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Do justice to judiciary

As the pendulum is again swinging between the judiciary and the executive, the question is not merely of Gopal Subramanium’s elevation to the position of a judge in the SC but also of the very procedure of all judicial appointments. Currently, the SC Judges are appointed by the President after consultation with a collegium comprising the Chief Justice of India and four senior-most Judges of the SC. The SC reaffirmed in a case in 1998 that the advice of the collegium is binding upon the President. Regrettably, the collegium system has sunk into disrepute due to its opaqueness in selection criterion, lack of accountability, alleged nepotism and favouritism.

Nearly one-third of judges’ posts in High Courts are lying vacant, largely owing to the failure of the collegium system to deliver. It is high time to usher in long overdue reforms in the realm of judicial appointments. The government should engage judges, bar members, eminent personalities, experts, members of opposition parties in a discussion regarding establishment of a Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) to recommend appointees for judgeship. Unlike the JAC proposed by the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013, it should be made a constitutional body. It must be ensured that there is transparency in the selection procedure and power vis-à-vis appointments does not tilt towards the judiciary or the executive but more or less remains balanced.

Aneesh M. Makker, Malout

Cong report illogical

This refers to news report ‘Cong leaders blame poll losses on AAP’ (July 5). The report prepared by Capt Amarinder Singh appears to be totally unwarranted and illogical. For, the main reason for the defeat is the wrangling between the Amarinder and PPCC chief Partap Bajwa camps. Amarinder himself has several times criticised Bajwa in the media. The PPCC is a divided house and its leaders lack discipline. They have formed separate groups, something that harmed the party’s prospects. The Congress must realise that AAP defeated the party stalwarts by a huge margin, proving that the new party’s leaders are more popular than the Congress. The people in Punjab are, in fact, fed up with the Congress and the SAD-BJP coalition and the third alternative (AAP) is getting stronger with each passing day. If the Congress high command is really concerned, it must discipline its leaders in Punjab and not accept the report.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar, Mohali

Health sector needs cure

The editorial ‘Partners in corruption” dated July 5 is thought-provoking. It highlights how the ever increasing private labs, most of which are unregulated, corporatisation of healthcare and the advent of health insurance have added to an already unreliable medical system. Such ills are writing on the wall when the Indian law termed patients as consumers and doctors as service providers, laying the foundation of a profit-oriented consumer culture in the healthcare sector. Even doctors cannot be blamed for the ills facing the sector. In fact, the privatisation of medical education and corporatisation of the sector are the main issues that need to be addressed. How can one expect ethical practice from a doctor who has spent more than Rs 2 crore on his post-graduation or a business house spending thousands of crores on building hospitals. Any number of legislations will not help curb unhealthy medical practices till radical reforms are initiated, which strengthen the public healthcare and medical education system. There is also need for increasing the health budget to about 5% of the GDP. Only then can the malpractices in the sector be curtailed.

Dr Vitull K. Gupta, Bathinda

Cumbersome exercise

Apropos the news item ‘Rules for issuing birth certificates being flouted’, not only the rules are flouted for issuing birth certificates but local rules are also made for making lateral entry of the birth of a child. The file issued by a Suvida Centre at a cost of Rs 15 for initially getting ‘Untraceable Certificate’ and Rs 45 for final submission of lateral entry do not contain any instructions on the subjects. It is not understood as to when a notary affidavit is given for having not registered the birth of the child at the time of birth, why the hospital, nurse, MC and two prominent person’s certificates are demanded. Not only this, untraceable entries of previous year and next year date of birth are also demanded from parents as well as from grandparents of both father and mother of the child. The lateral entry procedure has been made so cumbersome that the common man cannot get it registered in a normal course.

Harish Monga, Ferozepur

Charming memoirs

Kamal Garewal’s article ‘Begumpura: A city without fear’ (July 3) is really a charming and true story of his own life’s experiences by depicting Bhagat Ravi Dass’ well known hymns in which he narrated his past and present life’s events before and after retirement. He has touched several aspects of a Chandigarhian’s life. His effort to recall a 23-year-old incident of how a cobbler lived a cheerful life is praiseworthy. His own experiences with the workers who migrated to Chandigarh from other states are also thought-provoking. Moreover, he has focused on the plight of the native villagers of Chandigarh whose land had been acquired by the ‘Capital Project of Chandigarh’. Such type of his narration of the story reminds me of Munshi Prem Chand’s stories.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Water schemes for Shimla

Shimla, the queen of hills and the summer capital of the British, has been waiting for sufficient drinking water ever since it became the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The expanding municipal limits and the perennial floating tourist population of this town have posed a problem for the state government in maintaining an assured supply of drinking water. The news item "Water for Shimla from Kol Dam" (July 4), appears to have set the vacillation at rest on the two proposals at hand, the Rs 1,100 crore Pabbar river gravity scheme and the Rs 400 crore Kol Dam lift scheme. Irrigation Minister Vidya Stokes and a few experts have differing opinions.

The minister says the Kol Dam option would cost around Rs 100 crores annually. In view of this, this lift scheme from Kol Dam would be as costly as the Pabbar gravity scheme. But RK Sharma, the Engineer-in-Chief of the states Irrigation department, is in favour of Kol Dam lift scheme. Whatever the option, Shimla residents are eagerly waiting for the water to reach their homes.

LR Sharma, Mandi

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