• Cheats of Democracy
    Dec 04, 2017

    If even judges are assuming their official positions through such scams, what can be expected from this democracy anymore? Outlook’s report about leaked papers of the Haryana ­judiciary should give a terrible shock to that hallowed institution (Tout as Topper, Nov 20). Worse is the regularised nature of this scam, which is made possible by the collusion of judicial officials in leaking the papers. Paper leaks for government and other state-level exams are not uncommon in this country but the general view about the judiciary is that of a unique institution which is above other institutions due to its sacred function of delivering justice. It is the bedrock of a democracy. But it seems the rats of corruption have ­already been gnawing at the roots.

    M.K.Somanatha Panicker, Alappuzha

    As mentioned in your story, the issue pertaining to leakage of question papers is nothing new. But when it happens within the corridors of justice, it is very worrying. In a democracy, judiciary is held in the highest regard by the common people. If those on their way to ­become custodians of justice in this dem­ocracy have themselves cheated their way to the top, what’s stopping them from acting in the most corrupt ways while they hold the esteemed post of a judge? A bogus lawyer community already operates in many courts across the country, now even judges are joining the fray. Knowing all this, where does one turn to for justice?

    Ramachandran Nair, Muscat

    I am much anguished to find out about the scams that have surfaced for the rec­ruitment of judges for the lower jud­iciary. Till now the common public used to feel confident that at least the judiciary is a scam-free institution in this country otherwise rife with corrupt spaces, but the recent disclosure is a ­direct hit on the confidence of the people. Some senior eminent jurists have recommended that recruitment in the lower judiciary (below high court) should happen through an all India sel­ection process like the IAS or IPS, which will perhaps ensure free and fair selection. However, this might require a Parliamentary discussion so that the provisions of the 1935 India Act could be scrapped. But the needful must be done as we the citizens cannot continue to be cheated of justice by a few scam masters.

    Lt Col Ranjit Sinha (Retd), Kolkata

    Unfor­tuna­tely, it is not wholly surprising to know that the lower judiciary in Punjab and Haryana has been so compromised by corruption. After all, the Vyapam scam was not too far from what transpires in the Punjab and Haryana Courts. When there is rampant corruption in the other two arms of the government—the legislature and the executive, how can the the judiciary be spotless? Turns out, there are no holy cows in the ­democracy. It could very well be that Punjab and Haryana are just two tips of a wide, corrugated iceberg. When ­examinations to select judges are shrouded in serious irregularities, is it any surprise that cases in the courts are dragged on for years and judgement after judgement is unfair? It cannot be said anymore that the ­judicial system, manned by lawyers and judges, is above the board.

    M.Y. Shariff, Chennai

    Eminent lawyer and former solicitor general of India Soli Sorabji favours an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) with an all-­India entrance exam for judges for uniform recruitment. The data provided in the cover story shows basic problems with the way high courts and lower courts work in this country along with some possible solutions. Several suggestions have reportedly been made in the 116th Law Commission Report. Why can’t it be implemented if there is will? After all, we have a common entrance examination for many of the all India services.

    M.C. Joshi, Lucknow

  • Dec 04, 2017

    The BJP is bound to win by a sensational majority in Gujarat; in any case it is not short of funds, what with the immense backing of industrialists (On Home Turf, A Party That Can’t Afford to Lose, Nov 13). The party also has foot-soldiers across India rushing to the state. The BJP has slashed GST rates, appeasing businessmen, particularly those in yarn and jewellery. Scattered caste equations are no threat when ‘Gujarat gaurav’ and ‘Gujarati ­asmita’ tend to supersede Indian patriotism and nationalism. The opposition is simply no match for the BJP.

    M.N. Bhartiya, Goa

  • One-Liner
    Dec 04, 2017

    This leakage at the judge selection level itself results in the porosity of justice later.

