C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Patient raped at Command Hospital
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 23
Close on the heels of an alleged gangrape of a minor in the town two months ago, another shocking incident of an alleged rape of a 39-year-old patient in the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, has come to light here today.

The incident reportedly happened in the dining hall of the hospital yesterday. A nursing attendant also allegedly helped the ward in charge in perpetrating the crime while another person filmed it.

The woman knew the accused as her husband had been admitted to the hospital for two months early this year. Her husband was transferred to Gujarat, but she was staying with her son at the TBRL in Ramgarh.

In a statement to the police, she alleged that she was in the hospital at around 12.30 pm yesterday for the physiotherapy of her shoulder when Naik Hottam Singh, ward in charge, pushed her to the dining hall and raped her. The dining hall is used by patients and their attendants.

Naik Iftikhar Khan, a nursing attendant, who was present there, also molested her, she alleged. Later, Hottam Singh told her that another person, Raj, had filmed it. However, no person by the name of Raj was found by the police in the hospital today.

After registering a case in the incident, the police asked the Army authorities to detain the accused. Meanwhile, a defence spokesman said disciplinary action would be taken against the guilty.



Man ends his life, neighbour booked
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 23
Meanwhile, a 35-year-old resident of Phase XI, Harwinder Singh, alias Charlie, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in the house of his sister-in-law here this morning.

The man, who ran a pheri in the Phase XI market, ended his life after allegedly being harassed by his neighbour over the construction of a common boundary wall.

According to the police, a case of abetment to suicide has been registered against his neighbour, Sunil Dutt, on the basis of the statement given by Kamaljeet Kaur, sister-in-law of the victim.

Enquiries revealed that due to the construction of a rear courtyard by his neighbour, the window of the victim’s house was blocked. This led to differences between them and he was also reportedly threatened.

This morning when Kamaljeet Kaur had gone to fetch milk, Harvinder hanged himself from a ceiling fan in the house. Her two children had also gone to Patiala to meet their maternal grandparents.

The victim had left a suicide note in which he had blamed his neighbour for harassing him over the issue of the boundary wall. The body has been sent for a postmortem.

Shopkeeper hangs himself

Chandigarh: Sanjiv Kumar, a 45-year-old shopkeeper, allegedly hanged himself to death at his shop in Dhanas village, here this morning.

Though the victim held no one responsible for his death, the police is yet to ascertain the reason behind the death.

According to the police, the death came to light around 9.30 am when Sanjiv Kumar did not return from his shop. The family found the door locked from inside and broke it open only to find his body hanging. The police was informed about the incident.

The police said the victim was under depression, as he was not getting work. He is survived by his wife and two children. The family told the police that Sanjiv used to sleep at his shop.

Sanjiv in his suicide note requested not to conduct a post-mortem examination on his body. The police handed over the body without conducting the examination and initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this regard.



Murder victim yet to be identified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The identification of the victim has become a roadblock in the murder of a man whose charred body was recovered from the proposed film city area on Friday.

According to the SHO of the Sector 11 police station, Sukhbir Rana, the victim’s identity could not be established.

Investigating officials had quizzed over 150 persons of nearby villages and farmhouses, but it yielded no results. No information about missing persons from nearby police stations matched the victim’s description.

The police had also contacted contractors engaged in providing migrant labour, but no one could identify him. The crime scene and nearby areas were examined by forensic experts again yesterday.



Global meltdown not for CHB
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Even as clear-cut “discount schemes” (amounting to lakhs) are being offered by private builders as a fallout of the global meltdown, the Chandigarh Housing Board continues to keep the pricing under wraps if the prices of the Sector 63 self-financing scheme is any indication.

The 1,976 allottees of the scheme would have to shell out more money than the prices quoted by the CHB. The perusal of the brochure reveals that an interest rate of 12 per cent and other charges under the self-financing scheme would be part of the payment.

