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IAS Mains 2014

Contemporary Issues - 7
Governance/National

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35 Removal of Governors: What does the law

say?

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In the Indian Republic, the state Governor stands at the head of the Executive power of any
state in India, just like the President who is the head of the executive power in the Union. The
Governor is the nominal head of a state, unlike the Chief Minister who is the real head of a state
in India. In other words, although all executive actions of an Indian state are taken in the name
of the Governor, and all executive powers are vested in the Governor, in reality, the Governor
merely gives his consent to the various executive actions.
As per Article 155 and Article 156 of the Constitution, a Governor of a state is an appointee
of the President, and he or she holds office "during the pleasure of the President". If a Governor
continues to enjoy the "pleasure of the President", he or she can be in office for a term of five
years. Because the President is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers
under Article 74 of the Constitution, in effect it is the central government that appoints and
removes the Governors. "Pleasure of the President" merely refers to this will and wish of the
central government.

GS

The Pleasure Doctrine has its origin in English law, with reference to the tenure of public
servants under the Crown. There is a distinction between the doctrine of pleasure as it existed
in a feudal set-up and the doctrine of pleasure in a democracy governed by rule of law. In a
nineteenth century feudal set-up unfettered power and discretion of the Crown was not an alien
concept. However, in a democracy governed by Rule of Law, where arbitrariness in any form
is eschewed, no Government or Authority has the right to do what it pleases. The doctrine of
pleasure does not mean a licence to act arbitrarily, capriciously or whimsically. It is presumed
that discretionary powers conferred in absolute and unfettered terms on any public authority
will necessarily and obviously be exercised reasonably and for public good.
In a constitutional set up, when an office is held during the pleasure of any Authority, and
if no limitations or restrictions are placed on the "at pleasure" doctrine, it means that the holder
of the office can be removed by the authority at whose pleasure he holds office, at any time,
without notice and without assigning any cause. The doctrine of pleasure, however, is not a
licence to act with unfettered discretion to act arbitrarily, whimsically, or capriciously. It does not
dispense with the need for a cause for withdrawal of the pleasure. In other words, "at pleasure"
doctrine enables the removal of a person holding office at the pleasure of an Authority, summarily, without any obligation to give any notice or hearing to the person removed, and without
any obligation to assign any reasons or disclose any cause for the removal, or withdrawal of
pleasure. The withdrawal of pleasure cannot be at the sweet will, whim and fancy of the
Authority, but can only be for valid reasons.

Contradictory nature of Article 156


Literally within the domain of Article 156(1) of the Constitution, Governor is to hold office
[1]

during pleasure of the President. But within the ambit of clause 3 of this section, it is
specifically enshrined that subject to the forgoing provisions of this section, the Governor
shall hold office for a term of five years. Thus intentionally and deliberately, clause 3 of
Article 156 has been eclipsed by clause 1 of Article 156 of the constitution. The framers of the
Constitution have locked the modus operandi of removal of the Governor in this Article of
contradictory effect.
It is significant to mention here that Article 61 of the Constitution provides the method of
impeachment for the removal of the President, but the Constitution nowhere does lay down the
process of removing the Governor of the State except by the central authority. In other words
the Centre Government absolutely enjoys the power for the removal of the State Governor at any
time, even without assigning any reason. Obviously, the Centre Government is in a position to
keep the Governor, always under the influence.

SC
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In fact Article 156 of the Constitution is not in consonance with the true spirit of the
Constitution. In the United States, the Governor of a State can be removed by the process of
impeachment by the State legislative body. Some State Constitutions provide the recalling method
of a Governor by popular vote. In Canada, the Lieutenant
Governor of the Province under Article 5 of the British North American Act 1867 may be
removed by the Governor General.
Thus, the issue of the appointment and removal of the Governor is the sole right of the
Union Government and States have no voice on this issue. It is very strange to note that Constitution, on the one hand, has made the Governor 'representative' of the Centre and has granted
him some discretionary powers, but on the other hand the Constitution has kept him completely
free from the elected representatives of the State. There is no effective check on the powers of
the Governor by the State which can prevent him from misusing his authority. The state legislature, thus, has been deprived of the right of removing a Governor.

Politicalisation of Article 156

GS

A constitutional authority like that of Governor in India can enjoy the perks and a liveried
status only during pleasure of the President as per the contemplation of Article 156 of the
Constitution. President's displeasure and that too in absence of any safeguard, can kick the
Governor out of the palatial 'Raj Bhawan' as and when desired by the Central Government.
In the real effect and substance, the Governor looks after as well as nourishes the interests
of the party or alliance to which he is politically related. He is there in the State to care for the
interests of the leaders of party as well as the interests of workers of the party which has
inducted him in the State. These party leaders and party workers are in a position to attract the
vote bank of the State in favor of the party to which the Governor is politically related.
Governor in the real sense is a protem of the party in power. As a natural corollary, he
is to look after the vested interests and health of the party in power to which he is politically
related. Consequently, his judgment is bound to affect the State's decision making process by
the ideas which he already has on his slate. In this state of mind intrinsically he will be
pushed to do even apolitical act to safeguard the health of his party, may it adversely affect
the smooth functioning of the State. While passing through this sort of affairs, off and on,
he has to act as a cross Governor.

The Supreme Court's interpretation


In 2010, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court interpreted these provisions and laid
down some binding principles (B.P. Singhal v. Union of India). In this case, the newly elected
central government had removed the Governors of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Goa in
July, 2004 after the 14th Lok Sabha election. When these removals were challenged, the Supreme
Court held:
[2]

The President, in effect the central government, has the power to remove a Governor at any
time without giving him or her any reason, and without granting an opportunity to be
heard.

2.

However, this power cannot be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner. The power of removing Governors should only be exercised in rare and exceptional
circumstances for valid and compelling reasons.

3.

The mere reason that a Governor is at variance with the policies and ideologies of the central
government, or that the central government has lost confidence in him or her, is not sufficient to remove a Governor. Thus, a change in central government cannot be a ground for
removal of Governors, or to appoint more favourable persons to this post.

4.

A decision to remove a Governor can be challenged in a court of law. In such cases, first
the petitioner will have to make a prima facie case of arbitrariness or bad faith on part of
the central government. If a prima facie case is established, the court can require the central
government to produce the materials on the basis of which the decision was made in order
to verify the presence of compelling reasons.

SC
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1.

In summary, this means that the central government enjoys the power to remove Governors
of the different states, as long as it does not act arbitrarily, without reason, or in bad faith.

Recommendations of Various Commissions

Three important commissions have examined this issue.

GS

The Sarkaria Commission (1988) recommended that Governors must not be removed before
completion of their five year tenure, except in rare and compelling circumstances. This was
meant to provide Governors with a measure of security of tenure, so that they could carry out
their duties without fear or favour. If such rare and compelling circumstances did exist, the
Commission said that the procedure of removal must allow the Governors an opportunity to
explain their conduct, and the central government must give fair consideration to such explanation. It was further recommended that Governors should be informed of the grounds of their
removal.
The Venkatachaliah Commission (2002) similarly recommended that ordinarily Governors
should be allowed to complete their five year term. If they have to be removed before completion
of their term, the central government should do so only after consultation with the Chief Minister.
The Punchhi Commission (2010) suggested that the phrase "during the pleasure of the
President" should be deleted from the Constitution, because a Governor should not be removed
at the will of the central government; instead he or she should be removed only by a resolution
of the state legislature.
The above recommendations however were never made into law by Parliament. Therefore,
they are not binding on the central government.
However the present scenario demands that the grounds for the removal of the Governor
be expressively castigated in the Constitution and the removal process should be on the same
grounds and in the same manner as the removal process of a judge of the Supreme Court or the
High Court. These constitutional reforms are necessary to strengthen the role of the Governor
and to make it more effective and meaningful.
[3]

36 ROLE OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES


Parliamentary democracy is a participatory system in which the people, the legislative
bodies and the Government have their respective roles to play. In recent years there is a steady
expansion of the functions of Government with the transformation from the police to the welfare
state. Increase in Governmental function is a continuous process and every year a new list is
added to it.

