Recent desertions and defections in the Puducherry assembly have yet again highlighted the absurdity of the anti-defection law. Many MLAs from the treasury benches resigned, decreasing the numbers needed for a no-confidence motion to succeed in the Puducherry Assembly. This practice has also been seen recently in other states like Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Thus an MP (or MLA) has absolutely zero freedom to vote their judgement on any issue. They have to blindly follow what the party directs them to do so. This provision goes against the concept of representative democracy.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier anti-corruption watchdog, is currently suffering from diminishing credibility due to the tug-of-war between the Centre and states. As many as 7 states have revoked general consent because the agency is accused of being a “caged parrot” that sings the Centre’s tune. Yet, the CBI remains the first port of call for governments to signal that they favour fair probe insulated from politics that may hinder the local police. To strengthen this aspect of the agency, reforms must be made to enable it to be transparent, accountable and autonomous.
The menace of corruption is the most talked-about issue in India which grapples the sphere of public debate very often. The phenomenon touches every human being from the one living in slums to the person occupying the highest echelons of the State system. Just like the fictional Voldemort, corruption grows at every utterance of it. In the words of Kautilya “Just as it is impossible not to taste the honey that finds itself in the tip of the tongue, so it is impossible for a government assistant not to eat up, at least a bit of King’s revenue.”
RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019 had received the President’s assent despite the protests due to certain controversial provisions in the amended Act. This Act seeks to empower the Centre to decide the tenure, salary, allowance and other terms of services of the Information Commissioners of the Central Information Commission and also of State Information Commissions. Giving such powers to the Centre undermines the fundamental purpose of this Act – the government’s accountability and transparency.
The Public Distribution System, India’s landmark food security system, was commenced in 1944 to address the poverty that was affecting the country during that time. It is a vital instrument that ensures the availability of certain essential commodities at an affordable price for the poor. Regardless, this system is often criticized for its inefficiency and corruption. The low-quality food grains from the ration shops are not enough to address the needs of the poor. India has the largest stock of grains in the world besides China. Yet, 21% of the Indian population remains undernourished. The government must address the corruption, inefficiency and low-quality food grains of the PDS for its success.
National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 was recently passed in the Rajya Sabha. This bill is under public scrutiny due to its vague and unclear provisions, underrepresentation of the medical community and for not being student-friendly.
Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose was selected as the first Lokpal in March 2019 by the selection panel chaired by Prime Minister.
Indian elections cost huge sums of money. This money hardly comes from contributions by sympathizers of the political party but from big corporate houses. Such contributions have largely come from undeclared income/black money and this increases corruption in the electoral process. It highlights the need for implementing effective reforms in electoral finance.In the previous article, we have discussed the Electoral Bonds Scheme for bringing transparency in electoral finance. In this article, we are going to discuss another such reform called State funding of elections as a measure to bring transparency and eliminate corruption in the electoral process.
The Official Secrets Act (OSA) has been in the news recently due to the debate over ‘stolen documents’ in Rafale case. The Attorney-General has suggested “criminal action” against those responsible for making ‘stolen documents’ public.OSA is a colonial-era law that seeks to ensure secrecy and confidentiality in governance especially on national security and espionage issues.However, successive governments have faced criticism for misusing the law against journalists and whistleblowers thus violating their right to freedom of speech and expression.