NATIONAL COMMISSION TO REVIEW THE WORKING OF THE CONSTITUTION
A Consultation Paper* on
PROBITY IN GOVERNANCE
August 21, 2001 VIGYAN BHAWAN ANNEXE, NEW DELHI – 110 011
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on Strengthening of the institutions of Parliamentary Democracy; (Working of the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary; their accountability; problems of Administrative, Social and Economic Cost of Political Instability; Exploring the possibilities of stability within the discipline of Parliamentary Democracy)
Member-in-charge Justice Shri B.P. Jeevan Reddy
Chairperson Justice Shri H.R. Khanna
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Shri K. Parasaran Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan Dr. V. A. Pai Panandikar
Member-Secretary Dr. Raghbir Singh
This Consultation Paper on ‘Probity in Governance’ is based on a paper prepared by Justice Shri B.P. Jeevan Reddy, Member of the Commission. The Commission places on record its profound appreciation of and gratitude to Justice Shri B.P. Jeevan Reddy for his contribution.
Pages 1. 2. 3. Introduction Menace of corruption in public life Certain measures required to be taken for ensuring probity in governance A. Need for enforcing section 5 of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 Misfeasance in public office – a remedy Necessity for a law providing for confiscation of illegally acquired assets of public servants Enactment of a Public Interest Disclosure Act Enactment of a Freedom of Information Act Necessity for enacting a Lok Pal Bill in addition to the Central Vigilance Commission Act Strengthening of the Criminal Judicial System 585 585 588
D. E. F.
596 598 601
1.1 Probity in governance is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and for socio-economic development. An important requisite for ensuring probity in governance is absence of corruption. The other requirements are effective laws, rules and regulations governing every aspect of public life and, more important, an effective and fair implementation of those laws, etc. Indeed, a proper, fair and effective enforcement of law is a facet of discipline. Unfortunately for India, discipline is disappearing fast from public life and without discipline, as the Scandinavian economist- sociologist, Gunnyar Myrdal, has pointed out, no real progress is possible. Discipline implies inter alia public and private morality and a sense of honesty. While in the West a man who rises to positions of higher authority develops greater respect for laws, the opposite is true in our country. Here, the mark of a person holding high position is the ease with which he can ignore the laws and regulations. We are being swamped by a culture of indiscipline and untruth; morality, both public and private, is at a premium. This paper explores whether some legislative measures can be designed to ensure probity in governance. It is true that instilling a sense of discipline among the citizens is more the function of the society, its leaders, political parties and public figures and less a matter which can be legislated upon. Even so, things have come to such a pass that measures need to be contemplated. 2. Menace of corruption in public life
2.1 Corruption is an abuse of public resources or position in public life for private gain. The scope for corruption increases when...
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