For the three-bedroom flat, the owner would have to pay Rs 43.70 lakh, which is Rs 4.13 lakh more than the advertised price of Rs 39.57 lakh. Those who find themselves lucky to be included in the allotment list of a two-bedroom flat should prepare to pay Rs 31.81 lakh, an increase of Rs 2.67 lakh over the CHB’s proposed price of Rs 29.14 lakh.

The original price of Rs 17.51 lakh for the one-bedroom flat would ultimately cost Rs 18.73 lakh.

Even allottees under the economically weaker section (EWS) would end up paying Rs 6.18 lakh, at least Rs 52,000 more than the original cost.

Also, the layout plan of the scheme has not been finalised yet and there are some flaws in the architectural designs. “More time it takes for the project to shape up, more would be its cost. How is it that the CHB justifies its basic objective of providing affordable housing?” was the general refrain of the allottees.

As per the figures, the CHB has constructed over 44,000 houses in Chandigarh, including 28,000 for the economically weaker sections. To maintain its “middle class friendly approach”, the board has planned the construction of around 10,000 houses in the southern sectors.

“The problem is that the CHB set a benchmark after selling a one-room flat for Rs 18 lakh and a two-bedroom flat for Rs 32 lakh a few years ago. And the new houses cannot cost any lesser. How can the needs of middle-income groups be met?” a property dealer asked.

The administration’s idea of the public-private partnership in housing -- the first of its kind experiment wherein an MoU was signed with Parsavanth worth Rs 821 crore -- was only for the rich.



Traffic stickers for senior citizens
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The police is set to live up to its slogan “We care for you”, especially in case of senior citizens. The traffic police will soon issue stickers for vehicles of senior citizens to provide them a hassle-free drive in the city.

Traffic officials say that the need for such a step was felt after some senior citizens pointed out that they were being put to inconvenience due to traffic jams and also in parking lots. They also said the checking of documents, especially during VIP visits, were annoying.

The specially designed stickers were being printed and would be distributed soon. Confirming the development, the SP (traffic). H.S. Doon, said the stickers would be distributed after confirming the antecedents of the persons concerned from senior citizens associations in the city and also from the social welfare department.

The move would help policemen identify the needs of such drivers and also assist them during rush hour and in parking lots. They would be spared from occasional checking of documents.

P.K. Sharma, a senior citizen, while appreciating the move said Chandigarh was known as the “city of retirees”. The need was felt to provide them with extra facilities.



Dog bylaws get moving
MC forwards proposal to admn for approval
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Over 13 years after the formation of the MC of Chandigarh, the city is set to have dog bylaws. Aimed at checking nuisance created by dogs, including defecation at public places, the Registration of Pets/Dogs Bylaws, 2008, proposed by the medical officer, health (MC), has been forwarded to the administration for approval.

Under the proposal, owners of dogs would be made accountable for defecation by their pets at public places and penalty would be imposed in case of a violation.

Meanwhile, the registration of dogs has been made necessary after a payment of Rs 500 as registration charges. The registration would be mandatory for all individuals and government authorities, including the police, paramilitary forces, armed forces and government departments. There would no registration charges for visually-impaired persons, even though they would also be required to get their pets registered.

After registration, a metal badge bearing the registration number would be issued and it would be mandatory for a dog to wear this on the collar at public places. The dogs would also have to be on leash, sources said.

The mayor, Pardeep Chhabra, claimed that the bylaws had been framed to regulate the burgeoning pet population in the city and check nuisance by dogs.

Officials said under the new rules, commercial breeding would be banned. Though there was a ban on the movement of pets in some public places, including parks, gardens and the Sukhna Lake, the ban would be enforced strictly.

A draft notification would be published soon and objections from the public would be invited. A final notification would be issued by the administration.

While the People for Animals (PFA) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) are already sterilising stray dogs, the MC has finally empanelled two private doctors for the job, the mayor said.


