Attack on Pawar
The electronic media have made a hero out of Harvinder Singh who attacked Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in New Delhi on Thursday. All national television news channels sensationalised the issue. Singh's problem — of corruption and price rise — are faced by all people in the country. But resort to violence is not the answer. Had the government acted when Singh attacked the former telecom Minister, Sukh Ram, the attack on Mr. Pawar could have been averted.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar,
The attack on Mr. Pawar is condemnable. We join our MPs in deploring the act. But I also recall the incident when a TRS legislator slapped an employee of Andhra Bhavan in New Delhi during the Telangana agitation. A similar act was committed by a U.P. legislator. Will our MPs condemn such acts committed by some of their own people too?
There cannot be two opinions that the law should take its course in the matter of the attack on Mr. Pawar. Whatever drove the attacker to such an action, it militates against all rules. But we should seriously take note of what Singh said — that he is against corruption and price rise. These two issues are agitating people's minds.
It is unfortunate to note that the man who attacked Sukh Ram last week assaulted Mr. Pawar on Thursday. It only goes to show how ineffective our security system is. It is ridiculous for such things to happen to a Union Minister, despite the huge amounts being spent on VIP security.
J. Eden Alexander,
The assault on Mr. Pawar is yet another case of vigilantism activism creeping into our society. The way to tackle corruption is to defeat corrupt politicians in the elections.
Ban on film
The Tamil Nadu government's decision to ban the feature film Dam 999 is an assault on the freedom of speech and expression. It is yet another reflection of an increasing tendency to shut out inconvenient views by both governments and self-styled outfits. The issues surrounding the Mullaperiyar dam are simple and straight. Tamil Nadu needs water and Kerala wants to be reassured of the dam's safety. If politicians of both States allow reason to take centre stage, a solution can easily emerge.
The film is an eye-opener that exposes corruption in the construction of dams. Let us not suppress the creativity of our film directors who can compete with Hollywood professionals.
Dilip J. Nehemiah,
The banning of a film attracts more viewers. Dam 999 is based on a 1975 disaster in China. Even if the film has references to the Mullaperiyar dam, banning it will not bring any tangible results to reduce the potential danger to the people of Kerala. The old and weak structure of the dam poses a grave danger. Tamil Nadu and Kerala should together initiate action to construct a new dam or repair the existing dam.
Major Mathew Oommen,
Bail vs. jail
Only a professional like R.K. Raghavan can make such a bold and objective analysis of the Supreme Court's order releasing five of the accused in the 2G scam case (“Reversal of a dangerous trend,” Nov. 25) on bail. Every right-thinking citizen is eager to see those pronounced guilty of public corruption, however rich and powerful, given the most deterrent punishment in a court of law. But incarceration for an undecidedly long spell before the actual conviction is not acceptable.
When the electronic media are sensationalising public corruption and making it a mawkish issue, it is incumbent upon our learned judges to decide on the bail applications of accused persons in strict terms of intrinsic legal worth.
Although the Public Prosecutor is an officer of the court, and not an investigating agency, he hardly ever acts like one. Is it because the investigating agencies do not allow him to take an impartial stance?
Even in serious crimes, emotions and public sentiments should not be allowed to influence the judges' decisions on bail petitions. Thousands of under trials are languishing in jails across the country. Both the judiciary and the investigating agencies are responsible for this. While the judiciary is liberal in adjourning hearings, investigators lack the skills to crack cases. At times, they also want to harass the accused.
Courts should not routinely accept the investigating agencies' plea that an accused, if discharged on bail, will tamper with evidence, influencing the course of investigation and the like. The law should prescribe a time limit for investigation and trial, beyond which under trials should be released unconditionally.
G. M. Rama Rao,
Notwithstanding all talk of liberty, one cannot ignore the fact that it is invoked only when high-profile people with resources and clout are able to approach the courts at various levels to get relief. Why have the courts not acted suo motu to grant relief to thousands of under trials, who have no resources to pursue their legitimate claims to liberty? In a sense, our sympathy for white collar criminals is misplaced. There is nothing wrong in a judge deciding on a bail plea after taking the particular facts of the case, the clout of the accused, etc., into consideration.
Economic offenders know the lacunae in the system. They are aware that once the charge sheet is completed (if at all a case has been made out), things go into cold storage for years and they can roam scot free. Bookish opinion will only pave the way for more serious economic offences.
I agree with Dr. Raghavan's views on the inordinate delay in the judicial system and that an accused should not be detained unnecessarily. But the argument that bail can be denied to a person charged with serial rape and murder, not to one charged with a white collar crime is unacceptable. If the former poses a physical danger to society, the latter causes a loss to the exchequer.
The media, the public, judges, advocates — all have an opinion about the accused. But their views should not affect established rules. Opinions should be grounded in logic. At the same time, they should conform to moral and constitutional norms. An authority ought to discharge his duties, regardless of the prevailing public opinion, or the media's orientation in a particular matter. The media, too, should stop projecting the accused as guilty.
The death of Communist Party of India (Maoist) leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji in an encounter with the security forces presents an opportunity and a threat to the government's strategy to combat left-wing extremism. The Centre and the West Bengal government should handle the situation carefully and come clean on his death. At the same time, the ongoing efforts to reach an understanding with the Maoists must continue.
I sincerely hope the government will try to engage the Maoists in the peace process to find an amicable settlement, despite the killing of Kishenji. The country cannot afford to shed more blood in the name of fighting terrorism. Every citizen of our nation is entitled to a peaceful life.