We must learn from Australia, Switzerland

I was surprised to read a report that in Australia, 40,000 voters were fined 20 Australian dollars each for not casting their votes during the last federal elections. Every eligible and enrolled adult must use the right to franchise in federal, provincial and local elections, according to an Australian law enacted 80 years back.

There was another encouraging report from Switzerland where some people’s representatives were recalled for dereliction of duty and betrayal of the confidence reposed by the electorate.

Agreed that in our country ‘compulsive voting’ and ‘recall’, if introduced, would not do much good because of massive illiteracy and indolence. But surely, these reforms will sensitise both the rulers and the ruled. Criminalisation of politics should be fought tooth and nail.



Reform, not abolish

This has reference to the editorial on State Administrative Tribunals (SATs). I agree with the view that SATs did come to the rescue of the innocent employees, but have hardly contributed to providing quick and inexpensive justice. The SATs and the governments are equally responsible for this. The SATs, instead of deciding the cases in 3-4 months time by listening to the parties directly, adopted the court procedures and thus have become additional courts.

The governments have contributed to the mess in that while they advise the public to go in for out-of-the-court settlement of their cases, they have themselves failed to follow the advice and prolong litigation on matters of little consequence. They lose most cases because generally they just want courts to stamp the decisions that the executive should have taken in a routine way but for the tendency to evade responsibility.

Reform, not abolition, of SATs is the need of the hour. The Madhya Pradesh government has complicated matters by abolishing the SAT without making alternative arrangements.

L.R. SHARMA, Solan 

B.Ed recognition

Reports in some Punjabi and Hindi newspapers suggest that the Punjab government is not giving recognition to the B.Ed courses of Kashmir University and Jammu University on the ground that these courses are not in conformity with the provisions of the NCTE Act, 1993.

The provisions of this Act extend to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir as the State Assembly has not yet ratified it. But Punjab’s DPI (Schools) has given recognition to the courses of these universities. As most students in Punjab are confused, the Punjab government should clarify on B.Ed courses presently in vogue in these universities.

RAKESH KUMAR MEELU, Chandpur Rurki, (Balachaur)

Today’s Ravana

In the letter “Why single out Ravana?” (Oct 21), the writer has rightly highlighted the unfair treatment meted out to Ravana when there are bigger Ravanas emerging every year. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have a contest (we are used to various kinds of contests these days) every year, adequately ahead of Dussehra, to elect a “Ravana of the Year” by public opinion poll under the aegis of the Ministry concerned and declare “National Ravana of the Year”?

This Ravana should have the privilege of getting his/her effigy burnt on the following Dussehra. This will act as some deterrent for the evildoers and give the real Ravana a well-deserved rest after millenniums of repeated punishment for his mistake which he was forced to commit.

Lt-Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali

Laughing it away

On reading Nirupama Dutt’s piece “Laughing link” (Nov 4), I was reminded of an otherwise ever-smiling colleague who, soon after his elevation to the post of Principal, developed a stern face, perhaps because of “administrative” reasons, and was never seen laughing heartily.

Soon he developed a potbelly and a few other ailments that one often gets, as bonus, with such posts. On some health freak’s advice, he joined a nearby laughing club that used to hold loud laughter-workouts during early morning walks. As the luck would have it, he, being out of laughing practice for long, got a slip-disc during his very first attempt to laugh loudly!

BALVINDER, Principal, Govt College for Boys Sector 11, Chandigarh

Shimla gazetteer

I wish to draw the attention of the Himachal Pradesh government to my appeal of April 4, 2003 addressed to the Chief Minister and a similar request to the previous government through the Assembly Speaker. My appeal is yet to be heard.

The first gazetteer of Shimla District was brought out in February, 1986. The printer, M/s Goel Printing Press, Middle Bazar, Shimla, consigned 1,000 printed copies of this Gazetteer with the Printing and Stationary Department along with a printing bill for Rs 28,000. In March, 1986, the Stationary Department passed the bill for Rs 22,000 for payment to the printer. But this has not yet been paid till date.

S.L. SHARMA, Nahan (HP)

Focus on growth

The Reserve Bank of India has rightly revised the growth forecast downwards to around 6 per cent. A further reduction in the inflation rate from the projected 6.5 per cent to around 5 per cent, without adversely affecting growth, is eminently desirable.

The RBI’s encouraging message in raising the rapo rate by 0.25 per cent and the overall credit policy is that more credit should go to industry and agriculture.

R.N. LAKHOTIA, New Delhi


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