INDIA’S TOP10 LAW INSTITUTES 2012

If you want to join India’s best law schools but have no information about schools, people are misguiding you, then get over your confusion. Gone are the days when you used to ask about best law schools in India from here and there, now you can get information by a click of the button. Here is the list of India’s Top 10 Law schools:

  1.  National Law School of India University

CITY: Bangalore

A large number of retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts as well as senior advocates have offered to assist the NLSIU in its teaching and research programmes making education at NLSIU a rare and exciting experience to students

2. Campus Law Centre, Delhi University

CITY: New Delhi

The Faculty of Law was established in 1924 and was initially housed in the Prince’s Pavilion in the Old Viceregal Lodge Grounds. In 1963, the faculty moved to its present location at the Chhatra Marg, University of Delhi

3. National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University

CITY: Hyderabad

NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, is a residential university established in 1998 under the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University Act (Andhra Pradesh Act 34 of 1998) of the Andhra Pradesh State Legislature

4. Symbiosis Society’s Law College

CITY: Pune

Symbiosis conducts two 5-year integrated law courses, a BA LLB course covering Arts subjects with Law and the second is a BBA LLB course which covers Management and Business subjects with Law

5.National Law Institute University

CITY: Bhopal

The National Law Institute University has earned frontline status of an institution imparting quality legal education, conducting research in cutting edge areas of law and organising workshops, seminars and training programmes

6.National Law Institute University

CITY: Jodhpur

The National Law Institute University has earned a frontline status of an institution imparting quality legal education, conducting research in cutting edge areas of law and organising workshops, seminars and training programmes.

7.The WB National University of Juridical Sciences

CITY: Kolkata

The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences was established under the WBNUJS Act, 1999 (West Bengal Act IX of 1999) adopted by the West Bengal Legislature in July 1999.

8.Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University

CITY: Aligarh

The Faculty of Law of AMU is one of the oldest law colleges in the country

9. Gujarat National Law University

CITY: Gadhinagar

Gujarat National Law University is the statutory university established by the Government of Gujarat National Law University Act, 2003. The University is recognised by the Bar Council of India and University Grants Commission

1o.ILS Law College

CITY: Pune

The Indian Law Society was established in 1923 as a public charitable trust registered under the Societies Registration Act. The Indian Law Society established the Law College in 1924, which has since then established itself as a premier institute for legal studies in India. In 2004, the ILS Law College was accredited the A+ level by NAAC.

 

 

Code of Hammurabi

Shivam Goel

.. It is excellent to have giant’s strength but it is tyrannical to use it like a giant…

Is it a question of legal over-reach or legal activism that has kept the legal scientist throughout the world baffled as to what significant contribution Code of Hammurabi can be to world jurisprudential development is something that needs to be answered in time.

Traditional approach has been quite native in sense; we say this because when sources of law are talked about the traditional approach limits itself to three basic postulates, namely:

(a). Customs

(b). Legislation, &

(c). Precedents

No doubt ‘customs have the force of law’, legislation as the source of law establishes the law drafting supremacy of Parliament and State Legislatures and precedents render effectuality to judicial decisions.

But, if traditional approach is so wide and comprehensive then why do we criticise it—attempt here is not to criticise but to analyse the traditional approach in regards to legal reform which modern approach offers.

Modern approach associates itself with no particular names of jurists or legal scientists but with the culture and trend in regards to which present day judgements are delivered and appraised. Two basic postulates that hereby come up are:

1. God is great, religion is not.

2. Good laws have their source in bad morals. An unjust law is no law.

Code of Hammurabi:

When legal antecedents are talked about, in both spheres of civil jurisprudence and criminal jurisprudence the name that comes up with great efficacy is that of ‘Code of Hammurabi’.

Hammurabi was the sixth king in succession in the Babylonian state, he ruled for more than four decades, approximately 42 years, from 1792 B.C. to 1750 B.C.

Hammurabi’s passion for law was self-evident. He nomenclatured a set of 282 rules, which according to him were rules of universal acceptance.

These rules covered almost all spheres and arenas of civility & criminality from liability in regards to tort to capital punishment, from contractual liability to punishment for adultery. These rules also nomenclatured rules as to trade, commerce and intercourse and attempted to craft out difference between a simple hurt and a grievous hurt—between a murder and culpable homicide.

Legal scientists also apprehend that this code is the source in regards to which the Old Testament bears its existence, and it is well acknowledged that the New Testament bears its existence to Old Testament.

In no way then can the importance of this code be overlooked.

Contribution of this code to modern day jurisprudential antithesis:

The doctrine of ‘the divine rights of the king’ is well acknowledged in this code. If analysed this code regards the king as man of Godly representation, who can do no wrong. This code views the King as the sovereign and flow of power from the ruler to the subjects. It is a matter devoid of any doubt that theories and analogies that Bentham and Austin supported- emanated from this very code i.e. theory of ‘the command of the sovereign’.

Hammurabi through this code signified his immense faith in codification of laws and making the public know the law before punishing them for its breach. Once a law was made public it was ipso facto held that public knows it and shall be obeying it. Here the modern legal scientist point out that it was this very code that propounded the theory in regards to ‘ignorance of law is no excuse’.

‘Equality before law’ was well regarded by Hammurabi however there are some speculations in regards to this, but almost all legal scientist agree that Hammurabi’s more than four decade rule over Babylon was possible because of his effectual implementation of this rule.

‘Presumption of innocence of the accused’ is the regal premise of criminal jurisprudence; this premise owes its existence to this code.

Need of evidence for corroboration of facts was essential in court of Hammurabi, this premise is still existing in present day courts.

So far as theories of punishments are concerned, the trend has been revolutionary – from retribution and deterrent theories of punishment to reformative and rehabilitative theory of punishment. Hammurabi believed in ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, this belief no more exists in present day jurisprudence. The present day context monologue is ‘every saint has a past and every sinner has a future’.

In the much revered book—the criminology and criminal administration, author goes in length to quote many national – international authors to establish the fact that concept of victimology first came forth in this code.

It is doubtless to say that present day legal oration owes greatly to Code of Hammurabi – But,

The question is the same as I posed in the beginning of the monologue— Is it necessary to quantify, systemise and analyse the past to forecast the future?

The answer is yes.

But, the one who follows the blind is no less a blind. When traditional approach said that customs have the force of law, it was the modern approach that said that customs to have the force of law must have elements of uniformity, consistency and compliance since time immemorial.

When traditional approach said that legislation is the source of law, it was the modern approach that said- each legislation should have a preamble that mentions its objective, scope, extent and applicability, each legislation must adore the spirit of salus populi est suprema lex.

When traditional approach said that precedent is the source of law, it was the modern approach that carved out the difference between ratio decidendi and obiter dicta.

Code of Hammurabi is vital pedestal in channelizing the modern day jurisprudential thought but its infirmities cannot be ignored – from element of brutality (chopping off the hands of a person who committed theft) to believe that even wrong occasioned by king is right, king is above ordinary human inefficiencies to belief in oracle sciences – spells and magic.

 

*Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions expressed are reflection of author’s view on the particular topic that is subject to review in light of apt arguments. Efforts have been made to zero down all personal biasness. All criticism in all forms is most welcome. Author cherishes your prestigious reading.

Regards: Shivam Goel.

The current FDI situation in the aviation sector

fdi in aviationPulkit Agarwal

Sakshi Vijay

Trouble in peaceful skies

Introduction

It is a dream for every Indian to fly, there are still looking only 2 or 2.5% of Indians that are flying every day. People in the country are eager to fly, the industry is ready to expand, but still there are losses.

Where is the problem? What is the solution?

Indian Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh has come up with a solution of allowing foreign airlines to participate up to 49 per cent in the equity of an air transport undertaking in India.

Aviation Industry in India

India is expected to be amongst the top five nations in the world in the next 10 years in the aviation sector. On the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) Conference, Ms Pratibha Patil, President of India highlighted that currently, India is the 9th largest civil aviation market in the world. “Recent estimates suggest that domestic air traffic will touch 160-180 million passengers a year, in the next 10 years and the international traffic will exceed 80 million passengers a year,” added Ms Patil.

On one hand there is display of potential of the aviation sector in India but on the other hand Indian Aviation sector has been facing the worst turmoil resulting in losses of about Rs.10,000 crores for the financial year 31st March 2012. Kingfisher Airlines, one of the major airlines in India, is under heavy dues to various Authorities like The Income Tax Authority of India and Rs.278.52 crores to the Airport Authority of India (AAI). Out of the 6 major airlines operating in India, only one is making profits, that is, Indigo Airlines.

The reasons for such huge losses can be the extremely high rate of taxes levied on air tickets, rising operational costs, expensive fleet, worker’s standoff and so on. So even though Travel demand has grown but low fares have not allowed airlines to recover their cost. Spiralling cost of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), global economic slowdown and low yield due to intense competition and consequent widening gap between revenue and expenses have contributed to their problem .

