SC ruling a warning to politicians

I read with great interest H. K. Dua’s article “9th Schedule route plugged: SC saves the Constitution from politicians” (Jan 15). The founding fathers drafted the Constitution after due deliberations in the Constituent Assembly. It is fine, but flexible.

A flexible Constitution is suitable for a people trained to a high degree of perfection. Despite continued degeneration in the polity since 1969, the Supreme Court and the Election Commission have been stout and steady torchbearers of the Constitution’s sanctity. But for the two institutions, India would have been plunged into a sea of morass long back.

Whatever the Ninth Schedule’s genesis, this factor has been exploited more for mischief than for any utilitarian purpose. It has acted like Alladin’s lamp in the hands of debased politicians for whom vote bank politics counts most. Whenever altruistic, people-friendly pronouncements emanated out of the Supreme Court, they have used this Brahmasthra to veto them via this guillotine.

The Keshevanand Bharti judgment of 1973 was historic as it drew an impregnable Laxman Rekha around the core area of fundamental rights. It signaled to the Executive — thus far and no further. The Ninth Schedule was a subterfuge to emasculate the prized dictums of the Supreme Court. The nine-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, former CJI, has brought relief and succour for the sustenance of well meaning dictums.

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



The politicians, over the decades, instead of being selfless saviours of their voters, have been indulging in vote bank politics and fooling the voters. They have found ample ways to launder the public money into their private kitties and have created vast infrastructure to throw their weight among the helpless voters. They have also been misusing the majority to tinker with the sanctity of the Constitution with impunity.

By passing the judgement on the Ninth Schedule, the Supreme Court has rightly shut down the schematic laundering system being adopted by the lawmakers who had willy-nilly acquired the stature of lawbreakers in addition to their role of lawmakers. They have not bothered to draw guidelines in the absence of which a sort of hegemony has been created to block judicial review, as rightly pointed by Mr Dua.

I agree with Mr Dua that politicians cannot be trusted. I hope wisdom will prevail on them and they will stop encroaching on the powers of the judiciary which has taken up an active role to correct the fault lines created by the politicians.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana


Mr Dua’s article is an eye-opener. Putting laws in the Ninth Schedule is like giving them sanctity through the backdoor to achieve selfish ends and unscrupulous goals. The politicians are only interested in their vote banks. National interest has never been on their agenda.

It is indeed surprising how successive governments at the Centre have included 284 laws in the Ninth Schedule even though Nehru managed to confine it at 13. The Tamil Nadu government’s campaign in favour of including the quota bill in the Ninth Schedule is self-explanatory. The political class does not recognise the rights of the general category; they are bent on promoting mediocrity instead of meritocracy. Mr Dua has issued a timely warning against the possible abuse of the Constitution by the politicians. I would describe this ruling as one of the finest by Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, our CJI till recently.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana


In Keshavanand Bharti vs the State of Kerala (1973), the provision of Article 31C, “no law containing a declaration that is for giving effect to such a policy shall be called in question in any court on the ground that it does not give effect to that policy” was held by the Supreme Court to be invalid. This verdict asserts the independence of the judiciary and its power to review all laws passed by Parliament.

In the recent judgement, the Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament has no absolute immunity to frame laws violating the basic structure of the Constitution and then to place them in the Ninth Schedule to protect these from judicial scrutiny. The nine-judge Constitution Bench has said, “This court, being bound of all provisions of the Constitution and also by the basic structure doctrine, has necessarily to scrutinise Ninth Schedule laws.” Thus, this Schedule is not impregnable.

The laws placed within its precincts are subject to judicial review.

G.S. KALRA, Chandigarh

Raise interest to help elders

The Senior Citizens’ Saving Scheme (SCSS-2004) and the LIC Virisht Bima Yojna carry 9 per cent interest. This was fixed when the bank interest rates were around 6 per cent. However, now some banks have started paying 8.75 per cent interest compounded quarterly which in effect comes to 9.2 per cent yearly. This has nullified the concession given to senior citizens in the above schemes. Their interest should be raised in the ensuing Union Budget.

Secondly, the IT exemption limit of Rs 1,85,000 yearly to senior citizens should be raised to at least Rs 2,30,000 to bring it on a par with the exemptions enjoyed before the last Budget. And finally, the PPF serves the same purpose for the non-employed as the EPF is for the employed. The interest rates for both should be the same.

Col MANMOHAN SINGH (retd), Panchkula



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