All tainted ministers must go

In his front-page editorial When a criminal can sit in the Union Cabinet (Nov 30), H.K. Dua has aptly delineated the grisly political scenario in the country. Unfortunately, our legislatures have been benighted by venal politicians. The political outfits have plummeted to the level of mafia indulging in all kinds of malfeasance.

The lacuna can be easily removed by amending the Constitution. The single largest party should have the right to form government in the case of a hung House. At the same time, the amendment must explicitly debar any member from other than that of the largest party to be encoded in a ministerial chair.

The members who defect to other parties after the hustings should also be made ineligible to hold any post in the Council of Ministers for five years or so. Meanwhile, the media and public-spirited individuals should wage a battle against all tainted ministers, criminalisation of politics, corruption and other political sins.

GEETANJALI KORPAL, Advocate, Amritsar



Scope of freedom

Please refer to your news-item Bedi’s name recommended for SC Judge (Nov 28). As per your correspondent’s biodata of Mr Harjit Singh Bedi, he only says that he is swift in the “speedy disposal of cases”. Otherwise, Mr Bedi has been a government pleader. For a good judge of the Supreme Court, a judge must have experience as a lawyer who knows his constitutional and international law thoroughly. Governments are by nature dictatorial and tyrannical. Without enlarging the scope of liberty and freedom of the individual, democracy is meaningless.

Article 356 of the Constitution is also a nightmare for states where national minorities form governments as in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. The Article is not only an enigma but a draconian law in any constitutional, democratic, and federal system in the world. It is not known to the genuine federal constitutions of the US, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Australia. It is a hangover of the 1935 Government of India Act. The British didn’t trust the loyalty of Indian’s to the British rule. Similarly in 1950 the men who wrote the present Constitution didn’t trust the Sikhs, Muslims and the Christians of the north-east.

Next is the growing scope of human rights, the world over, especially in the Western democracies. As such if elevated to the Supreme Court, Mr Bedi will be good with the broom and sweep the backlog of cases clean, but will be conservative where the liberty of the individual is concerned, or match Australian, Canadian and US judges on the scope of the federal system or interference and greed of the Union to poach on the State List.

But sometimes conservative judges elevated to the Supreme Court in the United States have turned liberal and enlarged the scope of freedom of the individual and reined in the greed of the federal government to usurp the powers of the states.

SIMRANJIT SINGH MANN, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)

This is reprehensible

There were reports in the press that at a recent Panjab University function, a hired master of ceremonies mispronounced the Vice-President’s name and described the Punjab Governor as a presiding officer.

In the past few years, there have been very many instances of academic institutions outsourcing the task of dais management to the so-called professionals. These announcers have no feel for the solemnity of the occasion. At their best they are vacuous. I am told they demand and get heavy fees.

It is reprehensible that academic institutions squander public money on such personalities. Nobody expects our VIPs or professors to speak English as if they were participating in a TV commercial. Why cannot professors do their own compering.

Surely, the money shelled out to professional announcers can  be better utilised.

RAKESH SETH, Chandigarh

A law unto itself

The editorial Farmers will be happy: Punjab’s new land policy promises justice (Nov 20) rightly observed that what hurts them deeply is the government’s role in furthering, at their cost, the interests of private players. This is happening in Haryana too and the agency is the Town and Country Planning Department.

The law provides a 30-metre wide green belt along G.T. Road, Panipat, but wherever the colonisers’ interests are to be promoted, the department is making it up to 100 metre wide simply by revising the existing development plan of a controlled area. This is tantamount to the measures for implementing a law being more stringent than the law itself.

While addressing the conference of CBI and state anti-corruption bureau officers on November 17, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deprecated this type of discretionary control in regulatory systems. But then, the Department of Town and Country Planning has virtually become a law unto itself.

I.D. KAUSHIK, IAS (retd), Panipat



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