Evaluating judges in India

Evaluating judges in India

This is with reference to the report, “Decks cleared for Sen’s impeachment" (Mint, 11 November). In India the tedious process of removing a judge needs drastic changes. The proposed Judicial Accountability Bill needs to incorporate provisions that can help the removal of judges of doubtful integrity from their posts swiftly. Even the Bar Council of India Act needs amendments so that such judges can be barred for life from practising in a court of law. India needs to have a system under which litigants should feel free to report on the misdeeds of a judge on the websites of courts, and their comments can be uploaded. A new system needs to be evolved under which litigants can evaluate the performance of a judge. The law ministry should undertake surveys of litigants’ satisfaction on working of courts, and such surveys should be given wide publicity.

—Deendayal M. Lulla

Your article “Nava Bharat shelves coal mine, power projects in Indonesia" (Mint, 9 November) is very appropriate and an eye- opener for many smaller Indian companies looking for sourcing coal from Indonesia. The coal policy rework under way has delayed the production schedule of many Indian investors by more than a year. Moreover, there is lack of transparency and stakeholder involvement in shaping the new policy.

Given the difficult nature of coal in different geological settings, forest restrictions and complex logistics issues (in some coal projects) coupled with rampant corruption at various levels of governance, there has been dampening of enthusiasm on the part of Indian investors at the realization of big energy dreams in India. But the options for Indian investors are limited as reserves are being rapidly grabbed by Chinese investors. The Chinese river and marine logistics companies have a much older presence in Indonesia and through their understanding of the logistics issues are better placed to evaluate the asset valuation of coal resources/projects.

— Kamal Chatterjee

The article “Big concerns over small loans" on issues pertaining to mircrofinance (Mint, 2 November) was informative. However, the authors’ conclusion that regulatory caps on interest rates have historically shrunk supply appears to be far-fetched. Microfinance is not a lucrative business for commerce-oriented primary lenders and hence should not be left at the mercy of competition alone. India has experimented with regulatory caps on “extent of financing" and “interest rates" in agriculture loans, export credit and so on; and has not performed too badly in these fields. Microfinance in the present sense is about a decade old in India. It could have helped in facilitating the poor come out of the clutches of the moneylenders. However, apathy of the political and administrative establishments and the banks and opportunistic microfinance institutions are helping fail this credit model. Allowing the lending funds, which have been procured at 12%, at the exorbitant rate of 48% is a remedy worse than cure. Similarly, allowing the banks not to microlend to the poor on the plea that operating costs of such lending are very high, betrays nothing but systemic apathy. In my opinion, judicious regulatory intervention in microfinance is called for. However, the stifling nature of the regulation proposed by some governments recently may prematurely kill the golden goose. The need of the hour is proactive regulation, which lets microfinance bloom so as to provide viable alternative source of finance to the poor; and at the same time saves the poor borrowers from the exploitative and coercive practices of microlenders.

— O.P. Puri

Telecom minister A. Raja was forced to resign after relentless pressure from the Opposition and highlighting of the case by the press. His ouster is only the beginning and not the end of the case. Until and unless we go to the root of this damaging affair and ensure that all the guilty are punished, including Raja,matters would not have ended.

— Bal Govind