Media Seminar
Independent media must for India: Dua
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Chandigarh Footprints-2008, the annual media seminar of Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC), Pune, was held at CII, Sector 31, today.

The seminar that had eminent speakers from various media organisations commenced with H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune. While elaborating on “state of press in India” and highlighting the importance of the freedom of the fourth estate, he said, “An independent and free media is must for proper functioning of a country like India. We are rightly called the fourth estate or fourth pillar of development, as we not only report but also provoke the thoughts. The task is not only limited to national media but regional media plays a vital role in our society that harbours variety of linguistic, social, financial and literary status.”

Naresh Kaushal, editor, Dainik Tribune, agreed by elaborating on the role of Hindi dailies saying that “Hindi is the mother, English is the wife so its possible to love both.”

“There is no actual divide between the regional and national media in the Indian context today. China is the next big destination and the coming years will see a great need for Indian journalists” said Uttam Sengupta, state editor, Dainik Bhaskar, while emphasising on the need to be multi-lingual.

The panel discussion further ventured in the advertisement arena with focus shifting to ‘Branding, connects and disconnects’.

Gokul Krishnamurthy, managing editor, EVENTFAQS, enthralled the audience by showing interesting advertisements and advised media aspirants, especially, future ad makers, “to slice the clientele into separate target segments according to their requirements so as to reach out to them”.



Carnival concludes on melodious note
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, November 23
An overdose of humour and unlimited entertainment, sparkling spell of Punjabi pop music by Coventry (UK)-based troupe Stereo Nation and glamorous presence of former Miss World Daina Hayden marked the conclusion of the two-day Chandigarh Carnival 2008 at the Leisure Valley here today.

After chief guest Ram Niwas, UT home secretary, along with M.P. Singh, an IAS officer, lighted the traditional lamp, Stereo Nation took over the strong crowd of music lovers.

Led by Punjabi folk and pop music star Taz, the troupe gave a dazzling performance blending the traditional Punjabi folk and modern western pop all through the rendition of their hit songs.

Supported by a group of 16 dancers and musicians, Taz doled out popular numbers from his albums.

He commenced with “Don’t break my heart” and went on to charm the audience with “Saade pind wich mela”, “Saanu jaavin na chhad ke”, “Chori chori akhiyan”, “Nachan ge saari raat” and others.

His fans clapped for his very first hit “Mera pyar apna sangeet” and the intoxicating “Ho gye sharabi” from his latest album, besies “Gallan goriyan” and “Mere yaar di shaadi hai”.

Earlier, comedy maestro Partap Singh Fauzdar opened up crisp humour and satires through rib trickling comedy, while Khayali Saharan took the comedy level to spectacular heights.

Khayali, being the local comedy hero, had a large following. The audience, however, had reserved the applause for former Miss World Daina Hayden who along with Ram Niwas announced “Ballu” as the mascot for the next Chandigarh Carnival.

The declaration came following a voting through SMS by audience and the beauty queen honoured the winning contestants. Gunjan Utreja anchored the show, which will be a memorable remembrance till the next carnival.



Live TV coverage from next year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Colourful performances, display of cultural heritage, foreign participation, IAF display, joy rides and food courts remained the highlights of the two-day carnival.

Former Miss World and participant of Bigg Boss Season 2 Diana Hayden unveiled the next year’s carnival mascot. UT home-cum-tourism secretary Ram Niwas said over 40,000 text messages were received for picking the name of the next year’s mascot.

He added that around two lakh visitors came to the carnival this year. Witnessing growth in NRI visits to the carnival, the administration has decided to get the live coverage of the carnival done from next year, he added. The carnival parade on the inaugural function was a major draw, as it showcased the creativity of students of the College of Art.

Day-long performances by artistes of North Zone Cultural Centre in association with the department of public relations also drew huge crowds.

Hungary, Japan, Germany and France exhibited their art and culture through the medium of photography and visuals. A mini Rock Garden by Nek Chand also pulled visitors to the carnival.

