This refers to ‘Minimum arbitrariness’ by Pratap Bhanu Mehta (IE, May 27). Mehta, a scholar, is quick to jump the gun. By expecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to uphold and, in fact, prioritise civil liberties he is completely neglecting his track record. Mehta cites Section 377 as an example of a law that violates civil liberties and which should be done away with. But is Mehta aware that the main petitioners against the reading down of Section 377 by the Delhi High Court are directly or indirectly associated with the BJP? And what of the recent Wendy Doniger affair? The chief protester against her book, Dina Nath Batra, a proud member of the RSS, was made in-charge of a project to “saffronise” textbooks in 1999 by the NDA government. Mehta goes on to cite one of the most unfortunate violations of civil liberties as well as human rights in recent times — the acquittal of the Akshardham case accused after 11 long years. This case epitomises the standards that Modi follows when it comes to upholding civil liberties of minorities. Surely, Mehta is not naive enough to think that Modi was unaware that these men had been framed?
— Minu Jain
Fit for purpose
This refers to ‘Smriti Irani breaks silence over education controversy, says “judge me by my work”’ (IE, May 30). Neither qualifications nor experience is an important determinant of a minister’s performance. In fact, one is tempted to say that the baggage of qualifications and experience may render a person unable to think out of the box. A minister’s public spirit and leadership qualities — attributes that can’t be acquired at a university — matter the most. So long as a minister is transparent, effective and efficient, and believes in equity and fairness, she should be able to do the job.
— K. U. Mada
Heavy handed move
Apropos of the editorial ‘Starting problem’ (IE, May 30), it is not good for any government to start its innings with a controversy. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under tremendous pressure to fulfil the promises that the BJP made to the people. He is in a hurry and wants his team in place. The opposition is creating unnecessary controversies over issues like adopting the ordinance route to clear the way for the appointment of the prime minister’s principal secretary and HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s educational qualifications.
— M.C. Joshi
It was indeed quite hasty of the new Union government to commence its innings with an ordinance to clear the impediments in the way of appointing former Trai chairman Nripendra Misra as the prime minister’s principal secretary. This action is all the more unpalatable because during its stint as the principal opposition during the UPA years, the BJP had been highly critical of the government’s weakness for promulgating ordinances. An excessive reliance on ordinances was labelled as dangerous and contrary to the ethics of a parliamentary democracy during the UPA years. The same holds true for an NDA government as well. In fact, given the BJP’s overwhelming victory, it should be ultra-cautious in respecting institutional checks and balances. The government should not be seen to be heavy handed.
— V. Chandramohan