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Pardon Issue

The exuberance to appeal for mercy for Sanjay Dutt on “humanitarian grounds” by several eminent personalities could turn out to be an exercise in futility

The exuberance to appeal for mercy for Sanjay Dutt on “humanitarian grounds” by several eminent personalities could turn out to be an exercise in futility. For,the power to pardon the actor would not lie with the Maharashtra Governor at all. Dutt has been convicted under the Arms Act and it has been placed under the exclusive domain of the Central government by virtue of List-I of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. This contains a list of areas where the Centre has the exclusive jurisdiction and number 5 in that list is “arms,firearms,ammunition and explosives”. Therefore,in all probability,it would eventually turn out that President Pranab Mukherjee will have the power of pardoning Dutt under Article 72.

POLITICAL PUZZLE

SAMAJWADI Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s recent meeting with NCP chief and Union minister Sharad Pawar had caused a buzz in political circles,as it came against the backdrop of SP leaders’ perceived and projected disenchantment with the UPA government. NCP sources,however,said that at the very start of their meeting,Yadav had stated that his party has no intention of pulling down the government. It has left many political observers wondering about the real intent behind the SP’s recent outbursts against the UPA.

SELF EXAMINATION

THE Information and Broadcasting Ministry is toying with the idea of asking the UPSC to conduct separate examination for recruiting personnel for the Indian Information Service. It wants the IIS to be de-linked from the UPSC civil services examination. The reason,the I&B Ministry says,is that the attrition rate among those who get selected for IIS was too high. Many of those who get selected appear for the civil service again and leave the service once they get a higher rank. Besides,the ministry feels it has not been attracting enough people who have a genuine interest and aptitude for the service because of the UPSC ranking system. A separate examination,it hopes,would attract people who have an aptitude for communication and interest in mass media.

TOP HEAVY

THE top brass of the CISF in Delhi is unhappy with their units spread across the country. Recently,CISF issued a warning that unit heads were not reporting all the incidents to the forces’ headquarters in Delhi leaving the officials here completely in the dark. The CISF came out with a circular that it was mandatory for all the units to report even small and minor incidents to headquarters so that the officers here can take judicious decisions. An official said this was being done to micro-manage things and also projected them as inefficient in handling situations on their own.

UNHEALTHY PRACTICE

THIS was certainly not what the Health Ministry had bargained for when it set up a three-member panel to look into the findings of a Parliamentary Standing Committee that had highlighted numerous incidents of malpractices in the medical field. In particular,the House committee had cited the case of doctors from prominent government and private hospitals sending identical recommendations to the drug controller,seeking waiver of mandatory trials of some drugs. It had also shown how drugs not approved even in the countries of their origin were being prescribed in India without any regulatory control. The panel set up by the Health Ministry talked to several doctors across the country on the findings of the Parliamentary report. The testimonials of these doctors have been submitted to the ministry and it has certainly not made the ministry very happy. Many of the doctors have justified the malpractices,saying these were in the interest of the patients! Stumped,the ministry has now set up another committee,headed by Dr C K Kokate,vice-chancellor of KLE University,Belgaum,to draft guidelines for drug approval.