Huts made of bamboos, mud embellished with handicraft were set up and stalls were decorated to attract people to the village. An amusement park providing swings and rides, hanging bridge and children traffic park were other highlights.

The IAF had its maiden participation in the event through an air force display. The carnival also had a separate section for corporates and business houses.

Pyramid of flowers by the municipal corporation and water feature by the Chandigarh Housing Board added colour to the carnival.

The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi, the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, the College of Architecture, the College of Arts, educational institutes, the Le Corbusier Centre, the Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society and various departments of the Chandigarh administration, including Information Technology, the Chandigarh Housing Board, the State Legal Services Authority, the Chandigarh Tourism, the Chandigarh Police, the Haryana Tourism put up stalls in the carnival and contributed their bit to the carnival.



MC sleeps over order for uniforms
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Chandigarh municipal corporation authorities has virtually gone into slumber after placing an order with a contactor for uniforms of its enforcement staff three months ago.

No action has yet been taken against the contractor, with whom the order was placed in August with the instruction that delivery had to be made in three days.

After finalising the quotations for the supply of uniforms for the enforcement staff, the corporation placed the order with M/s Bansal and Co. on August 11. In a letter issued to the contractor (memo No. SK/CT/MC/2008/5574), the authorities had placed an order for 17 caps along with batch mentioning MCC enforcement with MC logo in metal, 17 red colour belt, 34 pairs of khaki socks, 34 pairs of brown shoes, 100 safety helmets and half-sleeve jackets to be delivered within the stipulated period.

Sources said the authorities took the decision after the encroachment staff had to the face problem of identifying themselves in public during special drives.

The staff had been complaining of finding it hard to convince people as also the police that they were part of the enforcement team.

In once such incident, the police had beaten up members of the enforcement staff during a drive after it thought that the latter were creating nuisance in the area.

Sources said the enforcement employees requested the authorities to follow the pattern of the estate office of the administration, which had issued uniforms to its staff.

It was decided to give the staff uniforms before Diwali so that they did not face any problem while carrying out anti-encroachment drives. However, nothing has matured to date.

MC additional commissioner P.K. Sharma said uniforms would be provided to the enforcement staff within this week.



BSP forms wing for traders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Bahujan Samaj Party announced the formation of its new wing for traders here today. Announcing this during a press briefing, BSP convener Harmohan Dhawan said “BSP Chandigarh Beopar Sangh” would endeavour to redress the grievances faced by small traders due to faulty administrative policies.

The party also announced the appointment of office-bearers of its new wing. B.K. Sood has been chosen as its chairman, while M.P. Kohi, Baldev Raj Gulati and Roshan Lal Aggarwal will be its chief patrons. Raj Kumar Bansal has been made senior vice-president. Dhawan clarified that other office-bearers would be nominated later.

Prominent issues to be taken up by the sangh will include check on ambiguities in the VAT (value added tax) policy, implementation of fair Rent Act, standard weight and measurement packaging Act, abolition of “inspector raj”, licences for food articles, etc.

“Chandigarh is a non-producing state, as all industrial raw material and food grains are imported. Traders in Chandigarh have to pay CST (central sales tax) as well as local VAT, whereas, in various big states, particularly in Delhi, there is no VAT on food grains, including pulses and rice. It is strange the administration follows pick-and-choose policies regarding VAT. It needs to be streamlined,” opined Dhawan.



Untouched by global financial meltdown
Weddings continue to be lavish
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Global financial meltdown notwithstanding, wedding industry is upbeat and hopes surpassing previous years’ growth rate of 8 per cent.

“There has been no slashing of wedding ceremonies. Rather this time some marriages are more extravagant,” says Naurattan Singh, manager of a resort, maintaining, “more and more families have been seeking services of wedding event companies”.

Experts feel it is perhaps too early to study the impact of financial meltdown on marriages here as most of the marriages that take place between November 1 and February 28 every year are planned earlier to the convenience of overseas guests.

