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Family rule: Games our leaders play

The latest political controversy in Punjab culminating in the resignation of Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal has only one message for the masses. It is that “neo-feudalistic first families” of Indian democracy brook no threat to their hierarchy. They would scuttle any saner debate on the issues concerning the state if it poses danger to their authority and perpetuation of family rule.

It is an unwritten rule across the political spectrum of this country — be it the Gandhis, the Badals, the Chautalas, the Hoodas, the Dikshits, the Thackerays or the Yadavas. Unfortunately, this trend is catching up with other politicians as well. So, there is hardly any space or level-playing field for the aspiring upcoming new intelligent leadership. It does not augur well for the so-called vibrant democracy of this country.

Mr Manpreet Singh should have known better or he is too naïve to expect support for his cause from other legislators. There is no dearth of spineless politicians who care two hoots for issues that make sound economic sense.

They are least concerned even if Punjab is sliding down to the level of BIMARU states from top slot in the matter of growth rate and fiscal health. The Chief Minister and his son know this fully well and are happily perched on their thrones at least till their power lasts.

The all-pervasive corruption is least of their government’s concern. The culture of cuts and shares has percolated down to the rank and file of political and bureaucratic hierarchy. Crony capitalism has taken deep roots and thus there is no dearth of resources for the chosen ones. It is only the ‘Aam Aadmi’ who has to suffer for short-sighted acts of the ruling elite. Ironically, the TINA (there is no alternative) factor brings them to power again after five years with the support of the same ‘Aam Aadmi’!


Look with hope

I welcome Sunday’s canonisation of Brother André Bessette of Montreal. He was a man rich in spiritual passion, humility and love for God and man. Through his cheerful dedication to the poor, the unfortunate, the sick and the crippled, André taught us how to look with hope towards the future. Though poor in health, he healed thousands. When he died in 1937, a million people attended his wake and burial.

God makes saints and the church recognises them. If God endows his creatures with heroic sanctity, then it well behoves believers and all men of goodwill to examine God’s message as revealed through the virtues of these select persons. Today’s young people have a great desire to be heroic. Let them look to St. André.

PAUL KOKOSKI, Hamilton, Ontario (Canada)

Debate on CJs’ appointment

I read The Tribune debate on the policy of appointment of High Court Chief Justice from outside the state (Sept 9, 13, 14 and Oct 6). The present policy is based on the decision to have one-third of the judges of a High Court from outside the state following serious deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, the States Reorganisation Commission, the Law Commission, the Administrative Reforms Commission, etc. The Supreme Court, in its various rulings, has also ratified it.

The common grouse against the present policy is that the Chief Justice from outside the state is not familiar with the local Bar, the practices and rules of the new High Court and the subordinate judiciary and that his tenure generally is too short to enable him find his feet in the new High Court. The Supreme Court in SC Advocates-On-Record Association v Union of India (1994) ruled: “It may be desirable to transfer in advance the seniormost Judge due for appointment as Chief Justice to the High Court where he is likely to be appointed Chief Justice, to enable him to take over as Chief Justice as soon as the vacancy arises and, in the meantime, acquaint himself with the new High Court”.

The recent transfer of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Acting Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court to the Punjab and Haryana High Court is in line with the said decision of the Supreme Court and needs to be replicated invariably in every case. Moreover, while denouncing the present policy of transfer, we must not lose sight of the rampant scourge of “uncle judges” that is badly sullying the judiciary’s fair image.

RAJENDER GOYAL, M.D. University, Rohtak



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