TN Seshan the great reformer

Editor,

If today our electoral system stands as one among the best  and a model to be followed, the credit definitely goes to late T N Seshan  who can be termed as India’s electoral legend, a pioneer who so boldly and confidently put things right for the electoral system which was earlier riddled with flaws. With whatever laws available in the electoral Bible of the nation the no- nonsense and daring IAS officer marked a niche of his own in the hearts of the citizens. Whenever an election is held  – be it assembly or parliament – the face that appears in the minds of the generation of the 1990s and after is that of TN Seshan. His tenure as India’s CEC was epochal. The reforms set by  the greatest of Election Commissioners the country has ever seen are many – introducing voters ID, election code of conduct, restrictions on election expenditure,  restrictions of  sales  of liquor during election time, restrictions on using the name of religion and caste during campaigning, prohibition of religious institutions canvassing for candidates, restrictions of usage of funds during campaigning and many other strict laws. All these paved the way for neat and clean election. If today the Election Commission of India and the chiefs at the helm have a voice of their own it’s because of this great person who was an epitome of honesty, integrity and transparency. He showed his countrymen what it is to be a true bureaucrat.

Yours etc.,

M Pradyu,

Kannur

Death of migratory birds

Editor,

It is very sad to learn that as many as 1500 migratory birds of over a dozen species have been found dead in Sambhar Lake, the country’s largest inland saltwater lake near Jaipur. Officials said they suspected water contamination as one of the reasons for the deaths but were awaiting viscera test reports. The carcasses of hundreds of birds, including plovers, common coots, black-winged stilts, northern shovelers, ruddy shelducks and pied avocets, were scattered along the edges of a 12-13 km stretch of the lake’s catchment area.

Such a large number of deaths of migratory birds is one of the rarest of cases in recent history. The cause of death of so many birds can be found out only after getting the medical reports. Earlier, a medical team from Jaipur had collected a few carcasses and water samples for examination. Ashok Rao, a veterinary doctor, who was part of the investigation team ruled out the possibility of bird flu saying no secretion had been found. Other possibilities like toxicity of the water and bacterial or viral infection are being looked into. A few days ago, a hailstorm had hit the area, which could also be a possibility for the cause of death of the birds. Whatever be the cause, the authorities must take utmost care to ensure that the migratory birds are getting a safe environment.

Birds form a major part of the earth’s ecosystem. Birds are beautiful living beings with magnificent wings and extraordinary colors of various shapes and sizes. Migratory birds come mainly from Siberia and Europe as harsh winter has already set in there. These birds migrate to India every year during the winter season for food, breeding and nesting. After the winters when India starts getting hotter, they again migrate to cooler areas.

There are numerous places in India, where these birds flock during the winter months, making them their temporary homes. The major bird sanctuaries like Lake Chilika in Odisha, Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary in Gujarat, Sundarban National Park in West Bengal, Kumarakom Bird Sanctury in Kerala , Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh etc are indeed temporary homes to migratory birds. Authorities must take necessary steps to make the environment clean and unpolluted to welcome these winged guests.

Yours etc.,

TK Nandanan,

Via email

Landmark verdict of Supreme Court

Editor,

Rajiv Gandhi took control of the Congress party and became Prime Minister following his mother’s assassination in 1984. The Congress government first tried to appease the Muslims by overturning the Supreme Court order in the well-known Shah Bano case. In April 1978, the 62-year-old Muslim woman filed a petition in court demanding maintenance from her divorced husband Mohammed Ahmad Khan, a renowned lawyer in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The Supreme Court, in 1985, ruled that the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) applies to all Indian citizens regardless of their religion, and that it applied in Shah Bano’s case too. The Congress government, headed by Rajiv Gandhi, overturned the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in 1986 by passing the Muslim Women (Protection on Divorce Act).

The ruling dispensation at the Centre made it apparent that it was under pressure from Islamic clerics and fundamentalists, and bowed down to the demands of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. This infuriated a large section of the majority Hindu community. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party got their ammunition to target the Congress as “anti-Hindu”.

Faced with a backlash, the Rajiv Gandhi government made another mis-calculation in an attempt at a balancing act.  It opened the locks of the Babri Masjid. Though the orders came from the district judge of Faizabad in 1986, which under the circumstances at the time established beyond doubt that things were happening with high level political consent. Once the locks were opened, the Ram Mandir movement gained impetus with Hindutva forces launching a no-holds-barred campaign for it. The push culminated in the demolition of the mosque by right-wing activists on December 6, 1992.

Now on November 9, 2019 the Apex Court has given a historic verdict by resolving a 134-year long pending dispute of land between principal religious communities. This verdict has been accepted by Indians irrespective of caste, creed, community or religion for maintaining peace, harmony and unity of the nation. The Congress party and their allies and any other political party, for that matter, should better refrain from observing “Babri Masjid Demolition Anniversary” on December 6, henceforth with the only purpose of gaining political mileage and electoral gains by inciting communal disharmony and hatred.

The time is ripe for the Congress party to make atonement for their past misdeeds and mischievous blunders by consenting to partition of India in 1947 and thereafter continued adoption of divisive policies inherited from the British Masters.

Yours etc.,

Samares Bandyopadhyay,

Advocate,

Kolkata High Court

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