Off the record

Off the record

Verdict rumours

Ever since a five-judge constitution bench reserved its judgment on a clutch of petitions challenging constitutional validity of a new law replacing collegium system of appointment of judges, rumour mills are working in full steam over the possible ruling. Some say the National Judicial Appointment Commission would be quashed by 3:2 verdict.

The others, however, feel it would be by 4:1. The latest talk in the corridor indicate the law would be upheld after reading down the provision involving two eminent citizens in the appointment process of judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court. Observers feel as it is the high-stake battle, whichever way the judgment is pronounced, the decision would set a new landmark as far as basic principle of independence of judiciary is concerned.
Ashish Tripathi, New Delhi

New kids on Lalu’s block

Contrary to the general belief, Lalu Prasad’s eldest daughter Misa Bharti won’t contest the ensuing Assembly elections. Misa, who made an unsuccessful debut during last Lok Sabha elections from Pataliputra against Ram Kripal Yadav (a Lalu aide-turned-BJP minister), has asserted that she would prefer campaigning for her two brothers - Tej Pratap and Tejaswi Yadav.

The two sons of Lalu-Rabri are in the fray from Mahua and Raghopur respectively, incidentally both in Vaishali district. An MBBS doctor, Misa is wedded to software engineer Shailesh Kumar and has two daughters. But apart from looking after her family, she is also assisting her father in deciding poll strategies, tour plan and tips on booth management. Quite an enviable back-office role for someone who got her name from the draconian law during Emergency - Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA).
Abhay Kumar, Patna

A Rs 100 relief

A Punjab farmer who committed suicide while sitting on protest in Bathinda demanding compensation for crop damage was finally awarded three days after his tragic death. But the compensation added insult to injury to the beleaguered family who lost its bread winner. The next of kin have been given a compensation of a meagre Rs 100 for crop damage. No, it was not a calculation error, according to the government.

 The family has refused for cremate the 28-year old Kuldeep Singh. Majority of cotton crop, especially in Punjab's Malwa region has been destroyed following an unprecedented attack by the white fly. Farmers have been protesting in Punjab now for over 10 days seeking a compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre of damaged crop. Ironically, many farmers in Punjab who have suffered losses are getting compensation amounts of even less than
Rs 100.
Gautam Dheer, Chandigarh

J&K govt’s dilemma

Call it fate or coincidence, the PDP-BJP coalition government in J&K is stuck between the devil and deep sea situation over beef ban controversy. While BJP favours the ban, the PDP wants to uphold the sentiments of the majority community, its vote bank in the valley. The controversy pertains to over a century old law which forbids slaughter of bovine animals. Though law was in force, a recent PIL filed in the J&K High Court gave it a new life, all full of polarisation of minds on communal and regional lines.

The HC has tossed the ball onto the government’s court saying they could go for an amendment of the controversial law. If the government passes bill to revoke the ban, sentiments of one region and the party will be hurt and if the ban continues it will be to the contrary. Either way, the PDP-BJP marriage seems to be stuck.
Zulfikar Majid,Srinagar

Transfer trouble

Abrupt transfer of officials known for their integrity is something we’ve come to accept as an Indian polity staple. In Kerala, the transfer of Jacob Thomas, former Commandant of the Fire and Rescue Services, is triggering controversy in the wake of reports that a powerful builders’ lobby had allegedly put pressure on the government for his ouster.
Thomas is learnt to have confronted builders over safety standards in construction. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has defended the transfer stating that there were “complaints” on Thomas’ ways of functioning.
R Krishnakumar, Thiruvananthapuram.

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