Types of Committees

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In all Parliamentary democracies, Parliamentary Committees play a pivotal role in ensuring


accountability of the Executive. Unlike political groups, committees are recognised in the rules of
procedure of all Parliaments. The growing range of matters with which Parliament is concerned
has led to the steady development of Parliamentary Committees, until today they are essential
to the efficient despatch of parliamentary business. The advantage that the Parliamentary Committees enjoys in its functioning over the whole House is that it can work more quickly, because
it is relaxed from the pressure of other business and can devote more time and attention to the
subjects under consideration. The committee members are in a position to think calmly and with
a sense of impartiality. This freedom enables them to take up in a dispassionate way the matters
referred to the committee. The legislature normally through its committees, discharge its supreme
democratic responsibilities of control and financial involvement. It can review, reject, revise,
recommend, confirm or approve a motion or resolution overseeing through legislative devices.

There are broadly two kinds of committees: (a) Standing Committees; and (b) Ad-hoc Committees. Both Houses have a similar committee structure, with few exceptions. Their appointment, terms of office, functions, and procedure for conducting business is regulated as per Rules
of Business of each House.
Standing committees

a)

Financial Committees (Committee on Estimates, Public Undertakings, and Public Accounts)

I.

GS

Exclusively under the Lok Sabha secretariat. A Minister is not eligible to be a member.

II. Estimates Committee examines estimates of ministries, Public Undertakings Committee


(PUC) examines functioning of public undertakings and Public Accounts Committee
(PAC) scrutinises the statement of accounts showing the sums granted by Parliament for
the expenditure of the government.
III. Customarily, chairperson of PAC is an Opposition member. PAC can hear non-official
witnesses.
IV. Estimates Committee elects 30 members only from the Lok Sabha. The Committees on
Public
V. Accounts and Public Undertakings have 7 Rajya Sabha members out of a total of 22
members.
b) Departmentally Related Standing Committees (Committees on Agriculture, Commerce,
Home Affairs, Health and Family Welfare etc)
I.
[4]

Departmentally Related Standing Committees (DRSCs) were introduced in 1993 to ensure oversight over each ministry. A Minister is not eligible to be a member.

II.

May hear expert witnesses and representatives of special interest groups.

III. There are 24 DRSCs. Committees such as Home Affairs, Finance and External Affairs are
customarily chaired by a member of opposition party.
IV. Each DRSC has 31 members, with 21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha. Seats
on each Committee are allocated to parties in proportion to their strength in the House.
The Chairs of the Committee are appointed by the Speaker or Chairman of each House.
Other Standing Committees (Business Advisory Committee, Committee on Petitions, Subordinate Legislations, and Government Assurances, Joint Committees on Salaries and
Allowances of MPs and Office of Profit)
I.

Each House has a set of these Committees, to inquire into other matters related to
Parliament and the day-to-day business of the House. Lok Sabha has 16 Committees
and Rajya Sabha has 12.

II.

Rajya Sabha classifies Committees on Ethics, MPLADs, and Provision of Computers to


Members of RS as Standing Committees.

SC
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c)

III. Number of members varies between 7 and 26. Some have fixed term of one year while
others are not fixed. A Minister is not eligible to be a member of the Committees on
Women Empowerment; Government Assurances; Petitions; Subordinate Legislation; and
Welfare of SC/STs.
IV. Joint Committees include members (elected or nominated) from both Houses. Such
Committees have about 15 members and are formed for a term of one Lok Sabha.
Ad Hoc Committees such as Committees on Ethics, MPLADS, and Provision of Computers to LS Members, Joint Committees on Wakf, Railway Convention, Fertiliser Pricing,
etc.
I.

Appointed for a specific purpose such as the Joint Committee to examine pricing of
telecom licenses and spectrum. They cease to exist after the task assigned to them is
over. Lok Sabha classifies Committees on Ethics, MPLADS & Computers as Ad Hoc
Committees.

II.

Include Select and Joint Committees on Bills. Eg. Commercial Division of High Courts
Bill, 2009.

GS

III. Except for the Joint Committee on Wakf, the committees operate in the Lok Sabha.
Include members from both Houses and the number varies between 10 and 30.
Functions of some committees are discussed in brief

Business Advisory Committee

The functions are: To recommend the time that should be allotted for the discussion of such
Government, Legislative and other business as the Speaker, in consultation with the Leader of
the House, may direct to be referred to the Committee. The Committee, on its own initiative may
also recommend to the Government to bring forward particular subjects for discussion in the
House and recommend allocation of time for such discussions.

Committee on Private Members' Bills and Resolutions

The functions are: To allot time to Private Members' Bills and Resolutions, to examine Private
Members' Bills seeking to amend the Constitution before their introduction in Lok Sabha, and
[5]

also to examine such Private Members' Bills where the legislative competence of the House is
challenged.

Committee on Papers Laid on the Table

The functions are: To examine all papers laid on the Table of the House by Ministers (other
than those which fall within the purview of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation or any
other Parliamentary Committee) and to report to the House - (a) whether there has been compliance of the provisions of the Constitution, Act, rule or regulation under which the paper has
been laid; (b) whether there has been any unreasonable delay in laying the paper; (c) if there has
been such delay, whether a statement explaining the reasons for delay has been laid on the Table
of the House and whether those reasons are satisfactory; (d) whether both the Hindi and English
versions of the paper have been laidon the Table; (e) whether a statement explaining the reasons
for not laying the Hindi version has been given and whether such reasons are satisfactory; and
(f) such other functions in respect of the papers laid on the Table as may be assigned to it by the
Speaker from time to time.
Committee on Petitions

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The functions are: To consider and report on petitions presented to the House. Also to
consider representations from various individuals,
associations etc. not covered by the rules relating to
petitions and give directions for their disposal.

Committee of Privileges

The functions are: To examine every question


involving breach of privilege of the House or of the
members or of any Committee thereof referred to it by
the House or by the Speaker. Also to determine with
reference to the facts of each case whether a breach
of privilege is involved and make suitable recommendations in its report.
Committee on Subordinate Legislation

GS

The functions are: To scrutinize and report to the


House whether the powers to make regulations, rules,
sub-rules, bye-laws etc. conferred by the Constitution
or delegated by Parliament are being properly exercised by the executive within the scope of such delegation.

Committee on Government Assurances

The functions are: To scrutinize the assurances,


promises, undertakings etc. given by Ministers from
time to time and to report on the extent to which
such assurances etc. have been implemented and to
see whether such implementation has taken place
within the minimum time necessary for the purpose.

Committee on Absence of Members from the


Sittings of the House

The functions are: To consider applications from


members for leave of absence from the sittings of the
[6]

House and examine every case where a member has been absent for a period of 60 days or more,
without permission, from the sittings of the House.

Rules Committee

The functions are: To consider matters of procedure and conduct of business in the House
and recommend any amendments or additions to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha that are considered necessary.

General Purposes Committee

The functions are: To advise the Speaker on such matters concerning the affairs of the House
as may be referred to it by the Speaker from time to time.

House Committee

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The functions are: To deal with all questions relating to residential accommodation for
members of Lok Sabha and alsoexercise supervision over facilities for accommodation, food,
medical aid and other amenities accorded to members in members' residences and hostels in
Delhi.
Library Committee

The functions are: To consider and advise on such matters concerning the Library as may
be referred to it by the Speaker from time to time. Also to consider suggestions for the improvement of the Library and assist members of both Houses in fully utilising the services provided by
the Library.

Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament

The functions are: To make rules, after consultation with the Central Government to provide
for travelling and daily allowances, medical, housing, telephone, postal, water, electricity, constituency and secretarial facilities, etc. to members of both Houses.