On an average, an upper middle-class family wedding is seven to 10-day extravaganza for which four to five parties are held for 300 to 500 guests at each of the celebrations.

The quality of food and beverages besides music, disc jockeys or even live music, at these parties has shown a considerable change. These are now essentially becoming high-end parties.

A survey of resorts along the Chandigarh-Patiala and the Chandigarh-Ludhiana roads in two days reveals that wedding events are as extravagant, if not more, as they were last year.

Almost all resorts are booked for the remaining part of the season. Even caterers, music groups, DJs, decorators, beauty parlours and dress designers have heavy bookings for three months.

Those painting a bright picture of the wedding industry are aware of the difficult
times ahead.

The way the governments are pooling resources to minimise the impact of financial meltdown, “it may not show up adversely in the wedding industry in the coming years,” says an event manager revealing that he has already been receiving firm inquiries for next year.

One reason for the weddings continuing to be lavish has been rich returns from the real estate in the recent past.

Further, a substantial number of these weddings are partially funded by NRIs.

Except for North America, the impact of financial meltdown has been less lethal in Europe and down under, Australia and New Zealand.

Further, some areas in which Punjabis dominate, especially medicine and health care, have not been affected by the financial meltdown.

But those in real estate, small businesses and trade, especially export-import business, have been severely hit.

Even skilled workers employed in auto industry are facing large-scale retrenchments and lay-offs.

It may be one reason that explains an overwhelming response to the NRI golf event the Chandigarh Golf Association organised in collaboration with the Punjab and Haryana governments, besides the Chandigarh administration.

This year, the organisers had 61 entries from overseas Indians.

Most of the participants are combining golfing adventures with social commitments, including weddings in the families or in families of friends and relatives.

Kamaljit Singh Cheema, an IATA agent based in Chandigarh, however, says, “Signs of slowing down of the economy are becoming visible. Normally at this time of the year, we have heavy rush of booking from our overseas clients. But this time, 30 of them with confirmed bookings have asked for cancellation. The reason: lay-offs and retrenchments in North America.”

Though most of the international airlines have cut down fuel surcharges following a steep fall in the prices of both crude oil and aviation turbine fuel, the flow of inbound air traffic has been on the decline this year, adds Cheema.



Haryana move to take over Saketri temple
Temple trust condemns state interference
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 23
Reacting to the reports regarding a move by the state government to take over the Saketri temple, the trust members have claimed that the government has no right to manage the religious places.

In a letter written to the Haryana Chief Minister, Shree Shiv Mandir Nuv Durga Charitable Trust, involved in managing the Saketri Temple, has alleged that the action of state administration was a direct interference in the religious matters of the trust and violation of the Fundamental Rights.

In fact the state can only acquire the properties under the Land Acquisition Act, but religious institutions and their properties were exempted under Article 25 and Article 26 of the Constitution of India, claimed Madan Lal, president of the trust.

Moreover the temple falls in the area belonging to Union Territory of Chandigarh and the state government has nothing to do with it, he said.

Elaborating his claims, Madan Lal said at the time of formation of Haryana state and Union Territory of Chandigarh, the old temple fell in the area belonging to the UT, while some land and buildings, majority of which were purchased in the name of temple later on, fell in Haryana.



Religious towns to have master plan
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 23
Important religious towns and important towns in Punjab will have master plans to have planned and coordinated development in and around the place.

The Punjab government has directed the state town and country planning department to prepare master plans of Malerkotla, Raikot, Chamkaur Sahib, Goindwal Sahib, Shri Hargobinpur, Anandpur Sahib, Talwandi Saboo and Abhor town.

The department has been asked to include the towns in the priority list that already has 30 other towns and cities. The places will have to be notified as local planning areas before initiating the process of preparing master plans.

The issue came up for discussion in a recent meeting of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning Board.

