Beware of false criminal cases

Your thought-provoking editorial “Criminals in the fray” (April 18) correctly points out that in an ideal world there should be no criminals at all: but since we don’t live in an ideal world, the challenge is to keep “criminals” out of our legislatures.

That a Bill for this purpose certainly “brooks no delay” is correct. But should this be “from the moment charges are framed by the court against them”? There are many instances where people who seek to stand for elections are “framed”, and made to look like criminals.

The reason why Members of Parliament have refused to pass a Bill disqualifying charge-sheeted candidates is not because they welcome the criminally inclined. Far from it: the political parties have a point of view which has to be accommodated. They say that: whenever the law provides for disqualification of a candidate to contest elections where a criminal court has taken cognisance of an offence involving moral turpitude six months prior to the election date — there would be a mad rush by many bloody-minded members of rival political parties to “fix” would be candidates on criminal charges; and things being what they are, there will be some magistrate somewhere ready to oblige!

But this is not to say that there should not be a law barring the criminally-inclined from contesting. In my view the law should provide for some additional safeguard against false cases: by providing (for instance) for disqualification not only when the court takes cognisance of an offence involving moral turpitude by framing a charge, but only when the jurisdictional High Court adds its imprimatur by refusing to stay the initiation of a criminal proceeding at election time: the falsity of criminal cases at election time must be left to the established High Courts in the country.

Fali S. Nariman, Delhi


Assam’s tragedy

Assam is going through a crisis and most of us are unaware or insensitive to the tragedy. Assam, once a large and rich state, is now bleeding, its economy is down in the dumps and problems like terrorism, annual floods and unemployment are limiting its progress.

With extortion being a major part of ULFA’s income, joining ULFA has become a quick way of making money. This often deludes unemployed youth.

A group of students in 1979 got together to form ULFA and decided an armed struggle was the only way to rinse the political system in Assam.

They had targeted bootleggers, corrupt officials and anti-social elements. They were vocal against Bangladesh infiltrations whereas now the same ULFA is headquartered in Bangladesh and the initial agendas have been replaced with individual self-centric gains, clubbed with pleasing the ISI

Categorically, ULFA has denied possibility of any negotiations with the Government of India and under such a situation forceful and crushing action from our forces appears to be the only solution on the cards, especially considering the fact that the masses do not support the ULFA anymore.


Cricketers’ fitness

Commitment and lack of adequate preparation is the buzz these days, as far as India’s performance at the cricket World Cup is concerned. I personally feel that lack of fitness is also one of the major contributors. If we take a close look at the Australians, they are all very well built and tall. They look like professional bodybuilders whereas our players look either malnourished or obese.

All players in the current team should be banned from playing international cricket with immediate effect. A fresh team needs to be picked up after nationwide trials and this time along with cricketing talents, the aspirant should possess a good physique also. They should be able to play power-packed cricket.



BSNL blues 

BSNL is advertising itself as the biggest telephone company in India and luring customers with its low call rates. However, both the mobile and telephone services leave much to be desired.

The type one broadband modems have been in short supply and one has to wait for a long time to get the connection installed.

The LCD telephone instruments are faulty. I learnt that 2,500 LCD telephones that had been purchased had to be resent to the company to be modified as they were faulty!

Cell One mobile signals are the weakest, and the downtime is the highest. One cannot simply make a call in the evenings due to traffic congestion. The customer helpline is a “ring-ring, no-hearing” service and should rank as the world’s poorest possible service.

Everyone buys the products desiring to save some hard-earned money but one pays through one’s nose while making efforts to get faults rectified.

As for the customer service, one keeps on requesting but can never get anything done. One’s hard-earned money goes down the drain in calls that connect and disconnect at will, especially during roaming.

What a pity, there is no one who can take the BSNL to task for giving misleading advertisements and deficient services!

ANIL SARWAL, Chandigarh



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