Laloo Prasad's complaint

Published : Dec 22, 2002 00:00 IST

RASHTRIYA JANATA DAL president Laloo Prasad Yadav, who has had to relinquish the chief ministership of Bihar following his prosecution in the fodder scam and disproportionate assets cases, gave vent to his anger and frustration in his reply to the Chairman of the Ethics Committee of Parliament, former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar. The committee had invited views from 43 leaders of various political parties, out of which only eight replied. Laloo Prasad Yadav was one of them.

While agreeing that a Code of Conduct was necessary for elected representatives, Laloo Prasad Yadav expressed concern at the "paper trial" of leaders. He said that they felt helpless as even the governments of the day failed to provide protection in such cases. The leaders, more often than not pronounced innocent in the end, were tried and declared guilty in media trials, permanently damaging their image and reputation, he said. He urged Chandra Shekhar to do something about this.

Excerpts from the letter, dated May 3, 2001:

"...but before spelling out suggestions on specific points in your questionnaire, I would like to draw your attention towards increased incidence of paper trials of public representatives by host of bodies like press, electronic media, judiciary and bureaucracy. Politicians are becoming the common target of these bodies and an impression is being created by them as if public figures are responsible for all the ills plaguing the nation...

"Elected members of Parliament and State legislatures who are at the centre of these attacks find themselves in a very helpless condition because verdict against them is publicly pronounced even before trial. In majority of these cases of calumny the victim MPs and legislators are found innocent at the end of judicial trial but damage to their reputation had by then been done publicly through media reports. They do not get any relief after being pronounced innocent... The governments in power also do not come to their help... so the onus to fight all these attacks on their character comes on the individual members themselves."

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