Apropos of the editorial ‘Not so fast’ (IE, February 26), although it is true that the makers of our Constitution granted power to the ruling dispensations both at the Central and state levels to promulgate ordinances in exceptional circumstances, everyone is aware that UPA 2’s latest move to exercise this power is aimed at gaining political mileage. Even Parliament is currently only adjourned sine die and has not been prorogued. One is relieved that the government’s ordinance-making powers can be subjected to judicial scrutiny. In 1975, the Indira Gandhi government had even taken away the power of the judiciary to scrutinise ordinances by amending the Constitution. This power was only restored by the Morarji Desai-led, short-lived Janata party dispensation in 1979.
— Hemant Kumar
The alacrity with which the outgoing government at the Centre is striving to give legal force to Rahul Gandhi’s pet anti-graft bills, by promulgating ordinances, seems to stem from trepidation and nervousness in the run up to the general elections. Conspicuously, the UPA 2 government has not been successful in accomplishing many of its poll promises. None of the pending bills are intended to address emergent or emergency situations and therefore do not warrant the use of the government’s ordinance-making power. With only a few days left for the announcement of poll dates, the bills should be left to be dealt with by the next Lok Sabha. The president must withhold his assent if he is asked to sign an ordinance in to force.
— N.V. Unnithan
Tit for tat
Jyoti Punwani has missed the crux of the problem with Sections 153A and 295 A of the IPC (‘For Doniger row, don’t blame the law’, IE, February 26). These sections are equivalent to blasphemy laws. Those who invoke them are motivated by intolerance. The context in which they were enacted during the Raj testifies to that. These sections have provided a handle to parochial groups and individuals to persecute those they dislike for their ideas, thoughts or convictions. The two sections clearly infringe on free speech. Recall that they were invoked to file scores of complaints against M.F. Husain across India. The judicial process itself turns into a punishment for the accused. It is naïve to argue for more frequent application of the sections against influential offenders. This tit-for-tat approach is an unwinnable proposition.
— Gautam Navlakha
The long-held suspicion that poll data is fudged has been confirmed (‘In election season, sting traps opinion pollsters’ “fudge”’, IE, February 26). However, polls must still not be banned. They should only be scrutinised more carefully.
— Anand Jalgi