 

SENSITIVITY AND RESTRICTIONS IN THIS SECTOR GLOBALLY

The airline industry has remained an exception globally, to the process of economic liberalization. Globally, the airline industry remains subject to several restrictions – in terms of both operations and of ownership & control. All countries impose restrictions in this one sector; restrictions that benefit national entities; and debar foreign investors generally for security reasons

 

As a general practice a majority of the countries – both in the developed and the developing world – have imposed a 49% ownership limit in the airline industry. This is true for Singapore, China and a host of other nations across Asia and Europe. The US, otherwise a free economy, is even more restrictive in the Airline sector. US limits the amount of foreign ownership in its domestic airlines to a maximum of 25%.

CURRENT FDI POLICY IN INDIA:

MEANING OF FDI:

FDI as defined in Dictionary of Economics (Graham Bannock et.al) is investment in a foreign country through the acquisition of a local company or the establishment there of an operation on a new (Greenfield) site. To put in simple words, FDI refers to capital inflows from abroad that is invested in or to enhance the production capacity of the economy .

Foreign Investment in India is governed by the FDI policy announced by the Government of India and the provision of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999. The Reserve Bank of India (‘RBI’) in this regard had issued a notification which contains the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or issue of security by a person resident outside India) Regulations, 2000. This notification has been amended from time to time.

FDI IN INDIA:

In recognition of the important role of Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) in the accelerated economic growth of the country, Government of India initiated a slew of economic and financial reforms in 1991. India is now ushering in the second generation reforms aimed at further and faster integration of Indian economy with the global economy. As a result of the various policy initiatives taken, India has been rapidly changing from a restrictive regime to a liberal one, and FDI is encouraged in almost all the economic activities under the automatic route.

India is the second most important FDI destination (after China) for transnational corporations during 2010–2012. Mauritius, Singapore, the US and the UK were among the leading sources of FDI. According to Ernst and Young, foreign direct investment in India in 2010 was $44.8 billion, and in 2011 experienced an increase of 25% to $50.8 billion.

FDI IN AVIATION SECTOR

Current rules do not permit foreign airlines to invest in domestic carriers, although non-aviation-related investors can hold up to a 49-percent stake.The proposal to allow foreign airlines to invest in domestic airlines is under active consideration of the Parliament.

If we trace the history of investment by foreign airlines in India we notice that politicians blocked a 1997 proposal by India’s Tata group to start an airline in association with Singapore Airlines.In his book An Outsider Everywhere—Revelations by an Insider, M.K Kaw, India’s former civil aviation secretary, underscored the significance of the government’s move. “The history of civil aviation in this country would have taken a different trajectory, if Tata-SIA had been allowed to float an airline,” he wrote.

At present the rules are as follows:

(a)Air Transport Services would include Domestic Scheduled Passenger Airlines; Non-Scheduled Air Transport Services, helicopter and seaplane services.

 

(b)No foreign airlines would be allowed to participate directly or indirectly in the equity of an Air Transport Undertaking engaged in operating Scheduled and Non-Scheduled Air Transport Services except Cargo airlines.

Scheduled air transport service means an air transport service undertaken between the same two or more places and operated according to a published time table or with flights so regular or frequent that they constitute a recognizably systematic series, each flight being open to use by members of the public;

Non-Scheduled Air Transport service means any service which is not a scheduled air transport service and will include Cargo airlines.

(c)Foreign airlines are allowed to participate in the equity of companies operating Cargo airlines, helicopter and seaplane services.

 

Simply put, FDI in Scheduled Air Transport Service/ Domestic Scheduled Passenger Airline is allowed upto 49% (100% for NRIs) through automatic route. FDI in Non-Scheduled Air Transport Service is allowed upto 74% (100% for NRIs) where upto 49% is allowed through automatic route and beyond 49% and upto 74% through government approval route.

 

PROPOSALS IN THE UNION BUDGET 2012-13

The following were the proposals made by the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee in the Union Budget in 2012-13:

1. To address the immediate financing concerns of the civil aviation sector, It was proposed to permit external commercial borrowing (ECB) for working capital requirement for the airline industry for a period of one year subject to a ceiling of $1 billion

2. A proposal for allowing foreign airlines to participate up to 49 per cent in the equity of an air transport undertaking engaged in schedule and non-schedule transport services was to be under active consideration of the Parliament.

3. For reducing the ATF (aviation turbine fuel) price burden, the government allowed the airlines to directly import jet fuel as actual end users thereby escaping the state value added tax (VAT), which ranges from 3 to 33%. This move is expected to help them reduce overall costs as ATF constitutes around 45 per cent of their operating costs

4. Recommendation for allocating Rs.4,000 crore to the cash-strapped Air India.

5. In a bid to encourage maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector, the budget proposed to allow full exemption from customs duty and countervailing duty to aircraft spares, tyres and testing equipment

6. As a sop to Indians travelling abroad duty-free baggage allowance, which was last revised in 2004, was raised from Rs.25,000 to Rs.35,000 and for children of up to 10 years from Rs.12,000 to Rs.15,000

 

Aviation analysts felt that some of the measures in Budget 2012-13 that will bring down input costs for the airline industry which has been burdened with mounting losses. When implemented, the proposals would help in making India competitive in the international maintenance and repair of aircraft

EFFECT OF ECB:

ECB is a financial instrument used by the government to facilitate the access to foreign funds by Indian corporations and public sector undertakings.

ECB, according to analysts, will not only provide an additional source of much needed capital at low cost for the airline industry but also enable them to cushion themselves against the current financial crunch. The cost of borrowing from overseas is much lower than domestic debt and nearly 60 per cent of ECBs raised in 2011-12 cost 5 per cent less than the domestic borrowings. It is felt that this is the opportune time to raise foreign loans for Indian entities as interest rates in most developed countries are lower than in India and the aviation sector should be allowed to get maximum benefit of the prevailing situation.

 

PROPOSAL FOR ALLOWING FDI

Currently, foreign investors not related to the aviation business are allowed to hold stakes of up to 49 per cent in Indian carriers. However, on the recommendation of the aviation minister Ajit Singh, the government feels foreign airlines should be allowed to buy stakes of up to 49 per cent in Indian ones.

The decision to allow foreign airlines such as Emirates, Lufthansa, British Airways and Etihad to invest in domestic carriers was taken to save the cash-hungry Indian aviation sector, reeling from soaring fuel costs, swelling debts, high taxes and cut-throat competition. The move would also usher in international technical know-how and global expertise .

 

The Indian Airline Companies are hopeful that the foreign Companies will invest in India as it is a potentially big market with18% compound annual growth , more than USA and Europe.

For customers this step will be good or not will have to be seen later . However FDI in aviation will ensure reliability , efficiency , less delaying of flights and better operations . With taxes in control , the prices are also less likely to be affected. Operational advantages will be provided to the huge market. Above all , the key to survival will be customer satisfaction .

 

Even the Estimates Committee of Parliament has recommended removing the cap in Foreign Direct Investment in the civil aviation sector. The committee noted that the aviation industry is “heavily burdened” with taxes and levies like sales tax on aviation turbine fuel, withholding tax on leased aircraft, high airport charges and levy of royalty, service tax on agency fees, expenses incurred abroad on loans raised and also services rendered and consumed abroad They concluded that apart from addressing the shortage of funds, this would help raise the level of services for the consumers and promote healthy competition .

 

In an interview, Ajay Singh, the founder of Spice Jet highlighted how the scheme of FDI will promote efficiency amongst the competitors for foreign funds in India. He explained that eventually the market will determine which airline is going to survive and which is not, even in terms of foreign investment. Foreign airlines are not just going to come in and start investing money in inefficient airlines. So, in a sense FDI will actually promote efficiency because investment will gravitate towards those airlines that are more efficient.

Foreign Investor’s Concern Regarding FDI Policy in India

“In today’s difficult environment, generally speaking, many airlines are trying to keep their balance-sheets strong rather than investing in other airlines. …. Investing in loss-making business like the Airlines in India is obviously not a winning strategy,” IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler told PTI in an interview. He also proposed that more aviation friendly policies are required, particularly lifting the dead weight of taxation.

 

A similar view is expressed by Tim Clark, President, Dubai-based Emirates, saying that the euphoria over FDI in airline has the potential of turning into a damp squib as no airline would invest in Indian carriers unless the Indian government gave ultimate control to outside investors. What is highlighted is that Indian companies only want foreign airlines’ money and not their advice. They would like to continue operating in their old way, draining shareholders money in the process. Emirates were expected to be the ‘knight in shining armour’ whom other international players would have replicated by investing in India. The airline has made it clear that this is no longer going to be the case.

CERTAIN RIDERS:

Any proposal by any foreign carrier will not be put on the automatic route but will be approved on a case-to-case basis by the government. For the sake of safety the government has come up with a number of stiff riders. Each proposal will be vetted carefully before an approval is granted. The threat perception from individuals would be more than established for airlines that come forward for investment.

Even after a foreign carrier has invested in an Indian one, majority control must necessarily remain with a resident Indian. And, the board of directors of the target airline should continue to have two-thirds of its members as Indians. Besides, any such transaction for investment should fall within the SEBI guidelines. At no stage should the foreign shareholding in an airline – either by the foreign carrier, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) or through any other investment – exceed the sectoral cap of 49 %.

