Prevent malicious prosecution

Apropos of the news item “Departments told not to interfere in vigilance cases” (Jan 11), the purport of the instructions issued by the Chief Secretary is that the head of the departments should not stand in between the Vigilance Department and the person marked as victim by it.

The instructions run against the spirit of the legislation which provided for the prior sanction of the appointing authority for prosecution. The aim of the sanction is that the authority giving the sanction should be able to consider for itself the evidence before it comes to a conclusion that the prosecution in the circumstances be sanctioned or forbidden (AIR 1958 SC 124).

If every officer who performs his duty honestly as enjoined upon by the law is dubbed as dishonest and shielding the corrupt, the purpose of legislation will be forfeited and the reasonable protection provided by the law will be the first casualty. The appointing authorities will not be able to perform their duty objectively, honestly and sincerely.

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— Editor-in-Chief


The Chief Secretary, who is also Chief Vigilance Officer of the State, should re-examine his instructions whether these run against the spirit of legislation, particularly when the purpose of the instructions is that the appointing authorities should act like rubber stamps of the Vigilance Department, rather than performing their duty honestly as enjoined upon them by law.


Habit of borrowing

Apropos of I.M. Soni’s middle article “Generous borrowers” (December 30), I want to mention an incident in Mirza Ghalib’s life.

Because of his open-handedness the poet always remained in straitened circumstances. His pension was stopped. He failed a suit for its restoration and, in the hope of getting it, went on getting loans and got into deep debt. Some creditors filed a suit for the recovery of their money in the court of Mufti Sadruddin Aazurdah.

He appeared before him and said: Qarz kee peetey they mai aur samajhtey they ke haan/rang laaey gee hamaari faaqamasti ek din. (I used to take wine on credit and knew that my cheerfulness in adversity would land me in trouble.) The mufti smiled and paid the entire amount from his pocket.


Mounting cases

While addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of the Punjab and Haryana High Court the President of India, the Chief Justice and other speakers expressed concern over the mounting backlog of cases in the court. They also suggested as to how they shall be cleared.

Sometime back in case of Satbir Singh vs State of Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court instructed Haryana, Punjab and U.T. Chandigarh that if an issue is settled by the court in a case of an employee or a party the other employees need not approach the court again on the same point of law and facts. The judgement shall be implemented by the government across the board.

But it has been experienced that these orders of the court are not being followed. For instance, some of the departments of the Punjab government are denying the benefit accruing from the judgement of the Supreme Court of India in case of SLP No. 10098/1997 and Review Petition No. 1213/1999 State V/s Nirmal Singh in cases of identical facts and points of law. The aggrieved persons are, as such, forced to approach the court for justice. This way the number of court cases increases which can be avoided by implementing the orders properly.

T.L. SHARMA, Nangal Township

Speaker is right

You are right in holding that “Speaker is right” (January 10) in throwing those MPs out who demanded and got money for asking questions in Parliament. However, by way of exposition, I may add two small comments.

One, that the people are most happy over the “resolute and timely action’’, because any delay would have led the whole issue being caught in the cobweb of legal niceties with eventual no meaningful end result, as has happened in the past in countless number of cases!

Besides, on the specious plea of “parliamentary privileges’’, speaking jurisprudentially as well as constitutionally, ‘’privileges’’, in strict sense, are not ‘rights’, putting Parliament under a series of corresponding ‘’duties’’ to do or not to do something.

These are, at best, only a special species of “right’’ that may be called in an articulate sense some sorts of “exemptions’’ or “immunities’’, and that too as much as and to the extent the same are granted by Parliament itself.

Perforce, therefore, if Parliament in its wisdom decided to withdraw those privileges, as is evident in its act of expulsion of 11 MPs in the cash-for-query case, that should be the end of the matter.

Dr Virendra Kumar, UGC Emeritus Fellow in Law Panjab University, Chandigarh

WTO: wait and see

The Commerce Minister of India has welcomed the decision of WTO of phasing out of export subsidy on agricultural products by 2013, as an important step to protect India’s interests. Only time will tell its signifying consequences.

The governments of Haryana and Punjab must also ensure substantial increase and stabilisation in the price of all export oriented crops, which will boost their production.

Simultaneously, a network of processing and preservation units of export-oriented products should be created lest the farmers continue suffering due to outdated marketing system and faulty price policy.

J.L. DALAL, former Director, Agriculture, Haryana

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