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Emergency can’t be justified

Inder Malhotra’s article “Emergency, judiciary & polity” (Jan 7), while mildly criticising the proclamation of the Emergency by Indira Gandhi, suggests, “if she sinned politically speaking she was also being sinned against”. He says premier sociologist Andre Beitelle, eminent historian Bipan Chandra and prominent scholar Ramchandra Guha are agreed that the Emergency was “scripted jointly by Indira and JP”.

I am shocked if it is a correct expression of their views. May one request Mr Malhotra to give reference to the particular writings by these three intellectuals quoted by him. Will also these three writers respond to his conclusion?

JP took a public stand that if fresh elections took place in Gujarat he would accept the bonafide of the government to fight corruption and immorality in politics. But he was sidelined and left with no option but to resort to mass agitation. Apologists of the Emergency quite often charge JP telling the Army and government servants not to obey unlawful orders of the government. Is this treason?

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Those who maintain that this is what led to the Emergency are completely denying the right of the aggrieved public to hold peaceful protest. Even the Supreme Court has held that advocacy by a political party not to pay tax, which it feels is against the interests of the poor, is permissible under the Constitution. So is peaceful satyagraha.

Is it not strange that when the Congress party itself is shy of defending its role in the Emergency, Mr Malhotra should give it a complete escape route almost justifying the proclamation of the Emergency?

Take the instance of the present anger and disappointment at the stalemate between the Congress and the Opposition on the 2G scam, resulting in Parliament being disturbed continuously by the Opposition, and the same thing it is threatening to do in the Budget session as well. Will Mr Malhotra come to the aid of the Congress by suggesting that the party was justified in imposing the Emergency? Will the three learned scholars mentioned by him then say that the Emergency has been scripted jointly by the Congress and the Opposition?

RAJINDAR SACHAR, Chief Justice (retd), High Court of Delhi, New Delhi

Teachers’ evaluation

Dr Satya Prakash, former Vice Chancellor of Jiwaji University, Gwalior, has rightly described the proposed criteria of the NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) to individually assess the university and college teachers as ‘a duplicate and unnecessary effort’ as similar guidelines to this effect have already been notified by the UGC (JP Garg’s article, “Grading teachers”, Dec 7). Moreover, the terms and conditions of eligibility laid down by the UGC for promotion of teachers to higher posts, pay grades and pay bands are even more comprehensive and exhaustive than those put forward by the NAAC.

Besides, the procedure prescribed by the UGC in its notification for selection and promotion of teachers like academic performance indicators, weightage points and performance appraisal scoring system methodology is too cumbersome and complicated to be easily implemented.

Further, the idea of getting teachers graded by their students is rather ludicrous. It’s like getting doctors diagnosed by their patients. The majority of students are too immature in age, education and experience to evaluate their teachers for promotion.

Such a move will only embitter the teacher-taught relationship. Ideally the teachers should be promoted on the basis of their educational qualifications, academic performance, innovative skills, quality research work done and the number of M.Phil, Ph.D and other research scholars guided by them.

Dr C S MANN, Una

Food prices

With the food inflation rising to 18.3 percent, it is pathetic to see our Central government expressing sheer helplessness (editorial, “Handling food inflation”, Jan 7). It is much more distressing to hear our Home Minister P Chidambaram telling the common people of the country that the government does not have ‘tools to control food inflation’. In such a disappointing social scenario in which the common people are getting squeezed because of rising food prices, the argument that the ‘government need not appear helpless’ is quite forceful.

It is appreciable that in all the big cities of India, the godowns of the onion traders have been raided. Unfortunately, the traders and hoarders have become quite emboldened. The Cabinet Ministers also seem to be consciously or unconsciously issuing such statements which have encouraged hoarders and speculators, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had stated several times in the past that the prices of food items could rise further.

Now the Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu thinks that ‘it is a mistake to think that it was fully within the control of the government to move the prices of food up and down’. Mr Basu believes that at the local level, the private businessmen and farmers both determine the trajectory of the price-line. It is not right to blame the farmers who often don’t get the due remuneration of their farm produce in time.

In fact, the criminal neglect of the agriculture in India is at the root of the present day food inflation. It seems as if the pauperisation of the farming community has never drawn the due attention of our ruling elites. Tales of high growth of Indian economy cannot provide food security to millions of common people. Agriculture must be revamped on a massive scale.


Regulating research

Ramesh Gupta’s article “Improving the quality of PhD research” (Jan 4) was timely. The writer has rightly batted for the establishment of “Central Registration Agency” which can provide data before registration of a particular topic and show whether same topic or in a modified form is being pursued at some other university or not.

However, the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of M.Phil/Ph.D Degree) Regulation, 2009 provides for a “Depository with UGC” where following the successful completion of the evaluation process and announcements of the award of M.Phil/Ph.D. the university has to submit a soft copy of the M.Phil /Ph.D thesis to the UGC within a period of 30 days. The judicious use of this provision can eliminate the chances of the same or modified topic registered at two or more universities at the same time.

Further, not only the examiners but also the supervisors of the Ph.D. thesis should be related to their field of specialisation. The said regulation of 2009 mandates that the allocation of the supervisor for a selected student shall be decided by the department in a formal manner depending on the number of students per faculty member, the available specialisation among the faculty supervisors, and the research interest of the student. The allotment/allocation of supervisor shall not be left to the individual student or teacher.

Moreover, to emphasise that while sending PhD thesis/M.Phil dissertation for evaluation to external examiners, the identity of both supervisors as well as candidates should be kept a closely guarded secret.




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