    Rajneesh Batra, New Delhi

  • Time to soul-search
    Dec 04, 2017

    The arms of the law stretching to scare the media, including cartoonists, unjustifiably negates freedom of expression (The Tamil Gag Raj, Nov 20). You have rightly listed the controversial excesses committed during the rule of both the DMK and AIADMK. Given that Tamil Nadu frequently hits the headlines for such wrong reasons, the government of the day needs to introspect on ways to face criticism more maturely. Let the rulers not turn idithuraippar illa emara mannan….(No adversary needed for a ruler if he has not surrounded himself with the wise) as the Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar cautioned long ago.

    C. Chandrasekaran, On E-Mail

  • Cop-and-Bull Tale
    Dec 04, 2017

    This ref­ers to your editorial comment Torture as Evidence (Nov 20). Why did the writer have nothing to say about the thousands of Muslims framed by police and intelligence agencies, who were later released by the courts due to insufficient, or fabricated, evidence? Who will compensate them for the torture and ignominy they underwent. Many others continue to languish in jails in fabricated cases. Is this no bother for the liberal conscience just because the victims are from a particular community?

    Nasar Ahmed, On E-Mail

    Our police are yet to outgrow various colonial practices of investigation. They lag behind the times and reinforce the most conservative biases in society, leading to innocents being punished and impunity for the guilty. The Ryan International murder case should become an occasion to push for long-due police reforms.

    D.N. Rath, On E-Mail

    Had the CBI not been given the investigation, the life of the poor and innocent bus conductor who was initially accused would have been ­ruined. That’s why I think inf­ormation about an accused person should not be shared with the public until the police are sure of adequate grounds for accusing him. Otherwise, it only reinforces the popular belief that police investigations are not to be trusted.

    Parshuram Gautampurkar, Sawai Madhopur

    Just as they did in the Aarushi murder case, the police in this instance too, came, saw and spun a diabolical theory in an incredibly short time. They decided who the murderer was and let the whole world know. The person who was wrongly accused would have gone through a horrific time.

    Rajan Narasimhan, On E-Mail

    You suggest in your Comment that the Haryana police should take action against the local station-in-charge. Did a senior officer not supervise the intricacies of the investigation? In such a sensational case, it was his duty to guide the subordinates, and permit no torture to obtain a confession. Third-degree torture is inflicted either to ext­ract some information or money, and usually it is done with the full knowledge of the higher-ups. It is a disgrace that only small fry, if anyone at all, get blamed in cases of custodial torture.

    J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad

    The ‘confession’ of the school-bus conductor in the case on the murder of a class-2 student of Ryan International in Gurgaon shows a police-politician collusion. And this is not the first case the police have botched. Will our courts take serious note of and hand over ­exemplary punishment to the irresponsible cops? Ashok Kumar and the Talwars, if not found guilty, merit compensation.

    Prakash Hanspaul, On E-Mail

    Was it the massive public outrage which followed after the murder of a seven-year-old boy that led the Gurgaon police to botch the case? Perhaps the cops wanted to be very prompt, and hence got the wrong person in haste. Overall, the murder is a tale of brutality that yet again showed the ­voyeuristic side of the Indian media.

    Padmini Raghavendra, Secunderabad

  • Mixing Egos
    Dec 04, 2017

    This is with reference to your editorial comment, Khichdi of Pulkistan (Nov 13) . You have ridiculed the Khichdi-eaters to the best of your ability. Have you ever wondered why it is ser­ved to ailing people? It is easily dig­estible and nutritious. Your Keralite eating habits may be dear to you, but ­others do have a choice.

    Dr Jyoti Sharma, Dharamshala

  • Towards a Slide
    Dec 04, 2017

    This is about Talmiz Ahmad’s informative article, on the dire situation in Saudi Arabia (The Grasping Quicksand, Nov 20). The article impresses upon me what a serious situation this is. From the US perspective, I believe Trump has good intentions in aligning with the Saudi king and his crown prince Mohammad bin Salman—namely def­ence deals favourable to the US and keeping in check the ‘common enemies’ that have, including militant organisations like the ISIS. However, all this has to be seen in the frame of the Saudi king’s gathering more power, something designed to silence all opposition.

