The Candid Eye

August 25, 2011

World’s #9 Most Powerful Person Now Accused of Corruption — Will She Fall?

From huffingtonpost article by Cleo Paskal:

 

New Delhi. Some of India’s biggest fish are getting caught up in the country’s fast-growing wave of anti-corruption activity. In what could be India’s equivalent of a judicial jasmine revolution, previously invulnerable politicians, business icons, and pillars of the community are all nervously keeping their lawyers on speed-dial.

The anti-corruption push is an unprecedented coming together of myriad facets of Indian society. Religious leaders are concerned about the effects on morality and spiritual growth. NGOs speak of the effects on the poor. The middle class is angry about its future being stifled by a smothering blanket of day-to-day corruption. The intelligence services see corruption a clear threat to national security. And the business community, thanks to globalization, has seen how efficiently things can operate without having to constantly pay bribes or be tangled in red tape, and they want the same thing at home.

Even the Supreme Court is fed up, with Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy saying about the vast sums of Indian money being illegally hidden away in Liechtenstein Bank:

We are talking about the huge money. It is a plunder of the nation. It is a pure and simple theft of the national money. We are talking about mind-boggling crime.

The scandals are bursting on to the front pages fast and thick. Suresh Kalmadi, a Congress Party politician and the former head of the corruption-plagued Commonwealth Games, was arrested April 25. According to a report by the Indian Comptroller and Auditor General, the 2G spectrum scam alone, in which 2G licenses were sold off in a manner that was, to say the least, less than transparent, cost close to $40 billion in lost revenue.

All across India, people are saying enough is enough. And suddenly the unthinkable is starting to happen. People considered above reproach, or at least untouchable, are coming under the judicial cross-hairs. 2G alone has seen charges laid against one former government minister and several captains of industry.

And the latest high profile target is one of the biggest fish of all, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, currently #9 on Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful People.

Sonia Gandhi has one of the most remarkable life stories in international politics. Born Edvige Antonia Albina Maino into a family of modest means in rural Italy, she didn’t even get a chance to complete high school before heading to the UK for work. There she met Rajiv Gandhi, son of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She eventually married him and the young family moved in to Indira Gandhi’s New Delhi’s home, putting her literally in the heart of Indian politics.

After Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, Sonia’s husband Rajiv became Prime Minister. Following Rajiv’s 1991 assassination by Tamil terrorists, there were rumors that Sonia was going to put herself forward as Prime Minister.

As she herself later said, she “could not walk past the portraits of my husband, my mother-in-law and her father and not feel that I had some responsibility to try and save the party they had given their lives to.”

2011-04-25-SoniaCongress.jpg

Given her focus on the party, it was fitting that instead of becoming Prime Minister, she ended up as President of the powerful Congress Party. Politically, it proved to be a smart move as it gave her power without direct responsibility — while she is #9 on Forbes list of power people, the actual Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, is only #18. According to Forbes, “Gandhi remains the real power behind the nuclear-tipped throne […] she has cemented her status as true heiress to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty.”

Her image is of a dutiful, submissive Indian wife, now widow. When her husband was alive, she would walk behind him. In public she wears saris. Although a devout Catholic, she is often photographed at Hindu Temples. And like a good Indian mother, though she has decorously pulled herself out of the race for Prime Minister, she is happy to encourage her son, Rahul, to take the job.

However there have been growing, persistent murmurs about questionable business deals and inexplicable exponential jumps in the personal wealth of her and her family.

The allegations came out in the open in 1995 when M. D. Nalapat, then Resident Editor (Delhi) of the world’s largest English language newspaper, the Times of India, began a groundbreaking series of articles about Sonia.

The articles made the controversial (at the time) claim that the public docility was just a ploy, and that Sonia actually had serious political ambitions (later confirmed by her role in Congress). Also, crucially, the series said that her desire for power wasn’t simply altruistic and that the wealth not only of her, but of her Italian relatives, rose stratospherically after Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1984.

Nalapat’s articles could not be ignored as he was one of India’s most respected journalists and had, throughout his career, taken on corrupt politicians, social inequity and institutionalized discrimination.

This however was a ‘topic too far’. While the facts in the article were never refuted, Nalapat was forced out of journalism in 1998 and moved into academics.

