Saturday, September 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Restoring the dignity of the judiciary

I endorse the views of Mr Hari Jaisingh in his front page editorial “A question of judicial dharma” (September 1).

The PPSC scam has brought forth many unpleasant facets of society. Lamentably, the image of the judiciary has nosedived because of the acts of those who are responsible for maintaining its dignity. The dignity of the institutions has to be maintained at all costs irrespective of the pulls and pressures of society. Withdrawal of work from three sitting Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court first and then its restoration bodes ill for the judiciary. The Indian Republic cannot afford to bear such a kind of judicial anarchy verging on judicial catastrophe.

Surely, the judges have failed to judge themselves. Judicial process which is at the core of the constitutional scheme cannot be permitted to be flouted in this manner. Justice J.S. Verma, former Chief Justice of India, has rightly remarked: “Public confidence is the foundation of judiciary’s strength and credibility; it has neither the strength of sword nor that of the purse. Self-restraint and exercise of powers for the people’s welfare are essential to retain the public confidence.”

People look forward to get justice in courts and not adjournment after adjournment. It is hoped that the judiciary will do some introspection and the judges are receptive to We, The People so that the halo of glory once again returns to the judiciary.


In a recent case, Justice R.P. Sethi of the Supreme Court observed as follows: “In a country like ours where people consider judges only second to God, efforts be made to strengthen that belief of the common man... For the faults of a few, the glorious and glittering name of the judiciary cannot be permitted to be made ugly.” In fact, this precisely is the mandate of the judicial dharma.

ANSHUL JOY, Chandigarh

PINNING HOPES: This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s front-page editorial “A question of judicial dharma” (September 1). Since Independence one had heard about monetary scandals by politicians, running into crores of rupees, but not about the massive money-for-job rackets, as happened in the Punjab Public Service Commission recently. True, one has never heard or seen any scandal-monger or scamster getting exemplary punishment. Once a politician is elected or gets fresh mandate from the electorate, all his sins of omission and commission are washed away. Perhaps political power covers up all their misdeeds and taint of corruption signifying that power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Unemployment is the most pressing problem of this country. For an educated youth, having low merit, it is very difficult to secure a job. Those having high merit could hope to get a suitable job through the State Public Service Commissions or State Subordinate Services Selection Boards or the Union Public Service Commission. Now the scam-tainted Punjab Public Service Commission has dashed the hopes of genuine and meritorious job-seekers to the ground. The recent happenings in the PPSC have lowered the reputation of Public Service Commissions or Subordinate Services Selection Boards in the public eye. If not impossible, certainly it is very difficult to restore the people’s faith in them. The Tribune Editor rightly holds: “One wrong step may give sanctity to a wrong act but the damage to the institutional reputation in the process will be irreparable.”

For transparency and accountability, the scamsters ought to be punished — without any rivalry or political vendetta — to restore the people’s faith and confidence in the institution of the Public Service Commission. In the prevailing circumstances, one can only pin hope on the country’s judiciary, when scams and scandals have become so rampant.


DEFINE IT AFRESH: This has reference to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s editorial (September 1). We, the people of India, have adopted the present Constitution with a clear declaration that we shall give to our people transparency in each and every activity of the government. This includes transparency in justice and the enforcement of judicial ethics and accountability. What is contempt of court ‘must be defined afresh so that this term could get a suitable place in the minds of the people living in the present democratic set-up.

Every one should be made accountable to the people of this country who are the real masters and every one whosoever is on the ‘pay roll’ must be defined as a public servant and is answerable to the people of this country. People may be allowed to file complaints against the judges which should be heard by a special Bench of the higher courts, though we can ban such discussions in the media and elsewhere.



IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Mr Hari Jaisingh’s front-page editorial “A question of judicial dharma” (September 1) is timely and in the right direction. He seems to be anxious to root out corruption from all the three wings including the judiciary. The credit for exposing the recruitment scandal goes to the Punjab Chief Minister. He must be trying his best but he obviously has limitations. Mr Hari Jaisingh and The Tribune have kept the issue alive. Otherwise the “Operation Clean Up” would have died a slow death.

The PPSC scandal is not a new phenomenon. It has continued for decades together. People recruited earlier are now in a position to change the course of investigation and inquiries because they themselves are in position of power due to unexposed recruitment scams. The Chief Minister will be helpless. Corruption is as much in vogue now as was during the Akali regime, especially in the lower rungs of the police and revenue departments. Even at the district level, the administration has slowed down in taking action against corrupt subordinates.

The Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court withdrew work from some High Court judges. Work has been withdrawn from subordinate judges tainted by the scandal. The confidence of the public was revived in the judicial system. Now the work has been restored to the High Court judges. If work is to be restored to the subordinate judges also, it should be done at the earliest as work is suffering in their absence. If the rule is to keep only those persons as judges with a clean slate, why the promotion of some judicial officers has been withheld since long?

Availing the services of retired bureaucrats, judicial officers and others as advised by the Chief Justice of India, Justice B.N. Kirpal, at Hoshiarpur will not be in the best interest of society. The retired people cannot stand the stress. If people’s confidence is to be restored in the administration including judicial administration, drastic measures are needed.


One part of the story

I thank Mr Varinder Walia for his report “Son of cobbler among 63 sacked”. It would have been better had he also given the background of officers and their rich sons and daughters. This is only one part of the story. I request Mr Walia to get to the root of the selection and enlighten the valuable readers of The Tribune.

G.K. JINDAL, Jalalabad


Objective analysis

KUDOS to Mr Hari Jaisingh for an objective analysis of the prevailing political scenario in India and making a true and very bold statement in his article, “Looking beyond poll Ordinance” (August 30). He is very right in stating that “The central point before the nation today is of curbing criminalisation of polity and upgrading the quality of democracy.”

We need leaders who can commit themselves to the service of the innocent, ignorant, illiterate and the silent majority in India. The leaders must follow the policy of nation before self or party. A message to those who are unable to understand and follow this great and sacred principle of human governance is that they are committing a great sin. Hence the earlier they quit the leadership the better it is for them and their families, because the divine court is not only watching our deeds but also computing them to provide justice to all.

Prof D.R.C. BAKHETIA, Ludhiana


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