Letters

Letters to the Editor — April 20, 2021

Pandemic management

The alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, made worse by the shortage of essentials including medical oxygen cylinders, hospital beds and vaccines, tells the grim tale of how unprepared the Centre and several States have been in tackling the ongoing second wave. The authorities either choose to ignore it or be callous about it. Health protocols have been observed in breach during the campaigning for the Assembly elections with the Election Commission having mostly remained a mute spectator. Restrictions that were clamped during the first wave have returned, threatening to derail India’s nascent economic recovery. As the country cannot afford another stringent lockdown, whose horrid memories are still fresh in the minds of people, impositions of local restrictions even while hastening the vaccination drive and widening its ambit should inform the strategy to contain the spread of the contagion.

M. Jeyaram,

Sholavandan, Tamil Nadu

It is disquieting that the Prime Minister of the largest democracy is involved in the micro-management of activities such as the supply of oxygen, medicines and so forth. In the first place why does the Chief Minister of a State have to reach out to the Prime Minister for oxygen cylinders? Is the country being run on the whims and fancies of a few? There ought to be a robust and transparent mechanism in place with minimal human intervention for the supply of requisite medical supplies to needy States. Governments ought to rise above petty politics for the sake of humanity and the Centre should not slam States at the drop of a hat. In this game of one-upmanship it is India’s own citizens who are suffering.

Deepak Singhal,

Noida, Uttar Pradesh

ECI’s role

The Election Commission of India (ECI), of late, tends to assign itself with the task of ensuring the overall administration of States going to the polls, which for sure is not enshrined in the Constitution. Article 324(1) empowers the Commission for the ‘superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice President held under this Constitution shall be vested in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the Election Commission)’. The word to note here is ‘conduct’. The role of the ECI is more of a facilitator and not an ‘administrator’. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the ECI to confirm that its actions on the model code of conduct do not go beyond the purpose to encompass the whole administrative machinery in the guise of ensuring a free and fair election. In fact it would be more appropriate if the ECI urges the government to initiate action to include ‘voting right’ in the Constitution either as a fundamental right (Part III) or as a fundamental duty in Part IVA. Constitutional authorities may take steps to strengthen democratic practices rather than to usurp more powers to showcase their supremacy over others (Editorial page, “The ECI cannot be a super government”, April 19).

Baskaran Krishnamurthy,

Chennai

No one in the country wants the Election Commission of India to be a super government. But what every voter expects the ECI to do today is to exercise its available powers judiciously and fairly among the political parties of India. A few disturbing happenings in the country in the phase of the Assembly elections have given voters the feeling that such occurrences would never have happened had T.N. Seshan been the Chief Election Commissioner. Allowing any one not connected with the security of the polling booth place access to where the EVMs are kept is objectionable as per law. The ECI ought to have dealt with such cases amounting to a breach of three-tier security with an iron hand. One hopes that the ECI continues to be free and fair.

J. Eden Alexander,

Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 12:11:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-april-20-2021/article34361920.ece

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