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Judicial appointments

It is a happy augury that Parliament has sent a message of its supremacy by passing the National Judicial Appointments Bill. The difference of opinion on the part of the AIADMK, highlighted in the editorial “Make haste, slowly” (August 15) is not uncommon in a democratic polity. The stout defence of the existing collegium system by the Chief Justice of India that the system was working well is also beside the point. Let us not forget that this unique formula of the judiciary appropriating exclusive powers over all appointments to higher judiciary, precluding government participation, was invented by a nine-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court in 1994. It was not in sync with the process laid down by the Constitution. It is unique in the sense that such a system does not exist in any democracy in the civilised world.

The Bench that delivered the judgment was almost evenly divided — five judges were in favour of this controversial verdict and four against. One of our most eminent jurists, Justice VR Krishna Iyer, in his book titled ‘Wake up call for Indian Republic’ has called it a flawed ruling. He says that the ruling negated the earlier practice of ‘consultation’ as against ‘concurrence’, as laid down by Dr Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly. Indeed it was Justice Krishna Iyer who had observed that “nowhere in the civilised world have judges themselves seized the power to appoint their own brother (and sister) judges. This unhappy judicial hunger for executive power of a high order is an inglorious departure from the basic structure of the Constitution.” Therefore, the apprehension that the Supreme Court might invalidate it is unsustainable. In passing this Bill, Parliament could hardly be faulted for departing from the basic structure of the Constitution. Indeed it is an attempt to straightening the tilt.

Ram Varma, Panchkula

Not indecent haste

The editorial “Make haste, slowly” mentions that the Modi government is displaying indecent haste in pushing through the Bill to replace the collegium system of judicial appointment. That is not true. The Bill has been pending with the Congress government for many years, but it had not taken any step to pass the law. When the Modi government pursued it with earnestness, it cannot be termed “indecent haste”. The Bill is required urgently as it aims to stop concentration of power with the judges in the name of independence of judiciary. Cheers to the Modi government.

Anshula Agnihotri, Chandigarh

Collegium system flawed

The editorial “Making haste, slowly” (August 15) rightly mentions that the collegium system has many flaws, such as lack of transparency, corruption etc. Incidentally, there is a tendency among lawyers to not do their homework by the ‘date’ of haring and they run here and there in order to get the next date by any means. This breeds corruption and delay in deciding the case. The judges must be advised to check such lawyers and even cancel their licenses if found guilty. This leads to unnecessary waste of time and expenses of the parties involved in the case.

KK CHAWLA, Kurukshetra

Pain of Partition

Kuldip Nayar has painted a true picture of the Partition in his article “Partition left only refugees” (August 13). When the Partition took place, I was studying in DB Middle School, Nadaun. Niazuddin, an intelligent and handsome boy, was also in the same school. He was staying with his grandfather Allah Ditta. Two Muslim families were staying just 100 metres from my house. They were protected by all villagers. One day, Niazuddin decided to go to to see his parents in Dhaneta, a remote place. As luck would have it, the entire family, including Niazuddin, was killed by a mob that evening. Grief-stricken, Niazuddin’s friend and rival in Urdu poetry, the late Mian Karam Singh Parmar ‘Jalarvi’ did not have food for four days.

The second heart-breaking event was in 1957 when I was on board the warship ‘TIR’ in Abadan in the Persian Gulf. Since I knew Urdu and Persian, I found a place in a team that was to join the Abadan Naval police for night-patrolling, the restricted area of the port. The in charge of the team left me at a house occupied by 28-year-old statuesque and beautiful woman. On getting to know that I was from Kangra district, she burst into tears and told me that she was the daughter of a Rai Bahadur and was studying in a college at Montgomery. Her entire family, except for her sister and her, was killed. She could not meet her sister after that. She was sold to a Sheikh who resold her. That is how she had landed here in the redlight area. She pleaded if I could take her to India. But I was not in a position to do so. Even the Government of India could not have benn able to do it. The Partition brought only pain and misery for the people who suffered, but they were not allowed to even cry.

Multan Singh Parihar, Hamirpur

Unite India, Pak

Kuldip Nayar’s article “Partition left only refugees” (August 13) gives a tragic picture of the terrible events that followed the partition of India. I remember that Pt Jawaharlal Nehru had visited us in a refugee camp at Montgomery (Faislabad). He assured us that we would all remain in our hometowns and there was no need for panic. Alas! His words proved untrue and the Partition took place. It was a political blunder.

The leaders of both the countries should now try to unite the two countries. If East and West Germany and North and South Vietnam can be united, why not Pakistan and India? It would solve many problems being faced by the two countries at present.

Prof Krishan Malhotra, Ambala Cantt

Dry days not dire days

Contrary to the views in the letters “Cheers! India” (August 22) and “Indians and dogs” (August 15), I appreciate the observance of dry days and the prohibition on sale of liquor on a few days a year in our country as a gesture of veneration towards the ideals of the Father of the Nation. Observing dry days is in line with a directive principle of state policy (Article 47) that enjoins the government to “prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks.” Though I’m not a teetotaler, I am astounded at the glorification of alcohol by people and their inability to celebrate without it.


Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com



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