Conclusion

A Start Has Been Made

India is the 9th largest civil aviation market in the world and the recent estimates suggest that in next 10 years, domestic air traffic will touch 160-180 million passengers a year and international traffic exceed 80 million passengers. The sector, which is growing at the rate of close to 20 per cent and likely to generate about 2.6 million jobs in the next decade, needs to grow at a handsome speed to be used to its best potential.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and the CEO in his keynote address at the India Aviation 2012 conference displayed immense confidence in the Indian Aviation Industry saying, ‘I am passionate about aviation. And I am an India optimist. The IATA (International Air Transport Association) will be fully engaged in the team effort to turn Indian aviation into the great success story that it has the potential to become. India should not settle for a bronze medal in the world of aviation. It has pure gold potential,’ .

Bibliography

Websites :-

• www.Legalserviceindia.com

• www.Manupatra.com

• www.Scribd.com

• www.cci.in

• www.rbi.org.in

• www.dipp.nic.in

• www.legallyindia.com

• www.icsi.edu

Reports/ Research Papers

• economictimes.indiatimes.com;

• Aviationpros.com;

• Blog.seattlepi.com;

• Firstpost.com;

• Iata.org

Social Audit- A Silver Lining in the augmenting of public policy: A Case Study of NREGA

Ayushi Agarwal

& Pulkit Agarwal

“India is a servile state with its splendid strength caged, hardly daring to breath freely, governed by strangers from afar, her people beyond compare; short lived and incapable of resisting disease, and epidemic, illiteracy rampant; vast areas devoid of all sanity or medical provisions; unemployment on a prodigious scale, both among the middle classes and the masses.”

That was how Pandit Jawahar Nehru described the Indian situation in the 1930’s – a depiction we all will agree, characterizes our country even today. In order to improve the state of India described above, transparency, accountability and participation are becoming important components of good governance. Governments are facing an ever-growing demand to be more accountable and socially responsible and the people are becoming more assertive about their rights to be informed and to influence governments’ decision making process.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

“For me every ruler is alien that defies public opinion’’

– Mahatma Gandhi

 

Governments are facing an ever-growing demand to be more accountable and socially

responsible and the community is becoming more assertive about its right to be informed and to influence governments’ decision-making processes. Faced with these vociferous demands, the executive and the legislature are looking for new ways to evaluate their performance especially in the framework of public policies. Social Audit is a tool through which government departments can plan, manage and measure non-financial activities and monitor both internal and external consequences of the departments’ social and commercial operations. Social Audit gives an understanding of the administrative system from the perspective of the vast majority of people in the society for whom the very institutional/administrative system is being promoted and legitimised. Social Audit of administration means understanding the administrative system and its internal dynamics from the angle of what they mean for the vast majority of the people, who are not essentially a part of the State or its machinery or the ruling class of the day, for whom they are meant to work. In other words social audit may be defined as an in-depth scrutiny and analysis of the working of any public utility vis-à-vis its social relevance.

 

Programmes conceived in the recent past have inbuilt mechanism to promote all these components to enable people-centred policies and development. The creation of space for social audit under NREGA is one such step in this direction. NREGS is an Indian Legislation enacted on August 25th, 2005 to provide a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage. The Act not only guarantees wage employment as a right, but also promotes community monitoring through vigilance and monitoring committees, social audit through gram sabha and also makes provision for complete transparency as mandated by the Right to Information Act, 2005.

 

One of the prime reasons for the victory of NREGS is the commencing of the policy of social audit. Social audit helped to plug in leakages and check corruption. Social audit has recovered Rs. 3 crore – around a crore each year – since 2006 from corrupt contractors, sarpanches, postal officers and other intermediaries. Much has been said and written about the social audits conducted under NREGS. However, another spectrum of reality is that on the ground these audits have achieved much less than advertised. The social audit process has a long way to go before it can claim to have contributed to transparency, empowerment and good governance.

 

The paper traces the importance of accountability in developmental programmes through the case of social audit in National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). Despite a common framework for social audit under the Act, different actors have adopted different approaches leading to different results. By analysing actual social audit exercises, the paper tries to identify the various constraints of social audit and lessons learnt, appropriate attention to which may make social audit more effective in future.

SOCIAL AUDIT IN PUBLIC POILICIES

A social audit is a way of measuring, understanding, reporting and ultimately improving an organization’s social and ethical performance. A social audit helps to narrow gaps between vision/goal and reality, between efficiency and effectiveness. It is a technique to understand, measure, verify, report on and to improve the social performance of the organization. Social auditing creates an impact upon governance. It values the voice of stakeholders, including marginalized/poor groups whose voices are rarely heard. Social auditing is taken up for the purpose of enhancing local governance, particularly for strengthening accountability and transparency in local bodies. Social audit focuses on the neglected issue of social impacts.

 

The closed door proceedings and the formal way of monitoring, evaluation and traditional auditing process made them ineffective and inefficient because neither it could identify/ hold the culprits nor it could provide feedback and the remedial measures for formulation and implementation of the developmental works. On the other hand, due to lack of en-masse awareness the pressure could not be built up on policy makers. And hence a new method of auditing was needed.

THE CASE STUDY OF NREGA

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is one of the country’s most ambitious anti- poverty programme ever, which provides a legal guarantee of 100 day’s of work in a year to India’s rural household whose adult members are willing to do unskilled manual labour. The scheme was launched by the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in the remote village of Bandlapalli in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh on February 2nd, 2006. Initially, a total of 331 most backward districts were identified across the country for the implantation of NREGA. Since April 1st, 2008, NREGA covers all the rural areas in the country. The past allocation of Rs. 12,000 crores is increased to Rs. 22,000 crores. A wage employment programme of such magnitude can be successful only if transparency, accountability and participatory provisions of the Act are strictly adhered to. An innovative feature of NREGA is that it gives a central role to the social audits as a means of continuous public vigilance (NREGA, Section 17) i.e., to ensure public accountability in the implementation of projects, laws and policies.

 

Several governmental and non- governmental organizations have facilitated social audit process in NAREGA in last one year. This paper will try to find out approaches and processes of such audits and will also analyse bottlenecks and emerging issues that need to be addressed.

Social Audit Provisions under NREGA

 

Article 17 (1) says that the gram sabha shall monitor execution of all works within the Gram Panchayat. Article 17 (2) of the NREGA says “the gram sabha shall conduct regular social audits of all the projects under the Scheme taken up within the Gram Panchayat”. Article 17 (3) says “the Gram Panchayat shall make available all relevant documents including the muster rolls, bills, vouchers, measurement books, copies of sanction orders and other connected books of account and papers to the gram sabha for the purpose of conducting the social audit.”

 

The Central Operational Guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India mention continuous social audit as well as a six monthly social audit through the gram sabha called “Social Audit Forum”.

 

The process of social audit, according to the guidelines, should include public vigilance and verification of the following eleven stages of implementation of the NREGS: registration of families, distribution of job cards, receipt of work applications, preparation of shelf of projects and selection of sites, development and approval of technical estimates and issuance of work orders, allotment of work to individuals, implementation and supervision of work, payment of unemployment allowances, payment of wages, evaluation of work, mandatory social audit in the gram sabha (Social Audit Forum). The guidelines list out various vulnerabilities at each stage and suggest steps to promote transparency and accountability. The guidelines also delineate, in great detail, how to publicise, collect data and prepare documents, and procedures to be adopted as mandatory agenda of the gram sabha for social audit.

Citing provisions of the Act and the guidelines, the Union Ministry has also issued circulars and formats to different states to conduct timely six monthly social audits. The Ministry is in the process of issuing separate guidelines for social audit in the NREGA.

Types of Social Audit Followed in NREGA

 

The Act, guidelines and circulars provide an institutional design and create space for the community to participate in ensuring transparency and accountability. However, to make these designs operational and effective some facilitation is needed. In some states this facilitation has been done by government agencies themselves and in others by civil society organisations, academic and research institutions.

 

Different approaches to conduct social audit have been observed. The first one is to conduct it in a campaign mode, combining it with an awareness programme, followed by a village, block or district level sharing. For example the mass social audit of Dungarpur, Rajasthan in April 2006. The second one, mainly facilitated by government agencies is to collect information on the basis of a pre-designed format for all the gram panchayat of the district. Reports are then read in the gram sabha and also consolidated at the block and district level to be transmitted to higher authorities. In Jharkhand the state administration adopted this approach.

The third one, usually facilitated by civil society organisations, is done in selective gram panchayat and blocks and data is collected with the help of volunteers, largely outsiders, and presented at the block level and district level public hearings attended by government officials. This approach has been adopted by organisations ASHA, MKSS, and activist-academicians such as Jean Derez etc., during social audits in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan etc. The fourth one, initiated by gram panchayat, and facilitated by civil society organisations, where a committee consisting of residents of that gram panchayat collects information and presents it in the gram sabha. The Rajasthan Government in its guidelines has adopted this approach.

 

Steps Followed in the Social Audit Process under NREGA

1. Environment Building.

First and foremost, a conducive non-threatening environment needs to be created in the gram panchayat. Consultations with elected representatives, members of vigilance and monitoring committees, women and youth collectives and officials are done to inculcate a common perspective on the importance of social audit for the effective implementation of the NREGS and good governance.

 

2. Formation of a Committee.

During environment building efforts, active, honest and respected citizens need to be identified. The interested among them, members of vigilance and monitoring committees, representatives of women collectives, youth collectives and capacity building organisations and members from the gram panchayat itself will form a committee for conducting the social audit. If the state government has provided any guidelines for the constitution of this committee those are complied with.

 

3. Capacity Building of Committee Members.

These members are briefly oriented on concepts of governance, transparency, accountability and decentralisation. Then they are oriented on how to conduct the social audit. A video of an earlier social audit is shown to them and their doubts are cleared. Apart from these, regular hand-holding and facilitation is promoted.

 

4. Collection and Verification of Data.

Information related to registration, issuance of job cards, job allocation, payments, assets created etc. are collected from records such as muster rolls, registration register, demand register, asset register, minutes of gram sabha and gram panchayat meetings, technical and administrative sanctions etc. If needed, applications are filed under the RTI Act to get information. These data are then verified by physically inspecting worksites and meeting workers personally. Any variation is noted down and signed written statements are collected. This information is then presented in a report in the local language for dissemination.

 

5. Gram Sabha Mobilisation.

The gram sabha is called by the gram panchayat as per the Panchayati Raj Act and rules of the state. Notices are pasted at public places and traditional methods such as drum beating are used. All households within the gram panchayat area, especially the poor and marginalised, are informed about the date, place, venue and agenda of the meeting. Members are also told why the social audit is important to them. A ward level meeting is also held. Immediately before the gram sabha, the confidence of the poor and marginalised needs to be boosted so that they participate in the gram sabha actively.

 

6. Gram Sabha.

This special gram sabha for social audit is chaired by a respected person not associated with the implementation of the NREGS. Major findings of the report are written on posters and put up for the information of members. The chairperson of the Social Audit Committee presents the report in simple language. People, especially the poor and marginalised are encouraged to ask questions, submit complaints if any, to the gram sabha. The chairperson, officials and executing agencies remain present and answer queries and address the members’ complaints. Resolutions are passed by voting. Minutes are prepared by someone other than the secretary of the gram panchayat. Later these minutes are signed by all members present. The gram sabha is also used for making people aware of their entitlements and procedures on how to get them.

7. Follow-up.

The report along with the minutes of the gram sabha is shared with the block, district and state administration and also with the media and academia for follow up. Constant pressure is maintained on the administration, for timely action on complaints and malpractices identified during the social audit. In the following gram sabha a report on the action taken on the social audit is presented by the administration.

 Achieving Findings via Social Auditing in NREGA

Several reports of research institutions and media have highlighted wide scale non-compliance of rules and regulations and incidences of corrupt practices. Certain findings by the virtue of the social audit are as follows-

 

  • • Door-to-door survey to identify person’s willingness to register was not conducted in290 Gram Panchayats (GPs) across 19 states.
  • • Job cards were not issue to all the registered households.
  • • Job cards were not issued within 15days of application for registration across 15 states and photographs were not attached to job cards.
  • • Wage-material ratio of 60:40 was not maintained.
  • • Low wage areas were not identified and unique identity numbers were not allocated to work across 21 states.
  • • Worksite facilities were not provided in most of the states.
  • • The proforma for muster rolls prescribed by MORD was not followed.
  • • Copies of muster rolls were not available for public scrutiny in 237 Gram Panchayats across 15states.
  • • Muster rolls did not contain requisite details.
  • • In 90 Gram Panchayats across 11states, the workers are getting wages less than minimum wage rate and in 200 Gram Panchayats across 18 states; workers were not being paid wages in time.
  • • NREGS works were not measured daily in 348 Gram Panchayats across 20 states.
  • • Unemployment allowances were not paid in 53 blocks across 17 states.
  • • Application registration register, job card register, employment detail register, asset register, muster roll register and complaint register were not properly maintained in most of the states.
  • • The intimation of work employment was not notified publicly at the block offices in 91 blocks of 21 states.
  • • State share was not released within 15 days of the release of the central funds in 29 districts across 21 states.
  • • Financial audit was not carried out in 38districts across 19 states and District Internal Audit Cell was not constituted in 52 districts across 23 states.
  • • Inspection work by state level, block level and district level officials has not been conducted in a routine and proper way in most of the states.

Constraints of Social Audit under NREGA

 

• Culture of Silence.

In facilitating the social audit in NREGS, the culture of silence is one of the important bottlenecks. People do not speak up even if they see something wrong happening. They think that it does not directly affect them. This is partly because of ignorance and partly because of dependency.

 

• Resistance from Authorities.

The colonial mindset of the ruler is strongly imprinted on authorities and they resist any effort to make them accountable. They are also afraid of being punished if any evidence of wrongdoing is found during the social audit. Hence, they resist the social audit process in their jurisdiction. Sometimes they also use strong-arm tactics to discourage civil society organisations and activists facilitating the process.

 

• Conflicting Socio-economic Interests.

Rural Indian society is not homogeneous and there are conflicting interests on caste, class, and gender lines. The process of social audit takes into account the interests of the weaker sections such as the poor, dalits, women and minorities and empowers them. Hence, powerful groups resist such processes to the extent of siding with the authorities.

• Unverifiable Records.

In some states the format of records are such that vital information is not known to the workers. Entries in records at some places are made in a manner that is impossible to verify for semi-literate labourers and difficult for even trained investigators. This problem of faulty design is compounded by irregular maintenance or updating of records.

 

• Low Participation in Gram Sabha.

Low participation by people in the gram sabha is another bottleneck. Non-response to past resolutions, domination by the powerful and a lack of meaningful discussion are some of the causes why people think attending the gram sabha is a waste of time.

 

• An Expensive Exercise.

Large financial resources apart from human resources are needed to pay for photocopying, travel and logistic support to the audit committee or team and gram sabha. To make it more effective the entire process has to be continuously ongoing, making it an expensive exercise. Workers, who are the primary stakeholders of this scheme, have to be paid equivalent wages if he/she spends their day in the process, in order to make the social audit people-led. Hence a certain sum, from the scheme’s administrative budget, needs to be earmarked for social audit or an altogether separate fund needs to be created for the social audit.

 

Recommendations

 

• Inbuilt Mechanism for Social Audits in NREGS is Enabling

Although a social audit of all schemes being implemented under the jurisdiction of a gram panchayat was to be done by the gram sabha as per the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act and subsequent Panchayati Raj Acts of different states, in reality it was not happening. The provisions for six monthly social audits in the NREGA and detailed guidelines by the Union Ministry of Rural Development has created a space for all stakeholders to demand and be part of the social audit of NREGS’ implementation.

 

• Right to Information Act, 2005 is an Important Enabler

All the documents and records under NREGS are under the preview of the RTI Act. For a social audit of NREGS, the availability of information is necessary and with the RTI Act in force authorities cannot deny these. It has also been observed that fearing punishment if they do not provide information after applications are filed, officials are providing information even before applications are submitted.

 

• Social Audit has Negative Connotations

Social audit evokes fear and resentment among elected panchayat representatives, especially chairpersons. In the initial stages, if the social audit is promoted more as a learning process to inculcate the culture of transparency and accountability rather than fault finding, it is easier to bring the chairpersons on board.

 

• CSO (Civil Society Organization) Facilitation makes Social Audit more Effective

A social audit needs a lot of facilitation and mobilisation and hence the involvement of civil society organisations makes it more effective. As they are not associated with the execution of works, it enhances the objectivity and credibility of the process.

 

• A Motivated District Administration Smoothens the Processes

A people friendly district administration, especially District Magistrate, makes a lot of difference in terms of smoothening the process, making the block and village administration responsive and initiating follow up action on the findings of the social audit.

 

• Timely Action by Competent Authorities on Findings has an Impact on Social Audit for the next Round

Since a social audit of the NREGS is to be done every six months, timely actions on earlier social audits encourage people and facilitating organisations. On the contrary if this does not happen, people get disappointed and do not get involved.

Adequate Pool of Professionals

The social audit report shows that the NREGA is being run for all practical purposes with very little professional input. The shortage of staff leads to delay in the execution of the work and payment of wage sand is also responsible for the poor quality of work. Full time programme officer in each block exclusively, employment guarantee assistant in each Gram Panchayat, technical assistant for a group of 5 Gram Panchayats, civil engineers in each block and additional staff at the state secretarial level must be appointed.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 “Our money, our accounts, full pay for full work, work for every hand and payment for every hand.”

These slogans raised by people at the commencement of the social audit process of NREGA marks the essence of the social audit programme. The growing realisation about the need for transparency, accountability and participation has led to the creation of space for social audit under NREGA.

The social audit programme under NREGA has been conducted with the objective of identifying best practices, addressing weaknesses in implementation and unearthing corruption and malpractice in the programme. In essence, the audit is an exercise to empower the people to effectively participate in the NREGA implementation and hold the administration accountable for implementing the act in letter and spirit

Using this institutional design many governmental and non-governmental agencies have conducted social audits in the last one and half year since the launch of NREGS, albeit with different approaches and methodologies. On the basis of emerging lesions, these methods can be further refined to arrive at an effective and sustainable approach. Gram Panchayats and the Gram Sabha must be in the centre of all social audits.

