Thursday, Sep 25, 2003
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Sir, The people must be happy over the recent Supreme Court pronouncement in the HPCL disinvestment case. But one should not get complacent as it rested only on the narrow principle that this particular case of disinvestment went against parliamentary law. I only wish the Court had found time to examine the much larger issue whether under our Constitution disinvestment of a public sector unit, which is built on people's sacrifice, is at all valid. The Karachi Resolution of the Congress in 1931 says: "The State shall own or control key industries and services. Mineral resources, railways, waterways, shipping and other means of public transport... " Disinvestment is not an answer to the problems besetting us. It amounts to disinvesting our constitutional responsibilities.
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Sir, The Supreme Court ruling that parliamentary approval is necessary for selling off PSUs created by an Act of Parliament is welcome. For far too long, we have had reforms being brought in through the back door which can only be characterised as "liberalisation by stealth". Pro-reform politicians should take the issue to the people and convince them that divestment is in their interest.
M. Prashanth Kamath,
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