Wednesday, March 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Inconsistencies in contempt cases

The Supreme Court’s recent pronouncement of one day’s symbolic imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2,000 in a contempt case against Arundhati Roy has raised more questions than it answers. The quality of justice has suffered from an inconsistent approach by the Supreme Court in this field of law.

In 1997 a Chandigarh-based Professor (D.C. Saxena) was imprisoned for six months for making derogatory remarks against a former Chief Justice of India, Dr A.S. Anand. Mr B.C. Misra, the then Chairman of the Bar Council of India, was held guilty under the contempt law. In 2001 an advocate, K. Sundaram, faced suspended imprisonment for using threatening language against the then Chief Justice of India in the age controversy matter.

On the other hand, there were others similarly placed who were either ignored or got away with just having been reprimanded or admonished. Former U.P. Chief Minister Kalyan Singh invited contempt, perhaps in the year 1990, but was reprimanded and asked to sit in the court room till the rising of the court.

Dr Kiran Bedi, the then Inspector-General of Prisons (Tihar jail), invited contempt when she failed to submit an undertrial’s medical report to the Supreme Court. But she was set at liberty by the Supreme Court because by then she had got the Magsaysay Award.

Former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani had called the judges “rotten eggs” and made many more utterances which amounted to contempt of court, but curiously enough the Supreme Court chose to ignore those utterances. And the latest contemner, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, escaped contempt proceedings for his contemptuous utterances during his recent election speeches in Punjab.


The common man in the street is unable to understand such differential approach by the Supreme Court when all of them seem to be similarly placed in committing contempt of court.

In England the contempt law has hardly been used for more than seven decades. Speaking on the use of this law, Lord Denning observed: “Let me say at once that we will never use this jurisdiction as a means to uphold our own dignity....”

The government should streamline this outdated piece of legislation to protect the right of freedom of speech and expression of every citizen, as enshrined in our Constitution.


Road accidents

Many lives can be saved if immediate first aid is administered to the victims of road accidents. Ironically, accident sites attract instant crowds but the victim who needs immediate attention is ignored due to the fear of getting entangled in a police case. Life saving precious minutes are wasted waiting for the police to arrive and do the needful.

The IMA recently organised a seminar on "Road side accidents and trauma: the role of the medical profession and the police" where focus was on the police and doctors in reducing the stress and trauma after a road accident. Such seminars are a step in the right direction, keeping in view that India has the dubious distinction of topping the list of countries as far as road accidents are concerned. A seminar should not be a platform to make only politically correct statements but good intentions should be implemented by making changes at the ground level.

The role of the police and the medical profession come at a later stage in case of a road accident. The immediate help can be rendered by passersby. It is imperative to organise workshops and seminars on the rate of the public in road accidents where focus should be to educate and encourage a hesitant public to come forward with a helping hand at the crucial moment. Is the fear of getting involved in a police case a reality? Is the good samaritan who takes the accident victim to the hospital harassed by the police?

Answers to such questions should be addressed on priority and the police should undertake a confidence-building exercise by organising seminars to present the real picture and assure the masses of no harassment so that more and more people can come forward to help the unfortunate accident victims.


Value addition

This refers to the editorial “Freedom for farmers” (March 2). Besides diversification, encouraging value-addition from the derivatives of paddy is important to cut down the cost of production of rice and thereby make our rice cost competitive in the international market. At present more than four dozen value-added products are produced from derivatives of paddy in a small country like Japan, which produces only 2 per cent of the total world production of paddy.

This is really unfortunate that in India, which is the second largest producer of paddy after China with 23 per cent share of the total world production, the concept of value-edition is totally missing.

The production of value-added products only can cut down the cost of production of rice and thereby relieve us from the burden of mounting foodgrain stocks by ensuring exports of our rice at internationally competitive rates.

A. R. SHARMA, Dhuri

Wastage of space

Many a time certain articles are published in your newspaper which are neither interesting nor do these serve any productive purpose. These are mere personal experiences of high-ups —most of the times irrelevant as well as without any logical purpose. Like an IPS officer boasting of his skills for tackling honey-bees prior to the visit of the then Prime Minister. The same officer gives various names of houses/homes: garibkhana, daulatkhana, kothi, makan. A serving judge recalls his days spent with his grandson. So many others and now “The mystery remains”.

I fail to understand what purpose do these articles serve. Nothing. Mere wastage of space for the newspaper and wastage of time (of course valuable) of subscribers.

These writers should rather address the genuine concerns/problems of the people or should write something which brings a positive change in the minds of the people, thereby promoting the sense of belongingness to the nation. The process will be a big boost for the development of the country.


PCMS selections

The selection to the PCMS has not been conducted for the last few years resulting in a large number of vacancies. This has led to the deficiency and deterioration of health services due to lack of doctors. On the other hand, a large number of doctors are facing unemployment and leaving the country.


Siropa & CM

When Capt Amarinder Singh, the new CM, visited the Golden Temple, he was not given a “siropa” by the sevadars of the Golden Temple. It clearly means that the sevadars are under the direct control of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the man who had been the cause of the defeat of the Akali Dal has been refused a siropa just on political grounds.


Corruption in trains

Recently, I travelled by Purva Express from Delhi to Patna. There were three to five sleepers in all the 15 sleeper coaches where the passengers had not turned up. This is a usual occurrence in all trains. After checking the train, the TTEs allotted the berths by charging Rs 200 from each showing a total disregard to the wait-listed passengers. One TTE could make about Rs 3,000 in one night.


Postage stamps

Sticking a postage stamp with saliva is an age-old habit despite being unhygeinic.

Instead of remaining glued to the same old glue, the postal department will do well to find a better substitute like the adhesive used in stickers.

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

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |