Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Probity in Governance


Before 325 BC Socrates said” knowledge is virtue knowledge promotes virtue " knowledge was something which inform not only the mind but also the soul .It influences the human character and conduct .as a matter of fact one cannot be virtuous without knowledge but today in our society knowledge is a rare commodity and the knowledgeable person is few and far between. Keeping in socratarian tradition Aristotle said in similar vein "it is better for a city to be governed by a good man than even by good laws ". Down the line the British Prime Minister had once said "when men are pure laws are useless, when men are corrupt laws are broken.” the British Education System did lot of harm to the people of india and even after independence the country followed the British legacy to a great extent. Sir Wavell, admitted when he said, "we have done worse in the field of education, because we have given Indians the education of letter and not of character". Law cannot wipe out the offences overnight but over a period of time it can prevent more blatant abuses .It is impossible to eliminate corruption is firmly rooted in our character. But, it can be reduced to a great extent if sincere effort is taken.
If we analyse, examine and scrutinize the power and composition of the three wings of the state namely a) legislature b) executive c) judiciary we can find out the system of diseases that exist in our system.
a) Legislature If we look to the composition of parliament we shall feel frustrated to see that only 10% of the parliamentarians can be considered to be able and competent parliamentarians in the house of more than 500 members. The rest 10% members are of doubtful and dubious character and a great majority of the members are illiterate goons with criminal backgrounds. There is no minimum qualification prescribed for the parliamentarians. One can imagine what can be the contribution by this law making body towards legislation. I still remember when an important legislation of Shah Bano case could not be passed in one city due to lack of corum. However, the bill had to be passed after getting the members present by whip.
b) Executive The executive power infact though exercised by the electorate body, the real power rests with the civil servants who are called "departmental experts." these experts belong to all India services like IAS. There are 3 types of IAS namely
I) Who are recruited by merit by conducting competitive examinationII) The second class IAS belong to the sc/st andIII) third category belongs to nominated IAS .
they may be from all these categories because of the diverse composition . There exist clash of conflicts among themselves, in the process the purpose of the legislation is lost in squabble between real and unreal and the act takes place in the backburner. Being not implemented properly for the reasons aforesaid the suggestion is put forward for further amendment of the act. Our constitution has been amended 53 times in 36 yrs and that of the USA only 26 amendments in 198 yrs
c) Judiciary According to the SC Advocate On Record VS. Union Of India and others (AIR 1994 sc 268) the judges used to be appointed on merit which should be the predominant: this decision has been further extended by a decision on presidential reference case reported in AIR 1999 S.C.1, wherein it was held that the opinion of the chief justice of india so given has privacy in the matter of all appointments but it is doubtful whether those decisions are followed in practise or not. There is regular interference of the political leaders, as a result the merit takes backseat. I know about a brilliant lawyer whose name was recommended by the chief justice of the high court supported by two senior judges as per the provision of the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. However, though all formalities have been completed but he was not appointed for political interference. It cannot be said that merit is a pre-dominant consideration. In the lower judiciary 90% of the presiding officers are corrupt who owe allegiance to their political master, who are their appointing authority in disguise. It is said by a renowned journalist "that the law is up for grabs and justice knocked down to the highest bidder". The corruption is rooted in the marrow of the people. It is difficult to wipe out totally from the society wherein the germ of corruption is embedded firmly.
The lawyer who is a part of the judiciary plays a pivotal role. The less one speaks about them the better. Shakespeare called most of the lawyers 'leeches' who are only busy fithering their own nest. Nowadays their contribution towards the service of people is very insignificant. The free legal aid Scheme does not properly benefit the society due to the fact that good lawyers are not engaged in free legal aid cases.
The very important case in point in respect of the executive malpractices is a case between P.V.Narasimha Rao Vs State (CBI reported in AIR 1998 SC 2120) wherein) Hon'ble Supreme Court held that "a member of parliament against whom there is a prima facie case of corruption should be immune from prosecution in the court of law is to my mind an unacceptable proposition at the present time. I do not believe it to be the law "
The corrupt public servant should be dealt with severely so that they cannot escape punishment. Property acquired through illegal means should be confiscated and the persons concerned should be removed from service through due process of law. The existing law such as Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act are sufficient to deal with the corruption cases.

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