iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 28, 2013
On the day the government decided to call an all-party meeting to discuss Justice Verma panel report, the National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi hailed the report and said it showed people's willingness to participate in law-making.

Justice Verma committee received nearly 60,000 suggestions from across the country, which NAC member and RTI activist Aruna Roy described as an indication of "strong desire" by ordinary Indians to suggest institutional reforms.

Roy, in a letter to Gandhi, said that representations received by Justice Verma panel showed the necessity to institutionalise the pre-legislative consultation process. But, Roy felt that the NAC recommendation of pre-legislative reached a dead end because of the resolve of the department of personnel and training to consult only 85 government departments and not the public.

She recalled the consultation process adopted by the NAC in its first avatar resulting in legislation of people friendly Right To Information and National Employment Guarantee Acts.  

She said, "In a participatory democracy, when citizens are demanding their voice to be heard, not to create an institutionalized platform for pre-legislative consultation, is unwise and self-defeating.

Roy also emphasised on the need to have a grievance redressal law which would be most important legislation for the poor and the weaker sections of the society. "The passage of the grievance redress law is crucial to the effective functioning of other social sector rights based laws and entitlements," she said, in her letter.

The NAC member also asked the Congress president to ask the government to provide R2,000 per month as old-age pension. "A letter from rural development minister Jairam Ramesh was sent to the PM on the issue."