Joint Committee on Offices of Profit

GS

The functions are: To examine the composition and character of the Committees appointed
by the Central and StateGovernments and to recommend what offices should disqualify and
what offices should not disqualify aperson for being chosen as, and for being a member of either
House of Parliament under article 102 of the Constitution. It also include to scrutinize from time
to time, the Schedule to the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, and to recommend any amendments in the said Schedule, whether by way of addition, omission or otherwise.
Analysis of some important parliamentary committees
A. PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
The Committee on Public Accounts is constituted by Parliament each year for examination
of accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by Parliament for expenditure of Government of India, the annual Finance Accounts of Government of India, and such other Accounts laid before Parliament as the Committee may deem fit such as accounts of autonomous
and semi-autonomous bodies (except those of Public Undertakings and Government Companies
which come under the purview of the Committee on Public Undertakings).
Constitution of the Committee
The Committee consists of not more than 22 members comprising 15 members elected by
Lok Sabha every year from amongst its members according to the principle of proportional
[7]

representation by means of single transferable vote and not more than 7 members of Rajya Sabha
elected by that House in like manner are associated with the Committee. The Chairman is
appointed by the Speaker from amongst its members of Lok Sabha. The Speaker, for the first
time, appointed a member of the Opposition as the Chairman of the Committee for 1967-68. This
practice has been continued since then. A Minister is not eligible to be elected as a member of
the Committee. If a member after his election to the Committee is appointed a Minister, he ceases
to be a member of the Committee from the date of such appointment.
Functions of the Committee
The Examination of the Appropriation Accounts relating to the Railways, Defence Services,
P&T Department and other Civil Ministries of the Government of India and Reports of the
Comptroller and Auditor-General of India thereon as also the Reports of the Comptroller and
Auditor-General on Revenue Receipts mainly form the basis of the deliberation of the Committee. In scrutinising the Appropriation Accounts and the Reports of the Comptroller and
Auditor-General thereon, it is the duty of the Committee to satisfy itself: the service or
purpose to which they have been applied or charged; that the expenditure conforms to the
authority which governs it; and that every re-appropriation has been made in accordance
with the provisions made in this behalf under rules framed by competent authority.

One of the duties of the Committee is to ascertain that money granted by Parliament has
been spent by Government within the scope of the demand. It considers the justification for
spending more or less than the amount originally sanctioned. If any money has been spent
on a service in excess of the amount granted by the House for the purpose, the Committee
examines with reference to the facts of each case, the circumstances leading to such an excess
and makes such recommendations as it may deem fit.

The functions of the Committee extend however, "beyond, the formality of expenditure to its
wisdom, faithfulness and economy". The Committee thus examines cases involving losses,
nugatory expenditure and financial irregularities. While scrutinizing the Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General on Revenue Receipts, the Committee examines various aspects
of Government's tax administration. The Committee, thus examines cases involving underassessments, tax-evasion, non-levy of duties, misclassifications etc., identifies the loopholes in
the taxation laws and procedures and makes recommendations in order to check leakage of
revenue.

GS

SC
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Working of the Committee

The working of the committee is as follows:


The representatives of the Ministries appear before the Committee when examining the
Accounts and Audit Reports relating to their Ministries. The Committee proceeds by way of
interrogation of witnesses. The Comptroller and Auditor General is the "friend, philosopher and
guide" of the Committee. He attends the sittings of the Committee and assists it in its
deliberations.
The Committee may appoint one or more Sub-Committees/ Sub Groups to examine any
particular matter. At the beginning of its term, the Committee appoints a few Working Groups/
Sub Committees to facilitate the examination of the various Accounts and Audit Reports and
Sub-Committee to consider the action taken by the Government on the recommendations made
by the Committee in its earlier Reports. If it appears to the Committee that it is necessary for the
purpose of its examination that an on the-spot study should be made, the Committee may, either
in its entirety or by dividing itself into Study Groups decide to undertake tours to make an onthe-spot study of any project or establishment. All discussions held during tour by the Commit[8]

tee/Study Groups, with the representatives of the establishment, Ministries/Departments, nonofficial organisations, Labour Unions etc. are treated as confidential and no one having access
to the discussion, directly or indirectly is to communicate to the Press or any unauthorized
person, any information about matters taken up during the discussions.
Shortcomings
The Parliamentary Committees PAC are able to examine only a few paras and reviews out
of large number of audit reports submitted to them which defeats the very purpose of parliamentary financial control and the accountability of Executive which the Parliament is required to
enforce.

SC
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In order to strengthen parliamentary control over executive it is necessary to devise a system


which envisages that PAC examines all the reports submitted by CAG and submits its recommendations to Legislature within a time limit of say 18 months. This is possible only if the volume
of CAG's Audit reports is reduced and their quality and content improved and only matters of
critical importance are included in the Audit Reports. For PAC to function effectively and its
members to develop specialisation, the life of PAC be made five years co-extensive with the life
of Parliament/ State legislature with one- third of members retiring every year. It is for consideration whether PAC be given a Constitutional status with clearly defined mandate, duties and
functions.
B. COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC UNDERTAKINGS

The Committee on Public Undertakings is a Parliamentary Committee consisting of 22


Members-fifteen elected by the Lok Sabha and seven by the Rajya Sabha, from amongst their
Members, according to the principle of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker from amongst the Members of the
Committee.
A Minister is not eligible to become a Member of the Committee. If a Member after his
election to the Committee is appointed a Minister, he ceases to be a Member of the Committee
from the date of such appointment.

Functions

GS

The term of the Committee does not exceed one year.

The functions of the Committee on Public Undertakings are:(a) to examine the reports and accounts of Public Undertakings specified in the Fourth Schedule
to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha ;
(b) to examine the reports, if any, of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on the Public
Undertakings ;
(c) to examine, in the context of the autonomy and efficiency of the Public Undertakings whether
the affairs of the Public Undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business
principles and prudent commercial practices ; and
(d) to exercise such other functions vested in the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates
Committee in relation to the Public Undertakings as are not covered by clauses (a), (b) and
(c) above and as may be allotted to the Committee by the Speaker from time to time.
Working of the Committee
The Committee selects from time to time for examination such Public Undertakings or such
subjects as they may deem fit and as fall within their terms of reference. The Ministry/Under[9]

taking concerned is asked to furnish necessary material relating to those subjects for the information of the Members of the Committee.
The Committee may from time to time appoint one or more Study Groups for carrying out
detailed examination of various subjects.
If it appears to the Committee that it is necessary for the purpose of its examination that
on-the-spot study should be made, the Committee undertake tours to study any particular matter,
project or undertaking.
Notes relating to the Undertakings/Offices etc. to be visited are called for in advance from
the Ministries/Undertakings concerned and circulated to the Members of the Committee.
These form the starting point for the informal discussion which the Committee holds at the
projects etc.When the Committee/Study Groups are on study tour only informal sittings are held
at the place of visit and at such sittings neither evidence is recorded nor any decisions are taken.

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The Members of the Committee while on tour may also meet informally the representatives
of Chambers ofCommerce and Industry, non-official organisations and bodies which are concerned with the subject under examination of the Committee.
Later in the light of these informal discussions of the Committee and the memoranda and
other information received, non-official and official witnesses are invited to give evidence at
formal sittings of the Committee held in Parliament House/Parliament House Annexe.
All discussions held by the Committee with the representatives of the Undertakings/Ministries/Departments, non-official organisations, Labour Unions etc. are to be treated as confidential and no one having access to the discussions, directly or indirectly, should communicate to
the Press or any unauthorised person any information about matters taken up during the discussions.

GS

The observations/recommendations of the Committee are embodied in their reports which


are presented to Parliament. After a Report has been presented to the House, the Ministryor
Undertaking concerned is required to take action on various recommendations and conclusions
contained in the Report. The replies of the Government are examined by a Action Taken SubCommittee/Committee and an Action Taken Report is presented to the House.
Ministers not called before Committee
A Minister is not called before the Committee either to give evidence or for consultation in
connection with the examination of the public undertakings by the Committee. The Chairman
of the Committee may, however, when considered necessary but after its deliberations are concluded have an informal talk with the Minister concerned to apprise him of (a) any matter of
policy laid down by the Ministry or undertaking with which the Committee does not fully agree;
(b) any matter of secret and confidential nature which the Committee would not like to bring
on record in its report.
Report and Minutes
The conclusions of the Committee on a subject are contained in its report, which, after its
adoption by the Committee, is presented in the Lok Sabha by the Chairman but if he is unable
to do so then by any other Member of the Committee who has been authorised by the Chairman
to present it on his behalf. Minutes of the sittings of the Committee are annexed to the Report
to which these relate. A copy of the Report is also laid on the Table of Rajya Sabha by a member
of the Committee who has been authorised by the Chairman to do so.
The reports of the Committee are adopted by consensus among the members. Accordingly
there is no system of appending minute of dissent to the report.
[10]

