Strikes do a lot of damage, achieve little

Apropos of Rajindar Sachar’s article “Misunderstanding over right to strike: Central Government is the villain of the piece” (Dec 22) Mr Sachar is right that the judgement regarding right to strike is contextual and is applicable only to the government employees.

Workers are free to resort to strike as a tool for collective bargaining under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. As early as in 1962, the Supreme Court in the All India Bank Employees Association v. National Industrial Tribunal (AIR 1962 SC 171) observed that there is no fundamental right to strike under the Indian Constitution. However, private workmen are free to resort to strike since it is their statutory right under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Let us not indulge ourselves about the legal position on strikes. It is a known fact that a strike does more damage and achieves little. The manner of strikes should be critically analysed. Instead of crying hoarse, the trade unions must learn to protest silently without boycotting their duties, thus learning from western trade unions. Such mode of protest would be acceptable to all and in the larger public interest.

Rajiv Bhalla, Chandigarh



Conflicting views

Conflicting views are being presented about Indian representation in the Security Council.

On Dec. 19 some newspapers contained a front page news item that India appears ready to accept Security Council seat without veto in the first instance and then lobby to achieve equal status in the council with permanent five veto-wielding nations. But same papers on Dec. 22 carried PM Dr Manmohan Singh’s reply to Mr Yashwant Sinha in the Rajya Sabha that India never believed in discrimination in the Security Council on veto rights between existing members and new members.

Fact is that it is difficult to pre-judge the things that are to happen in future. Power politics reigns supreme at global level where justice and concept of equality are honoured more in breach than in observance. So different voices within the government must stop. Our government must not dither on veto. Rather, it must assert to convince and prevail upon the great powers, particularly US and China, to support our stand lest we should miss the bus.

K. Lall, Yamunanagar

An appeal

We the senior citizens of Chandigarh appeal to clubs, hotels and restaurants of Chandigarh and Panchkula and fellow citizens not to have any celebrations on the eve of New Year as a mark of respect to thousands of our countrymen who lost their lives and limbs in the tsunami devastation. They should instead donate liberally for relief and rehabilitation of those rendered homeless.

S.S. Kakar, K.S. Thakur, O.P. Sobti and others, Chandigarh 

Why edit it?

The Dharam Prachar Committee’s decision to have portions of Kavi Santokh Singh’s Suraj Prakash that are thought to be in contradiction with our current understanding of Gurmat removed and incorporated into an appendix is disingenuous at best. (Dec. 7).

The Suraj Prakash may indeed offend our sensibility but is nonetheless an important source document that reflects the thinking and mindset of an eminent Sikh from another time. And that is valuable. Surely, Prof Kirpal Singh knows this. Why edit it? Why not just add a cautionary foreword and keep the integrity of the original intact?

What are we trying to do here? Present only sanitised and authorised versions of our texts? Suraj Prakash is hagiography but what is to stop us from proceeding further and start expunging religious texts?

Ravinder Singh Taneja, Westerville (Ohio)

Toll tax exemption

Exemption of toll tax to defence personnel is a step in the right direction and needs to be appreciated.

The orders of exemption should apply to all defence personnel i.e. military or defence civilians, whether in active service or retired. The government needs to make clarification so that defence personnel are not harassed by the toll tax collecting staff.

Onkar Singh Riar, USA

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