Compensation must for the innocent

When an innocent person is arrested and then goes through the grinding process of prosecution, there can be no justification for not granting him compensation (Editorial, Jailed innocence). Presently, there is no specific and efficacious law under which such persons can get relief. There is no dearth of cases where innocent people are arrested and prosecuted. There must be a provision for awarding compensation to the accused who is ultimately acquitted.

Already a provision for compensation finds place in the Code of Criminal Procedure, but this is to award compensation to the complainant when an accused is convicted and sentenced. On these lines, why can there not be a provision to compensate the accused who earns acquittal after a long drawn legal battle?

The basis for compensation can be the period for which the person remained behind bars and the long years spent in litigation and attending dates. The absence of the accused on one date results in the forfeiture of bail bonds and issuance of non-bailable warrants against him.

Frivolousness of the complaint, the basis for initiation of such proceedings, must jack up the amount of compensation. Such persons should get instant justice at the time of their acquittal and should not be thrown at the mercy of the general common law to seek redressal of their grievances.


Advocate, Punjab and Haryana

High Court, Chandigarh


Maya on Gandhi

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati should not have accused Gandhiji of fomenting casteism. Gandhiji did what he could for the uplift of the Dalits and integrating them with the rest of the Hindus on an equal footing. Hinduism was dearer to him than life but so long as Hindu society considered the Dalits untouchables and inferior to the rest of the people, he considered it an insult to call himself a Hindu.

Gandhi dined in Dalit colonies and cleansed their latrines. How many leaders have done it? Gandhi changed most Hindus’ mindset towards the depressed classes.

V. P. MEHTA, Chandigarh


It is not desirable to draw comparisons. To accuse Gandhiji of dividing the country on caste lines is unfair. It is a travesty of truth. Gandhiji was the apostle of truth and non-violence. He called the downtrodden and the oppressed Harijans as the sons of God.

He always tried for the uplift of the poor and the depressed. The independent country of his dream was the land where the lowly of the lowliest would feel that it was their country in which they had say in matters of governance. Mayawati’s accusation is unfortunate.

G. R. KALRA, Chandigarh

Mid-day meal

The mid-day meal scheme is beset with hiccups. The Centre and the states are not taking timely steps to make the programme effective. The material supplied is infested with rodents and insects rendering it unfit for human consumption. That is why, the school children fall sick after consuming the substandard meal.

The teachers, keep themselves busy in preparing the mid-day meal and thus neglect their main job — teaching. Moreover, the schools don’t have the infrastructure needed for kitchens. Raw hands and unhygienic conditions compound the problems further.

During the late Fifties and early Sixties, milk powder supplied by the US was given to the students. The government can opt for milk powder scheme which is safe and feasible. Stipends, free books and uniforms are also good incentives to attract children to schools and check the dropout rate.


Make it effective

I read the news about the Union Cabinet having approved of the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill, 2005. Over 9,000 cases pending in various high courts will be settled fast. The Armed Forces Tribunal should be headed by the Judge Advocate-General of the Army, Air Force and Navy. He should be assisted by a High Court Judge to deal with civil offences committed by the servicemen under Section 69 of the Act.

The Army, Navy and Air Force Act should be suitably amended and the Tribunal should function on the lines of the Central Administrative Tribunal.

B. R. PARUTHI, Chandigarh

Nirmal Gram Yojna

The saga of success of the Nirmal Gram Yojna in Panipat district has won accolades from national leaders and dignitaries from abroad, the latest being the Prince of Orange, Netherlands, who is also the Chairman of the United Nation Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (Nov 2).

I would suggest to the state government that the ADC Panipat, who is in charge of the project, should be given accelerated appointment as DC. His junior officers should also be given career benefit. This will act as a force multiplier and motivate all other officials in the state to perform better during World Sanitation Year 2008.

B. B. SHARMA, Advocate, Panipat


Trees not being cut for books

There is an erroneous impression among some sections that forests are being cut to make textbooks and that fewer textbooks will help the environment. As the Secretary-General of the Indian Paper Manufacturers’ Association, I would like to dispel misgivings on this issue.

No forests are being cut to make textbooks. The paper industry in India has adopted the system of social forestry. Under this, the industry provides seedlings, fast breeding clones, fertiliser and extension services to marginal farmers to enable them to derive economic benefit out of their degraded land.

The farmers have the responsibility of protecting the trees which are harvested upon maturity and sold at market price to the paper mills. The rotational planting pattern provides green cover to the otherwise arid land. It is a myth that forest trees are cut to make paper in the country.

Also, the bamboo grown in the north-east is abundant and purposely allocated to two paper mills in the public sector because of their geographical location. Clearing and disposal of bamboo clumps is a necessity and commonly adopted as an essential silviculture practice.




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