Next came public questions from another highly reputed source, Sten Lindstrom, Sweden’s special prosecutor investigating the pay-offs associated with the sale of weapons by Bofors to the government of India. His investigation showed that a close friend of Sonia’s, Ottavio Quattrocchi, has received kickbacks in the millions.

In 1998 Lindstrom gave an interview in which he said:

the Gandhis, particularly now Sonia, should explain how Quattrocchi-owned companies got such fat sums as payoffs from the Bofors deal. After all, what is the connection of Sonia and the Gandhi family to Quattrocchi? Who introduced Quattrocchi and his AE Services to Bofors? At least one thing is certainly known now. A part of the payoffs definitely went to Quattrocchi. […] the papers all pointed to the Gandhi family.

Not only have the questions not been answered by Sonia, but in spite of substantial evidence against him, Quattrocchi has managed to evade prosecution in India, and has even had his kickback funds unfrozenfrom overseas accounts.

Part of the genius of Sonia Gandhi is her ability to present herself as a helpless victim, convincing even her political rivals not to fear her as she is fatally flawed. In 1998, India was being led by BJP Prime Minister Vajpayee. When Nalapat spoke with him about Sonia, he was bluntly told to lay off, as, “so long as a white Christian lady is head of the Congress Party, I [Vajpayee] and my party will always be in power”. Vajpayee and his party lost power to Sonia’s Congress in 2004.

But the most serious threat to Sonia — and, as she is at the apex of the Congress Party, and so to Congress itself — is now lying on the desk of #18, the Prime Minister of India.

On April 15, former Law and Justice Minister and Harvard Professor Dr. Subramanian Swamy asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for leave to lay corruption charges against Sonia Gandhi. In a meticulously researched 200+ page submission Dr Swamy alleges Sonia Gandhi has been involved in corruption in India since 1972 and personally benefited from the Bofors scam (1986), has held billions in non-Indian bank accounts since at least 1991, illegally profited from the Iraqi oil-for-food deals (2002), and even accessed KGB payoffs during the Cold War.

The Prime Minister has three months to decide whether or not to grant sanction to prosecute. If he doesn’t, Dr. Swamy can take the case directly to the Supreme Court, which under Chief Justice Kapadia is showing a definite proclivity towards facilitating corruption cases.

While, so far, the corruption cases in India have caught up some pretty big fish, if charges are laid against Sonia Gandhi, it won’t just be part of a wave, it will be a sea change.

Sonia Gandhi is not just an individual, she is the steely core of a pillar of Indian politics. If she crumbles, it will shake the foundations of the venerable Congress Party, and possibly leave a gaping hole in the political scene. Meanwhile, a range of polarizing and regional parties are ready to rush in and stake their claim. Given the growing importance of India in our heavily globalized world, this is not just an Indian story, this is one all should be following very closely indeed.

Follow Cleo Paskal on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cleopaskal

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November 11, 2010

The media has misled us on the Adarsh scam!

An article by Carl H. Gomes on Vigil Online throws light on unknown truths about Adarsh Housing scam.

Now that the dust has settled and the stench (from the shit that hit the fan) has blown away, we can perhaps look at the Adarsh scam a little dispassionately. The media (both print and electronic) really went to town on this because there is nothing that the media loves better than to tear a person?s reputation to shreds and the truth be damned. If Armed Forces officers are involved, the ferocity of the attack is worse because they can in addition sully the uniform and the institution, since the politician and the bureaucrat are impervious. And as they say, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall!”

