Saturday, June 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Enriching the quality of our democratic polity

Your editorial Thank you, My Lords! (June 2), acclaiming the decision of the Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, is a legitimate response to your editorial ‘No, My Lord!’ (May 5) that brought to light the disturbing dimension of the Single Bench decision of the same court.

The Tribune, through its distinguished Editor, has truly played the precipitant role of a jurist whose onerous duty is to keep a close watch on the instrumentality of justice and clear it of aberrations that invariably creep in the process of adjudication of conflicting interests — in the instant case, the interest of the individual ‘to free and fair trial’ on the one hand and the interest of the collectivity to know what is happening around on the other.

It is true, indeed, that the administration of evaluating and balancing of conflicting interests through the techniques of neutralisation is both delicate and demanding. But the free flow of pure, simple, and unadulterated information would rather be an asset in the discharge of this delicate duty of balancing.

The interest of the individual and that of the collectivity need not be construed antithetically: the interest of the collectivity does include the interest of the individual in a large measure, if not in its entirety.

The central concern about which The Tribune agitated was that the shroud of secrecy put around the instant revelations made by the investigating agencies into multi-crore recruitment scam would hamper the free flow of information.


This would obviously violate the fundamental freedom of the Press to disseminate information. However, it was not merely this ‘academic’ objection on grounds of constitutionality; beneath it also lay the matter of still more critical concern than it meets the eye! The real lurking danger entertained was that the shroud of secrecy was bound to pollute the natural course of investigation by the blatant use of manipulative power politics.

Through repeated disclosures, backed by the solid documentary evidence, which, on the very face of it, do not admit of diverse conclusions, The Tribune has made itself endearing to the people by meaningfully rousing their expectations.

It has genuinely proved to be providing “the right ‘input’ into public awareness that would ultimately make a difference to the quality of our democratic polity.” Happily, we now hear no more of such cliches as unwarranted ‘trial by the Press’.

I am sure, there cannot be, at least in the murky multi-crore scam of ‘selections’ made on the basis of the so-called ‘merit’ by an institution (the Commission) in the holy name of ‘Public Service’!

The ‘No, My Lord!’ line of thinking has been duly confirmed by the larger bench of the court by holding in essence that ‘transparency’ is in no way inimical “to free and fair trail under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.” Emanation of the “right signal from the court,” as The Tribune pithily puts it, “can go a long way in loosening the stranglehold of the corrupt and their nexus with power and wealth.”

Such a determined approach is bound to strengthen peoples’ resolve to fight the menace of seeping corruption in public life. The encouraging feature is that the initiative taken by the Press has hitherto generated a sort of ‘institutionalised’ momentum.

The whole thrust is timely. The momentum needs to be maintained. People abusing public offices to serve their own personal ends need to be given condign punishment.

Dr. Virendra Kumar,

Former Professor of Law,

Panjab University, Chandigarh


Arduous Task: Thank you, My Lords! is another front-page editorial by Mr Hari Jaisingh, which keeps every reader up-to-date with the enlightened role of the judiciary, contribution by the alert media, people's right to information and the need for transparency, all of which create a proper atmosphere to fight the monster of corruption.

The key word of this editorial, relevant to the present situation, is: “The momentum must be maintained. The task ahead is not easy”.

All right thinking persons, the concerned institutions and forums in the public and private sector, including the Common Cause Forum which has spearheaded the cause before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, need to give a serious thought for not only maintaining the present momentum towards the ill-effects of this evil but to bring an early end to it in all its shapes and manifestations.

The Tribune Editor has also rightly observed that “secrecy does not and should not pay”. If this fact can be properly analysed and realised, it should call for an urgent need for the constitutional amendment to the so-called Official Secrets Act, or other government instructions relating to maintaining of secrecy in its working which are more often misused than serve the intended purpose.

To achieve these objectives, there should be a proper and immediate enactment to ensure right to information to general public and transparency in the working of the government.

The problem is not only confined to Punjab, it is a national phenomenon though it may vary in its form, scale or amplitude. It therefore needs a solution at the national level so that the momentum is not lost.

D.R. SOOD, Panchkula


The innocent must be protected

In the editorial Thank you, My Lords!, it has been rightly stated that an alert media tuned to public interest can make a difference. Here the media must know that the innocent and meritorious officers are also a part of public and the media must also help those who are presently facing harassment and huge mentle torture. The media must not go away with the rising sun only. Its duty is to see that the innocent and deserving officers must not get punished in the process.

The so-called anti-corruption drive by the present government, god knows how long it will last, will ruin 3,446 families, out of which nearly 3,000 families will be innocent. What will the media, power hungry politicians and the judiciary will get from this? Everyone knows that the reprocess of entry into the service cannot yield the same results by any means.

The media must come forward to defend the innocent. I know that The Tribune has the courage to look deeply into the matter and will come forward to save deserving officers as it is unfair to look every officer as a tainted one.

Malvinder Dhillon, Amritsar


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 |