Monday, September 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Consensus on Article 356 is welcome

THE consensus at the Inter-State Council meeting on amending Article 356 of the Constitution to prevent its misuse s welcome. Over the years, successive governments at the Centre have been misusing this Article for narrow partisan ends and violating the spirit of the Constitution and our federal polity.

Most of the Sarkaria Commission’s recommendations on ensuring cordial Centre-State relations have not been implemented. It is a matter of great satisfaction that now the Centre has agreed to make use of Article 356 only as a “last resort” and not as an initial preference. If safeguards provided in the Supreme Court’s 1994 judgement are also incorporated, it would lead to the emergence of cooperative federalism.

However, much depends upon the attitude of the Governors and the type of role they would play in a given situation. They must not play into the hands of those who appointed them, not help in executing the Centre’s gameplans, but act as the constitutional heads of the respective state governments.



During Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister, Governors got a bad name and it was often said that Raj Bhawans have become Rajiv Bhawans. This should not happen now. How Mr Tapase, Governor of Haryana, had become a party to the game of toppling the Devi Lal government is known to everybody. We expect the reference “failure of constitutional machinery in a state” is not misused or misinterpreted to crush popularly elected governments in the states.

Prof K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Casinos: let’s learn from Nepal

During a recent trip to Nepal, I visited a couple of casinos in Kathmandu. I was rather surprised to note that the Nepalese government had banned the entry of its citizens into these places of gambling. They are now open to foreigners only.

My enquiries revealed that earlier the locals were permitted to visit casinos but their entry was banned only a few months ago. This aroused my curiosity and I talked to some locals to know the reason behind the ban. I was told that the government took the step in the wake of the rising number of cases of people ruining themselves in these casinos. A number of rich families virtually became paupers while several people committed suicide after losing heavily in casinos.

The Nepalese experience assumes significance when seen in the context of the move of certain state governments in this country to allow the opening of casinos here. There is definitely weight in the argument of those who have been opposing the opening of casinos on the ground that they would play havoc on society. The experience of Nepal should serve as an eye-opener for us.


Abolition of NPA

The Punjab government’s decision to abolish the non-practising allowance (NPA) of government doctors is welcome. I don’t know why the doctors are raising a hue and cry about it. The decision will not only help hard working and honest doctors but also help the general public. The people will no more suffer at the hands of quacks and unqualified physicians. The abolition of NPA will not affect the poor patients as the doctors have been allowed to do practice only after their duty hours.

Several states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have already allowed private practice by the doctors and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. Government Ayurvedic doctors have hailed the decision to allow private practice. In fact, all states should emulate this for improving the economy.

SHALINI GOYAL, Ferozepur Cantonment

Common calendar

In the era of super computers, when any event can be calculated much in advance, it is strange that the dates for Hindu festivals vary from state to state. As a result, the people have been facing problems. One finds offices are closed on different dates even within the state for the same festival.

It is suggested that the Hindus should also have a common Nanakshahi-type calendar, according to which a particular day should be fixed for a particular festival.

V.K. SHARMA, Shimla

Sharon’s visit

It is quite unfair on the part of leftists and other Opposition parties to criticise the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon. If India can welcome the Pope of Vatican (the most communal state in the world) and General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan (the rogue state of the world), there is no harm in welcoming Mr Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel as it has always endeavoured for friendly relations with our country.

S.K. DUA, Mandi Dabwali (Haryana)


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