It has been observed that mere statutory provisions are not sufficient to promote transparency and accountability in NREGS. The demand side needs to be strengthened with awareness about entitlements, capacity building, mobilisation and facilitation. The supply side, primarily responsible for follow up actions, should be supported by creating a non-threatening environment and capacity building in record keeping. It is also important to complete the process of devolution to Panchayati Raj Institutions, because accountability without power is as incomplete as power without accountability.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Ambieteneitalia (2003). “European common Indicators-Towards Local sustainability Profile”.

• Arora, S. C. 2003. Good Governance and Panchayati Raj, in C.P.Barthwal. (ed). Good Governance in India. New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications.

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• Community indicators and Local Democracy Project.

• Comptroller and Auditor General. 2007. Interim report of Performance Audit of NREGS. Unpublished document, New Delhi.

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• David Owen and Tracey Swift (2001). “Introduction to Social Accounting, reporting

and auditing: Beyond the rhetoric Business Ethics: A European Review, Volume 10,

Number 1, January 2001.

• Dreze, J. & Khera, R. 2007. NREGA in Orissa: Two loopholes and the silver lining. Unpublished document, Orissa.

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• First things first implementing Batho Pele, The Amatole district municipality Social Audit; Neil Andersson, Serge Merhi, Ncumisa Ngxowa, Marietjie Myburg and Manuel Salcedo; CIET Africa,, July 2001.

• Godbole, M. 2003. Public Accountability and Transparency: Imperatives of Good Governance. New Delhi: Orient Longman.

• Government of India. 2005. National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The Gazette of India No. 48, September 7.

• Government of India. 2006. Central Operational Guidelines on NREGA. Ministry of Development. New Delhi.

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Accounting, auditing and accountability, vol. 10, No 3.

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• Social Audit Toolkit – 3rd Edition, 2000, Free Spreckely, Social Entreprise Partnership- Local Livelihoods.

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• (1996)

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• Sustainability indicators program, Redefining progress 2004

 

Out of court settlement

abhishek manuA new, but an unhealthy, precedent has been created with the Kerala High Court on the plea of the Italian government and the accused  ailors, accepting the out-of-court settlement between the bereaved families of two Indian fishermen who were killed by the Italian sailors on an Italian commercial ship in Indian sea waters. According to the settlement arrived at each of the family of the two deceased Indian men were to be given Rs. One crore each and the bereaved families were not to pursue the criminal case of murder registered against the Italian sailors. http://www.sunday-guardian.com/news/kerala-confronts-delhi-over-italy-marines

Centre & State on collision course

Without going into the intricacies of the international covenants and law, one thing is crystal clear: the Union government and the Kerala government are not on the same wavelength in this case, perhaps for the first time that the Centre and a State are on collision course with each other on a case involving interests of the nation. The two Italian sailors have been charged of murder under the Indian Penal Code. As per law, there cannot be any out-of-court settlement in a case of murder. There cannot be a point of compromise on the crime. Whether the settlement will stand the test of law remains to be seen, yet it is going to set a bad, unhealthy precedent in the Indian jurisprudence. The settlement is between the Italian government (and indirectly, with the accused Italian sailors) not to pursue the matter in the court of law in view of the consideration of Rs. One crore each offered to the bereaved families. It virtually amounts to bribing the witnesses and the sufferers to shut their mouth against the accused. Can the courts silently acquiesce into accepting this position? Such a precedent would open floodgates of similar offers to bribe the witnesses to get an acquittal with honour in any heinous crime, like murder, dacoity, terrorist crimes, rape and what not. In that case we shall be allowing the law to be subverted at a price and legalising this act which amounts to nothing less than corruption. We shall then be putting our system of justice at the mercy of hefty purses of the rich. In such a situation our law shall turn the crime of murder, rape, dacoity, terrorist killings, even cases of corruption under our anti-corruption law as acts of piety at the hands of those who can loosen their purse strings to purchase witnesses and gagging eye witnesses to a crime. Then it will not be the courts which will interpret law and dispense justice but the money that will deliver the judgement.

Purse to dispense justice

Inversely, it will also amount to money directing the course of justice – turning any poor person guilty and a rich person innocent. If the Indian courts were to allow the government of Italy and its two sailors the discretion to enter into an out-of-court settlement to get out of the gallows of our law, can the courts discriminate against the likes of Afzal Guru, Kasab and others by disallowing the same luxury to them?

Singhvi episode

The out-of-court settlement struck by the eminent lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi also raises similar questions. In the aftermath of the alleged DVD released by his driver, it was Singhvi who filed a criminal case against the former. Singhvi was as quick to file a criminal case against his driver as he was in a haste to arrive at an out-of-court settlement with him. It was Singhvi who had alleged that the CD had been doctored and morphed. In the out-of-court compromise the driver came out substantiating the allegation and stated that he had morphed and doctored the CD. This statement amounts to a confession by the driver to having committed a case of cheating the public through an act of forgery and tinkering with the evidence (against Singhvi). In this way, inversely, our system of law struck another compromise: to turn blind to a crime, if any, having been committed by Singhvi and his driver. Both cannot get away with the crime they committed through out-of-court settlement. The CD as displayed by the social media has not so far been proved to be genuine or doctored/morphed in any independent/impartial inquiry or through the expert opinion of a forensic expert. Neither has any court given its verdict in the matter. The CD clearly indicates that the alleged crime having been committed in the public premises of the Supreme Court chamber. Even if  claimed to be through mutual consent by willing adults, yet the audio indicated a dialogue which showed that the consent had been obtained through inducement of a promise of a professional job. Until and unless a court gives its valuable verdict, the CD/DVD will continue to be acceptedas true at its face value. The driver cannot exercise the absolute authority at will to declare at one time that the CD is genuine and at other to claim it having been morphed or doctored. Similarly, however eminent a lawyer Singhvi may be, he cannot usurp the final authority to declare it morphed/doctored one. The authority lies only with a court of law. By presenting an out-of-court settlement Singhvi and his driver have only stood in the way of justice and the truth coming out ultimately.

 

An analysis of prolific And unplanned expansion of higher education in India

educationBy 

Bhupal Bhattacharya

Lecturer of Law,

& Basudeb Bhattacharya

Research Scholar, Tripura University

 

Higher Education is a solution to enhanceIndia’s competitiveness in the global market especially for interdependence and integration and for survival of Indian economy in the world overcoming challenges through maintaining international quality in higher education and acceptability and sustainability.

The word governance, involves relations between the formal institutions and those in civil society whereby with the wield power, authority and influence policies are enacted and decisions concerning public life and social up-liftment are taken[1].

The meaning of Quality Assurance varies depending upon the field of activities. The dictionary meaning of the word Quality implies an ongoing process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating, and fulfilling stated and implied needs[2].

The chief need of the countries worldwide of the present time is to have a Quality in Higher Education. Due to gradual expansion of Higher Education Industry and also for globalization, education has become a national concern as to cope internationally. To survive globally a nation has to ensure primarily by giving quality of Higher Education in an internationally acceptable standard. But this is still a constraint to the nations to develop with a good pace with a limited resource and unplanned resolution. The key role in determining the quality depends upon the nation’s wealth and the effective decisions of a university as to regulate a good academic system.

To govern Higher Education Industry with quality, accreditation is compulsory for all universities.  Accreditation is not needed for universities inIndiawhich are created through an Act of Parliament. The University Grants Commission Act (1956) emphasized that the institutions which do not obtain accreditation shall be declared as fake institutions and shall have no legal entity to call themselves as University/Vishwvidyalaya and to award ‘degrees’ and also shall not be treated as valid for academic/employment purposes.

India’s education system is divided into different levels such as pre-primary level, primary level, elementary education, secondary education, undergraduate level and postgraduate level. InIndia, education falls under the direct power of both the Union Government and the states, where some responsibilities lies with theUnionand the states having independence for others. The various Articles of the Indian Constitution provide for education as a fundamental right.

With spontaneous mushrooming growth of small, private higher education institutions in India, the government or regulatory authorities are also consequently lacking towards taking logical and reasonable steps for regulation of the sector to provide quality of higher education. Pawan Agarwal explains that , “simply leaving the demand and supply factors to the market will not necessarily deliver outcomes for higher education that represent the best use of resources or that are just and socially optimal” (Agarwal p. 306)[3].

HighlightingIndia’s trends and policy decisions it is evident that public spending on higher education is estimated at 1% of Gross Domestic Product, which is far less in absolute terms to cover the existing needs for a developing country and in actual terms can be found as partially unplanned.

One of the reasons for being poor state of affairs may be attributed because of concentration of educational institutes in the urban areas without giving focus to the reality which depicts that majority of population live in rural areas. From this fact it is evident that in India only as 20% as negligible ratio as of Higher Education Institutes are to be found in the rural areas with more than 65 percent of its population while the other remaining 80 % of Institutions are located in urban or Semi-urban areas which comprises only by 30 to 35 percent of population. A study shows that in 2003- 20044 the Gross Enrollment Ratio for rural and urban area was 7.76% and 27.20% respectively which depicts about the prevailing disparities that urban area have developed four times in comparison to rural area. Thus unplanned investment of 1% of Gross Domestic Product of India on higher education also returns a small and thus invariably reflects gross disparities in access to higher education in India[4].

