Wednesday, December 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Supreme Court verdict on lawyers’ strike

A full bench of the Supreme Court has declared that a strike by lawyers is prejudicial to the interests of administration of justice and if a litigant suffers due to the strike, the advocate concerned will have to pay the damages.

The court has also held that the lawyer will be personally liable to pay the cost to the court in addition to the damages to the litigant, if both suffer due to the strike. It is a judgement based on practical utility, reasonableness and serves the need of the country. In fact, such a judgement should have come long ago.

In other walks of life also where people pay for services to public servants and they go on strike as a matter of right, causing inconvenience to the consumer/master, the same principle should apply. The concept of right to strike should be consigned to the flames.

There should be a provision for administrative machinery automatically coming into operation wherever there are grievances of one group against the other. Such administrative machinery must pass its judgement after hearing both parties in the shortest duration, i.e, within five to 10 days, but the right to strike must come to an end. We have misused it mostly in the post-Independence era because of wrong patronage adopted by political aspirants in our country. Most of the social ills prevalent in this country are because of the lack of reconciliation machinery for immediate relief.

S.R. MITTAL, Ludhiana


SGPC & politics

Whatever may be the real motive and object of Mr Mal Singh Ghuman and 20 other politically oriented gentlemen in giving the slogan that the SGPC be headed by a non-political person, the idea has intrinsic worth. Many political thinkers and Sikh intellectuals have approved it.

In the recent election of the SGPC President there have been allegations and counter-allegations by political contestants of the alleged illegal interference by the other, though each one of them was equally guilty. This has been an annual phenomenon which has been noticed for the last more than two decades. The result is that politics has been dominating this unique religious institution and exploiting it. The institution today has become more an arena for political battles than for any religious activities. As a consequence, the management of even gurdwaras, which is the sole purpose of its formation, has suffered. The propagation of religious principles is not visible. Sikh youth are becoming drug addict. Though Gurbani is recited in all the gurdwaras, yet there is no “parchar” of the Sikh doctrine anywhere.

To expect any constructive reform from the present set-up of the SGPC seems impossible. In fact, many of its office-holders are themselves involved in one scam or the other. They are more worried about managing political patronage to emerge clean from the allegations against them than to save the institution from the corrupting influence of politics. Something basic has to be done to bring in reforms.

Law should be amended to debar politicians from entering the institution. The elections should not be held on political lines nor the political symbols allotted to any candidate. The MPs and MLAs should not be allowed to become its members, either by election or by nomination. The President of the SGPC should not hold the office for more than two or three terms. It is necessary to prevent the emergence of vested interests.

The changes suggested above are tentative. The main purpose is to start a public debate on ways and means to improve the working of the SGPC.

G.S. GREWAL Chandigarh

Anti-corruption drive

Capt Amarinder Singh's anti-corruption campaign has been derailed by revenue officials who decided to dig out details of properties owned by senior vigilance officials. The Chief Minister had to intervene to defuse the situation. Thereafter vigilance raids on revenue officials were stopped. The revenue and vigilance offices in Amritsar are in the same building. The D.C. office is only 20 yards away and the SSP office is also closeby.

The under-hand money charged for the deed registration of land starts at the rate of Rs 1,000 per lakh. Hundreds of registries are done daily. The rates have not changed with the change of government.

JOGINDER SINGH SAINI, GND University, Amritsar


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