Wednesday, April 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



PSCs: stemming the rot

This refers to the excellent article by Mr Anupam Gupta on the PPSC (April 1) titled “Public Service Commissions: stemming the rot”. As usual, Mr Gupta displays exemplary literary and semantic skills while laying out his ideas and provisions of the Constitution. In fact, he has laid to rest certain reservations about the legality and appropriateness of dismissal of the highly-tainted present chairman of the PPSC, revealing through his analysis of the Constitution that there is no need for the long-drawn out process of impeachment, instead there being the need only of a summary inquiry by the Supreme Court on the “misbehaviour” of the Chairman and subsequent action, as deemed fit, by the President of India.

The article is both timely and merits attention, partly due to the fact of the apparent rot that has stemmed in the selection process in the premier state services during the tenure of the present Chairman, and partly due to the frustration of the educated youth who have not been able to garner a position in the premier services due to extraneous reasons which were always generally known, but only now confirmed by the arrest of the Chairman.

It is indicative of the sign of the times that the arrested Chairman has sought to protect his position by claiming that he is a “constitutional authority”, and that the arrest is bad in law. No doubt, the Chairman and members of the Public Service Commissions are constitutional authorities, but, as very rightly pointed out by Mr Anupam Gupta, they must be above board, like Caesar’s wife, and in particular, the “most sensitive standard” is expected from the Chairman. Such has, woefully, not been the case.


While the present Chief Minister has termed the degree of corruption of the Chairman as “exemplary”, he is to be credited with locking horns with a constitutional authority for rooting out corruption. This episode would serve to highlight the point that this Chairman was able to hoodwink thousands of meritorious but gullible candidates for various government posts (whether it be PCS, DSP, or lower but equally attractive posts in the government), and the results of these selections over the period of his Chairmanship would best speak for themselves. It was common gossip that PCS and DSP posts were “selling” for Rs 35-40 lakh. Let a high court judge call for the records of the PPSC and examine how the persons recruited from, let us say, 1997 onwards, fared in their actual exams. I suspect, as do many, that the persons at present in the PCS (Exec) and DSP rank, are not otherwise capable of passing these highly competitive exams on their own merit. Just as the results of the PCS (Judicial) are released by the PPSC in detail, no results of the selected candidates in the PCS (Exec) are known to the public.

It is hoped that necessary action will be taken at the earliest, to restore the confidence of the thousands of meritorious and deserving candidates of Punjab in the selection procedure of the PPSC. I feel that suo motu action ought to have been initiated by the Governor, Punjab, or by the high court.

MINA KUMAR, Amritsar

Corruption commission

This refers to the news item “Further remand for Ravi Sidhu” (April 4). The PPSC chief, now in the vigilance net, complains that he is “not being allowed to sleep”. How strange! Perhaps he has forgotten the countless sleepless nights he gave to the deserving candidates by rejecting them only because they could not pay tonnes of bribe money to him. He not only was himself corrupt but also lured the public into corruption. He left no stone unturned to turn the public service commission into a public corruption commission.

Keeping in view the terrific level of corruption, the government should cancel forthwith all selections made recently in a tearing hurry and reward the foxy Sidhu with lifetime imprisonment with hard labour for which he has qualified himself and nothing less than that will be his come-uppance.

Dr C. S. MANN, Una

Reviving militancy?

This refers to two news items, “Reviving militancy in Punjab” and “ISI plans blasts in Punjab” (April 4, 5), by Mr Rajeev Sharma. I would not have taken notice of these two news items in the ordinary course of time. I strongly object as they malign the Sikhs and are not only malicious in nature but highly motivated. The country is already in the grip of the worst communal killings we have seen in recent years. I think these two news reports are aimed, as they say, to give the dog a bad name and then hang it.

Mr Sharma claims that he has gained access to these reports from the security agencies. If that is so I must say that the secret services are leaking like a sieve. Earlier, a top secret letter of Air Marshal Sekhon was made to leak from the confidential safes of the Government of India. This brought an immediate end to a brilliant career of a very gallant officer. Now these highly imaginative and highly provocative news reports are leaked when the Sikh jathas were about to visit their sacred shrines in Pakistan. The timing for these leaks could not have come at a better time!

The author of this report says, I quote, “Pakistan propaganda aimed at forging Sikh-Muslim unity was quite discernible during the recent visit of Sikh jathas to Pakistan.” What is wrong with this? Would the author and India’s intelligence agencies continue to divide Sikhs and Muslims? Can’t there be harmony between the two in a secular state? The author goes on to say the “focus on speeches by the Pakistan leaders was on the historical links between Sikhs and Muslims” Again, Mr Editor, what is wrong with this? Should the stress in a civilised society be on animosity and enmity between Sikhs and Muslims?

The author alleges that the creation of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee “has been a subtle move”. Do the Indian intelligence agencies and the author disapprove of this? Does it not give a liberal image to an Islamic country in giving recognition to a minority, a step not taken in any other Islamic country? Does the majority in the country feel that such a recognition should not be given to Sikhs? Would I as a Sikh find it odd if a similar recognition was given to the Hindus in Bangladesh, where they are under persecution?

Then the author goes on to call us Sikhs “gullible” Are we so naive? We have been insulted. You owe us an unconditional apology, to say the least. The author further pours salts into our wounds by saying “private jathas has also provided an effective channel of communication between Pakistan-based militants and their accomplices in India.” Who are their accomplices in India? Why has not the Indian state taken action against them under the draconian and inhuman law POTA just passed by the two Houses of parliament? Can’t we as Sikhs visit our holy places without doubts being cast on our loyalty? I as a Sikh member of Parliament, as a protest, went to see and worship in my holy shrines in Pakistan on April 11, 2002. I will break the blockade of the Indian state put for the first time after 1947.

I do not think any purpose was served by printing these two reports, except maligning the good name of the Sikhs. They are motivated and highly exaggerated. I respect the independence of the Press and endorse your right to print such news. But at the same time for the good name of the Sikhs I reserve the right to protest.



Bus timings

The new timetable of buses on the Jalandhar-Pathankot route has put the commuters and other passengers to a lot of inconvenience. No bus from Jalandhar is available for Tanda, Dasuya, Mukerian and Pathankot to Jalandhar after 5 pm. resulting in a large number of people stranded at Jalandhar.

The government servants after closure of offices at 5 pm find no buses back home. A similar awkward situation is faced by women, children and businessmen who after completing their work at Jalandhar wish to reach their respective destinations well in time in the evening. Punjab Roadways buses carry passengers up to Bhogpur and Bullowal only. The Transport Secretary of Punjab is, therefore, requested to frame the timetable in such a way as to allow private and Punjab Roadways buses to run alternatively throughout the day upto Pathankot to Jalandhar and at least upto 7.00 pm to mitigate the hardship faced by the passengers.



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