Presently, the recommended numbers of teachers as a minimum prescribed by regulatory authorities are not closely followed to. Transparent Recruitment policies of teachers are also not adhered in most of the institutions. Criteria for recruiting teachers even also in government sector are also not uniformly observed by all institutions. Private institutions often neglect the standard procedure of recruitment, like advertising the vacant post, constituting a proper selection committee, standard procedure of fixation of pay, ensuring the minimum teaching experience required for a higher post etc. Private institutions are often hiring the teachers using fraudulent  many teachers certificates are often kept deposited in the institutions and were asked to appear before the inspection authority only and when were told. They are also not required to come regularly to the institution throughout the remaining period of the year, and in return, they are often paid a consolidated salary, which is obviously a compromised amount. Unfortunately, this continuing practice which is in increase through out the territory fetches greater profit to the management of the institutes. This is true what we are evidencing in many private medical colleges regulated by Medical Council of India (MCI).

Because of the delay in the proposed bill of ‘Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions And Universities Bill, 2010’ and ‘Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010’ there is continuously increase in the disparities in the Higher Education sector which would have been hopefully addressed if properly all Bills were passed in Parliament in right time. Proper mechanism’s absence and a motivation to achieve higher standards so far have been drawing problems consistently lacking among most of the institutions. If this proposed mechanism comes into force, a healthy competition could have been expected among the institutions offering higher education. This would also have served as a guideline for the aspiring students while deciding their choices regarding the institutions[5].

Because of the absence of strict regulations and governance, private colleges are paying poor salaries even also to their regular teachers in comparison to the ones paid in government institutions.  Even in the government institutions, salaries vary from one state to another. Exercising of autonomy power of the university has also forced the Higher Education Industry to develop a disparity among all the Universities. Regulatory Authorities of Higher Education are busy in their own paper work and in turn not getting proper attention to the problems of exploitation, which are a very common phenomenon in this country. Government does not have any regulatory body that monitors and ensures a respectable minimum salary to the teachers.

Only providing affiliation to the colleges and allowing private organizations to enter into the field of education industry does not provide to attain the desired result. In most of the institutions and colleges, no uniform mechanism exists to ensure consistent career advancement for the teachers. This trend has resulted and developed an attitude of disinclination among the professionals that de-motivates them from entering into the teaching profession.

 A comparative study between UK with India relating to Higher Education shows that in 2003 around 1.5 million were enrolled (UK citizens) in institutions of higher education and were guided and taught by 119,900 teachers. In view of the work entrusted to every teacher depicts that each full-time staff member in the UK is handling just 13 students; and in contrast, the figure in India for every regular teacher is 220 students[6].

 Enrolment in Higher Education by regions 2001-2 ( in %)

Groups of Countries Gross Enrolment Ratio
Developed Countries 54.6
Countries in Transition 36.5
Developing Countries 11.3
World 23.2
India (About) 13%

 

Source –Higher Education in the World

 

                        Current Quality Status in Colleges of Higher Education in India

                                                          (As on March 31, 2005)

Details                                                                                                 Number
Total Number of Colleges 17,625
Number of under UGC purview 14,000
Number of Colleges recognized under Section 2(f) of UGC Act 5,589 (40%)
Number of Colleges recognized under Section 12(B) of UGC Act 5,273 (38%)
Number of Colleges actually funded by the UGC 4,870 (35%)
Number of Colleges accredited by the NAAC 2,780 (20%)
Number of Colleges accredited by the NAAC and scoring above 60% 2,506(17.9)

Source: [7]

Enrolment Ratio can measure the total numbers of students who have enrolled in the Higher Education Sector. 110 lakh students were estimated to have enrolled in the Indian higher education system in 2005-06. The growth in Indiafor enrolment in Higher Education is very uneven and slow. For instance, while the enrolment grew by 6.7 per cent in 2001-2002, in 2005-06 it grew by 5.2 per cent. The student-teacher ratio works out to 18 in the university departments and colleges and 23 in the affiliated colleges. In total there are about 550 million people of India’s total population who are under the age of 25 years; and amongst which as meager as only 11% are enrolled in tertiary institutions compared to the world average of 23%.  Indiais presently experiencing a paradox of nearly 90 million people joining the workforce mostly with lack of requisite skills for productive employment according to a report in DNA[8].

In recent past, due to the enormous increase in the demand for higher education throughout the country because of awareness about the significance of higher education, the scenario of Education system could not accommodate the increasing demand. The concept of distance education through distance mode inIndia, started offering education through distance mode in the name of Correspondence Courses. Finding the situation more suitable, a number of institutions even other institutions, which are not empowered to award degrees, have started cashing by offering distance education programmes in a large number of disciplines. That consequently offered substandard/poor quality of Higher Education, and as a result the value of the degree has eroded.

The Higher Education system inIndiasuffers from a lack of continuous assessment and active learning. The teachers basing upon the prescribed syllabus prescribed by the university teach subjects. There is growing trend amongst the teachers and students to focus and study only on the views of examinations as to score good marks. In the words of Krishna Kumar (well-known educationist) that teachers and students are responding through adopting strategies of rote memorization and by concentrating on exam success.

InIndia, there are roughly 400 universities, which is not enough for a country of a more than 110 crores people to serve. Presently 8 percent of our eligible children are getting the opportunity to enter in the higher education and that number ought to be closer to 16 or 20 percent. Because of the absence of requisite number of institutions and consequent huge demand for Higher Education which is obvious to a nation of million of people close to 1,00,000 Indian students go abroad and pay $30,000 a year for tuition purpose.

For lack of proper funding with quality and quantity of teachers is affecting the enrolment of students in higher education in India. A recent report published by The Ernst & Young-EDGE 2008 on Globalizing of Higher Education in Indiafound low levels of funding of higher education in Indiacompared with other developing nations such as China, Braziland Russia, reports Zee News. The Gross Enrollment Ratio is 11% in Indiaagainst an average of 31.5% in Brazil, Russiaand China. The Gross Enrollment Ratio in developed countries is 71.6%. Indiaspends as a meagre of 0.37% of GDP on higher education, against Brazil’s 0.91%, Russia’s 0.67% and China’s 0.5%. The report has also stated that the student-teacher ratio in India is very pathetic- one teacher is allotted for every 26 students compared with 13.6 to one in Brazil, 11 to one in Russia and 13.5 to one in China[9]. The pathetic condition of India’s Higher Education system also depicts that Only 1 out of every 14,000 go for higher learning i.e., Tertiary Education[10].

 The government of India through its organ UGC has taken an innovative step by introducing the programme called Promotion of Indian Higher Education Abroad. This promotional programme aims to highlight the opportunities and prospects the Indian Higher Education sector offers to the world. Actually, through thyis particular programme the Government of India intends to have more foreign students in India and that is why the facilities provided by the educational institutions are brought to the notice of the students residing all over the world by organizing different programmes abroad. For this purpose UGC has selected some universities from all over India. It is also a step towards ensuring quality education in India. But it is doubtful how much this programme is successful in attracting foreign students to Indian educational Institutions. Few private organizations have attracted foreign students and through exchange programmes few Indian Universities have been enabled to enroll foreign students. But admission through private programme is not upto expectation of the Government of India.

It is often claimed that India lags with respect to training of the teachers who are going to teach in different Institutions. Through the National Council for Teachers’ Education, the Government of India is trying to ensure the fact that only trained faculty members are recruited by the educational Institutions. But as NCTE is a central organization, many states often do violate the directions given by NCTE and Educational Institutions do recruit teachers who are under trained. In India different Institutions have cropped up promising to produce better quality teachers but those teachers undergoing training there lack basic skills needed for teaching and they also are not conversant with modern teaching tools like projectors, laptop. These teachers should be made conversant with new technologies so that they can face the upcoming challenges the educational Institutions are going to face in near future. In this respect, we can learn from different other countries like USA where it is taken care of that the students get the best from their teachers. In advanced countries like USA the teachers do recognize the efficacy of visual effects when teaching. So They use modern technologies and their curriculum is arranged in such a fashion that they evoke the interest of the student in the subject and the students are better informed.

 

So it is desirable that within limited resource that we have in India the Government of India should introduce different technologies within classrooms and should train and recruit teachers having ability to make the classroom experience enjoyable to the students.

