The   court   and   pecuniary   jurisdiction
SIR, ~  A controversy has been raging between rival groups of lawyers over extending the existing pecuniary jurisdiction of the City Civil Court in Kolkata. Courts are established to serve the interests of litigants. The law cannot fix the  jurisdiction of the courts by ignoring  the litigant&’s interests, irrespective of the forum he may choose for the redressal of his specific grievances to save time and money. He may even have his claim duly adjudicated in the High Court&’s Original Side. The rules are framed to save time. Unfortunately, there has been a huge backlog on account of the infrastructure. Cases tend to drag in the City Civil Court. Hearings are usually brief and dates are fixed after long intervals.  Whenever a lawyer is engaged, he has to be paid his fees even if the hearing doesn’t take place. In some cases, the hearing can continue almost indefinitely.
In these circumstances,  it is not the pecuniary jurisdiction or the backlog in the courts that can determine action. The legislation has to be beneficial in order to protect the litigant’s interests. Like his right to get natural justice, it must be based on his natural right to choose his forum. However, the litigant&’s choice of court cannot be subordinated to his lawyer&’s interests or to the convenience of the court. The litigant must be free to choose his forum. The City Civil Court and High Court must be allowed unlimited concurrent pecuniary jurisdiction.  The litigant&’s choice must be paramount.
Yours, etc., Sunrit Deb,
Kolkata, 25 June.
LAND MAFIA
SIR, ~ Apropos  Seema Mustafa&’s thought-provoking write-up, “Politician-mafia nexus brought on the disaster” (26 June), there is no denying that the land mafia has close links with the Congress and the BJP,  and they exploit this political proximity to plunder the Himalayas in Uttarakhand.   This has led to large-scale deforestation. High-rise buildings have come up alongside the river bank, resulting in an environmental crisis. The ecological balance has been so severely upset that torrential rain can lead to flash floods. The CAG had also warned of a possible environmental disaster in view of the politician-mafia-bureaucrat nexus.
The environmental degradation of the fledgling state of Uttarakhand consequent to the setting up of industrial units in an ill-planned manner in the hills, in flagrant violation of the ecological balance of the region is also considerably responsible for the extensive devastation in the wake of the recent rain and flash floods. In fact, as in the urban areas, the development of Uttarakhand seems to have been synonymous with the construction boom, even in the vicinity of the Alkananda and Mandakini rivers, disturbing the seismological balance of the region. The devastation was almost inevitable; yet the warning signals were ignored.
Yours, etc., Arun Kumar Bhaduri,
Kolkata, 29 June.
CHILLING VISUALS
SIR, ~ Uttarakhand and Haryana have been ravaged by the monsoon. The flash floods in the Ganga, Yamuna and Mandakini have cut off the pilgrim spots. Thousands are stranded, roads are blocked by landslides and a national highway has also been affected. The television visuals are chilling; multistoried buildings have collapsed into the river. It is an awesome  spectacle. There has been an aggression on Nature in the name of development and promotion of tourism. It is a tragedy that the natural endowments are being destroyed. Lack of foresight and greed of those in power have ruined our natural heritage.
Yours, etc., Manjusri Banerjea, Kolkata, 18 June. 
SILICON LASER
SIR, ~ A Silicon laser, based on the Raman effect, is nothing new and was described by me in an article in  The Statesman, entitled "The Raman Advantage" a few years back. This article also described a new scientific instrument ~ the Raman AFM ~ for the investigation of the composition of materials at the atomic level. S Anathnarayanan merely describes the miniaturization of the device but the central problem remains unsolved. Optical pumping, using another laser, cannot be used in semi-conductor chips. For the device to be practical, electrical pumping of the Si laser, as for a diode laser, is a must.
Yours etc. DN Bose,
Kolkata, 8 July.
RABINDRASANGEET & JAZZ
SIR, ~ As I woke up on 2 July, a glance at the newspaper lying on the floor immediately convinced us that the vendor had pushed some other newspaper instead of our favourite The Statesman. However, the masthead confirmed that the paper has been embellished with a facelift. We are also convinced that the paper’s core values have not changed. The redesign will  definitely win over  a large section of readers.
One has been reading the paper for  more than 25 years. It is ageless, timeless. It is uncompromising in its values; it never kowtows to the powers that be. There are certain things that are of eternal value. They look best in their traditional format, just as Goddess Durga in the traditional outfit evokes awe and veneration. The facelift is like Rabindrasangeet blended with jazz.
Yours, etc., Sudipta Ghosh and Anindita Ghosh,
Jangipur, 5 July.