline in Punjab and because of this shortage of women, cases of abduction, rape, and sale of women are on the increase. The Jathedar should also ensure that the daughter gets her share in the property of her parents and of her in-laws and that she is made absolute owner of her share of the assets. Dowry should be abolished and in its place, the daughter should get her due share as a matter of her right.


Female foeticide

I endorse the views of Mr Subhash Chandra Aggarwal of Delhi (Tribune, April 23) that all religions of India should follow the example of the Sikh clergy who have pronounced a ‘Hukamnama’ from Shri Akal Takht directing the Sikhs to refrain from the immoral practice of female foeticide.

I appeal to the religious leaders of the Christian community in particular and the heads of other religions in general, to issue instructions to their followers to desist from this inhuman practice and join the national effort in protecting the rights of women.

RASHID MASIH, Jandiala Guru


Ungrateful neighbour

The way our Border Security Force Jawans were tortured to death by the Bangladesh Rifles is insulting and humiliating to the entire nation. The world knows that we supported the cause of freedom of this ungrateful neighbour. We have always stood by them economically and politically. Every child in India knows this reality. This barbaric act of the BDR men has hurt the collective pride of India. I have seen teachers, doctors and even rickshaw-pullers getting agitated over the barbaric acts of the BDR men.

The criminals who took away the precious lives of our Jawans must be brought to book and given exemplary punishment. The way the situation has been handled by our government even falls short of a meek protest.



Consumer courts

Consumer courts were set up in India to provide justice to the consumer within a reasonable period without getting involved in complicated procedures of civil courts. Any commodity or service irrespective of its price, if does not meet the specified purposes, falls under the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act. The consumer courts are empowered to direct replacement of defective goods, award compensation and fine the defaulters.

Despite all this, the consumers do not find these courts an efficient tool to decide cases within a reasonable period. Though the time provided under the regulations for the redress of a grievance is 90 days from the date of application, yet in a majority of cases it takes three or four years to decide a case. Even the first date for notice at times is fixed after three months. Moreover, the opposite party tries to delay the proceedings on various pretexts.

An interesting aspect relates to the compensation awarded to the aggrieved party for harassment and deficiency in service. This is based on the status of the aggrieved person. The elite and high-profile citizens get a much higher compensation than is awarded to an ordinary citizen for the same deficiency of service. This criteria of fixing compensation is unjustified. After fighting a case for years, the meagre compensation does not even cover the expenses incurred in preparation of the case, the fee of the advocate, local expenses etc. In such conditions, the consumer courts do not prove consumer friendly.

For the redress of grievances of consumers, efforts should be made to decide cases in three or four months. Adequate compensation should be awarded to the complainants so that the traders or manufacturers do not indulge in unfair practices and harass the consumer. Also, the compensation should be based on the gravity of the deficiency of service and the extent of harassment to the consumer and not on his social status.

A.P. BHARDWAJ, Chandigarh


Sahir’s poetry

In the report “A musical evening of Sahir songs” (April 24), it had been mentioned that close on the heels of Sahir Ludhianvi’s Diwan, “Talkhiyaan” (wrongly mentioned as “Talhian”) — came his book “Parchhaiyaan”. “The fame from grassroots to elite circle came to him via the Hindi film industry and that some great directors immortalised his poetry through their creative films”.

This is not correct. “Talkhiyaan”, the first collection of Sahir’s poems was published in the early 1940s. “Parchhaiyaan”, which is a long poem of 190 hemistiches, was published in 1955.

Sahir was a great progressive poet, although he was born in a “jagirdar” family. Even if he had not written for films, his other poetic works would have immortalised him. The fact is that films became popular because of his songs and not that his poetry was immortalised by films.

Sahir was honoured with the Soviet Land Nehru Award on his book “Aao ke koi khaab bunein”. He was also the recipient of Urdu Academy Award, Maharashtra State Award, and the Padma Shri.

I want to quote the last couplet of his beautiful poem “Taj Mahal”:

"Ik shahinshaah ney daulat ka sahaara ley kar.

Ham ghareebon kee muhabbat ka uraaya hai mazaaq."


Criminals in politics

One of the major problems of this age is how to prevent criminals from entering politics. Legal delays, procedural wrangles, series of appeals assist the men with a criminal background to delay final conviction long enough to be able to participate in public life. More often than not, they get into an influential position and are able to have cases against them withdrawn.

The directions of the Election Commission notwithstanding, there is a simple way to overcome this problem. Any one wanting to enter public life, from Panchayats to Parliament, and has a case against him or her should be tried by a special public figures courts. These courts should try cases related to public figures on day-to-day basis and should be able to give a verdict within months if not weeks. Higher courts, can then review the verdicts, in a similar and speedy manner.

The advantage of such speedy dispensation of justice will be that leaders who are wrongly framed will be exonerated quickly while the guilty will be kept away from legislative bodies.


HAU convocation

The Chaudhry Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, has not held its convocation since 1997 with the result that, degrees have not been issued to the successful candidates of various programmes of the university for the past three years. All other universities in the state are holding their convocations regularly. Will the HAU authorities and the Haryana Government department concerned look into this matter and redress the grievance of the students.

SUBE SINGH, Jahri, Sonepat

Greeting telegrams

Last month one of my school mates sent me a greeting telegram on my 57th birthday. I was happy to receive the greetings. But the form and format of the telegram took away some of the pleasure. It was handwritten on the reverse of a parcel performa and without any envelope. I was reminded of the days when the P and T Department used to send greeting telegrams typed on beautiful paper and put in an envelope with a floral design on it.

Now, when the telegrams have become costlier and the department has access to advanced technology, it was expected that this service would improve, but it has touched a dismal low.

Y.P. MAKKER, Malout

Practical exams

Students and teachers in schools and colleges have of late been neglecting practical work in science subjects. The main cause of this neglect is that admissions to engineering and medical colleges are done on the basis of written tests. Thus importance is given to the study of theory since time and effort spent on practicals do not help in the competitive examinations.

Even the universities do not pay attention to practical examinations. Very often practical examiners do not turn up at the examination centres. The universities wash their hands of the problem by issuing a routine letter that practical examiners should be appointed locally if the practical examiners do not turn up. Local examiners do not do justice to the examinees and the examination becomes a farce. Formerly, two external examiners used to be appointed to conduct the practical examinations. But now the university appoints a single examiner in each subject.

The standard of practical examinations can improve if the practice of setting the papers on the spot is abolished, the presence of external examiner is ensured, head examiners for practical examinations are appointed, and no practical examination is conducted unless the external examiner is present. It should be mandatory on the part of the principal of a college to send lecturers for the conduct of practical examinations.

K.C. THAKUR, Yamunanagar


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