Sir — Are the Mumbai police so naive as to expect Shah Rukh Khan and Rakesh Roshan to admit in open court that they received calls from Chhota Shakeel and Abu Salem (“Bollywood balks at belling mafia” Dec 5)' In order to secure the cooperation of film personalities in any investigation into the underworld, the police would first have to ensure their safety. Much would also depend on whether the stars themselves would be able to give up their greed for money for the sake of justice. Given the completely unethical way in which the film business is run, that seems an impossible proposition.
Maya Sengupta, Calcutta
Sir — The uncompromising attitude of the striking lawyers is a painful reminder of the time when militant trade unionism used to be rampant in West Bengal. In a democracy, a strike is usually the last resort. The lawyers should have tried to negotiate with the government before taking the decision to cease work. Even now, when the government has agreed to partially roll back the court fees, lawyers insist on first seeing the policy on “black and white” before they withdraw their agitation (“Court fee on tinker table”, Dec 6). The issue seems to have already acquired political colour, given the presence of Trinamool Congress leaders at state bar council meetings. Which indicates that despite the government climb down, the strike might persist.
Phani Bhusan Saha, Balurghat
Sir — The ongoing strike of lawyers in West Bengal, pro-testing against the court fee hike has tarnished the image of the judiciary. As the editorial, “Fee booked” (Nov 25), points out, they have ended up inconveniencing those whose interests they are claiming to represent. Besides increasing the hardship of litigants, the strike has resulted in the piling up of work. Besides, the hike is more than justified given that the state government has not raised fees for more than 30 years and the financial crunch makes it imperative now.
Naren Sen, Howrah
Sir— The report, “Lawyer strike ignites jail mutiny” (Dec 4), bears ominous portents for the future. If the impasse between lawyers and the state government continues, there might be similar disruptions in other jails. Approximately, 10 bail petitions are moved in the city civil and sessions courts every day and about 100 in the Alipore court. The strike has compelled prisoners, who could have otherwise been released on bail, to stay on in prison. This is a violation of the legal and constitutional rights of prisoners. It is imperative that a balance is struck before the situation worsens further.
Mitul Deb, Calcutta
Sir — Despite the introduction of voter’s identity cards a few years ago, the ration card continues to be demanded as proof of one’s identity and nationality. One requires it for opening a savings account in a nationalized bank, or for the admission of one’s child in a school. The importance of this card seems a little ridiculous today.
One hopes that the government of India would consider replacing the ration card with a multi-purpose identity card from birth. This could serve as a voter’s identity card when a person reaches the age of 18. Ration cards could be issued only to people who live below the poverty line to enable them to get subsidized foodgrains and other essential commodities. This would put an end to the misuse of ration cards and help streamline the public distribution system at the same time.
Sir — Recently, I found myself in a situation where I had to provide proof of my identity. However, like thousands of others in this country, I do not have a driving licence, a voter’s identity card or a ration card. It is shameful that even after 55 years of independence, the people of this country have not been provided with proper citizenship papers as proof of nationality.
C.V.K. Moorthy, Sandur