Thus in conclusion we can come to the view that Higher Education in India is in shambles and needs immediate correction. The government of India is taking different initiatives but those initiatives are proving to be a drop in an ocean. After 1991, the phenomenon of globalization has had a tremendous effect on our civil and political system, macro and micro economy of the country and at the same time on our educational system too. In the last two decades, thousands of educational Institutions have mushroomed all over India and it is pity full that they are encouraging stereo typed and market driven education in India. Presently India does produce more than 2 Lakhs engineers in a year but half of them may not be employable. If quality of educational Institutions can be maintained than quality students may be expected from those Institutions. It is an alarming fact that the Central Government is mulling the option to open 5the Indian Higher Education Sector for the foreign Universities already few of them have opened their ‘shops’ herein India and they intend to sell degrees to the India students. This type of perverted education from foreign shores or educational shops from India should be checked otherwise students would be duped by those Institutions. The opportunity of going to different educational institutions has grown over the years but that opportunity is creating social tension as students are not getting proper employment. Thus India should rethink on its adopted policies for Higher Education and should chalk out fresh policies keeping in mind the earlier experiences and the experiences of the developed countries. If we do not correct our educational system with urgency then the total system may collapse. The government of India and the State Government should invest more in education sector especially in Higher Education and should not leave Higher Education at the mercy of Private Educational Institutions. And for this reason, Higher Education Industry should be developed in such a way so that increase in productivity, together with  national integration, keeping due pace to cultural, social, moral and spiritual values could be made possible and also by giving equal opportunities to all sectors to access Higher Education.

 

REFERENCES:

  1. http://www.gdrc.org/u-gov/governance-understand.html

 

  1. http://www.qualitydigest.com/html/qualitydef.html
  2. http://www.tc.edu/cice/Issues/12.02/12_02_BR_Agarwal.html
  3. http://www.ugc.ac.in/more/chairman_nehru_lecture.pdf
  4. http://www.prsindia.org/index.php?name=Sections&id=6&category=43
  5. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031202/edu.html
  6. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1121703274255/1439264-1193249163062/India_CountrySummary.pdf
  7. http://theviewspaper.net/education-system-of-india-its-functions-drawbacks-and-its-contribution/
  8. http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20081113145644156
  9. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031202/edu.html

 

 


[1]http://www.gdrc.org/u-gov/governance-understand.html

 

[2] http://www.qualitydigest.com/html/qualitydef.html

 

[3] http://www.tc.edu/cice/Issues/12.02/12_02_BR_Agarwal.html

 

[4]http://www.ugc.ac.in/more/chairman_nehru_lecture.pdf

 

[5]http://www.prsindia.org/index.php?name=Sections&id=6&category=43

 

[6]http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031202/edu.html

 

[7]http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1121703274255/1439264-1193249163062/India_CountrySummary.pdf

 

[8]http://theviewspaper.net/education-system-of-india-its-functions-drawbacks-and-its-contribution/

 [9]http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20081113145644156

 [10]http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031202/edu.html

Sachin Tendulkar’s Rajya Sabha Nomination : Is he a Face Saver for the Congress ?

sachin

The world stands divided on the nomination of Sachin Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha. Though the political class have by and large welcomed his nomination, many have questioned this timing of his nomination. While the Congress, the UPA allies and the CPM have welcomed this decision as very good step while BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said “Parliament is a serious business and one would expect Tendulkar to devote some time to Parliament”.

India’s sporting heroes have given a mixed reaction. Former soccer star Baichung Bhutia said joining politics was apersonal decision of Tendulkar, but added that the country needed dedicated and honest politicians like Tendulkar, who commands the respect of every Indian sports fan. Former cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar remained sceptical about Tendulkar being able to devote his time for parliamentary proceedings when he is playing every format of the game.

“I don’t know whether he has time to do that, because I think he is playing international cricket, he is playing in all formats of the game, whether he will have time to do that? Whether he will have time to attend the Parliament? I really cannot say anything on this,” said Vengsarkar.

Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev on Saturday accused the UPA government of trying to divert attention from its poor performance by nominating Sachin Tendulkar for Rajya Sabha. Addressing a press conference, Baba Ramdev said the government is only trying to improve its image by way of such a move.

Sachin Tendulkar needs to have a serious chat with his handlers. Like a prize horse, he is being groomed and taken around stud farms as a marketing tool in sport, business and now Parliament. Sadly, his moves continue to live out other people’s dreams, creating unending debates about his actions on and off the cricket field following the script written by those who would use him for their own narrow ends.

But scratch deeper and the stench of cynicism hits you. A ruling party reeling under corruption charges, with inefficiency as its watchword and policy paralysis as its manifesto is in urgent need of shifting the focus from an old story which has re-emerged: Bofors, the 25-year old scandal. When you can’t change the logic of an argument, change the argument itself. Ride piggy-back on the character and record of one of the whitest reputations in the country.

It serves a two-fold purpose. It wins brownie points among large swathes of the population, and establishes, or at least suggests that the greatest cricketer in the cricket-mad country is a Congressman. Perception is more powerful than reality, after all. It has meant that Tendulkar has endorsed not just the politics of a limping party, he has also raised the credibility of one of its chief fixers Rajiv Shukla, better described as Shukla the Unctuous. And we have not even got to the question of how a man who is still an active cricketer is expected to attend Parliament even occasionally.

The identity of Sachin Tendulkar has been one of the most unifying, non-controversial and down-to-earth individual who have won the world for the nation and its people. Fans and even those who do not follow or do not support Cricket – admire Sachin for his character, achievements and contributions to the Indian Sporting World. However, his recent visit to 10, Janpath to meet Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and the news of his nomination to the Rajya Sabha has in a way stunned the world. First, many questioned if he was going to retire from the Cricketing field? When the answer to this query came out as a negative one, People Questioned how is he going to carry on both the works – playing as well as attending the Parliament ?

Tendulkar’s image took a blow this past year as he appeared to be chasing records with a passion that pushed into the background the needs of the team. Again, perception may have overwhelmed reality, but by picking and choosing and hanging on in a format of the game where the World Cup win might have come as a logical climax, Tendulkar has done his cause no good. Men like Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly who have stuck their necks out on occasion on matters of principle and in the cause of the game, are clearly better choices as Parliamentarians. But then the exercise is not so much about getting the best men for the job as getting the biggest name with the added advantage of being a non-rocker of boats. In his 23-year career, Tendulkar has not taken a stand on any issue, choosing his version of courage over conviction. Perhaps Tendulkar will surprise us all in the Rajya Sabha. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the country will be made here. Perhaps he is now pursuing the Bharat Ratna with as much determination as he pursued his 100th 100.

On previous occasions when magnanimous personalities like Lata Mangeshkar were nominated for the same job, they had a poor record in attendence as well as actions in the Parliament. Cricket fans are divided with their opinions whether Sachin should have waited for his Retirement to make this move so that he performs and justify his nomination.

Till recently, whether senior Sachin and Laxman should retire on the footstep of Dravid and let the new players take the responsibility was heatedly debated by the media as well as the cricket fraternity. Sachin’s response that he has no plans to retire did silence that question, however this new development is surely going to bring back those debates once he fails to deliver on the pitch or fails to attend the Parliamentary Sessions.

Either way Sachin can be sure of such a situation very soon where he would need to handle enormous pressure from the media, fans, politicians as well as the people of this country.

Presidential Election 2012 : Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to create history ?

kalam

As the countdown to the election of the 13th President of India is closing by, confusions regarding the probable candidates have gained momentum.The ruling Congress party is in a fix over selection of its candidate for the post of the most important Constitutional head of the country. The recent developments whereby many political parties have offered the name of Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam as their probable candidate, have given rise to the possibility of history being created by Dr. Kalam as the 1st person being re-elected as the President of India on non-successive tenure.

Till a few days back, candidature of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari has been making rounds as the leading names in the Congress. For Mukherjee whose name had also come up in 2007, Rashtrapati Bhavan is seen as a fitting end to a long and distinguished political journey that began over four decades ago. Sonia Gandhi had then offered a flattering excuse to keep him out of Rashtrapati Bhavan: he was praised as too useful to executive governance. The same excuse may be mysteriously repeated once again.

A career diplomat and erudite scholar, Prof. Ansari is however seen as the best suited for the post of President. A minority candidate of the Congress party would suit its political equations, however his controversial role in abruptly ending the Rajya Sabha Session during the discussion on Lok Pal Bill to safeguard the interest of the ruling party, has made it tough to earn the support of the Non-UPA parties for his Presidential candidature. Another name that is doing the rounds is that of veteran Congressman Karan Singh, who is perpetually in the race for the job. A man of letters, the 80-year-old Rajya Sabha MP may present the perfect envoy.

In the present scenario, the Congress and the UPA stands short of the majority in the ‘Electoral College’ comprising of all the members of both the Houses of the Parliament and the members of all the state legislatures that elects the President. The Congress has 31 percent of the total votes against 24 percent of the BJP in an electoral college which is expected to be of the size of 10,98,882. The UPA has a little over 40 percent of the total votes as against 57 percent it had in the last elections. The NDA has less than 30 percent.

However, what has been a matter of grave concern for the Congress party is the differences in the choice of the candidate among the numerous constituent political parties in the U.P.A itself – ie. the Trinamool Congress, the NCP as well as the DMK. The N.D.A at the moment is keeping its cards to itself and maintaining a safe distance from this race owing to its insufficient numbers in the electoral college.

In the mids of these circumstances, another name had propped up from the non-Congress, non-NDA group: NCP Leader from the North East P.A. Changma, the Charismatic ex-Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

However, the emergence of the name of Dr. Kalam seems to have changed the whole situation. One of the most respected and popular Presidents of India, the candidature of Dr. Kalam is being backed by the TMC, SP, BJD, AIADMK and the NDA too is presumed to lend its support to Dr. Kalam who was their own choice for the highest post.