So far, Ludhiana was first city to have a legally approved master plan. Touted as Punjab’s first city master plan, it has been prepared within the framework of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development (Amendment) Act, 2006, with a total planning area of 1271.22 sq km comprising Ludhiana, Sahnewal, Doraha, Mullapur, Phillaur and 301 villages falling in the notified local planning area Ludhiana.

A Singapore-based Jurong Consultant had been engaged by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority to prepare master plan of Kharar, Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Banur and Mullanpur. The master plan of Mullanpur and Mohali local planning areas has been approved in principal by the state government.



Amritsar coldest at 5.1 C
Cold conditions sweep Punjab

Chandigarh, November 23
Amritsar continued to brave the cold weather as most parts of Punjab and Haryana were in the grip of chilly conditions for the second day today.

Though the minimum temperature at Amritsar rose by a degree since yesterday to settle at 5.1 degrees celsius, it was still two degrees below the normal range, the Meteorological Department said here.

Ludhiana also experienced a cold night at 9.4 C, down by a degree while the minimum at Patiala settled at 8.5 C, one below normal.

The minimum at Chandigarh dropped by nearly two degrees since yesterday to settle at 8.4 degrees celsius, one below normal.

Narnaul in south Haryana was the coldest place in the state as the low there plummetted to 6 degrees celsius, four below normal.

Ambala was also cold at 7.2 C, down by three notches.

Karnal also had a cold night at 8.2 C, down three degrees while the minimum at Rohtak settled at 8.5 C, one below normal.

The Met has forecast mainly dry weather in the region during the next two days.

Night temperatures are also likely to stay two to four degrees below their normal
range. — PTI



ID proof must for cyber cafés in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 23
Fearing the misuse of cyber cafés by anti-social elements, criminals and terrorists to mislead security and investigating agencies, the Mohali district administration has prohibited the use of cyber cafés by those who fail to furnish an identity proof.

Cyber cafés are being operated by private individuals and could be used to create panic in public and cause danger to government institutions and VIPs, feels the administration.

District magistrate Rahul Bhandhari said those who establish their identity to the owner of the café could only use a cyber café.

Café owners have been asked to maintain a register for identity of the user by registering visitor’s name, address, telephone number and identity proof.

The user will have to make the entry in his or her handwriting, along with address, telephone number and identity proof and sign the register.

The users could produce identity card, voter card, ration card, driver’s licence, passport or photo credit card as proof of identity.

The activity server log would be preserved in the main server, which would keep record for at least six months.

Café owners have also been asked to inform the police in case of suspicion. The cyber cafés would also have to maintain record of the specific computer used by a suspect.

The district magistrate has issued the order under Section 144 of the CrPC. The order will remain valid till November 1, 2009.



Follow Guru’s ideals, says Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Punjab Governor and UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues, in his message on the occasion of the martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur, today called upon people to follow the high ideals of secularism, humanism and spirit of sacrifice, preached and practised by the Guru.

Rodrigues said the Guru laid down his life to protect the right of freedom of worship and for preserving human and secular values.

He said the Guru’s supreme sacrifice was unique and unparalleled in the history of mankind and symbolised the triumph of good over evil.



300 checked at eye camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
A free eye check up camp was organised by Grewal Eye Institute (GEI) at Rajeev Colony near Gurdwara Sant Sar Sahib in collaboration with “Naujwan Yuva Club”, Shahpur, here today.

Over 300 persons benefited from the camp. A team of specialists from the ophthalmology department conducted the camp. Speaking on the occasion Dr Grewal said, “At the institute, we are always looking for every opportunity, big and small, to do our best to give back to the society.”

He said the regular check up camps were a part of our ongoing social responsibility efforts. Eyes are nature’s biggest gift to mankind and to care for them is our collective responsibility. Ensuring healthy vision is crucial to one’s success in life. “We are committed to taking forward our ongoing campaign of public awareness and free eye camps on a regular basis,” he said.



