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Ban criminals from fighting elections

In his article, “A threat to democracy” (Oped Elections, Aug 23), V. Eshwar Anand has voiced serious concern over the increasing criminalisation of politics and stressed the need to save democracy. The electoral system is largely responsible for this malaise. Had it been so powerful, a large number of criminals would not have been elected to Parliament. Jawaharlal Nehru once said that if the people were not vigilant, governance would pass into the hands of the strong-muscled and loud-throated criminals. With time, it has come true.

Today, the electoral battle has become the monopoly of the affluent and hardboiled criminals. There is a general impression that political parties put rotten apples before us and give us the option to choose any one of them.

Despite the recommendations of several committees and commissions, as mentioned by the writer, things are going from bad to worse and the world’s largest democracy seems to favour only goondas, criminals and the like.

To check this menace, criminals must be banned from contesting elections. The Representation of People Act, 1951, needs to be amended to the extent that as and when an FIR is registered for any offence, the accused should be barred from contesting the election till he/she is exonerated.

Simultaneously, the government should bear the expenses of the contesting candidates and help those who are otherwise competent, honest and dedicated to serve the nation but cannot meet the huge election expenses.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh

No overreach

I don’t agree with the contents of the editorial, “Judicial overreach” (Sept 8). The Supreme Court of India rightly advised the Centre to distribute foodgrains rotting in the open free of cost to the poor as the government has failed to store them. The criminal wastage of precious food in a country like india cannot be justified on the ground of constitutional niceties.

There is no strict compartmentlisation of the three wings of the government as  such. The overall consideration is the public good and the directive of the apex court is for the public welfare. There is nothing wrong in the court directive. Even in the US, the American Supreme Court advises the executive from time to time.

AMAR JIT SINGH GORAYA, Griffith NSW (Australia)

Befitting tribute

Rana Nayar’s article, “A teacher’s tribute” (Education Page, Sept 7) was touching. Dr Paul is an epitome of love and compassion. How many teachers understand the power of love while teaching their students?

Most teachers today resort to mechanical teaching, i.e. coming to the class, delivering the lecture and moving out of the class. Little do they realise that they have to set an example for their students so that they develop into enlightened beings.

Thanks to teachers like Dr Paul who leave an indelible imprint on the minds of their students and shape their future.

SHIVANI DUA, Jalandhar

Ties with South Korea

The editorial, “Closer ties with South Korea" (Sept 6) has rightly supported the increasing closer ties of India and South Korea. The signing of two new pacts will immensely benefit India. This will surely be unpleasant for China but it is a befitting reply to their unholy nexus with Pakistan and misadventures in Kashmir. They are trying to wean away Nepal from us. Their closer association with Myanmar as well as Bhutan is a masterstroke of their foreign policy.

China signed the Panchsheel agreement swearing not to interfere in our internal matters. The new Chinese government has gone back on this commitment. Most Naxalite groups in India claim to be Maoists and have the Chinese backing. China is trying to engage us on many fronts. We can also do the same. The Tibet issue has tarnished China’s image and we can raise the issue in every international forum.


Status of PRIs

In his article, “Weakest link in the government” (Oped Governance, Sept 7), Rajan Kashyap has analysed the status of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in India, particularly in Punjab and Haryana. Panchayati Raj is a revolutionary step designed to secure the involvement of the rural people in development. The concept and the system develop the habit of democratic living and strengthen the grassroots democracy.

If the PRIs have failed to live up to our expectations, it is because of their lack of financial and administrative authority and increasing political interference at all levels. A major part of the grant is spent on organising functions which are pompous and pointless.

In most panchayats, the elected presidents are illiterate and are controlled by their spouses who disburse funds and even attend the meetings. The writer by virtue of his vast experience in the Punjab government, has aptly opined that stronger and abler governance at the grassroots will make for a stronger state and a more powerful nation.


Dossier sharing turns into a game

To date, Pakistan has studiously warded off all demarches by India to take stern action against those in Pakistan who were behind the plans that led to the Mumbai terror attacks, pleading that they had no evidence to bring the alleged terrorists to book.

The evidence provided by India had not helped either. Every time India sent dossier containing more evidence, it came back with a comment that it was not sufficient and more evidence was needed. Now Pakistan is asking India to allow a Commission to visit India to interrogate witnesses in India including Kasab.

Going by what Pakistan has been doing in the past, it will not be a surprise if Pakistan’s Commission pleads on return to their country that though the members of the Commission had tried their level best, they could not get clinching evidence against the accused in Pak custody. It is highly tricky to deal with a country like Pakistan which has many centres of power. If one gives the green signal, the other gives it thumbs down and the game goes on.

India should better forget about getting Pakistan’s cooperation. Even the US appears fed up with Pakistan’s hunting with the hounds and running with the hares.

R.J. KHURANA, Bhopal



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