Action Taken on Reports


After presentation to the Lok Sabha the report is forwarded to the Ministry or the Department concerned which is required to take action on the recommendations and conclusions
contained in the report and furnish action taken replies thereon within six months.
Action taken notes received from the Ministries/ Departments are examined by the Action
Taken Sub- Committee and an Action Taken Report is prepared consisting of five chapters viz.
I. Report of the Committee comprising inter-alia the observations and recommendations meriting
comments from the Committee; II. Recommendations which have been accepted by the Government; III. Recommendations which the Committee do not desire to pursue in view of Government's
reply; IV. Recommendations in respect of which replies of the Government have not been accepted by the Committee; and V. Recommendations in respect of which final replies of the
Government have not been received. The Report, after its adoption by Committee, is presented
to the House in the usual manner.
Shortcomings

C. ESTIMATES COMMITTEE

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Committee on Public Undertakings has certain limitations. The committee cannot discuss
matters of government policies as well as matters of day to day administration. Also it has no
jurisdiction on the companies in which the government is the largest single share holder. As such
the Committee on Public Undertakings has certain limitation which restricts its movement in
calculating the actual progress of the public undertakings. Ideally it is not supposed to scrutinize
the daily administration of a public undertaking which restricts the committee to reach to the
main problem. The rights of the committee is often debated in the parliament which claims that
it should also include the powers of Public accounts committee as well.

Term of Office

GS

The Estimates Committee, constituted for the first time in 1950, is a Parliamentary Committee consisting of 30 Members, elected every year by the Lok Sabha from amongst its Members.
The Chairman of the Committee is appointed by the Speaker from amongst its members. A
Minister cannot be elected as a member of the Committee and if a member after his election to
the Committee, is appointed a Minister, he ceases to be a member of the Committee from the date
of such appointment.

The term of office of the Committee is one year.


Functions
The functions of the Estimates Committee are:

to report what economies, improvements in organization, efficiency or administrative reform, consistent with the policy underlying the estimates may be effected;

to suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration; to examine whether the money is well laid out within the limits of the policy implied
in the estimates; and

to suggest the form in which the estimates shall be presented to Parliament.

The Committee does not exercise its functions in relation to such Public Undertakings as are
allotted to the Committee on Public Undertakings by the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha or by
the Speaker.
[11]

Working
The Committee selects such of the estimates pertaining to a Ministry/Department of the
Central Government or such of the statutory and other bodies of the Central Government as
may seem fit to the Committee. The Committee also examines matters of special interest
which may arise or come to light in the course of its work or which are specifically referred
to it by the House or the Speaker.

The term 'policy' referred to in Rule 310 relates only to policies laid down by Parliament
either by means of statutes or by specific resolutions passed by it from time to time. It is also
open to the Committee to examine any matter which may have been settled as a matter of
policy by the Government in the discharge of its executive functions. The Committee does not
go against the policy approved by Parliament; but where it is established on evidence that
a particular policy is not leading to the expected or desired results or is leading to waste, it
is the duty of the Committee to bring to the notice of the House that a change in policy is
called for.

At the beginning of its term every year, usually, at the first sitting the Committee selects
subjects concerning the estimates or any part of the estimates of a Ministry/Department of
Central Government or such statutory and Government organisations subordinate thereto, as
do not fall within the purview of the Committee on Public Undertakings for examination
during the year.

The Committee may also select for examination matters of special interest which though
unconnected with the estimates of any particular Ministry/Department of the Government,
may arise or come to light, in the course of its work which it may consider necessary to bring
to the notice of the House.

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Matters referred to the Committee by the House/ Speaker

hoc subjects of public


to time by the House
made by the Speaker
the Chairman of the

GS

Apart from the subject selected by the Committee for examination, ad


importance may also be referred to Committee for examination from time
or the Speaker. Such references may be made either through observations
in the House or in the form of a communication from the Speaker to
Committee.

The Committee may, from time to time, appoint one or more sub-Committees/Study Groups
for carrying out detailed examination of various specified subjects and for scrutiny of action
taken by Govt. on the recommendations contained in the previous reports of the Committee, and
for considering procedural and general matters. The sub-Committees/Study Groups are appointed by the Chairman of the Committee keeping in view the preference given by the Members
for particular sub-Committee(s)/Study Group(s). Chairman/Convener of the Sub-Committee(s)/
StudyGroup(s) is appointed by the Chairman of the Committee from amongst the Members of
the Sub-Committees/Study Groups.

Impact of Parliamentary Committees


Parliamentary Committees play a vital role in the Parliamentary System. They are a vibrant
link between the Parliament, the Executive and the general public. The need for Committees
arises out of two factors, the first one being the need for vigilance on the part of the Legislature
over the actions of the Executive, while the second one is that the modern Legislature these days
is over-burdened with heavy volume of work with limited time at its disposal. It thus becomes
impossible that every matter should be thoroughly and systematically scrutinised and considered
on the floor of the House. If the work is to be done with reasonable care, naturally some
Parliamentary responsibility has to be entrusted to an agency in which the whole House has
confidence. Entrusting certain functions of the House to the Committees has, therefore, become
[12]

a normal practice. This has become all the more necessary as a Committee provides the expertise
on a matter which is referred to it. In a Committee, the matter is deliberated at length, views are
expressed freely, the matter is considered in depth, in a business-like manner and in a calmer
atmosphere. In most of the Committees, public is directly or indirectly associated when memoranda containing suggestions are received, on-the-spot studies are conducted and oral evidence
is taken which helps the Committees in arriving at the conclusions.

Recommendations

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The Committees aid and assist the Legislature in discharging its duties and regulating its
functions effectively, expeditiously and efficiently. Through Committees, Parliament exercises its
control and influence over administration. Parliamentary Committees have a salutary effect on
the Executive. The Committees are not meant to weaken the administration, instead they prevent
misuse of power exercisable by the Executive. It may, however, be remembered that Parliamentary control in the context of the functioning of the Committees may mean influence, not direct
control; advice, not command; criticism, not obstruction; scrutiny, not initiative; and accountability, not prior approval. This, in brief, is the rationale of the Committee System. The Committees
have functioned in a non-partisan manner and their deliberations and conclusions have been
objective. This, in a large measure, accounts for the respect in which the recommendations of the
Parliamentary Committees are held.

In 2002, the NCRWC pointed out some shortcomings of the committees: (a) low attendance
of MPs at meetings; (b) too many ministries under a committee; (c) norms not followed by most
political parties while nominating MPs to committees; and (d) the constitution of DRSCs for a
year leaves very little time for specializations.
Recommendations of NCRWC

a) DRSCs should be periodically reviewed. All Bills should be referred to DRSCs. They can elicit
public views and call specialist advisors. The DRSCs may finalise the second reading stage
in the Committee.

c)

GS

b) Three new committees should be set up: (a) Standing Committee on National Economy to
provide analysis of the national economy with resources for advisory expertise, data gathering and research facilities; (b) Standing Constitution Committee to scrutinise Constitutional
Amendment Bills before they are introduced in Parliament; and (c) Committee on Legislations to oversee and coordinate legislative planning.
Existing Committees on Estimates, Public Undertakings and Subordinate Legislation may not
be needed. The Petitions Committee can be a supplement to the proposed office of the Lok
Pal.

d) Major reports of all Committees should be discussed in Parliament especially in cases where
there is disagreement between a Committee and the government. The recommendations of
the PACs should be accorded greater weight and they should be treated as the "consciencekeepers of the nation in financial matters".

International experiences
It has been seen that Committee system is not a new concept. Many countries have adopted
the concept of Committee system. The whole idea of appointing the Committee began to delegate
the work to smaller bodies to reduce the burden and the House of Parliament could spend the
time for more important tasks. These Committees also provide a forum for interaction between
Government Departments and Parliament and a medium for information and ideas to follow in
both directions. In a free atmosphere the Committee have taken a dispassionate and objective
view of matters coming before them, and have contributed in their own way to the growth on
sound lines of Parliamentary democracy in India.
[13]

37 Separation of Powers
The doctrine of Separation of Powers is of ancient origin. The history of the origin of the
doctrine is traceable to Aristotle. In the 16th and 17th Centuries, French philosopher John Boding
and British Politician Locke respectively had expounded the doctrine of separation of powers.
But it was Montesquieu, French jurist, who for the first time gave it a systematic and scientific
formulation in his book 'Esprit des Lois' (The spirit of the laws).

