Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Indian Governmental Institutions Reforms


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We have already discussed Government as well as Governance in India in our previous posts, today we talk about the roads to reform them that have been provided in various forms of committee recommendations, public opinion, parliamentary protests,etc.


1) State funding of Political parties -

To stop criminalisation of politics,state funding to political parties has been recommended by Khandwalla ( 1999 ) can be in the form of maintenance subsidy and electioneering expenditure to cover costs of grass root works,training of cadre,media costs,costs of organising meetings and rallies. These funds can be routed through the Election Commission who can keep a close check on them by virtue of its job. These political parties should maintain accounts,get them audited, and file the audited accounts with the Election Commissions so that they are open to public scrutiny.

2) Representative legislature
- Khandwalla recommends for Representative legislature instead of the normal territorial legislature prevalent as it does not represent all the sections of society. If a candidate secures 50.5 % votes and he has the majority to first past the post but then what about the rest 49.5 %,what about their interests and needs? What is the guarantee that they would be represented by the leader and not spite them instead and the same applies at the centre for the ruling government where the same first past the post system prevails.

Khandwalla recommends that in coalition governments there should be a system of rotation of Prime Minister among candidates of all the allied parties so that interests of all sections and areas are well represented and taken care of.

Khandwalla representation is also a good step in today's era of coalition governments where each constituency will elect not one but more than one legislator depending on the size of the constituency So each party can field more than one contestant from their party for that constituency and the winning candidates will reflect the preference of the voters as the top three vote scorers in a constituency will go to the legislature instead one which will be a more fairer representation of the people.

3) Stable Coalitions:
Remove grey areas of the anti defection act with stronger legal actions and the coalition should work on the basis of consensus and mutual consultation. There should be incentives for well performance of politicians and disincentives for those not performing their duties to the required level.

4) Responsive Parliamentary Procedures -
The National Commission headed by former Chief Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah in 2000 for the review of the working of the Constitution stated that there is a need for a better conduct by the politicians and for their better standards of debate and discussion in the parliament and for this there needs to be an aware opposition to thwart the ill will of government and make it more responsive.

5) Strong Committee System -
The National Commission also stated the need to strengthen the Committee of Parliament given their instrumental and enormous importance of these committees towards budget bills and other matters passing. Recommendations of the Commission can be viewed in totality here :


1) Educational qualifications to be set for legislators -

After election they are to be trained regarding their duties and responsibilities, entitlements and rights,constitutional provisions,working of the government and legislative processes,legal procedures,important political,social and economic institutions and agencies and ICT competence. A National Training Academy can be set up for this purpose to help inculcate professionalism in them before assuming their duties totally.

2) Norms of Elected Candidates -
They must have a standard code of conduct and open themselves to public scrutiny through parliamentary Ombudsman and apart from this, there should be a provision to totally bar candidates having ongoing cases going on them whether acquitted or at trial stage to contest elections.

3) Training and performance review of legislators


1) Speedy and time bound disposal of cases -

Appoint enough judges for doing so. Proper software should be devised and implemented for segregating waste cases and a proper grievance redressal mechanism in private and public institutions so that employer - employee disputes should be settled effectively at that level only and only major cases come to the court.

The National Commission in 2000 recommended that each High Court should lay down time limits for time bound clearance of arrears in the courts under its jurisdiction and lay down annual targets and district wise performance targets which should be monitored and evaluated regularly. The Commission also advocated for the Supreme Court and high courts to not delay judgements more than 90 days after conclusion of cases.

The 7th Law Commission under Justice Rao suggested that the Gram Nyayalays could process 60-70 % of rural litigation leaving the regular courts and sub divisions time to devote to complex criminal and civil matters. Apart from this the rural people's interaction will increase more and they would be happy with a fast,fair and flexible machinery of justice that is also inexpensive.

Another option is the Conciliation Courts method where along with a participatory model where a professional judge interacts with two lay judges and evolves a reasonable resolution and in such cases once a matter is decided there would not be any appeal against it and only a revision petition will be permissible on questions of law to the District Courts.

2) User - Friendly Courts -
Contempt of Court should be codified and not used arbitrarily by the Judges so that people find courts more approachable.

3) Judicial Reforms And Accountability -
The Judiciary still is relatively out of the reach of the public and that leads to non accountability and the scare of Contempt of court halts any process to question them. Therefore, there is a need to set up a body like a Judicial Council to look into cases and deviant behaviours of judges. It will comprise judges and will take actions against a defiant judge. It can reprimand a judge and recommend voluntary retirement,or resignation and withdraw cases dealt by such judges. Removal of judge is done through impeachment in Parliament, so this body can send the records of the judge to the parliament and recommend an impeachment.

In this context read the proposed Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill in the parliament -,_2010_Summary

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1 comment:

  1. VotesApp

    Here is a suggestion to IIT-Bombay , to develop a voting app , to be called VotesApp. Highlights of VotesApp :

     An Android app which can be downloaded from Google Play / Android Zoom / GetJar and the official web site of Election Commission of India

     It will be pre-loaded on 220 million Aakash tablets which Govt of India plans to distribute to students

     It will also be pre-loaded on those Smart phones ( to be called, “ Dharati “ ? ), which Govt of India plans to distribute free to 400 million “ poor “ Indians , before 2014 National elections

     All tablet / smart phone manufacturers will be encouraged to pre-load VotesApp

     Using this app , a voter can register at Election Commission web site, where he will enter the same data which he has submitted for his Aadhar card, including Aadhar card number (Unique Identification No)

     All of these details will be verified by Aadhar database

     Obviously , those who have not obtained their Aadhar card , will not be able to use VotesApp . They will need to visit nearest polling booth

     Upon correct verification , Aadhar Database will permanently link the person’s Aadhar number with the mobile number from which registration is done, and issue a Password

     An under aged person will not be allowed to register

     A person will be able to vote only from that mobile number

     After login on first screen, user will be asked to select one option from > Panchayat Election > Municipal Election > State Assembly Election > Lok-Sabha Election

     Upon selection, user will be presented with the list of candidates contesting , from which , he can select only one by ticking a checkbox. There will be also a choice , labeled “ None “

     A long press on a candidate’s name will display details of his declared assets as also his criminal record

     After ticking / selecting a candidate, voter will click on “ VOTE “ button, whereupon his vote gets registered and VotesApp gets inactivated

     Once a voter registers on Election Commission web site , he cannot go to a poling booth and vote physically

     In less than one year , Govt of India will recover the cost of 220 million Aakash tablets and 400 million” Dharati “ smart phones , through this customized / personalized / shrinking of EVMs ( Electronic Voting Machines ) to a hand-held device. And imagine the millions of man-hours saved !

     And the beauty is , no one can capture this booth , or conduct exit polls ! What will “ experts “ discuss on TV channels ?

     What next ? Election Commission “ licensing “ VotesApp to other countries ?

    With regards
    hemen parekh
    Jobs for All = Peace on Earth