Coal truth difficult for Jindal to digest
Apropos of “A trial by rival media”, the editor-in-chief of DNA has described vividly and in his inimitable style why the Zee editors were arrested and then sent to jail. The Congress member of parliament and promoter of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Naveen Jindal obviously could not digest the revelations about the allotment of coal blocks to his company and wanted to suppress this using his clout to misuse government machinery against the Zee editors. Is this not muzzling the media? It does not need to be emphasised more that the media is the ears and eyes of our democracy, investigating and revealing malpractices by politicians, bureaucrats and businesses. Foisting cases on flimsy grounds to silence the media is not only dangerous to democracy but could also boomerang on the government. We know that people at the helm of affairs hope the media will hail them and eulogise their activities, but not highlight their misdeeds. Time they face the truth.
—HP Murali, Bangalore
Time to redraft rules for parliamentarians
I refer to the disruption of parliament that occurs regularly due to the outdated rules that cannot contain this malaise. It is time that a panel of retired Supreme Court judges appointed by the chief justice of India, and not the parliamentarians, be entrusted with redrafting stringent new rules to deal with the unruly behaviour and the many other misdeeds and frauds committed by our elected representatives in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. According to an RTI response from the parliament secretariat, the leaders of both houses have sufficient powers to stop the unruly behaviour. However, we do not find them exercising these powers to prevent the criminal wastage of time and public funds spent on parliament sessions. Comments should be invited from the public. For one, let’s abolish rule 193 to put an end to any confusion in the numbers game, and major issues like the FDI matter should be decided by a vote under rule 184 without any fear of the government falling due to the voting. Then, there should be a card-punching system to record the time parliamentarians spend in the proceedings of the house, so as to require a minimum daily attendance to qualify for the daily allowance. The rules must provide for automatic cancellation of membership of legislators for unruly behaviour without any person or committee inquiring into the specific case. Parliamentary privileges must be abolished and parliamentarians
made accountable under the common law of the land, such that any misdemeanour should be grounds for automatic termination of membership of parliament.
—Subhash Chandra Agrawal, Delhi
Children are a gift from God
Apropos of “School punishes students for not going on picnic”, it seems that many church-run schools have become money-making factories. The school education officer has said that attendance on the last day before the vacation is not mandatory for students. Clearly, the real reason the students were punished and their parents were called was that they did not go for the picnic and this must have resulted in a loss for the staff. The authorities should penalise the principal as he has failed to observe the lesson given by Jesus Christ that children are a gift from God and should be treated accordingly.
—Marcus Dabre, by email
A politician with integrity
In the death of IK Gujral the country has lost not only a former prime minister, but a man of integrity. He was a dignified politician, and this is rare today. Perhaps the most significant of his proposals was a set of principles to help improve relations between India and her immediate neighbours – what came to be called the “Gujral doctrine”. When the Congress government withdrew its support to his United Front government, instead of trying to muster support to take a vote in the Lok Sabha, Gujral just handed over his resignation to the president without any fuss. Sadly, there has not been much discussion about the man or his work, most likely because such people do not get the TRPs as would some other politicians or film personalities. In fact, one of the news channels was saying at 3.23pm on Saturday that Gujral’s cremation would take place at 3pm. My tributes to this great statesman.
—Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad
Aam aadmi ka paisa, aam aadmi ke haath
Apropos of “Aap ka paisa, aap ke haath...”, as Jairam Ramesh announced the Congress Party’s next slogan, evidently a play on the direct cash transfer scheme, P Chidambaram, who was at the press conference, must have mumbled, “Aur hamara paisa, hamare haath”. Of course, this is public money (collected through taxes) that is being distributed to the people. But what about the money that some politicians have siphoned away to safe havens? That money could be brought back and the cash distributed, even without Aadhar. This would revive the banks, with many more branches at every nook and corner. If we already have bogus voters, infiltrators who have been regularised, and quite a few not-so-poor families registered as BPL beneficiaries, how much longer before we also have bogus Aadhar card holders? So many years after Indira Gandhi had promised “Garibi Hatao” we have a token measure at last. The newly-formed Aam Aadmi Party has its work cut out to check whether “aam aadmi ka paisa” actually transfers to “aam aadmi ke haath”.
—Kedarnath R Aiyar, Mumbai
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