    Chuck Zimmerer, On E-Mail

    Is the des­ert kingdom in ‘quicksand’? The shake-up in the Saudi palace is as bold as it is unprecedented; the geostrategic import of the development is profound. In what has been packaged to the comity of nations as a ‘corruption purge’, crown prince Mohammad bin Salman has arrested 11 senior princes, pre-emi­nently the outspoken billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal. The purge has shaken the Riyadh royalty to its foundations and trashed the general perception that senior members of royalty are immune. Prince Mohammad has made it clear that he is determined to stamp his aut­hority over most aspects of public life. Six months into his tenure, he has int­roduced a series of reforms designed to transform the kingdom’s economy and put the relationship between the state and its citizens on a new course. This is in a country which for decades was known for its resistance to change. As a liberal breeze flows through the country at last, women have recently been ­allowed to drive and even enter theatres and cinemas. By next year, women are expected to enter sports stadia and travel abroad without being chap­eroned by male relatives.

    J. Akshay, Bangalore

    Along with the welcome news that Saudi women would be allowed to drive, comes more disturbing news of the crackdown in the royal family. For long a haven of  stability, now it seems anything can happen in Saudi Arabia. Indeed, what has happened in Saudi Arabia looks almost revolutionary. Crown prince Mohammad has got rid of many princes who have amassed millions of dollars in tax-free havens without doing a spot of work. Saudi Arabia is a very repressive nation, its monarchy is conservative and its rich royals have funded terrorists in various parts of the world. It is also a fact that if any country can upset the Saudi apple cart it is Iran. However, as the West has been close to the royals, they might give the country unstinting support in their turf war with Iran.

    P. Lal Singh, On E-Mail

  • Virus Devo Bhava
    Dec 04, 2017

    Apropos of The Data Kidnappers (November 20), Our government’s claims about the safety of biometric data held under the Aadhaar scheme sound unconvincing in the light of hacking, ransomware and other cyber threats. Over 100 nations are trying to contain the threat of ransomware and mitigate its impact. Recent reports indicate that a hacking campaign is targeting the ene­rgy sector in Europe and the US to sabotage national power grids. The overall ­number of Ransomware attacks in the U.S. ­increased fourfold between 2015 and 2016, according to U.S. data. One third of National Health Service trusts in the U.K. have also reported such att­acks. In a statement, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security says that nuclear power plants throughout the world are in denial about the risk of a serious ­cyber-attack. Currently in India, over 90 centrally sponsored schemes from various min­istries are ­implemented via Aadhaar, and the ­government is keen to expand this list. The cyber threat is particularly ­dan­gerous for the less internet-savvy, among whom are many poor and eld­erly people, whose meagre life savings may be ­siphoned off by cyber scams. The ­digital identities of more than a million citizens were compromised by a state gove­rnment recently. National security has often been breached by hackers and rogue elements, and the world’s gov­ernments have proved too helpless to stop this. The government must appreciate the fact that Aadhaar is not a magic ­bullet with a solution to every problem if substantial security measures are not in place. We must pre-emptively tackle this emerging threat on a priority basis to ­ensure safe networks and the privacy of the citizen.

    H.N. Ramakrishna, Bangalore

  • Black Hole Brilliance
    Dec 04, 2017

    Apropos Deer-footed Magician, the legendary I.M. Vijayan’s column, there are many Vijayans in this country who still sleep on an empty stomach (Oct 30). Fortunately, Vijayan got recognition. He played for the country and even acted in some films. In the field of sports, many have come from complete obscurity. One other was the nimble-footed Thenmadom Mathew Varghese, better known as Thiruvalla Pappan. It is said that he lived in a thatched roof house near the M.G. Christian school in the 1940s and would help as a ball-picker during a football match. He later went to play for Tata’s football team in Bombay and then for the Indian team. Then there was the late S.A. Rahim who was just a police constable in the Nizam’s police. He is regarded as the architect of ­modern Indian football.

    Vijaya Kumar, Hyderabad



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