Steps suggested, but who?ll bell the cat? | india | Hindustan Times
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Steps suggested, but who?ll bell the cat?

During the course of proceedings on 5th April 2006 before this Hon?ble Court, this was brought to the notice of the court by the Learned Advocate General that the State Government is making a request to the Law Commission for reviewing the law on the subject and to define the word ? Mafia?. The Hon?ble Court has noted it as a welcome move and has held that it is not necessary to seek permission from the court for such a move. This move of the State Government, on getting materialised, shall certainly result in proper legislation on the aforesaid subject.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 01:31 IST

During the course of proceedings on 5th April 2006 before this Hon’ble Court, this was brought to the notice of the court by the Learned Advocate General that the State Government is making a request to the Law Commission for reviewing the law on the subject and to define the word ‘ Mafia’. The Hon’ble Court has noted it as a welcome move and has held that it is not necessary to seek permission from the court for such a move. This move of the State Government, on getting materialised, shall certainly result in proper legislation on the aforesaid subject. The Hon’ble Court has directed the Government to define mafia and to suggest measures so as to curb the influence of mafia in government contracts.

Definition of Mafia: From the discussion made above, it emerges that mafia is a person who indulges in such crime, singly or jointly, either on his own or as a member of organised crime syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate by use of violence or threat of violence or intimidation or coercion, or other unlawful means with the objective of getting pecuniary benefits, or of gaining undue economic or other advantage for himself or any other person. To tackle the mafia problem in the State, some long- term measures and so short-term steps have to be initiated by the State Government, which would involve legislative intervention and administrative action.

The following short-term measures may be initiated to break the monopoly of mafia groups in cornering Government contracts.

(1)It is customary for mafia groups to threaten prospective bidders and prevent them from purchasing tender documents. To prevent such exigencies, all government contract above rupees one lakh should be put on the government website and bid documents should be allowed to be downloaded. This would increase greater accessibility and more number of prospective bidders can participate in tendering process.

(2)Tender documents should be allowed to be filed on-line (electronically) in addition to hard copies, as is the practice at present.

(3)Opening of tenders should be carried out in a secure/ centralised place, say the Collectorate for all government departments. Adequate police and magisterial arrangements should be made for their protection. Deployment of police force should not only be adequate, but also it should be ready to strike if need be.

(4)Verification of solvency (financial status)/ character has become perfunctory and meaningless. The present petition sprang from a false character certificate. Stringent action should be taken against the officials who give incorrect certificates. Verification of police record should be more thorough and any suppression of information/ facts should be severely dealt with.

(5)All such information should be made available on the website. Black-listed contractors/ mafias should also be mentioned so that they could be prevented from participating in future bidding.

(6)Many prospective contractors submit false financial status/solvency certificates. At times the same solvency certificate is used for many tenders. Some certificates should be, selectively verified by specialised agencies. They should be confirmed from Banks/ income tax department.

(7)Centralised listing of contracts and financial status of contractors should be maintained electronically so that cross-checking by various departments/ in tenders can be easily undertaken.