Cabinet form of govt under strain

In the United Kingdom, the parliamentary system of government grew on sound and healthy conventions, traditions and customs. The system originating from the Curia Regis, the Privy Council, is a highly responsible one. Every minister is individually responsible for all his public acts and the entire Cabinet is collectively responsible for its acts of omission and commission.

A Cabinet, in a coalition, is a fragile band. Even then, it is supposed to function as a well knit, disciplined team. We have adopted the British system based on the Westminster model. The Union Government has some apparent flaws, especially that the Prime Minister should be a member of the Lok Sabha, to be felt and seen as a true representative of the people.

He is not the leader of any sect, but he leads the nation and should, by stature, be a national leader. Dr Manmohan Singh, who is highly respected, would be well advised to enter the Lok Sabha, to maintain the spirit of the Constitution. A tradition needs to be sustained.

Secondly, Dr Singh should discipline his team members and ensure that they do not fight their personal battles in the streets. They should not look like disjointed horses tied to a carriage, out to wreck the same.

V.I.K. SHARMA, IAS (retd), Jalandhar City



Of PSEB blues

The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) levies tariff as per the sanctioned load or meter reading whichever is more. The load is calculated on the basis of each and every switch and appliances installed in the premises. Surprisingly, for the last two months, despite a daily power cut of six to eight hours, the consumer is forced to pay as per the sanctioned load with absolutely no power consumption. The consumers are made to suffer due to the callous attitude of the PSEB staff.

The PSEB does not bother to tackle the problems of wasteful expenditure, surplus manpower and power theft but makes all kinds of excuses to penalise its consumers. This is most unfortunate.

Dr S.B. LAL MITTAL, Chairman, Citizen Welfare Committee, Rajpura (Patiala)

Stark revelation

Mr Vijai Singh Mankotia’s letter “Parliamentary system deteriorating” (Dec 27) is a stark revelation of the pained heart of a ruling party MLA of Himachal Pradesh who is worried about the problems of the masses but is helpless to do much. The reference to the people’s “sub-human conditions, their being deprived of the basic necessities…” is, in my opinion, sincere and honest.

However, what has been left unsaid is that if our Parliament and State Assemblies are not functioning to the satisfaction of the people, who is actually responsible?

No doubt, all the representatives of the people — in the ruling and in the Opposition — have to work together to focus on the real issues of the masses in a parliamentary democracy. Nonetheless, the onus for any so-called deterioration as has been referred to in the said letter falls on the treasury benches. The Congress cannot run away from this responsibility for not setting the tone right in Parliament.

Dr SUMAN SACHAR, Lecturer, GGD SD College, Baijnath (HP)

Toll tax

Till Dec 20, 2004, ex-servicemen were not charged toll tax crossing the Dera Bassi bridge in their personal cars. Now suddenly toll tax is being collected from them. This genuine tax concession for ex-servicemen should not be withdrawn arbitrarily.

Col I. J. SINGH (retd), Panchkula

Eugenics merits deeper study

The concept of gotra makes us aware of our lineage not merely for the knowledge about our ancestors per se. According to Ceril D. Darlington, a pioneer of genetics, the ancient Hindu societies had perhaps a fair knowledge of the ill-effects of inbreeding. To avoid their transmission to the next generations, they imposed a religious sanction against marriages between close cousins.

Eugenics, the study of human genetics, reveals that this helped in weeding out and diluting the effects of transfer of genetically linked diseases from society. Fundamentally scientific in approach, this concept later got so steeped in antiquity that its basic purpose got obscured from the masses.

Darlington contrasts this practice with the lack of it in certain other societies where hereditary diseases like haemophilia are transmitted from one generation to another as a result of social acceptance and/or permission of inbreeding. The glaring examples are those of the British and the Russian royal families where haemophilia is said to be inherent.

This aspect of eugenics merits deeper study from molecular geneticists studying the evolution of genes.

Dr VIVEK KHANNA, Dept of Microbiology, Panjab University, Chandigarh


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