Haryana House should recall its resolution

The Haryana Legislative Assembly’s resolution for a separate Haryana High Court stretches one’s credulity and amazement at the lack of practical knowledge on its part. But for very strenuous efforts made in 1966 by the Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyers, the Centre had decided that if there were to be separate High Courts, Chandigarh’s jurisdiction will be given to the Delhi High Court.

Ultimately, it was the realisation of both Punjab and Haryana governments that so long as Chandigarh’s future was not decided, the jurisdiction both on Punjab and Haryana Governments would vest with the Delhi High Court — an outside territorial institution — that made them agree to a common High Court, and which has continued since then with full satisfaction to all.

The suggestion that the 60:40 quota of the High Court Judges has not been followed is misinformation of the quota statutory requirement and no one has and can break it. May be, because of the large number of vacancies at any point of time, there may be existing vacancies both in the Punjab and Haryana within that quota. But Punjab has never filled up Haryana’s quota.

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Another distortion is the vague allegation that lawyers have not been able to give leadership to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar. The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association has had series of eminent lawyers of Haryana as its presidents and office bearers. The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana has had presidents for longer period from Haryana lawyers than from Punjab lawyers.

There is no logical reason for the sudden Haryana Assembly resolution. The reference to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal seems pointless. If it seems to suggest that the SYL dispute would have been decided by the Haryana High Court to its advantage, it is scandalous to the judiciary. This has two very basic infirmities. One, it attributes the lack of objectivity and impartiality to judges of the Haryana High Court which I consider is a scandalous suggestion. But if the same argument is to be accepted, then, why is it assumed that the Punjab High Court will not then decide in favour of Punjab? Both these assumptions are unflattering to the State Assembly’s thinking.

The reality is that if there are separate High Courts, this dispute will not be decided by either of the High Courts but will be decided by the Delhi High Court because it alone will have jurisdiction over the decisions of both the Punjab and Haryana governments situated in Chandigarh.

I feel that the Bar throughout Punjab and Haryana should take this matter seriously and make the Haryana Assembly withdraw its resolution if it wants to avoid a very serious loss to the whole of the Bar in both states.

Justice RAJINDAR SACHAR (retd), New Delhi

Improve Amritsar city first

Amritsar’s suburban area (Sultanwind) is under acquisition. It is to be developed as a tourist complex though the Heritage City of Amritsar is crying out for repairs and beautification. Money is to be spent on turning rich agricultural land into concrete under the banner of a new “Heritage Complex”. What about the original Heritage City of Amritsar?

Amritsar is Punjab’s first city of tourism. Since it houses the Harmandir Sahib, it is visited by lakhs of people every week. Tourists from all over the world brave the narrow, congested, dirty streets to get to the place of worship. The city’s heritage sites, roads and sewerage are in disrepair because the government does not have funds for its upkeep. Yet the government has the money to acquire fertile land outside the city and deprive farmers, mostly ex-servicemen, of their holdings.

What is the “heritage” of the colony going to be? The acquisition of agricultural land for frivolous construction is a money game set up by a nexus of politicians, contractors, officials and land sharks. Punjab is being torn apart in the name of development. The government should first give the Holy City of Amritsar the dignity and care it deserves.

AMRITA SINGH, Chandigarh

Subsidise power

The employees of power utilities in Haryana get subsidised power. In Uttar Pradesh, this facility is extended to both the UP State Electricity Board employees and pensioners. However, pensioners of the Haryana State Electricity Board have been denied this facility. The Chairman of Power Utilities should provide subsidised power to the pensioners on the pattern of the UPSEB.

B.D. AILWADI, Panipat

BSNL cell phones

The BSNL has allowed all government servants to get a phone connection for Rs 100 a month. Whereas the government pensioners have been denied this privilege. Why pursue this bias when a government pensioner is like a government servant? It will be in the fitness of things to extend this facility to the government pensioners too.

K.M. LAL, Chandigarh


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