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Montesquieu said that if the Executive and the Legislature are the same person or body of
persons, there would be a danger of the Legislature enacting oppressive laws which the executive
will administer to attain its own ends, for laws to be enforced by the same body that enacts them
result in arbitrary rule and makes the judge a legislator rather than an interpreter of law. If one
person or body of persons could exercise both the executive and judicial powers in the same
matter, there would be arbitrary powers, which would amount to complete tyranny, if the
legislative power would be added to the power of that person. The value of the doctrine lies in
the fact that it seeks to preserve human liberty by avoiding the concentration of powers in one
person or body of persons. The different organs of government should thus be prevented from
encroaching on the province of the other organ.
In the British Constitution the Parliament is the Supreme legislative authority. At the same
time, it has full control over the Executive. The harmony between the Legislator and the Executive is secured through the Cabinet. The Cabinet is collectively responsible to the Parliament. The
Prime Minister is the head of the party in majority and is the Chief Executive authority. He forms
the Cabinet. The Legislature and the Executive are not quite separate and independent in England, so far as the Judiciary is concerned its independence has been secured by the Act for
Settlement of 1701 which provides that the judges hold their office during good behaviour, and
are liable to be removed on a presentation of addresses by both the Houses of Parliament. They
enjoy complete immunity in regard to judicial acts.

GS

In India, the executive is part of the legislature. The President is the head of the executive
and acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers. He can be impeached by Parliament. The
Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha and each minister works during
the pleasure of the President. If the Council of Ministers loses the confidence of the House, it has
to resign.
Functionally, the President's or the Governor's assent is required for all legislations.. The
President or the Governor has power of making ordinances when both Houses of the legislature
are not in session. This is legislative power, and an ordinance has the same status as that of a
law of the legislature. The President or the Governor has the power to grant pardon. The
legislature performs judicial function while committing for contempt those who defy its orders
or commit breach of privilege. Thus, the executive is dependent on the Legislature and while it
performs some legislative functions such as subordinate it, also performs some executive functions such as those required for maintaining order in the house.
There is, however, considerable institutional separation between the judiciary and the other
organs of the government. The Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President in
consultation with the Chief justice of India and such of the judges of the Supreme Court and the
High Court as he may deem necessary for the purpose. The Judges of the High Court are
appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the
state, and, in the case of appointment of a judge other than the Chief justice, the Chief Justice
of the High Court.
It has now been held that in making such appointments, the opinion of the Chief justice of
India shall have primacy. The judges of the high Court and the judges of the Supreme Court
[14]

cannot be removed except for misconduct or incapacity and unless an address supported by two
thirds of the members and absolute majority of the total membership of the House is passed in
each House of Parliament and presented to the President. An impeachment motion was brought
against a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Ramaswami, but it failed to receive the support
of the prescribed number of members of Parliament. The salaries payable to the judges are
provided in the Constitution or can be laid down by a law made by Parliament.
Every judge shall be entitled to such privileges and allowances and to such rights in respect
of absence and pension, as may from time to time be determined by or under any law made by
Parliament and until so determined, to such privileges, allowance and rights as are specified in
the Second Schedule. Neither the privileges nor the allowance nor his rights in respect of leave
of absence or pension shall be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.

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Appointments of persons to be, and the posting and promotion of, district judges in any
state shall be made by the Governor of the State in consultation with the High Court exercising
jurisdiction in relation to such state (Article 233) The control over the subordinate courts is vested
in the acts of the Legislature as well as the executive. The Supreme Court has power to make
rules (Article 145) and exercises administrative control over its staff. The judiciary has power to
enforce and interpret laws and if they are found in violation of any provision of the Constitution,
it can declare them unconstitutional and therefore, void. It can declare the executive action void
if it is found against any provisions of the Constitution. Article 50 provides that the State shall
take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive.
Thus, the three organs of the Government (i.e. the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary) are not separate. Actually the complete demarcation of the functions of these organs of the
Government is not possible. The Constitution of India does not recognize the doctrine of separation of power in its absolute rigidity, but the functions of the three organs of the government
have been sufficiently differentiated. None of the three organs of the Government can take over
the functions assigned to the other organs.
Judiciary vs Legislature

GS

The doctrine of separation of powers implies that each pillar of democracy - the executive,
legislature and the judiciary - perform separate functions and act as separate entities. The
executive is vested with the power to make policy decisions and implement laws. The legislature

[15]

is empowered to issue enactments. The judiciary is responsible for adjudicating disputes. The
doctrine is a part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution even though it is not specifically mentioned in its text. Thus, no law may be passed and no amendment may be made to
the Constitution deviating from the doctrine. Different agencies impose checks and balances
upon each other but may not transgress upon each other's functions. Thus, the judiciary exercises judicial review over executive and legislative action, and the legislature reviews the functioning of the executive.
There have been some cases where the courts have issued laws and policy related orders
through their judgements. These include the Vishakha case where guidelines on sexual harassment were issued by the Supreme Court, the order of the Court directing the Centre to distribute
food grains (2010) and the appointment of the Special Investigation Team to replace the High
Level Committee established by the Centre for investigating black money deposits in Swiss Banks.

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In 1983 when Justice Bhagwati introduced public interest litigation in India, Justice Pathak
in the same judgement warned against the "temptation of crossing into territory which properly
pertains to the Legislature or to the Executive Government". Justice Katju in 2007 noted that,
"Courts cannot create rights where none exist nor can they go on making orders which are
incapable of enforcement or violative of other laws or settled legal principles. With a view to see
that judicial activism does not become judicial adventurism the courts must act with caution and
proper restraint. It needs to be remembered that courts cannot run the government. The judiciary
should act only as an alarm bell; it should ensure that the executive has become alive to perform
its duties."
While there has been some discussion on the issue of activism by the judiciary, it must be
noted that there are also instances of the legislature using its law making powers to reverse the
outcome of some judgements. We discuss below some recent instances of the legislature overturning judicial pronouncements by passing laws with retrospective effect.

GS

On September 7, 2011 the Parliament passed the Customs Amendment and Validation Bill,
2011 which retrospectively validates all duties imposed and actions taken by certain customs
officials who were not authorized under the Customs Act to do the stated acts. Some of the
duties imposed were in fact challenged before the Supreme Court in Commissioner of Customs
vs. Sayed Ali in 2011. The Supreme Court struck down the levy of duties since these were
imposed by unauthorised officials. By passing the Customs Bill, 2011 the Parliament circumvented the judgement and amended the Act to authorize certain officials to levy duties retrospectively, even those that had been held to be illegal by the SC.
Another instance of the legislature overriding the decision of the Supreme Court was seen
in the Essential commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2009 which was passed into an Act. The
Supreme Court had ruled that the price at which the Centre shall buy sugar from the mill shall
include the statutory minimum price (SMP) and an additional amount of profits that the mills
share with farmers. The Amendment allowed the Centre to pay a fair and remunerative price
(FRP) instead of the SMP. It also did away with the requirement to pay the additional amount.
The amendment applied to all transactions for purchase of sugar by the Centre since 1974. In
effect, the amendment overruled the Court decision.
The executive tried to sidestep the Apex Court decision through the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2010. The Court had issued a writ to the Custodian of Enemy
Property to return possession of certain properties to the legal heir of the owner. Subsequently
the Executive issued an Ordinance under which all properties that were divested from the
Custodian in favour of legal heirs by a Court order were reverted to him. The Ordinance lapsed
and a Bill was introduced in the Parliament. The Bill is currently being examined by the
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs.
[16]

These examples highlight some instances where the legislature has acted to reverse judicial
pronouncements. The judiciary has also acted in several instances in the grey areas separating
its role from that of the executive and the legislature. The doctrine of separation of powers is
not codified in the Indian constitution. Indeed, it may be difficult to draw a strict line demarcating the separation. However, it may be necessary for each pillar of the State to evolve a
healthy convention that respects the domain of the others.
Criticism

