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Link judges’ tenure with performance

It has been aptly observed in the editorial, “Judges for life? : Raising retirement age a better option” (July 9) that though there is no conceptual flaw in having judges for life in India, the conditions that exist here and in advanced countries like the US and UK are quite different.

If judges were allowed to remain in the chair for life, it would not only deprive the youngsters of their opportunity to occupy the hallowed offices, it would also act as a dampening factor on the performance of the aging judges. Moreover, judges like Justice P D Dinakaran would be a big liability for the judiciary in particular and society in general.

It is, therefore, suggested that instead of exploring the possibility of having “judges for life” or increasing the retirement age of the High Court judges, the Centre should formulate a policy to extend the tenure of judges keeping in view the performance level of the incumbent.

The government may involve members of the Bar Council of India in the process to make the process of extension transparent. In this way, only the really deserving will get the chance to benefit society of their vast experience and the laggards will be eliminated.


A dark period

M G Devasahayam’s article “Legacies of the Emergency: We as a nation must learn from history” (July 7) was thoughtful. In fact, the Emergency was a dark period in the modern history of India. It has left for us a few good lessons never to forget. The ruling elite had tried to measure the pulse of the masses by clamping the Emergency on the whole nation and gagging its collective voice. In those 19 dark months, even an ordinary police constable had become very powerful and petty officials had assumed the air of demigods.

I agree with the writer's view that the social climbers and professional sycophants vied with one another in showing their loyalty to the ruling sections. All the respected and popular Opposition leaders were put behind the bar. Even the highly respected ailing Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan was not spared,

Actually, it was an attempt to browbeat the common people into unconditional submission and break their democratic spirit which they had imbibed during our glorious freedom struggle. But in March 1977 when the general elections were held, the people voted the Congress party out of power and the Janata Party came to power. It was a big jolt to the feudal mindset of the ruling elite. Our ruling elite, including the Prime Minister, must remember that even they have clear-cut and well-defined limits to their powers and the fundamental rights of the common people can never be trampled upon.

The bureaucrats must remember that they are people's servants and not their masters. They ought to be loyal to the people and the law of the land and not to any individual, howsoever, big he or she may be. Otherwise, the ordinary people may rise in rebellion because we live in a democratic country. We can forget the legacy of the Emergency only at our peril.



The article recalled the darkest days of the Emergency when it gave birth to a number of draconian measures. The forcible sterilisation was a ruthless method. Since then the movement of population control has lost significance.

The enforcement of MISA (Maintenances of Internal Security Act) was another ploy to retain power. Regarding the virus of corruption, it is still raging in the country and eating into its vitals.



The writer rightly regrets the arbitrariness of the Emergency. Dictatorship is bad, even of the Almighty. Winston Churchill rightly said: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”


Land robbery

The editorial “VIP land grabbers: Chandigarh has been choked”(July 5) aptly exposed the land robbery by our VIPs in Chandigarh’s vicinity.

Undoubtedly the unholy nexus between politicians, ministers, MLAs, IAS and PCS officers facilitated the process of grabbing agricultural land and converting it into lavish farmhouses and illegal colonies.

Strangely the government has turned a blind eye to their nefarious illegal activities. The media deserves appreciation for highlighting this systematic robbery. Only purging corrupt officials and confiscating all their illegal properties will set things right.

Capt S K DATTA, Abohar

New law

I read the editorial, “Reining in khaps: Hasten law on honour killings” (July 10). Both substantive and procedural criminal law is enumerated in the Concurrent List (List III) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

Article 246 empowers both Parliament and states’ legislatures to enact the law. However, under Article 254 of the Constitution, the Central law will prevail upon states’ law if there is any inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and the Legislatures of states in such matters. Nevertheless, the contention that “as the issue in question is sensitive involving deep social and religious sentiments, it would be legitimate on the part of the Centre to have wider consultation with the state governments” is in the fitness of things.


Lesson on courtesy

The print media, especially, The Tribune, deservers congratulations for highlighting the discourtesy shown to the wife of the noble laureate Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (editorial, “Naipaul who?” and the news report “Decks cleared for PIO card to Naipaul”, July 7).

Indeed, politeness and helpfulness are alien to babudom. For a common man IAS is abbreviated, as “I am sorry”. One can imagine the fate of a common man at the hands of such arrogant and discourteous officers. The first lesson which the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, should teach these bureaucrats should be that courtesy and politeness cost nothing. Guiding the wife of the Nobel Laureate should have been a matter of pride for anyone concerned.

The babus should remember the saying of Khalil Gibran: “Work is love made visible. If you cannot work with love but only with distaste it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of those who work with joy. If you bake bread with indifference your bread feeds but half the man's hunger. If you grudge the crushing of the grapes your grudge distils a poison.”




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