42, Issue # 101 - January 30, 2003
MAPPEX 2003 was a reminder of what has been constantly in focus in many of the previous newsletters - reforms are the need of the hour, philately in India needs Transparency, Glasnost, and perestroika.
The appointment of the Jury is done from the list of accredited jurors submitted by the Philatelic Congress of India (PCI) to the Philatelic Division of the India Post. It is no secret that PCI has never considered a large number of qualified persons for the job while giving preferential treatments at every step to certain individuals.
This list has jurors in three categories, international, national, and state/circle. India Post and PCI appoint international and national jurors jointly while the state/circle exhibitions request the postal directorate for appointments. It is also well known in the philatelic community that several jurors lobby for and get assignments repeatedly while others don't get any.
Another undesirable activity that must immediately be stopped is the appointment of international and national jurors for state/circle level exhibitions. It is against natural justice since state/circle level jurors cannot go as jurors to national, and national level jurors cannot go as jurors to international exhibitions. Sahadeva Sahoo and Dr. S P Gupta - the philatelist members of jury at MAPPEX, both are national level jurors.
We believe it is the job of the leading philatelists to guide India Post on philatelic matters. Even if India Post makes an incorrect appointment it must be pointed out to them. And such appointees themselves must politely decline to accept such appointments.
It is not only free travel, boarding, lodging, and the prestige of the appointment but also the opportunity to exercise the influence that can be exerted over exhibitors and fellow collectors primarily to sell philatelic material at inflated prices and to procure philatelic material for free or nominal value that attracts the jurors.
Manu Vyas, Sahoo, and Bisoi were exactly in the same positions at Orissa Circle Philatelic Exhibition, ORPEX in April 2002 at Bhubaneswar that generated lots of controversies. The points raised by a concerned exhibitor, Shakil Ahmed, are still not settled. Vyas may not have had any ulterior motives but nonetheless his image suffers due to his reliance in philatelic matters exclusively on people such as Sahoo.
Dilip Shah, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, also attended the exhibition on the first day in an undefined role. He however was seen finalizing medals with Sahoo in what capacity only he and the organizers might be aware.
Not surprisingly this exhibition attracted its share of grievances from the collectors on jury decision-making including the best exhibit award.
The jury - exhibitor relations can improve once there is conformity on application of the regulations for evaluation of the exhibits between the jury and the exhibitor in place of ambiguity and personal preferences of the jury.