From the issues of Stamps of India Collectors Companion

Part 4, Issue # 61 - April 18, 2002 

In this issue we take you on a ?journey through judgments? and our first stop is an excerpt from 'A View of INDIA?89' by Gerald Sattin published in ?India Post?, The Journal of the India Study Circle for Philately, Vol. 23 # 3, whole # 101, July - September 1989 issue.

?What our friends in India have to realize is that philatelic leaders have a responsibility to aspiring collectors.  Their role is not the wielding of power, privilege and patronage, but to help and guide collectors as to what is good or bad, quality or tat, and inspire them, from beginners with only a desire to collect, to more advanced collectors with philatelic knowledge and experience.  This was most forcefully impressed upon me when one collector asked me to view his display.  I found he had a quite obvious forgery, and told him so, only to be assured that one of the ?powers that be? had insisted that it was genuine.  That person was an Indian juror!?

No prizes for guessing the identity of ?powers that be?. India-89 was a world philatelic exhibition organized by India Post. Read more at the web site    

A K Bayanwala commenting on the state of affairs at INDEPEX-ASIANA 2000, again organized by India Post, in the column 'From The Desk Of President? published in GPA NEWS, Vol. 4 # 6, Whole # 42, January 2001, Monthly publication of Gujarat Philatelists' Association:

?In my opinion, an exhibitor should be allowed to put his defence, when he is penalized for exhibiting his materials.  The Constitution of India does not give power to any judge to punish a person, without giving him an opportunity to defend him.?

Read more at the site    

Late V V Mehar in his letter of February 27, 2001 to PCI President wrote about Indian Juries, M G Pittie and Dilip Shah, at HONG KONG 2001

?This cavalier attitude of some of the Indian Jury is also responsible for the fast decline of Indian Philately.  Favoritism & Nepotisms in Indian philatelic competitions is now universally discussed at all International meets.?

The complete text of his letter is available at    

Umesh Kakkeri in his letter to PCI President recounts his experience at INPEX-EMPIREPEX 2001

?When I personally asked one of the juries one Mr. M G Pittee about reconsidering about my result.  He flatly replied that nothing can be done as the results are already announced, but I also wish to bring to your kind notice that Mr. M G Pittee changed one persons result from ?out of the exhibit? category to Large Silver medal very much from the stage at the time of prize distribution ceremony.  I would like to request PCI to elaborate me that under what capacity Mr. Pittee can do this after the results are already announced and displayed them on the notice boards at every nook & corner of exhibition hall.?

The complete text of his letter is available at    

The exhibit referred to in his letter belongs to Pragya Kothari Jain son of Pradip Jain of Patna. Pradip Jain accompanied by Dr. Ranjit Singh Gandhi had hand carried this exhibit and arrived on the first day of the exhibition. By that time it was already marked as absent. That all exhibits at INPEX-EMPIREPEX 2002 were not mounted and the youth class was the worst sufferers is now well known. This does not do much for the promotion of youth philately in India through stamp exhibitions. This exhibit was shown as ?absent? in the award list published by the Organizing Committee but while the award ceremony was in progress, Dr. Gandhi walked over to M G Pittie sitting on the dais and reportedly requested him to let this exhibit have the medal it was awarded last time ? Large Silver. Don?t know why but Pittie readily agreed and the award was announced. It is interesting to note that Dr. Gandhi is responsible for preparing this exhibit and hence his concern?

Even more interesting is the correspondence between Dhirubhai Mehta and Vispi Dastur on Kakkeri?s complaint. Complete text is available at   

Rajesh Varma, another collector who has been disheartened by the decision of the Jury members of INPEX-EMPIREPEX 2001 has complained to the PCI President

?Mine is not the only case at this or earlier exhibitions. These persons have demonstrated time and again, thru their actions, that they have neither any knowledge of philately nor that of managing a public organization or exhibitions. And have no inclination to change. All this has been possible due to uneven distribution of institutional seats on the PCI Governing Council where one state will have 3 seats and 4 states together have 1 seat, and several states have no seat at all. Instead of a federation of philatelic societies as was the original idea; the PCI has become a society of individuals. A few persons, for whom it appears as a source of livelihood, control it. PCI, since its birth in 1976, has never had any role to play in promotion of philately in India, which has clearly declined. In a country of 1 billion people sending 20 exhibits abroad in a year is neither an achievement nor promotion of philately although it does provide enough opportunities for a handful of persons to gain monetarily and hold authority over aspiring collectors. Any honest person would be ashamed to be associated with such persons.?

