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Court verdict reinforces rule of law

Aditi Tandon’s article, “Death for ‘honour’: Court teaches khap panchayats a lesson” (April 1) is thought-provoking. The supremacy and inviolability of the rule of law is enshrined in the Constitution. It is implicit in the right to life as envisaged in the Article 21 of the Constitution to choose marriage partners according to one’s personal choice as long as it does not militate against the recognised personal law.

The Hindu Marriage Act clearly enumerates the persons who are out of bounds in the form of ‘sapinda relationship’ and degree of prohibited relationship for the purposes of marriage. At the same time it does not prohibit the same gotra marriage in toto.

Marriage with a person placed beyond the third generation in the line of ascent through the mother, and the fifth generation in the line of ascent through the father is valid and legal.

The revulsion and indignation against such marriages has been orchestrated by certain disgruntled and megalomaniac fringe elements in society. Historic judgment delivered by the court in Karnal pronouncing death sentence to five persons in a case of honour killing will go a long way in preventing the recurrence of gory incidents and thereby reinforce the rule of law.


Sahayak system

It is strange that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has suggested the abolition of the existing sahayak system in the Army without highlighting the numerous glaring examples of gross misuse of the system ( article, “Army can’t do without sahayaks by Col Pritam Bhullar (retd), March 31).

The government should also abolish the existing system of personal assistants for the babus and the netas. However, it is imperative that the Army stops the misuse of sahayaks.

Lt-Col JIWAN SHAROTRI (retd), Kasauli

Religious quota

Providing four per cent quota for Muslim backward classes is uncalled for. There is already a provision for quota for other backward classes. So why create separate reservations for Muslim backward classes?

It will sow seeds of division. Reservations on the basis of religion are an antithesis to secularism enshrined in the Constitution. Reservations based on religion should be avoided.

G R KALRA, Chandigarh

Married life

J L Gupta’s middle “She and Me” (March 18) was laced with good humour and was instructive too. It alluded to ways of making marriage a successful, pleasant and memorable experience.

The writer, an erudite jurist, must have been a close observer of human life and psychology while dealing with different types of legal disputes, including marriage disputes. He must have come across incidents of cruelties inflicted on women.

His conclusive view that a sense of accommodation must be inculcated and exhibited by husband and wife is apt. Only then can the relationship be sweet, smooth and enduring.

CHAMAN ARORA, Ferozpore City

Fire hazards

The editorial “Ordeal by fire” (March 25) exposed the systemic apathy and miserable failure of society at large and the government to learn from past tragedies. I strongly feel that our cities are growing very fast but sadly the infrastructure is not at all keeping pace thus making urban India woefully ill-equipped to deal with any man made or natural disasters, be it fire outbreaks, earthquakes or floods.

It is short-sightedness, inefficiency, corruption and lack of concern for human life that the central, state and local authorities miserably fail to improve urban infrastructure, ensure basic safety norms in public and private establishments and efficient emergency services which can certainly go a long way to drastically reduce the loss of life in wake of a disaster. Rapid urbanisation is a reality. If we don’t get the basics amenities in place, there will be a heavy price to pay.


Quality of education

Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal’s observation that there is a need for 600 to 800 new universities and 35,000 new colleges might be correct, yet we should not ignore quality vis-à-vis quantity. The government must lay emphasis on quality of education. Only then shall we able to check brain drain.

S K MITTAL, Panchkula

Changing values 

This is an open letter to all those who feel concerned, albeit somewhat justifiably, by the stand taken by the apex court in relation to the contentious issues of premarital sex and live-in relationship (editorial, “Winds of change”, March 25). Any conduct exhibited by the members of the community which the majority of society as a whole considers as immoral cannot, per se be penalised.

Society has no right to use the force of criminal law to enforce its moral judgements unless such conduct, in a convincing manner, is injurious to others. The Delhi High Court has rightly held in the Naz Foundation case : “Moral indignation, howsoever strong, is not a valid basis for overriding individual’s fundamental rights of dignity and privacy.”

The more important question is not what is desirable but what is the nature and limit of the state power that can legitimately be exercised in a civilised society.

The accepted morality should come from society itself through education and the mass media. Courts have often performed the role of giving validation to the changing social values and this is just another instance of the apex court’s activism




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