L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Judiciary can’t claim immunity from RTI

The editorial “Power to question: Let RTI cover judiciary too” (May 1) rightly questions the fate of democracy if the judiciary refuses to share information with the people under the Right to Information Act. Bringing the judiciary into the RTI’s ambit will check and improve its administrative functioning as also ensure a democratic and people-centric governance.

During the Emergency, Indira Gandhi superseded three seniormost judges and appointed a junior judge as the Chief Justice of India. Then, the Chief Justice asked the Bar Association to file a case. In 1984, a case was filed to bar the executive to appoint judges of the higher judiciary.

The Supreme Court gave a judgement vesting the powers of appointment with a collegium consisting of the Chief Justice and four senior judges. The judiciary is the only institution where the entire process of appointment and promotion of the judges is kept confidential. This is how the judiciary has bitten off more than it can chew.

UMED SINGH GULIA, Advocate, Gohana


Aid for Myanmar

It is indeed commendable that India is first to help out the victims of cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. India has once again proved that it is the most friendly nation in the neighbourhood and it cares for peaceful existence and well being of humanity in general. Myanmar has also responded to India’s gesture by allowing its planes to reach out the people of Myanmar, when it has refused the American aid to land on its territory.

It is, however, peculiar to note that China has not come up with any individual aid to Myanmar, though it might be helping through the UN. After all China has been benefited by the natural gas resources of Myanmar, when Myanmar bypassed India to sell its gas to China.

RAHUL JAIN, Ambala Cantonment

Pitfalls of IAS

In his article, “Bloated babudom” (May 9), Rup Narayan Das has rightly observed that the method of selection into the civil services is faulty. It is a process of elimination rather than selection. An aspirant waits for over one year for his final result. Moreover, there is a huge variation in the marks obtained by a candidate in successive attempts thereby making the civil services examination a lottery or a matter of chance.

Moreover, I have seen many civil services aspirants talking of making big bucks on entering the services. The motivation is corruption and not public service. Politicians have a stranglehold over the so-called steel frame of India. So, they are reluctant to reform the civil services as such a step would alter the quid pro quo arrangement between the neta and the babu.


Pampering the lawbreakers

According to a report in The Tribune (May 9), several international flights in Punjab were diverted due to fires resulting from the burning of wheat stubble in areas close to Rajasansi International Airport, Amritsar. Every farmer knows that burning wheat and rice stubble is illegal. Even otherwise, by burning stubble, farmers are raising the ground temperature, causing severe air pollution and destroying the nutrients in the soil. Surprisingly, there is no fear of the government and the law.

According to another report in The Tribune, every second person in Punjab owns a mobile phone. The state’s per capita share of automobiles is also the highest in India. All stores in Punjab, big and small, are doing roaring business. Yet, the VAT receipts are awfully low compared with the fiscally more responsible Haryana.

Clearly, there is something wrong with the government. We don’t want to collect taxes and we don’t want to enforce discipline. We are just pampering the lawbreakers and we want to get the Centre’s power of taxation transferred to the state!



Fee hike justified

The fee hike by the IITs has evoked mixed reactions. The yawning gap between the demand for funds and availability to keep these quality institutions in prime shape can be met only by pumping additional funds.

The government spends about Rs 750 crore annually to maintain the IITs and a further allocation may not be feasible.

The banks are liberal in giving loans to IIT students to pursue their education. Many students from the upper income brackets can afford the proposed fee hike. It is agreed that the poor and meritorious students should not be priced out by the fee hike. The solution lies in giving them suitable scholarships and soft loans. This procedure may enable releasing a good amount to set up primary education facilities. Taking all these factors into consideration, the IIT fee hike seems justifiable.

A.R.K. PILLAI, Mumbai

Morinda station

Morinda is a fast growing township on the Sirhind-Una railway section. This line connects Una to Saharanpur and Delhi. But Morinda railway station has a low platform. As a result, boarding and alighting from a train is an ordeal, especially for the aged and the ailing. So, a raised platform offering better toilets and drinking water facilities at the station is the crying need of the hour.

Besides, the passenger trains passing through here have toiletless coaches. Here again, the 250-km-long journey between Una and Saharanpur becomes a trying experience for the passengers. They can’t ease themselves. The authorities concerned should provide coaches with toilets on this line.

TARSEM LAL, Morinda (Ropar)

In memoriam

I read the editorial “Apostle of amity” (May 3) on the passing away of noted Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande. It is perhaps only The Tribune which has paid tributes to her in an editorial which she eminently deserved.

Her death came close on the heels of the death of another Gandhian Baba Amte. Gandhians of yesteryear who provided a continuing link with the present generation are leaving in quick succession creating a void particularly when the Gandhian principles and values have great relevance today.

R.N. DAS, New Delhi



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