The complete text of his letter is available at    

As in the case of dissatisfied customers there are hundreds who do not lodge their complaints. This is the time for philatelists in India to come together for safeguarding the future of philately. The need of the hour is to set examples for the younger philatelists to emulate. And to lay down of just, transparent and suitable regulations for conducting meetings, elections, exhibitions, exhibiting, and judging.

We solicit your comments and suggestions to carry forth the task of moving Indian philately through its transitional phase to its rightful place in the philatelic world.

Part 5, Issue # 62 - April 25, 2002 

In this issue also we continue with the ever controversial topic of ?judgments?.

A friend, who does not wish to be identified, called in to ask why we have started exposing the misdeeds of judging only from 1989 when this malady has been going on from the day India Post organized the first ever national philatelic exhibition in 1970. We did explain that we had touched 1970 while writing on D N Jatia in issue # 59. We agreed that the nationals in 1975, 1977, 1982, 1986, 1993 and internationals in 1977 and 1980 do provide ample opportunities to document wrongdoings and in many cases there are several published reports in various publications in India as well as abroad. We had to start from somewhere and we began with 1989 that is not too old for the current generation of collectors.

We sincerely believe that the system has to be cleaned up first before any real development can take place. Therefore we definitely will be collating all previously documented as well as new reports for presentation here. Many of these may not have had the benefit of being seen by a large readership. We invite your contributions regarding your experiences with philately/philatelists in India as well as comments for publication here.

We are amazed that even after clear reports documenting ills of judging in Indian philately that had been authored by respected names and published by reputed publications, the Philatelic Congress of India (PCI) and India Post have failed to take any corrective action.

India Post was one of the entities that created the PCI in 1976 by signing its Memorandum of Association. Army Postal Service (APS), represented by APS Historical Society, was also a signatory. The PCI, since its inception, has been working very closely with India Post and could not have survived thus far without generous official patronage. The head of Philately Division of India Post is always an ex-officio member of the Governing Council of the PCI from 1976 till date. The same is also true regarding representation of APS, either its head or the head of its constituent APS Historical Society. Effectively India Post has two reserved seats on PCI Governing Council of 26 members (23 elected and 3 co-opted).

India Post needs to play an equally active role to set right the ills plaguing philately in India. Almost all exhibitions at district, state, national and international level are organized by India Post or with their support even when they are at the initiative of any other organization. In absence of detailed regulations the group with vested interest have misguided India Post on numerous occasions in the past.

India Post must now clearly look at the benefits it derives by organizing exhibitions where International philatelic Federation (FIP) regulations are implemented in a selective manner that is damaging to our national interests. The blind following of the FIP rules, ignoring national interests has led to the wiping out of a philatelic discipline ? First Day Covers (FDC), that sold in several hundred thousands and now sell in hundreds. The loss to India Post is estimated at over Rs. 150 millions per year taking the numbers of FDC sold if they would have remained static to the levels at the time of the creation of PCI.

India can organize world exhibitions without FIP and its Continental Federation (FIAP) where competitive displays are just couple of hundred frames. US postal service successfully held World Stamp Expo, more or less on the same lines, in 1989 and 2000 and is planning one for 2005.

For India this will save fat fees for patronage paid to FIP and FIAP as well as the heavy expenses incurred for hosting international jury. Even more important than saving money is saving philately in India that is dying a slow death due to the unprofessional way in which it is being managed for a very long time by same small group of people with vested interests.

The development of philately in India from the grass root levels up to world level is required. The interests of 15 or 20 exhibitors participating in FIP exhibitions per year have been hogging resources from the overall development of philately in India. This needs to be set right at the earliest.  

A K Bayanwala once again writes on judging this time on INPEX-EMPIREPEX 2001, in the column 'From The Desk Of President? published in GPA NEWS, Vol. 5 # 7, Whole # 42, February 2002. We give below some excerpts:

?Every philatelic exhibition, in particular National Exhibitions, always leave bad taste in the mouths of the participants.?

?It is very high time for the organizers and for stalwarts in philately, to think and change the rules or to force the existing rules to be compulsorily operative.  For instant, Exhibition rules say that critic session should be arranged during the exhibition.  But usually, we don?t find such session in a National Exhibition.?

?Actually, I want to stress on a point that extra care should be taken in judging the exhibits, or otherwise it will look like a ?fixing of a judgment?, and that will be bad for philately.?

The complete text of this ?must read? column is available at

A Critique Session (an Indian version of it) was held during the national exhibition in 1993 and an incident there led to a lawsuit against the India Post and PCI. Since then the Critique Session have never been held in India.

In fact questioning a philatelic juror in India is a dangerous thing to do. The usual practice is that jury handover the award list to the organizers and leave town before it is made public to avoid answering any questions.  If all this is not a mockery of judging than we do not know what is.  


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