Wednesday, July 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



TN episode: think of citizens & police reforms

Your editorial on Ms Jayalalitha regarding the arrest of Mr M. Karunanidhi and the two Union Ministers has rightly underlined the need for a statutory cover to protect the people from criminal misdeeds of the police and politicians in power.

It appears, however, that the Union Government would like to close this chapter as soon as the two ministers are released from their judicial custody because political leaders have really no interest in protecting or promoting the rule of law.

Indira Gandhi declared the Emergency to protect her personal interests and patronised political leaders like Mr Bansi Lal on whose directions the state police had picked up hundreds of well known patriots who languished in jails for many months because the courts expressed complete helplessness in protecting the citizens’ fundamental right to life and liberty.

It is well known that India has been rated as one of the most corrupt countries in the world and an increasing number of criminals are getting elected. Some of them also succeed in becoming ministers.

The two arrested central ministers had indeed obstructed the police officials from discharging their duties after they reached the residence of Mr Karunanidhi at midnight as was shown on television. They had gone there not to discharge any official duty of the Union Government, but as relatives and followers of Mr Karunanidhi to prevent the police from arresting the former Chief Minister.

Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers often observe while defending their decisions on criminal cases against their personal and political opponents that they had been booked in accordance with the law and the law would take its own course.

Therefore, there is apparently no reason why the media or the political leaders who have suffered this abuse of police power in Tamil Nadu should raise a hue and cry in this case and seek political intervention of the central government and not allow the law to take its own course. They should challenge, if necessary, the misconduct or alleged illegal action of the police in court.

The Tamil Nadu police in fact deserves complements of the ordinary citizen for dealing with a former Chief Minister and the two Union Ministers like any other citizen in accordance with the law. The Law Commission report has mentioned that about 60 per cent of the arrests made by the police are either unnecessary or unjustified.

Nevertheless, no action has been taken by the Union Government or the state governments to enact any law in the last 20 years to check this abuse of police power which ordinary citizens have often suffered because over the years the state police has been reduced to the level of the private army of a Chief Minister as was observed by Mr B.K. Nehru, a former Governor, in The Tribune in December, 2000.

Thus a majority of the Chief Ministers have misused the state police to frame false cases against their personal and political opponents who would not be able to get justice from law courts during their life time because the lowest court takes at least five years to give any decision in such cases.

Ms Jayalalitha’s action has highlighted this problem which haunts a majority of the citizens of this country. Therefore, the Press should seize this opportunity to advise the central government to undertake necessary legal reforms in the police and the judicial system to protect the rule of law and the liberty and dignity of all citizens.

R. S. MALIK, IAS (retd), Panchkula


“Saral”: where is it?

The income tax form called “Saral” generally remains out of stock at most of the income tax offices even though it was introduced long back. Instead, the same old cumbersome form is offered for use.

Can the department authorise some vendors to sell xerox copies of the “Saral” form at the gates of the income tax offices?

Incidentally, a new innocent looking column has been introduced in the income tax forms printed in the last one year, asking for details of “all” bank accounts that one holds. You need only one bank account number if the idea is to prevent refund orders falling into wrong hands. Obviously, the department has some other reasons in mind.

I am not sure whether the Income Tax Department is entitled to seek this information from everybody. But it will surely frighten even honest tax payers and they may shy away from filing IT returns. So much for the government’s efforts to widen the tax net!

And if the depositors perceive that the Income Tax Department is eyeing their bank accounts, they may shy away from banks as well resulting in a drop in bank deposits.

The government, therefore, should delete this newly introduced not-so-innocent column from “Saral” and other income tax forms.

Wg Cdr C. L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar


An appeal

Haryana has gained world renown for its land management initiatives. There are many dimensions to the urban development framework that appear to either get obscured or relegated to the background. A glaring case in point is the issue of urban governance.

The Centre for Urban Development Studies in Haryana located at HIPA, Gurgaon, is interested in getting views, comments and critical observations from readers of The Tribune on the myriad dimensions.

Based on readers’ inputs we intend to delineate “Urban Development Prospects and Challenges in the New Millennium in Haryana” and launch an e-mail based lively discussion forum. Please send in your views preferably to [email protected] or by post to Dr J. George, Hudco Chair Professor, HIPA complex, 76, Sector 18, Gurgaon - 122 001

Dr J. GEORGE, Delhi

Research for whom?

A huge amount is spent annually on research in the country. But top class research findings are sent for publication in foreign journal. Indian citizens do not get any benefit of this huge expenditure.

According to the present practice, promotions and other monetary benefits are given to research workers on the basis of their articles published in foreign journals.

It is a high class corruption of Indian money used for personal benefits rather than the same to be used for the benefit of the whole country or the state where a research institute is situated.

R. D. GOEL, Karnal

PU result

Panjab University declared the result of B.A. III on June 24 through gazettes made available to book-sellers in cities. Rural students have to go to nearby cities to know their results and pay Rs 20 to 30 per result. Can’t the universities publish their results in newspapers?


Cancer hospital

Mohan Dai Cancer Hospital and Research Institute in Ludhiana has no ramp in its four-storey building. Imagine the fate of patients in case of a fire or a natural calamity. How should one shift patients from the top to the ground floor if power failure brings the sole lift to a halt?

A resident of LUDHIANA


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