Men of no substance
Sir — Saddam Hussein never brought legislations to grant equal opportunities to his country’s women. In fact, Iraqi women have earned the West’s sympathies for being doubly oppressed by a male dictator. And yet, the two women who made news around the time the Indian parliament failed again to pass the women’s reservation bill were Huda Salih Mahadi Ammash and Rihab Taha (“Mosul takes first step towards democracy”, May 6 and “Dr Germ’s husband in American custody”, April 30). Ammash, better known as Mrs Anthrax, is one of the key persons in Saddam’s biological warfare programme, as is Taha, or Dr Germ, whose husband has been arrested not because he was Saddam’s oil minister, but so that he could give the allied forces more information about his wife. There must be many more like Taha and Ammash, and the leader who did not clip their wings is any day preferable to the hypocritical bunch of Indian politicians who claim to champion the women’s cause.
Sujata Ghosh, Calcutta
Judge from facts
Sir — The case of Shamit Mukherjee, a Delhi high court judge, should be an eye-opener for the guardians of the judiciary (“A judge in accused’s robes”, May 1). A high court judge has to disclose his wealth at the time of his appointment. He also has to take a vow of honesty and upholding the Constitution. It is only later that the dithering comes in. But why' The biggest temptation is opportunity. A judge, in order to remain fair and impartial, must maintain seclusion. The code of conduct for the judges should prohibit their free mixing with people at functions, parties and clubs. It is also important that the moment it is known that a friend or relative of a judge is practising in the same court, the judge should immediately be transferred to another court. Lobbying against transfers should be strictly forbidden.
In accepting appointment as a judge, an individual makes his choice to lead a life different from that of others. But the respect and honour that a judge commands should be compensation enough for having to lead a life of seclusion. As of now, the Central Bureau of Investigation does not have any powers to interrogate a sitting judge. This power needs to be given to the CBI immediately.
C.K. Deora, Calcutta
Sir — The arrest of the former Delhi high court judge, Shamit Mukherjee, on charges of corruption in the Delhi Development Authority case raises important questions. First, would it have been possible to probe the corrupt judge if he had not resigned' Second, why is it so difficult to accept that judges are as fallible as any other human being' This misconception allows some judges to get away scot-free even after committing offences. An effective and well-publicized mechanism needs to be created so that ordinary citizens can put in their grievances about judges of higher courts before appropriate authorities, who may be authorized to punish.
Subhash Chandra Agarwal, Delhi
Sir — Some time back, a Supreme Court chief justice had mentioned in a seminar, that 20 per cent of the judiciary is corrupt. Shamit Mukherjee’s arrest has confirmed the truth of this statement. If this is what the most respected people of the country are up to, what can common people expect from the government other than rising costs and widening gap between the rich and the poor' Since scandals draining crores of rupees from the exchequer have become a routine affair and honesty is an exceptional quality these days, it is perhaps more necessary now than ever before to identify and put an end to such corruption.
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore
Sir — The arrest of Shamit Mukherjee has tarnished India’s image before the world. It is the darkest day in the recent history of our judiciary. A section of the judiciary, instead of safeguarding justice, is encouraging vice. This trend could prove to be dangerous for the Indian democracy.
Jayanta Ghosh, Hooghly
Sir — The report, “Happy Anniversary, a quarter century too late” (April 26), suggests that the post office has taken 25 years to convey a telegram from Park Street post office to an address in Park Circus. It has pointed out that the telegram bears the seal of Park Street post office confirming that it was received by that office and that the Posts and Telegraph Department demanded Rs 10 for effecting delivery 25 years late.
I would like to submit the following:
The seal in question is not that of Park Street post office, at 65, Park Street, but that of Park Street District Telegraph Office, located at 1, Park Lane. At no stage could the telegram have come to Park Street post office.
In areas served by the DTO, telegrams are delivered by the DTOs themselves and not by the post office. DTOs have telegraph messengers for this purpose. Park Street DTO continues to serve Calcutta 700016, 700017, 700020 and 700071, just as it did 25 years ago.
The erstwhile posts and telegraph circles were bifurcated in 1974, and the department of posts and the department of telecommunications were created in 1985. The posts and telegraph department ceased to exist from that year. Since October 2001, after the creation of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, BSNL is required to pay for postage on its letters just as the department of posts has to pay for its telephone calls.
The only way the telegram could come through the post office would be if someone re-posted it in a letter box. This is evidently what has been done. Circus Avenue post office would have found it in its letter box clearance, charged it as bearing since it did not bear any postage, and delivered it. In that case, there would naturally be no earlier postal cancellations as the telegram had never gone through the post office. The post office is very vulnerable when it comes to old letters being re-posted and every now and again, we are subjected to such sensational “exposures”. I hope this sets the record straight in this case.
Post Master General, Calcutta Region