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The legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive are the three pillars of a stable government.
The aim of the doctrine of the Separation of Powers is to "bring exclusiveness in the functioning
of the three organs. In principle each organ should be able to perform its function independent
of the other organs and no organ should perform functions that belong to the other. Chaos
would prevail if the same man or the same body were to exercise the three powers. "The
accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judicial in the same hands whether of one,
a few, or many and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective, may justly be pronounced the
very definition of tyranny."While the Principle of the Separation of Power is generally admitted
as valid, embodying as it does the scientific principle of differentiation, the practical difficulties
experienced in working it make it of little value to us today. This doctrine of separation of powers
had some inherent defects when applied in real life situations. Any attempt to demarcate the
functions of the three organs could 'cause serious inefficiency in government.'
As we know the legislature can only legislate and the executive can only punish anyone
who commits a breach of privilege; neither of these two can assume the powers of the other. So
this theory cannot be accepted in its entirety because separation of powers can only be relative
and not absolute. According to Justice Frankfurter "Enforcement of a rigid conception of separation of powers would make modern government impossible."
Thus separation of powers is not only practically impossible but theoretically absurd too.
Although Montesquieu's doctrine aims to secure the liberty and freedom of the individual yet it
is impossible to achieve the same through the mechanical division of functions and powers. Rule
of Law accompanied by eternal vigilance are the mainstay of freedom and liberty.

GS

Some have argued that while functions may be demarcated powers should always remain
supreme. But it is impossible to perform functions without the necessary powers. At one point
of time this theory held great value against the despotism of a king and later of a parliament.
Such despotism does not exist today. The modern day governments require protection against the
domination of parliament and of civil servants. The separation of powers is too mechanical in
nature to be of any avail against these types of domination. What is required is not separation
of powers but 'co-ordination' or 'articulation' of powers. Although this doctrine of separation of
powers ensures a certain degree of efficiency it can even give rise to jealousy, suspicion and
internal friction. In the words of Finer, "the theory of separation of powers throws government
into alternative conditions of coma and convulsion."

38 The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill 2011


To establish a mechanism to receive complaints relating to disclosure on any allegation of
corruption or wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion against any public servant
and to inquire or cause an inquiry into such disclosure and to provide adequate safeguards
against victimization of the person making such complaint and for matters connected therewith.
Earlier References 1.

In 2001, Law Commission recommended and drafted a Public Interest Disclosure


[17]

(Protection of Informers) Bill, which provides protection to whistleblowers. The Bill has
provisions for providing safeguards to the whistleblowers against victimization in the organiztion
2.

Second ARC -

There is a very close connection between the public servant's willingness to disclose corruption in his organization and the protection given to him and his/her identity. If adequate statutory protection is granted, there is every likelihood that the government would be able to get
substantial information about corruption. Legislation should be enacted immediately to provide
protection to whistleblowers exposing false claims, fraud or corruption by ensuring confidentiality and anonymity, protection from victimization in career, and other administrative measures
to prevent bodily harm and harassment. The legislation should cover corporate whistleblowers
unearthing fraud or serious damage to public interest by willful acts of omission or commission.
3.

In 2004, a resolution was passed, empowering CVC to protect whistle blowers.

Features of Bill Applicable to whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir.

2.

The Act not to be applicable for Special Protection Group(SPG).

3.

"Disclosure" means a complaint relating to,-

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1.

(i) an attempt to commit or commission of an offence under the Prevention of


tion Act, 1988;

Corrup-

(ii) wilful misuse of power or wilful misuse of discretion by virtue of which demonstrable
loss is caused to the Government or demonstrable wrongful gain accrues to the public
servant or to any third party, or demonstrable wrongful loss or harm is caused to any
person
(iii) attempt to commit or commission of a criminal offence by a public servant.
Main Provisions -

Any public servant or any other person including any non-governmental organisation, may
make a public interest disclosure before the Competent Authority.

Every disclosure shall be made in writing or by electronic mail or electronic mail message in
accordance with the procedure as may be prescribed and contain full particulars and be
accompanied by supporting documents, or other materials, if any.

No action shall be taken on public interest disclosure by the Competent Authority if the
disclosure does not indicate the identity of the complainant or public servant making public
interest disclosure or the identity of the complainant or public servant is found incorrect or
false.

The Competent Authority shall , on receipt of a public interest disclosure conceal the identity
of the complainant unless the complainant himself has revealed his identity to any other
office or authority while making public interest disclosure or in his complaint.

If the Competent Authority is of the opinion that it has, for the purpose of seeking comments
or explanation or report from them on the public disclosure, become necessary to reveal the
identity of the Complainant or public servant to the Head of the Department of the
organisation or authority, board or corporation concerned or office concerned, the Competent Authority may, with the prior written consent of the Complainant or public servant,
reveal the identity of the complainant or public servant to such head of the Department of

[18]

GS

the organisation or authority, board or corporation concerned or office concerned for the
said purpose. In case the complainant or public servant does not agree to his name being
revealed to the Head of the Department, in that case, the complainant or public servant, as
the case may be, shall provide all documentary evidence in support of his complaint to the
Competent Authority.
Exemptions No person shall be required by virtue of provisions contained in the Act to furnish any such
information or answer any such question or produce any document or information or render
any other assistance in the inquiry under this Act if such question or document or information is likely to prejudicially affect the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the
security of the State, friendly relations with foreign State, public order, decency or morality
or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

2.

Disclosure of proceedings of the Cabinet of the Union Government or any Committee of the
Cabinet or of the Cabinet of the State Government or any Committee of that Cabinet.

Protection to Whistle Blower -

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1.

The Central Government shall ensure that no person or a public servant who has made a
disclosure under this Act is victimised by initiation of any proceedings or otherwise merely
on the ground that such person or a public servant had made a disclosure or rendered
assistance in inquiry under this Act.

The power to give directions under sub-section (2), in relation to a public servant, shall
include the power to direct the restoration of the public servant making the disclosure, to the
status quo ante.

Any person who wilfully does not comply with the direction of the Competent Authority,
shall be liable to a penalty which may extend up to thirty thousand rupees.

If the Competent Authority either on the application of the complainant, or witnesses, or on


the basis of information gathered, is of the opinion that either the complainant or public
servant or the witnesses or any person rendering assistance for inquiry under this Act need
protection, the Competent Authority shall issue appropriate directions to the concerned
Government authorities (including police) which shall take necessary steps, through its agencies, to protect such complainant or public servant or persons concerned.

GS

Penalty for not reporting within time limit mala-fidely.


Penalty for negligently or mala-fidely revealing the identity of complainant.
Penalty for making false or incorrect disclosure mala fidely.
Analysis

The Bill provides that the Competent Authority shall not investigate, (i) any disclosure which
is made after the expiry of twelve months from the date on which the action complained
against becomes known to the complainant. This provision is not just unnecessary but it will
be used by the bureaucracy to deter the investigation on the basis of technical ground, i.e.
whether or not the complainant had come to know of the disclosure within a period of
twelvemonths or not and whether the date of commission of offence was within a period of
five years or not ,rather than the merits of the case.
[19]

It is a matter of grave concern that an exception has been created in favour of the armed
forces and intelligence agencies and that too without cogent reasons. It is important to note
here that the Right to Information Act, 2005 does not create an exception in favour of armed
forces and even the intelligence agencies have not been fully exempted from its purview and
such organizations are fully disclosable in relation to human rights violation and corruption.

The Bill does not define what constitutes victimisation. There is no penalty against the public
servant who may be victimising the complainant.

The Bill does not provide for witness protection programme to protect witnesses during
investigation and trial.

The public official may appeal to the High Court against penalty for revealing identity or
obstructing investigation. However, the Bill also penalises any malafide complaint, but does
not specify an appeal process.

The Central and State Vigilance Commissions shall be the nodal body to receive complaints
from whistleblowers. However, their power is restricted to recommend corrective action to
the public authority (including any penal action) on public officials after investigation.

Private sector not covered in this Bill. The Companies Bill, 2009 addresses this issue.

No time limit prescribed for discreet inquiry. Time limit for explanation to be given by the
concerned head of department has been prescribed.