Except for Dr. Rajendra Prasad who was the President for two successive sessions from 1950 till 1962, no other person have held the post on two occasions. Dr. Kalam who is regarded by many as the Best President India ever had, would create history if he gets re-elected after a gap of 5 yrs in office. Let us keep our fingers crossed to witness this historical moment being created in the history of Indian democracy.

Election Commission floundered in Karnataka Assembly Bye-elections

By – Amba Charan Vashishth

electionIn retrospect, it is now clear that last year the Election Commission (EC) failed to perform its constitutional duty to conduct bye-elections to fill the three casual vacancies in the Karnataka assembly as per the word and spirit of law. Considerations which overwhelmed its decision not to hold bye-elections within time remain unconvincing afterthoughts.

On March 12, 2011 through its Press Note No. ECI/PN/21/2011 (eci.nic.in/eci_main/press/current/Pn12032011.pdf), EC announced the polling schedule for bye-elections to the three assembly constituencies of 185- Chennapatna, 103- Jagalur (ST) and 147-Bangarapet (SC) which, it admits, had “to be completed before April 13, April 18 and April 19, 2011”. within six months from the date of occurrence of vacancies as per the provisions of Section 151 of the R. P. (Representation of Peoples’) Act, 1951. It advanced the argument that these “bye-elections were decided by the Commission to be held after revision of electoral rolls with reference to 01.01.2011 as the qualifying date so that all young voters who attain the age of 18 years as on 01.01.2011 could also participate (in) these elections”.

But this logic boomerangs on the EC in the face of the fact that on January 12, 2011 through its Press Note No. ECI/PN/1/2011 (http://jharkhand.gov.in/ceo/PressNote/Press%20Note.pdf) the EC notified bye-elections to fill the casual vacancies in the State assemblies of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, with polling on February 12 and counting on February 17. On that very day (January 12) the three casual vacancies in the Karnataka legislative assembly stood very much notified to it. EC, if it wanted, could have had these bye-polls simultaneously with those in other States on February 14. If there was no hindrance in holding bye-elections in other States, there was hardly any to withhold the same in Karnataka.

EC contradicts itself 

In the same Press Note dated March 12, 2011 in which EC advanced the excuse that in Karnataka “bye-elections were decided by the Commission to be held after revision of electoral rolls with reference to 01.01.2011 as the qualifying date”, it contradicted itself by later stating: “The delimited electoral rolls in respect of these Assembly Constituencies in the State of Karnataka, with reference to 1.1.2011 as the qualifying date, have been revised and published on 10.1.2011.” Thus the whole justification advanced not to hold these bye-elections on February 14 fell flat and appeared nothing more than an afterthought.

For the past about two decades, it had been customary for the EC to hold bye-elections to all the casual vacancies in State assemblies and Lok Sabha which had been notified to it till the time of announcement of the schedule of general or bye-election to any State assembly or Lok Sabha. But, of late, a perceptible change was visible to the eye. The EC seems to have now become selective and, to an extent, subjective and choosy in deciding which bye-election to be conducted immediately and which later. The bye-elections ordered by it to be held on February 14 and the Karnataka bye-elections on April 9 stood in contrast.

EC omissions and commissions 

The series of acts of omission and commission by the EC in respect of Karnataka bye-elections did not stop here. It was trying to indulge in a wrong interpretation of the provisions of Section 151A of RP Act which calls for only “a bye-election for filling any vacancy…shall (emphasis added) be held within a period of six months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy”. Law leaves no discretion with EC not to discharge its constitutional obligation to hold bye-elections within the time-limit. It needs to be stressed that the law does not speak of “polling” but stresses the objective of “the filling of any vacancy”. The formality of polling and counting of votes is just the means to realize that objective. Therefore, attempting to appear to be pious by claiming that the Commission “decided that the actual polling ….be done within the stipulated six months” looks ironical and a vain attempt at concealing its own shortcomings and embarrassment.

Referring to provisions of clause (b) of the said Section 151A of RP Act, EC claims that “the Central government has concurred in with the views of the Election Commission” wherein it explained “the reasons for not conducting the counting of votes”. It needs to be stressed again that law nowhere speaks of “counting of votes”. The EC argument here too is misplaced and not legally tenable under the circumstances. The said Clause (b) provides: “The Election Commission in consultation with the Central Government certifies that it is difficult to hold the bye- election within the said period” In the face of the facts and the circumstances, there was hardly any justification for the EC to certify that “it is difficult to hold the bye-election within the said period”.

Further, the logic for holding the polling “within the stipulated six months” but counting of votes to be done simultaneously on 13.05.2011 alongwith the counting of votes for the five Legislative Assemblies “so that the voters of these States/UT may not get influenced by the result of the bye-elections of Karnataka State Legislative Assembly too “is a specious one, far fetched, not tenable and, to an extent, funny.

People’s memory may be short but not that short as not to recall that in 1998 the EC announced the schedule of elections to the 12th Lok Sabha and five State Assemblies and simultaneously bye-elections to fill 21 vacancies in 11 State Assemblies. Counting of votes for all the Lok Sabha and assembly seats was fixed for March 8. But not to fail in its constitutional duty to constitute the new Meghalaya assembly within six months, the then EC made an exception by preponing the counting of votes in Meghalaya for all the Assembly constituencies and its two parliamentary constituencies on February 23. If the voters in the rest of the country, including the adjoining States, could then “not get influenced by the results” for all the Meghalaya State assembly seats and its two parliamentary constituencies, how would the three Karnataka bye-elections do so in far flung States of Assam, West Bengal and others?

EC Press Note dated January 12 states: “The Government of Jharkhand has brought to the notice of the Commission that the present Chief Minister of Jharkhand took over as CM on 11.09.2010 and, in view of the constitutional requirement, he is required to become a member of the State Legislative Assembly on or before 10.03.2011.” Thus the EC itself lays stress on the unavoidability of having the election (not only “polling” but counting too) within six months. On this very analogy the EC was duty bound legally and constitutionally to fill the casual vacancies in Karnataka assembly too by April 13 to 19, 2011.

Failure to fill the three casual vacancies in Karnataka assembly within the stipulated six months was an apparent dereliction of duty on the part of the Election Commission without valid reasons. This act of omission and commission by EC, deliberate or inadvertent,did certainly resulted in helping or harming, directly or indirectly, the electoral prospects of one or the other political parties or candidates in the State.

By not filling the three casual vacancies in Karnataka assembly within the mandatory six months, EC has created a legal and constitutional flaw in which the three casual vacancies in Karnataka assembly remained unfilled beyond six months. This deficiency can be rectified not by an executive diktat but by the Parliament of India alone.

The writer is a Delhi-based political analyst and commentator.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi Sex Scandal CD Case : HC dismisses plea for probe

abhishek manuThe Delhi high court on Wednesday dismissed a plea for probe by the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) into the alleged CD row, purportedly involving senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

“The petition is dismissed. The petitioner is seeking a direction to the BCD and the Delhi high court Bar Association to take action against the employee of the lawyer concerned.

“The lawyer’s body are not empowered to take action against an employee of an advocate,” a bench headed by acting Chief Justice AK Sikri said.

The court’s order came on a plea by a social worker, Sanjay Kumar, seeking an inqury into the CD row allegedly pertaining to Singhvi and a noted woman lawyer of the Delhi high court.

“Everybody on the street is saying what is happening in the high court. Just to save the image of lawyer’s community, an inquiry be ordered,” said the petitioner’s counsel Sugriv Dubey.

“It is a matter of record that this court has already passed an order in the matter and the PIL (public interest litigation) on the issue cannot be entertained,” the bench, also comprising justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, said adding that the lawyers’ body cannot take any action against the employee concerned.

“Every employee of a lawyer… has to protect the privacy of an individual and in the preset case it was the duty of the person (Singhv’s driver) not to attack the individual’s privacy,” the PIL said.

Refusing to entertain the plea, the bench said “such things cannot be a subject matter of a public interest litigation.”

Earlier, on April 19, Singhvi and his former driver had informed the court they have amicably settled the matter, involving the CD, between them.

Justice Reva Khetrapal had on April 13 had passed an ex-parte order restraining media groups and the driver from publishing, telecasting and broadcasting contents of the CD.

Counsel for Aaj Tak, Headlines Today and India Today, had told the court that they will handover the alleged CD to the person who provided it to them.

Singhvi’s counsel had told the court that in the light of the settlement arrived at between the parties, he would withdraw the police complaint against Mukesh Lal.

The court had also taken note of Lal’s reply in which he apologised for sending “threatening SMSs” to the lawyer.

“The CD was sent by me in a fit of rage and vengeance. The camera was used illegally and secondly, the CDs were doctored and morphed in such a manner so as to deliberately show plaintiff 2 (Singhvi) in a bad light,” the driver, in his 6-page reply, had said.

Singhvi and his associate Abhimanyu Bhandari had moved the court saying they had come to know through some political leaders that some media houses were in possession of the alleged CD.

They had alleged that the CD was “forged, concocted, morphed and fabricated”. Any move to telecast the alleged CD would infringe the right to reputation of Singhvi, the plea had said.