In a slew of recommendations aimed at introducing a generous dose of ethics in governance, the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) has pushed for constitutional amendments to bar mid-stream realignment of parties in a coalition, let the President decide on defections and empower citizens to file cases to recover loss of public money due to corruption.
It has also made out a case against the “peculiar” practice of the judiciary playing a singularly important role in appointing judges and backed the demand for a National Judicial Council with powers to appoint and remove judges.
“It is an epoch-making report,” ARC chairman Veerappa Moily said as he unveiled key recommendations of the report, ‘Ethics in Governance’, geared at an honest polity, an accountable judiciary and a clean and transparent executive. “None of the recommendations are outrageous,” Jayprakash Narayan, ARC member, said.
But making recommendations has always been the easier part of reforms; the challenge is to muster the political will to see them through the rigmarole of procedures and opposition. But Narayan said: “We are quite confident.” However, he went on to concede that a lot would depend on developing a national consensus in favour of the suggestions.
This is the Commission’s fourth report to the government; there has been no official word on the fate of the previous three. The reports, commissioned by the department of administrative reforms, have been sent to the ministries concerned for their comments. Monday’s report will have to go through this process too.
The Commission has suggested that members of parties in a coalition who change their alignment mid-term should go for re-election. It has recommended empowering a committee including the leader of the opposition to finalise appointments to the Election Commission rather than the government. It also favours empowering the President — and governors in the states – to take a call on allegations of defection.