New Bill will make judges accountable

The Judges Inquiry Bill, 2006, will be tabled in the current session of Parliament. The Bill is, certainly, a step in the right direction.

It is common knowledge that all is not well within the judiciary. Apart from the higher judiciary, the tendency to misuse office is also rampant among the subordinate judicial officers. The judges do command people’s respect. However, due to the position they hold, the people are afraid of commenting on them. Thus, it would be wrong to grant life-long immunity to a person holding any particular office.

In a democratic set up, the ultimate sovereign authority lies with the people. Hence, every person — whether in the legislature, the executive or the judiciary — should be made accountable to this sovereign in letter and spirit.




The Bill’s objective is to bring transparency in the judiciary and make the Supreme Court and High Court judges accountable. In the JMM Bribery Case (1998), the Supreme Court Constitution Bench held that under Article 105 (2) of the Constitution, MPs enjoy immunity for freedom of speech and right to vote. Hence, the MPs who received bribes and voted cannot be prosecuted, but those who received bribes and did not vote could be subjected to criminal proceedings. Thus, the legislators were able to hijack justice.

The object of Article 105 is not to confer this kind of immunity on MPs. This was a clear diversion of the Supreme Court’s verdicts given earlier in DDA versus Skipper Construction Company and other decisions which were based on the doctrine of public accountability.

If the Bill is passed, it may enable legislators to put pressure on the judges while passing orders. It may curtail the independence of judges. It is necessary to find a way out so that no immunity is available either to the judges or the MPs. A constitutional amendment may be necessary in this regard.

S.C. UMMAT, Advocate, Chandigarh

Children disappointed

The closure of the Yadavindra Gardens, Pinjore, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Children’s Day (Nov 14) by Haryana’s Tourism Director was highly objectionable. The authorities should not have chosen that day for closing the Gardens. The repairs, if so urgent, could have been done a day earlier or the next day. Consequently, many children were prevented from visiting the Gardens on Children’s Day.

As the Administration Officer of a society running 14 educational institutes, I feel very bad about it. Clearly, the closure was against the spirit of Children’s Day.

AJAY SINGAL, Chandigarh

Jobs on contract

Despite higher qualifications and efficiency, contractual employees are the most harassed and neglected lot. Unlike regular employees, they enjoy no pay scale and allowances; they can be thrown out if they do not suit the whims of the management on the pretext of performance appraisal.

Recently, the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab ignored the case of contract staff while giving additional DA, interim relief and other allowances to regular employees. Does inflation not affect the contract employees? Contractual ETT teachers of Punjab recently got regularised following strong protests. Is the Punjab government encouraging these protests?

RANJANA, Chandigarh

Vocational teachers

In Punjab, it is appreciable that the government has started the process of recruitment of primary school and B.Ed teachers. Sometimes, the government boasts about the uplift of vocational education in schools at the secondary level. But most schools do not have vocational teachers. Thousands of youths, having technical degrees and diplomas, have no jobs. The government should help these youths also.

Vocational teachers at the secondary level in various streams like mechanical and electrical should be recruited. This will improve education in schools as also provide employment to the youth having technical degrees.

CHARANJIT NOHRA, Nohra (Patiala)

Sahara flight

I booked air ticket S-2111 in Sahara Airways from Delhi to Dibrugarh on November 8. However, the flight schedule was cancelled midway and it took me only to Guwahati. I was helpless. They provided me road conveyance from Guwahati to Dibrugarh. Thus, I completed the 4-hour air journey in 18 hours in addition to mental torture and harassment.

NAVJOT SINGH, Hoshiarpur

Dilapidated road

I would like to draw the Punjab government’s decision to the dilapidated condition of the 14-km road from Dhuri-Dohla Phatak to Chintanwala via Kaulseri in Sangrur district. This road is accident-prone.

Being a single road, it is very difficult to move freely on this road. The authorities concerned should look into this matter and take steps for road widening.

B.C. SINGLA, Dhuri (Sangrur)


Cheaper petrol is good news

The cut in petrol prices is most welcome. It has given great relief to common people. It will also check inflation. It is time the Centre gave limited autonomy to oil marketing companies to fix the prices of petrol and diesel periodically without reference to the government.

Except for kerosene and LPG, the politicians should be kept out of the pricing policy. If market forces are allowed to determine the prices of petrol and diesel, this will ensure timely revision without political parties playing vote bank politics and creating liquidity crisis for the petroleum marketing companies.

M.M. GURBAXANI, Bangalore




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