Restoring the freedom of Press

Apropos of the front-page editorial, It’s censorship (April 15), H.K. Dua is an intrepid journalist who has always respected and upheld the freedom of the people in a democratic country like India. Freedom of the Press is one that we, the people of the sub-continent, cherish most. During the dark days of Indira Gandhi’s experiment of imposing a dictatorship, steam-rolling the Constitution and ruling by Emergency powers, Mr Dua played a notable role by defying her diktat. Subsequently, Mr Dua has spoken out bravely and fearlessly against the 1984 killings of the Sikhs by the Congress and the same inhuman crime perpetrated on the Muslims in Gujarat.

We, the people of South Asia, abhor dictatorships — whether of the executive, the legislature, the judiciary or even of the Press. It has thrilled me no end, amidst a very busy election campaign to see Mr Dua taking up cudgels against a dictatorial judicial system. Under our Constitution, the judiciary is not responsible to anyone. A judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court can only be impeached in Parliament by two-thirds of the members supporting such a motion. This is well nigh impossible and has never taken place in our Parliament.



Moreover, the judiciary has been given immense powers by the Constitution including judicial review. The executive has legislated draconian laws against the freedom of the individual, like DIR, TADA, COFEPOSA and now POTA. The judiciary has invariably ratified these extra-constitutional powers the executive has usurped.

Mr Dua has exposed the malfeasance of the judiciary. Nothing in our democracy is an icon and every pillar of the state must be exposed to healthy and constructive criticism.


Former MP (Lok Sabha),

Camp: Sangrur


In 1981, the late H. M. Seervai, noted jurist, wrote to the then Chief Justice of India about the “steep fall” in the standards of Supreme Court judgements. Twenty years later, the former Chief Justice of India S. P. Bharucha said that over 20 per cent judges are corrupt, dishonest and do not enjoy the people’s faith. Sadly, no remedial measures have been taken by successive Chief Justices. This shows how deep is the rot in the judiciary.

If this is not checked, this will spell doom for the judiciary and the country. The people have reposed faith and trust in the courts and therefore the judges have to act as trustees.

B. S. MAKOL, Chandigarh


It was a pleasure to note that now a PRO is available in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. I fully endorse H.K. Dua’s view that a PRO in any Punjab and Haryana organisation is supposed to be of help to the people and such help is earnestly required in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on many administrative fronts concerning the public.

There has been uncertainty on the hearing of cases. Confusion prevails on the listing of regular appeals. Such appeals, fixed as “Taken Up” on any particular day, invariably remain unheard of for months together, subjecting litigants to hardship. Why cannot the clearance of cases in different categories be anticipated and notified and a firm date of hearing announced?

What were the categories of 2,900 cases which each judge was said to have disposed of yearly in the Punjab and Haryana High Court? Of these, how many are property-related regular appeals of senior citizens awaiting their turn for the last 25 years? The people rightly expect the Press to report on the happenings in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and no one can muzzle the freedom of Press.

V.K. Kaura, Panchkula


This has reference to H.K. Dua’s front-page editorial Appeal to the Supreme Court (April 21). It was an unprecedented situation when barring the Chief Justice and one Judge, all the remaining 25 Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court were on a mass casual leave for a day, whatever the reason. It was really disturbing.

It amounts to bringing disgrace to the institution. The Judges should have resolved the crisis among themselves through discussion. Staying away from work for a day could be interpreted as going on strike. This has a positive side as well. The judges will now be able to know the feelings and sentiments of other sections of society better and realise why they resort to mass casual leave, strike, etc, as a last resort.



UTI scheme for children

After the termination of the Children's Gift Growth Fund ’86 Scheme, the UTI has refunded the dues to the investors. On the account payee cheques, the child’s name represented by his/her guardian and other details are mentioned. But the State Bank of Patiala is not accepting these cheques on the ground that the amount cannot be deposited in the guardian’s account. It is forcing them to open a new account in the child’s name mentioned on the cheque.

Why can the amount not be deposited in the account of the guardian duly printed on the cheques? As lakhs of guardians will receive the refund within this month, opening of new accounts by the children will not only impose a burden on the banks but also block the money of the guardians. The authorities could resolve this problem by taking a declaration from the guardian or adding the child’s name to the existing account of his/her guardian.

Urgent action is needed as these cheques should be deposited early. The decision en should be brought to the notice of the general public through newspapers.



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