Monday, May 21, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Governor has honoured people’s choice

I read with dismay the editorial “A bad precedent” (May 16) criticising Tamil Nadu Governor Fathima Beevi for installing a “convicted” Ms Jayalalitha as Chief Minister of the state. Well, to my mind, the criticism seems unfair, looking at the circumstances of the case. By opting in the matter for the “people’s choice” the Governor seems to have helped strengthen “democratic spirit” rather than “dangerously dilute” it, as the editorial wrongly observes. Whether Ms Jayalalitha gets elected to the Assembly or not within the stipulated period of six months is not at all relevant at this point of time.

The Governor, it must be noted is not a “defeated/disgruntled” politician occupying the august office simply because of her proximity to the powers that be. Instead, she is a former judge of the Supreme Court who may be justifiably expected to know the statute book much better than many of her critics.


Constitution required it: If Article 164 is silent on any condition or is not linked with any other Article of the Constitution, then the Governor’s step is the best action in the absence of any other alternative. It is the Constitution which prompted the Governor’s step, not her whims or feelings.



A fraud:
By accepting the claim of a convicted person for being installed as Chief Minister, the Governor has played a fraud on the Constitution. How ironical it is that a person who was not qualified and thus rightly debarred from contesting election to the Assembly was unreservedly considered suitable for the coveted position of Chief Minister.

R.C. DHAND, Faridkot

It’s unfortunate: The conviction of Ms Jayalalitha in corruption cases and bar on her contesting the election by the EC has been undone by a single stroke of pen by the Governor. It is unfortunate that a person of the calibre of a Supreme Court judge should fall prey to the dictates of corrupt politicians.


Quash the appointment: The victory of Ms Jayalalitha’s party cannot over-ride the law because this election was not a “referendum” on her conviction. Once a person is convicted by a competent court, he should seek justice from higher courts, not from the people.

Let this matter be re-examined by the President of India and the appointment of Jaya as Chief Minister may be quashed.


Bonus for crime: The installation of charge-sheeted and convicted Jayalalitha as Chief Minister may prove to be a boon for some people. By this logic, any citizen of India regardless of his conviction for dacoity, murder, smuggling, drug-trafficking, adulteration, black-marketing, rape, molestation, kidnapping etc, (sentence suspended and appeal pending in the higher court), can hope to become a P.M. or a C.M. Hail our most voluminous Constitution, our democracy and election laws!

J.K. MAGO, Panchkula


Corruption acceptable: It has been amply demonstrated by Tamil Nadu voters that corruption is acceptable to them. It also proves that democracy has failed in India. The majority of Indians get swayed by things like fair complexion and a pretty face, movie images of politicians, family, caste etc. The middle class is indifferent and the intelligentsia marginalised. Time is not far when sections of society, which thus far were considered by and large above board would want to join in the loot. It is time that we considered to opt for an authoritarian form of government to avoid a weak, chaotic and anti-national-democracy.

SUMANDEEP KAPOOR, Jalandhar cantt.

A morale booster: It is going to be a morale booster to hundreds of politicians facing criminal charges throughout the country. Now they can safely aspire to be ministers or Chief Ministers. Our Constitution seems to have become flexible for politicians but remains rigid for ordinary citizens. If a convicted person can hold office, why deny this privilege to an insolent or a lunatic?

D.S. MATHUR, Ambala Cantt

Veerappan next?: The AIADMK Legislative Party’s unanimous resolution of “either Jayalalitha or nobody” was a clear case of political blackmail, indirectly threatening a violent agitation in the state. But should the state succumb to such tactics? All rhetoric about cleansing the system will remain hollow until we stop appeasing the bully and learn to respect the Constitution. What about a Veerappan as the next Chief Minister of some state?


Sack the Governor: The Governor didn’t act judiciously. She didn’t even bother to consult the President. The Governor, being a custodian of the Constitution, has miserably failed to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution and thus should be dismissed forthwith.


Unfit to rule?: We are told that under the law the Governor was perfectly within her rights as the Constitution does not debar convicted persons. Then how is it that Laloo Yadav was debarred from holding the Chief Minister’s gaddi on his being charged in court in one of the many corruption cases.

This one action of the Tamil Nadu Governor, an ex-judge of the Supreme Court to boot, has struck the last “nail in the Indian polity’s coffin”. We have proved correct Winston Churchill, who had warned P.M. Attlee: “Liberty is man’s birth-right. However to give reins of the government to the Congress at this juncture is to hand over the destiny of millions into the hands of the rescals, rogues and booters...”

Col. S.R. NANDA (retd.), Chandigarh


Objectionable comments

This refers to highly objectionable comments against the security forces by Humra Quarashi in the write-up “Attack on scribes: what about the common man?” (May 13) in which BSF jawans have been equated with militants. In a democratic set-up every person or group of persons has the right to protest against excesses committed even by the government. In this particular case the Home Ministry has already taken note of it and ordered investigation.

We are proud of our security forces who guard not only our international borders but also ensure internal security at the cost of their own lives and with their blood. It is a criminal act to mention them in the manner Humra Quaraishi has done.




A noble man of the Railways

Many years back while travelling by Shatabdi Express from New Delhi to Chandigarh I came across a pleasing experience. By my side was sitting a national of some European country. It was April 1 and the fares had increased by Rs 30. The train supervisor looked at my ticket and asked me that I had to pay the additional sum, which I did.

The foreigner was also asked to make a similar payment which he could not since he had no Indian currency with him. The supervisor did his duty by issuing him a receipt, saying that on reaching Chandigarh station he could reimburse the money since someone was to come to receive him there.

When I got down at Chandigarh, I searched out the supervisor and enquired if he had received his money. He replied, “Not yet but I will not mind losing a small sum as any unnecessary arguments with a foreigner would have created a bad impression about our country. It was nice to hear this from him.”

On reaching home I wrote a letter to The Tribune expressing my appreciation of the member of the railway staff whose name I did not know. The letter was published and I mailed a photocopy of it along with an appropriate covering letter to Mr Jafar Shrief, who was then the Railway Minister. There was no acknowledgement from him. I forgot about the whole thing.

A couple of years back as I was travelling by the Shatabdi, a member of the supervisory staff after finishing his work happened to come and occupy the seat next to me, which was vacant. I narrated to him what I had witnessed several years back. To my delight he told me that what the supervisor did was duly taken note of by the ministry and he was given a prize of Rs 200. I learnt from him that the person under reference was not on duty on the day.

Recently, to be exact on April 19, 2001, while travelling from New Delhi to Chandigarh by Shatabdi I ran into the person whom I had desired to meet again I instantly recognised him and reminded him about the very old incident. He recalled it and was honest enough to say that he had got back his Rs 30 from the foreigner. I said to him that I was told that he was given a prize of Rs 200 by the Railways. He smiled a bit and said that the prize money did not come to him as someone else put a claim and got the “reward”.

He did not complain about it and I saw no expression of ill-feeling on his face. A noble man of the Railways! I took care to note his identification this time. He is Mr Vinod Kumar Kaushik of the supervisory staff of Shatabdi Express.



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