Sir — Supriya Chaudhuri’s comments on the ambitious proposals of Kapil Sibal, the human resource development minister, are both timely and of fundamental relevance (“New lamps for old”, Oct 27). The core issue, as she so tellingly diagnoses, is the new-found self-assurance displayed by some members of the urban Indian middle class who derive great pleasure from dismissing their country’s institutions, and cherish uncritically all things foreign. Many of these newly assertive Indians, including some of the lawmakers, have had their education abroad, and have little practical experience of Indian educational institutions. Even more alarming is the call to discard history and the past, and bandy about catchphrases like “world class” without defining their content.
Excellence, as Chaudhuri says, is earned and not created. The key problem is the lack of incentive for scholars. It is not as if all teachers or students in the Indian Institutes of Technology are whiz kids. The way to improve the current education scenario is not to set up a few more institutions but to reform the existing ones, by putting in place mechanisms that reward excellence through fair and transparent means. Chaudhuri is to be thanked for taking up fundamental issues and exposing the hollowness hidden behind the big words being peddled by big people.
Sir — The Union law minister, Veerappa Moily, has made a stern statement that he will not allow “a single tainted person” in the legal system (“Policy to cut down govt litigation”, Oct 22). Moily’s call for a new system of appointing judges so as to avoid the “tainted” from entering the structure is welcome. But one cannot help feeling a little sceptical about such claims. One can only hope that Moily does not have to alter his stance, and is able to deliver on his promise. However, Moily has not provided any detail about how such a task would be performed. One wonders whether Moily would require an amendment of the Constitution to bring about a more transparent process of selecting judges.
The issue of corrupt judges has recently come into the limelight after P.D. Dinakaran, the chief justice of Karnataka High Court, was selected to become a judge in the Supreme Court. The Bar Association of Karnataka and many eminent jurists across the country erupted in protest against the elevation of Dinakaran to the apex court. Serious charges of corruption were brought against him. His promotion has been halted by the Chief Justice of India for the time being. Ironically, Moily has avoided taking a position on Dinakaran.
India has taken long strides in science and technology in recent years, and is considered to be one of the most promising world powers. Unfortunately, India is also one of the most corrupt nations. Pervasive corruption in almost every sphere of public life has been a great obstacle to the country’s progress.
Judicial corruption is the worst form of corruption because an honest and efficient judicial system is the foundation of a democratic country. In the United States of America, judges are selected by a process that is rigorous as well as transparent. Any US citizen can lodge a complaint against any judge that is then investigated in an appropriate manner.
Significant changes are necessary for the eradication of corruption from the Indian judicial system. Any initiative undertaken by the government to ensure the appointment of honest judges would undoubtedly be an important step to restore public trust in the legal system.
Kunal Saha, Ohio, US
Sir — Veerappa Moily has said that “tainted persons” will not be allowed to become judges. He has also proposed that the declaration of judges’ assets be covered in a comprehensive bill. It is a good move, but what about the politicians who sometimes appear to be even above judges? Politicians, who are also the lawmakers, should try to clean themselves first. They should not convey the message that tainted leaders are more acceptable than tainted judges.
Mahesh Kumar, New Delhi
Compulsion to repeat
Sir — The report, “Disorder signs in IIT suspect” (Oct 27), says that obsessive compulsive disorder is “a medical state where the patient suffers from delusions he struggles to break out of”. This statement is incorrect, and not supported by medical fact. Obsessive compulsive disorder, better known as OCD, is an anxiety disorder in which the patients suffer from obsessive thoughts, resulting in compulsive activities such as repeated washing of hands, dusting the house, checking locks, arranging books and so on. Delusions are symptomatic of schizophrenic, not of OCD patients.
Anjee Bhatia, Calcutta