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39 Urban Transport Infrastructure: A Roadmap

for the Future

GS

For one of the world's oldest civilizations with a culture spanning centuries, sixty years is
not a long time. But as a nation, the last six decades since India became a republic have been
truly momentous as the country has witnessed far-reaching developments in many spheres.
However, development of transport infrastructure was probably not given the importance it
deserved initially as our planners did not realize that investments in transport sector come back
to the nation manifold fueling growth in many other sectors.
As time passed, it was realized that mobility is an important requirement for economic
growth of the nation as economic activities flourish in areas where accessibility is good and
mobility fast. Gradually, the spotlight has shifted to development of transport infrastructure.
Urban Public Transport

Since Independence, India has undergone a fundamental change in the way its citizens live
and work. A primarily rural society for countless years, India has seen a spurt in the pace of its
urbanization. Since job opportunities have increased in urban areas at a much faster pace than
in villages, attracting millions to the already-overcrowded cities, the proportion of urban population went up from just 17% in 1951 to 28% in 2001, according to the latest available Census
figures. Currently, the proportion of urbanization is estimated to be about 35% and this figure
is likely to go up to 45% by 2020. Thus, by that year, more than half a billion people will live
in India's teeming cities.
According to recent Government estimates, 14 cities already have populations in excess of
three million while seven have more than five million residents. However, urban public transport
facilities have failed to keep up with the rapid rise in population. Public transport is fully roadbased in almost all our cities with the exception of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata where suburban trains play a limited role. The result is that our roads are heavily congested with an
[20]

explosion in the number of vehicles, causing heavy pollution and keeping the average speed of
vehicles low. The most disturbing effect of the dependence on road-based transport is the high
fatality rates on city roads. According to estimates, almost 120,000 people die every year across
India in road accidents, including 2,000 in Delhi alone. A possible solution is to increase the
capacity of roads but cities are already so congested that there is little scope for this.
Metro systems
The only way out, therefore, is to plan high-capacity public transport systems that are
energy efficient, do not encroach on the limited road space available and connect commercial
and residential areas effectively. Across the world, public transportation systems in heavily
populated cities are rail based Mass Rapid Transit Systems (MRTS) or Metro systems, as they
are the most appropriate since they can carry up to 90,000 passengers per hour per direction of
traffic (phpdt).

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At present, India has only two cities with MRT systems - Delhi and Kolkata. Mumbai has
just started. The construction of the Kolkata Metro overshot its target schedule and cost and the
resultant problems for citizens, perhaps, acted as a dampener for the Metro culture to spread to
other cities.
This negative perception about MRT systems, however, changed with the coming of the
Delhi Metro. India's largest urban intervention in the transportation sector since Independence,
this mammoth technically complex project is being completed ahead of schedule and budgeted
cost.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has introduced India to a truly international
transport system which is safe, fast, comfortable and reliable and is today acknowledged as a
resounding success. Many Indian cities have lined up to take advantage of DMRC's experience
to build Metro systems.
However, many hurdles remain before Metro systems in most of these cities become a
reality.

GS

Institutional arrangements in the form of active support of the Government are vital. At
present, the Urban Development Ministry is entrusted with the task of expanding the Metro
footprint and it is performing exemplarily. A National Metro Rail Policy has already been drafted
which has been considered by the Committee of Secretaries. Legal cover for Metro projects has
also been provided by enacting the Metro Railway Amendment Act, 2009, to amend the Metro
Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978 and the Delhi Metro (Operation and Maintenance)
Act, 2002 and extend these Acts to all million plus cities in India.
However, the need of the hour is a major policy thrust by the Government to spread the
"Metro culture" and this is a full-time job which cannot be performed well by appending a small
team to the Ministry. A separate Ministry for Metros has become essential.
There are other vital issues to consider. Today, taxes and duties account for about 15% of
the total cost of Metros in India. This is totally avoidable expenditure that can easily be saved
by exempting Metro systems from the ambit of these taxes and duties. Moreover, property
development has to be allowed on a large scale which can help augment the Metro incomes and
help keep their fares low.
Trained manpower is essential if the hundreds of kilometers of Metro networks planned
now are to be executed. It is true that DMRC personnel have gained considerable expertise while
working on the Delhi Metro project, but they are few in number and too focused on the expansion of the capital's network to provide more than consultancy services. DMRC has collaborated
with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, to start a post-graduate course in Metro Technology and the Executive Trainees will be absorbed as Assistant Engineers in Delhi and other
[21]

Metros. Such courses can be started in other IITs and engineering institutes as well so that the
experience of DMRC personnel can be better utilized.
There is a particular need for standardization and indigenization of technology to be used
in Metro systems across Indian cities as bringing in new technology and designs for every project
is neither necessary nor desirable as it would only push up costs and time. The advantages of
standardization are apparent in Russian and Eastern European cities where Metro systems could
spread fast because no time had to be spent on finalizing designs and finding vendors. Countries
such as the Czech Republic and Yugoslavia have standard rolling stock (trains) and signaling
equipment because of which their maintenance and services are much better. This is the model
that should be followed in India as well and this important aspect should not be left to innovation and individual initiative. Only the Government can ensure that standard gauge is used by
all Metros in India in the future as this is the norm across the world. The Government can utilize
DMRC's expertise for standardization and indigenization. Already, two units to manufacture
rolling stock have been set up in Bangalore and in Salvi near Vadodara to service DMRC's needs.
These units can easily meet the requirements of other Metros provided they get necessary Government support.

Suburban Trains and Buses

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One unexpected problem that DMRC had to face while executing its project was resistance
from regulatory and local bodies of the Government itself. While municipal bodies often fund
Metro works in other countries, DMRC had to contend with delayed clearances and demand for
property tax from local bodies in the city such as the Delhi Development Authority and the
Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Government bodies working at cross-purposes will definitely not
help the expansion of Metro systems and the authorities must step in to ensure that there is no
interruption in the Metro work.

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Besides modern high-capacity systems such as Metros, there is scope to develop sub-urban
railway and bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in some cities to a limited extent but these avenues
have not been fully exploited. For example, Delhi has a wonderful surface Railway system
converging not the city from five different directions and inter-connected with a Ring Railway.
Unfortunately, this Railway network carries only 2% of the city commuters. Strengthening,
upgrading and modernizing the Railway system are low cost solutions to attract commuters to
the suburbs and to de-congest the city. Unfortunately, Railways's unwillingness to run more
suburban trains and Government's helplessness or inability to tread on Railways's possessive turf
is preventing any improvements to the suburban system.
As for BRT systems, these are good options in cities where the passengers per hour per
direction of traffic (phpdt) is around 10,000. In fact, DMRC has itself recommended BRT systems
in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. However, BRT systems are not suitable for cities with
large populations as it is not possible to run buses with a frequency of less than 30 seconds
(though the actual will probably be around 2-3 minutes). Thus, a maximum of 120 buses can be
run per hour which will have a capacity of 12,000 phpdt. A system like the Delhi Metro, on the
other hand, has a capacity of 75,000 phpdt. However for tierII cities this system can work well
as examplified by the Indore city service which was developed on the tines of one of the worlds
most successful Bogota, (colambia) urban bus system Indore is now considered to have best BRT
system in India.
National Road Network
India is a vast country and roads fulfil the majority of its transport requirement by carrying
more than 70% of goods and population. Reliable and safe roads are, therefore, essential for
economic growth. For many decades, the focus remained only on development of the national
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highways but the rise in vehicular movement has meant that the pressure on these has increased
manifold. A lot needs to be done to lay down new roads and improve and widen existing ones,
including the national highways. The golden quadrilateral project is a beginning in this direction
and, hopefully, such projects will gather momentum.

The Indian Railways

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One such project which has great importance for the nation is the ambitious Pradhan
Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), a part of the Bharat Nirman programme. For decades,
lack of infrastructure, particularly roads, prevented the rural economy from developing which
perhaps forced more and more people to go to cities. The PMGSY was started to address this
problem but sadly, it has managed to achieve only 49% of its target for new roads and 55% for
upgradation of roads. Clearly, a lot remains to be done. The main obstacle to the scheme,
possibly, is that there is no centralized command and state governments are responsible for the
actual work. If the Government can bring the PMGSY under a single administration under the
charge of a leader chosen on the basis of merit, integrity and track record the scheme would
definitely be far more successful. Of course, there are legislative constraints which will need to
be addressed before this can happen.

