* This refers to the editorial ‘Primary colours’ (IE, January 31). The Congress party’s resolve to field candidates with proven track records in the forthcoming general elections assumes greater significance against the backdrop of corruption in politics. Obviously, people should have a say in choosing the right candidate and sitting MPs who failed to deliver must be shown the door. The utilisation of the MP local area development funds must be a criterion for rating their performance. Most importantly, persons with dubious backgrounds and those who indulge in malpractices must be kept away.
— N.V. Unnithan
* In the article ‘Bending towards justice’ (IE, January 30), Upendra Baxi shared his thoughts on abolishing capital punishment. India has long been party to the United Nations covenant on the abolition of the death penalty, but its progress has been slow. In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court said that “supervening circumstances” could be sufficient grounds for commuting the death sentence into a life sentence. The average time taken by presidents to decide on mercy petitions has increased significantly, indicating that we are growing less inclined towards the punishment. It has been observed from global experience that the death penalty is no deterrent, and that abolishing it does not increase crime. It is hoped that the day is not far when our legislatures are convinced of the futility and immorality of the death sentence.
— A.S. Malhotra
A hollow prize
* The refusal of the family of the late Justice J. S. Verma, former chief justice of India, to accept the Padma Bhushan posthumously awarded to him, has revived the controversy about the criteria used for these national awards. There have been questions raised about the award going to certain non-deserving candidates who are close to the ruling establishment, while ignoring persons of eminence who truly deserve them. These civilian awards, distributed in bulk, seem to merely have ornamental value and there is no rational justification for continuing with them.
— M.C. Joshi
* In getting the Telangana bill rejected by a voice vote, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has cocked a snook at the party high command, which remains keen to bifurcate the state into Seemandhra and Telangana. Reddy’s smile and his body language, as he left the assembly, conveyed his determination — only the V sign was missing. In a party full of sycophants, this display of defiance was startling. If the Congress tries to put Reddy in his place, it would have a rebellion in the state unit. Parliament can overrule this decision and achieve statehood for Telangana, but this could well boomerang on the Congress in an election year.
— C.V. Aravind