Need to amend Commission of Inquiry Act

Once again, the Justice Liberhan Commission of Inquiry, probing the Babri Masjid demolition, has been granted extension till August 31. This commission got so many extensions in the last 15 years to complete the probe.

No doubt, its working was hampered due to some legal hurdles, but this is no excuse for too many extensions. An analysis of the working of such commissions, duly constituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, presents a grim scenario. There are instances when these were disbanded midway after the regime change (Justice Phukan Commission). Even if they are able to complete their task, their recommendations are not accepted by the government (Justice Srikrishna Commission). Former CJI Justice R.C. Lahoti aptly said that these commissions are a waste of time as their constitution is aimed at diverting the public attention from the contemporary alarming situation or event.

Early this year, the Supreme Court ruled that these commissions should not be headed by sitting High Court or Supreme Court judges. The judiciary is peeved because even in the case of timely completion of the probe, reports of certain commissions are gathering dust.

The need of the hour is to amend the Commission of Inquiry Act to incorporate a prescribed timeframe, with limited scope of extension, for a commission to complete its probe. These should not be allowed to become post-retirement hubs for judicial officers. Their recommendations should not be rejected on flimsy grounds and the grounds for rejection ought to be subjected to judicial review.

HEMANT KUMAR, Advocate (Punjab and Haryana High Court), Ambala City


FM’s claim on inflation

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s claim that inflation has fallen is not believable. The price of almost all essential commodities of daily use — wheat, pulses, edible oils and vegetables — have increased during the past fortnight.

Wheat prices in Punjab have firmed up by Rs 40-50 per quintal in the past two weeks. The Bharti Kisan Union general secretary is reported to have said that wheat prices might touch Rs 1000-1050 per quintal. This effectively refutes the Finance Minister’s claim.

Perhaps, the data relating to the calculation of inflation has been consciously manipulated to avoid payment of hefty installment of dearness allowance to Central Government employees.

S. B. SINGH, Jalandhar

BSNL breakdown

The editorial on the BSNL crisis (July 4) was timely. Shockingly, the persons who were responsible for putting off the fire in the Telephone Exchange building in Chandigarh, instead of doing their job effectively, themselves ran out for their own safety, leaving behind all those in the building on fire. It’s like the captain, deserting a sinking ship, instead of saving the helpless passengers.



The fire in Chandigarh’s BSNL office disrupted telecom services for many days. The public services in banks, railways, ATMs, PGI networking system, university etc too were paralysed. Even now, there is some problem like disruption of the BSNL internet facility. The BSNL authorities should take effective steps to streamline the system to ensure that the entire mobile and landline network work remain uninterrupted.

S. K. NAYAR, Chandigarh

Issue in question

I read the editorial, “On whose side is Lalu?” (July 13). It’s very common nowadays for politicians to do such things. This is a big question on everyone’s mind - on whose side are these politicians?

After coming to power, their motto is to settle their kith and kin in the best available positions. In the process, the most undeserving persons get the best at the cost of merit. Those who suffer the most are the honest and principled.


Political consensus

The proposal of consensus among all political parties in some crucial fields floated by Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal is commendable. There are many vital issues like the disastrous effect of supplying free power to farmers and the fast deteriorating water table. These will have to be kept above political considerations.

A joint all-party committee, aided by experts, should lay down a long-term policy on such crucial issues.


Neglected issue

India’s population is increasing at an alarming rate. No political party is paying any attention towards this. India should learn lessons from China where the population is under control. Still the government of China has passed a resolution to check the growth rate.

If the government and the political parties pay adequate attention to population explosion, something can be done to check the birth rate.




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