The Indian Railways are perhaps the most beneficial legacy of the British Raj but unfortunately, little has been done to improve the system in post-Independence India. The only notable
projects to expand the rail network in the last 60 years have been the Konkan Railway and the
ongoing work in the Kashmir Valley. The Railways have also not adequately utilized available
technology for improvement in services and an ordinary train traveler from the 1930s' would
probably not see too many significant changes even today.

Conclusion

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Therefore, an aggressive policy for modernization and improving the safety record of Railways is the urgent need of the day. At present, the focus of the Railways is on dedicated freight
corridors and a separate corporation has set up for their development. However, priority should
be given to the development of dedicated high-speed passenger corridors to which all mail and
express trains should be diverted. The capacity thus released will be more than that is needed
for freight movement.

In the last 60 years, India has emerged as one of the major economies of the world with its
growth rate second only to China. It needs to be pondered that China has invested heavily in
its transport infrastructure while India has failed to keep pace. It's time to devote adequate
attention to development of our transport infrastructure if we want our country to take its
rightful place in the comity of developed nations.

40 Reforms in Administration & Governance


The word "governance" is derived from the Greek Kubernao which means to "steer" and
was used for the first time in a metaphorical sense by the Greek philosopher Plato. Governance
is defined as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country's
affairs at all levels. It consists of mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens
and government articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and
mediate their differences. Administration on the other hand is machinery at the disposal of
excutive to carry out takes to ensure good governance.
The issue of reforms in governance and administration has become the focus of attention in
recognition of the fact that good governance is necessary for ensuring success of development
schemes, bringing about improvements in the quality of life of citizens, eradicating poverty and
generally for realization of the goals of equity and equality enshrined in our Constitution. On the
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contrary if the power of the State is abused or exercised in weak or improper ways it can subvert
all efforts to promote good governance and those with the least power in society - the poor are
the most likely to suffer.
The 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission which had been set up in 2005 was given the
mandate to suggest measures to improve governance so as to achieve a proactive, responsive,
accountable, sustainable and efficient administration for the country at all levels. Specifically 13
areas were identified for making recommendations which inter alia included issues pertaining to
the Organizational Structure of Government of India, Civil Services Reforms,
Public Order, Ethics in Governance, Strengthening Financial Management Systems as well
as local self-government institutions. The common underlying theme in all these Reports was
promotion of good governance, the core principles of which are:

Rule of law which requires that laws and their implementation be transparent, predictable,
equitable and credible.

Accountability at each level of administration.

Putting the citizen first.

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Minimization of unfettered discretion.

Governance to be built on strong ethical foundation.

Principle of subsidiarity (which implies both devolution and delegation of authority).


To achieve these ends, the Administrative Reforms Commission also identified key priority
areas which includes decentralization of powers and citizens' empowerment, effective people's
participation through State and non-State mechanisms, greater synergy and consolidation among
various agencies and programmes of Government, civil services reforms, transparency, rationalization of government schemes and mode of financial assistance to
States, improved access to the formal justice to enforce rights, reforms strengthening land
administration and harnessing the power of technology for governance.

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During the last few years, government has taken several significant initiatives to improve the
quality of governance and a series of reforms e.g. electoral reforms, the path breaking Right to
Information Act, a new value-added tax regime and introduction of regulatory mechanisms in
several sectors of the economy have been initiated. A number of committees have also been set
up and have made recommendations in respect of specific areas like Police reforms. These
welcome initiatives indicate that our political system is willing to respond to the growing challenges of governance and at times of crises we have been able to marshal our resources to deal
effectively with situations.
All these and competent election management show that we have an administrative infrastructure which responds well when objectives are clearly defined, resources are made available
and accountability is surely enforced.
However, a lot more remains to be done and in this context the Commission has identified
four broad areas where the non-negotiable goal of the State needs to be clearly recognized and
governance strengthened.
The first is in the area of public order, justice and rule of law where the State needs to do
much more to ensure access to speedier and efficient justice, protect the rights of citizens and
maintain public order. These are the bedrocks of civilized society and the deficiency in this area
needs to be plugged through police reforms, better citizens participation in governance, transparency and an integrated approach to public order maintenance. The ARC's reports on Mainte[25]

nance of Public Order, Combating Terrorism, Conflict Resolution and Ethics in governance have
made a number of recommendations in these areas which need urgent implementation.
The second area is human development through access to good quality education and
healthcare to make every citizen productive and fulfilled. Of course, more resources need to be
directed to human development but even more importantly we need to redesign our delivery
mechanisms in an innovative manner for optimum results.
Recommendations of the ARC in respect of the above are contained in its reports on Citizen
Centric Administration, Social Capital and Trusts and promoting E-governance.

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The third area is infrastructure and sustainable natural resource development. While the
economic aspects are well recognized, the governance challenges are not adequately addressed.
For instance, effective land administration is crucial to capital formation in agriculture and
conservation. Urban management involves much more than resource allocation for infrastructure
and poses formidable challenges of governance. Power distribution management through local
people's involvement and ownership in a consumer-friendly way is more a governance issue than
merely an economic or tariff problem. Among others, Reports on Local Self-Governance have
addressed and made recommendations in some of the above key issues.
Finally, social security, a relatively new and growing area of State activity involving matters
such as guarantee of employment, education, food security, and healthcare. Such programmes
need special attention as merely launching high sounding programme is not enough as it has
been observed in case of the flagship MNREGS, where reliable long term assets could not be
developed.
It is to be noted that all these challenges have to be addressed in the context of serious
resource constraints and law alone cannot address these issues. Nor can revenues be increased
by enhancing tax rates in a centralized administration. We have to reduce unproductive subsidies and get better outcomes for every rupee utilized.

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This will only be acceptable to people through good governance and our conscious efforts
to establish a transparent link between taxes paid and services rendered. Pervasive corruption is
the most disturbing element of our governance and the perception that every party and politician
and public servants are corrupt have to be seriously addressed. Restructuring the systems whether
political, bureaucratic and judicial is, therefore, of paramount importance. This situation is further aggravated by the phenomenal asymmetry of power in our society. Only about 8 per cent
of our work force is employed in the organized sector with a secure monthly wage and attendant
privileges, and over 70 per cent of these workers are employed in government at various levels
and public sector undertakings.
In its Reports, the ARC has made far-reaching recommendations on how best these challenges can be addressed and what are the reforms required. The reports are separate but are
interlinked and interconnected with the leitmotif bring the core principles of good governance
which have been highlighted earlier.
Because of constraints of space, it would be difficult to go into the details of the recommendations in the various reports. It would, however, be relevant to state the broad areas where
recommendations in respect of Civil Services Reforms have been made because in any system the
quality of its public servants is critical in determining outcomes.
The contribution of the civil services in our socio-economic, political development is well
acknowledged but yet today there is a perception that our civil services have become wooden,
inflexible, self-perpetuating and inward looking. While the bureaucracy responds to crisis situations with efficacy, colossal tardiness and failure to deal with normal situations is evident in
most cases. The systemic rigidities, endless complexities and over centralization have further
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compounded the situation and have made it difficult for even the most conscientious and competent functionaries to deliver optimal results. Effective horizontal delegation and a clear sense
of accountability at every level is, therefore, at the heart of the civil services reforms suggested
by the Commission. To this end, the Commission has made recommendations covering the
following broad areas:

Recruitment and capacity building,

Placement and transfer policy,

Performance management and accountability; and

Ethical code for civil servants.

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These comprehensive recommendations are contained in the Commission's 10th Report on


Personnel Administration. It is hoped that these reforms when implemented would play a critical
role in substantially improving our governance system. In the words of Shri M. Veerappa Moily
who was the Chairman of the Administrative Reforms Commission, "it is our hope that with the
implementation of these reforms India will have a civil service that is a valuable resource of
expert and objective policy advice, which delivers high quality citizen-oriented services, which
attracts best talents from society, where objectivity, impartiality and accountability are the norm
and not the exception and which commands the confidence and respect of the people".
Government in its pronouncements has indicated its firm commitment to expeditiously
examine and implement the recommendations made which are necessary to improve in the
interest of good governance at all levels. This will require strong political will and sustained
political guidance at the highest level which, it is hoped will be forthcoming.

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