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Somnath silent on many issues

I read V. Eshwar Anand’s review of the book, Keeping the Faith: Memoirs of a Parliamentarian (Spectrum, Sept 5). Mr Somnath Chatterjee has led a simple and honest life, a rare commodity in the Indian political scenario.

Thus, it was a pleasure to read Mr Chatterjee’s autobiography. But he is deliberately silent on the negative role of the communists during the freedom struggle.

The former Lok Sabha Speaker is equally silent on the Chinese aggression on India, the CPI’s role and its split.

Mr Chatterjee blames the economic reforms of nineties and holds these responsible for bringing untold miseries upon the poor and the downtrodden without explaining how

He doesn’t explain why and how abject poverty persists in West Bengal.


Master Tara Singh

Dr J.S. Grewal, while reviewing the book, The Makers of Modern Punjab (Spectrum, Aug 8) writes, “It is interesting to read that, contrary to general belief, Master Tara Singh did not tear the Muslim League flag on March 2, 1947”. This is wrong and an afterthought.

This incident itself had brought destruction and doom to all Punjabis, especially the Sikhs. Since Master Tara Singh was the undisputed leader of the Sikhs for nearly 20 years, he should have protected the interests of the Sikhs but that was not the case. In fact, he had unsheathed the 3-feet-long kirpan he used to carry, hacked down the Muslim League flag and shouted ‘Pakistan Murdabad’.

This sent a wrong message to the Muslims that the Sikhs were against their demand of Pakistan and they started killing the Sikhs but spared the Hindus.

BALDEV SINGH, Kapurthala

Raising judges’ tenure will strengthen judicial independence

Justice A.R. Lakshmanan’s article, “Retirement of judges: Raise the age to streamline the higher judiciary” (Sunday Oped, Aug 29) was thought-provoking. The increase in the retirement age of the judges of higher judiciary will have a profound bearing on the judicial independence.

The retired judges are offered government employment of some kind or other which may subject some of them to extraneous consideration and thus undermine judicial independence.

It is more so in view of the constitutional embargo prohibiting a retired Supreme Court and High Court judge to practice law before any court or authority in India and in the High Court(s) where he held office as a permanent judge respectively. In the US, a Supreme Court Judge holds office during good behaviour, which means that he can continue to occupy office for life. Of course, a judge is at liberty to retire on attaining the age of 70 years and on completing ten years of service at the Supreme Court.

The Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha to raise the retirement age of High Court Judges from 62 to 65 is laudable but not adequate. Either the Constitution should be amended on the lines of the American Constitution or the retirement age of judges be fixed at 70 years in consonance with the normal life expectancy in India.

RAJENDER GOYAL, Advocate, Bahadurgarh



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