Free medical camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
As part of its ongoing programme, the Rotary Club, Chandigarh Midtown, organised a free investigative and treatment camp to check patients for geriatric problems, especially kidney, urological, orthopaedic and physiotherapy problems, at the super-specialty hospital in Sector 46 here today.

The camp was inaugurated by Maj-Gen Charanjit Singh, deputy director, medical services (Western Command).

The multi-specialty clinic was headed by Col V.K. Kapoor and assisted by Dr Anshuman V. Kapoor, Dr S. Ravjit, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Dr Tapish Kshatriya, who took care of the physiotherapy problems. Over 135 patients were examined at the camp.



Fast-track courts need of the hour

This is with reference to the article “Why not a fast-track court now” written by Raveen Thukral on November 17. Frequently, media raises hue and cry when some uncouth incident of enormity happens and need to establish fast track courts come to the fore. But very soon when the episode fades away the demand also gets lost in the dim of enormous issues pending before law administrators. Chandigarh being the hub of legal establishment of prosperous states could hardly afford to lag behind the courts of neighbouring states.

Swift delivery of justice holds the key to curb mounting crime graph and to restore eroding faith of commoners in the courts. It is not severity but certainty of punishment that deters criminals. If fast track courts are established the justice-starved litigants will get solace and reprieve from lifelong anguish. Rapid justice succeeding prompt conviction will slice the crime with two-sided sward, reduction in pendency and plug-in the loop-hole of influencing the witnesses or turning hostile.

Influential-moneyed people with muscle power have least respect for law. They know that eminent lawyers, high connections, political and money power could help them to get away. It can influence the witnesses, the police, the advocates, the public prosecutors and at times the courts as well. This de-facto factor has always let down our criminal legal orderliness. If any of these tools malfunction, it is sure to result in miscarriage of justice. Even the most competent trustworthy police officer fails to nail the high and mighty offenders. If, genuinely all law-abiding citizens, law-enforcing organisations and people connected with criminal judicial system wanted to avert the “doomed day” when our honourable courts will lose confidence of community and be converted into police stations, where naïve exploited ones will be scared to go for reprieve from injustice, than accelerate judicial delivery system to reestablish the rule of the law and instantaneously set up fast track courts all through the country.

Suresh Khosla, Panchkula


The idea of having the fast track courts have been discussed many times and some headway have been made but our system fails these courts also as time taken in investigation and filing of challans in mandatory 90 days delays in every case. In many cases 90 days are not adhered to and things get settled in between. The system which is guided by the power of money in the corridors of power politics will become misguided as it no more goes by the evidence otherwise 15 lakh currency case which writer has abstained discussing here would have been solved.

There should be some limit to dates and time period should be devised for cases. The traffic challans are simply a nuisance to whole of the system. The necessary amendment in rules be done and all traffic challans be got settled in the police line only. The penalty for traffic violations be reduced and recovered on the spot of violation. This way the incidences of bribery will also be reduced.

R. K. Garg, Chandigarh


It is true that we do not have a fast track court out here. The process of the court is hard, long and costly these days. So many times, we see man spends his whole life in the court for justice. He wastes his time and money to adopt the channel of the court. The court should adopt the channel of fast track.

Sumesh Kr. Badhwar, Mohali


I agree with Raveen Thukral that criminal justice system in India is in shambles. Even when there is evidence and witnesses, the accused comes out from jail within a no time. The innocent has to bear the pain and sorrow. There are thousands and thousands of cases pending in the court because nobody is bothered to work on them. We need fast track courts to give justice in time.

Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh


The kidnap case of German tourist about two months ago from a five star hotel has been converted to rape after receiving the report of the Central Forensic Scientific Laboratory (CFSL). The city police is confident of getting the five accused convicted. Two months ago, a similar case of rape of a school girl happened at Panchkula but the police did not register the case for many days since high profile persons/accused were involved. Parents of the victim have to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

We have full faith in our judicial system but it is true that criminal justice is far away. The judicial process takes a long time to decide the cases. Indian Constitution is rhetoric. There are more than three crore cases pending in various courts of India. Soli J. Sorabjee, an eminent and former solicitor general of India, has rightly said the criminal justice was on the verge of collapse. There is a need of fast track courts in India.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh


Judiciary is one of the foremost pillars of democracy where every citizen pins high hopes to get justice. But unfortunately the basic problem of the judiciary is that now there are about three crore of pending cases in arrears, which are not heard of for years together because of lengthy and cumbersome procedure, penetrating of corruption in the judicial delivery system, timely non-posting of judges coupled with criminalisation of politics. Due to mounting arrears, the public has become cynical of such daily happenings.

While deliberating on the occasion of Golden Jubilee celebrations of Punjab and Haryana High Court, all participating legal luminaries have rightly expressed their serious concern over the mounting backlog of cases in High Courts as well as in lower judiciary. In this alarming situation, some mechanism is required to be evolved. Fast track courts are one remedy to clear the backlog and expedite justice. The rape cases especially when foreign nationals are victims of this heinous crime needed to be tried through a fast track mechanism.

Fast track courts not only are helpful in expediting justice delivery system, but help save money in terms of expenses on the under trials’ maintenance for which the estimated average cost per under trial is Rs 55 a day, and the annual expenditure on each under trial thus comes to about Rs 20,000.

These courts suffered a serious setback when the Twelfth Finance Commission did not allocate funds. However, after the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government extended these courts term till 2010. The rape cases especially when the foreigners are victim of this heinous crime, needed to be tried through a fast track mechanism to erase the perception among the general public that the rich and mighty could get the trial against them delayed till the witnesses were won over.

The fast track courts have disposed of eight lakh cases in the last five years. Hence, the state government and the respective High Courts should take effective measures for strengthening the fast track courts.

But the delay in setting up these courts itself is doing injustice by the authorities concerned which is absolutely essential to restore the creditability of the criminal justice system. Time essence is another area to dispose the cases to clear the backlog to give relief to the people.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh


There is a need of fast track courts. Rape cases have been decided in a few months in Rajasthan courts. The justice should be given to the victim at the earliest. The German girl has left India with negative feelings and will not be able to attend all court proceedings being a foreigner.

The Supreme Court of India had asked the states to undertake large-scale appointment of judges. The recruitment should be done after examining the judge population ratio. The independent and efficient judicial system is necessary, which is one of the basic structures of the constitution. The report of the standing committee on home affairs on legal delays has given some shocking revelations that more than thirty million cases are pending in the courts all over the country and some of these has been pending since 1950.

M.L. Garg, Chandigarh

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Science seminar at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
“Every institute should work towards competing with globally renowned entities by upgrading its curriculum and teaching methodologies with available resources. Punjab University has come a long way but a lot needs to be done in terms of research, as it is yet to give requisite attention tothe area of education.” asserted Ashok Mishra, president, NASI, at the third day of NASI’s Annual Session and Symposium, Children Science Congress 2008.

The three-day long seminar was being held under the aegis of the Chandigarh Chapter of Indian Science Congress Association, National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), Indian Association of Bio-technologists, Patiala Chapter of ISCA, Panjab University.

About 600 children from fifteen UT schools participated in the event that was aimed to emphasise the role of science and scientific aptitude. M G K Menon, a renowned scientist, described the success of Chandrayaan-I, India’s first mission to moon as the greatest accomplishment of Indian scientists.

“It was a purely indigenous effort and the result of sustained hard work of Indian scientists. India has established space satellites that form an important element of national infrastructure,” he said

VP Sharma, professor, National Malaria Research Institute, lamented that the students these days do not opt for science. “This may leave a vacuum in the country, thus, leading to dearth of good scientists,” he added.



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