Adarsh Housing in South Mumbai

The ..housing for widows of the “martyrs” of Kargil? is a media creation because the scheme was never meant for them nor was the plot reserved in their name. No government, however magnanimous, would have allotted such a prohibitively expensive plot in a prime location to Kargil heroes or their widows. A more likely place would have been in the satellite town of Navi Mumbai, or in Nagpur or Nasik, where land is available aplenty. The project was never promoted as a housing project for the ..widows of Kargil?; but the Kargil conflict itself was used as a ploy to get the land transferred to the society with the active connivance of the Defence Estate Officers, one of who became a promoter. Because of its location on the boundary of defence land and was in the physical possession of the Army, it had no commercial potential for a civilian project. It was the brain child of Maj Gen AR Kumar, Area Cdr/GOC (1999-2000), when the Kargil war was in progress and his deputy Brig TK Kaul. Subsequently all Area Cdrs and Sub-area Cdrs from 2000 to 2010 have been allotted flats in the building as a quid pro quo apparently to buy their silence. The Navy had no role to play in giving clearances at that time but top naval brass were offered flats all the same as one of the promoters was a naval officer. They were probably offered the “right of first refusal” but refused to refuse the offer. The other lower ranked officers (including a Petty Officer) either got it courtesy of one or other of the promoters or they just got lucky. No one looks a gift horse in the mouth!

The Adarsh plot is not located in far away Yeotmal or Aurangabad but in tony South Bombay (So Bo, as it is called) where property prices are the highest in the world and there is little vacant land left. It is just a stone?s throw away from and in full view of the headquarters of the Maharashtra government, “Mantralaya”, the BMC Headquarters and the Headquarters of the GOC, M&G Area. The building did not come up surreptitiously but grew in stature under the benign gaze of the worthies who occupy these hallowed premises and had their blessings.

Ashok Chavan

The problems really started when the Revenue Minister (now Chief Minister) Ashok Chavan demanded 40% of the flats for civilians (read politicians and bureaucrats). A modest housing project of 6 floors slowly expanded to 31 floors to accommodate the swelling demand from these big wigs who high jacked the project and colluded with the builder to break every rule in the statute book with impunity. The building is a monument to deceit to all the people of Maharashtra/Mumbai/India and not just the Kargil heroes/widows, most of whom have already got houses in New Delhi in the Dwarka project. This project never had any link to ‘war veterans and/or widows of Kargil’ who were the invisible pawns in the game. We have only been compelled by the media to think that way. In fact, membership was restricted to Maharashtrians and those who could prove domicile in Maharashtra – so much so even the two former Army Chiefs did not just walk in – they had to get exemption from the highest levels of the government, even though this is not a government project.

Let us consider the following:

This is India, the country where the Armed Forces are just ‘use and throw? commodities like “curry patha”. This is Maharashtra which is one of the few states that does not have any sympathy or respect for the Armed Forces – the only state that charges the maximum taxes on goods sold through the CSD, including liquor. This is Mumbai which is the only city that does not exempt Armed Forces veterans from paying property tax on their houses even if it is ..self-occupied?.

The Govt could have selected a location where the land is cheaper and available in abundance like Navi Mumbai or also in places to which most of such heroes and widows would have belonged. It is hard to imagine a farmer from Haryana or a villager from Bihar wanting to stay in a tony area with the Ambanis as their neighbours – the Ambani residence SEAWIND is just next door.

The plot had CRZ restrictions due to which only a six-storied building could be officially built; thus, with 3 to 4 flats per floor, maximum 20 three bedroom flats – OR – not more than 30 two bed-room flats. would have come up.

This is a self financed scheme – not free houses. Their life-time savings (even if those martyrs had been alive) could not have enabled them to dream of possessing a house at the above location. The cost of land alone is in excess of Rs 60,000/- per sq. ft.

Heroes and widows of Kargil war number more than one thousand. Most of them have already been allotted flats in Dwarka in Delhi or in their own home states – and hence have no need for a second home. Besides, it is unthinkable that the Army would think of a welfare activity which could benefit just a small fraction of deserving personnel.

The Navy did not participate in the Kargil conflict yet there are several naval personnel amongst the members. The Air Force did participate but not one AF person is a member.

Security clearance from the Navy became an issue only in 2009 after the Navy was made responsible for coastal security in the wake of the 26/11 terrorist strike on Mumbai. The spot where the terrorists landed is only a few hundred metres up the road from Adarsh on Cuffe Parade. That is how the Navy raised a flag; but by that time the building was almost complete.

This was a scandal that was waiting to happen – it is neither the first, nor is it the last in an unending series of such scams that have dotted the Maharashtra landscape. Because of its location, Adarsh is very visible but it is just the tip of the iceberg; what of the innumerable Adarshes across the country which is driven by the greed of the rapacious builder-politician- bureaucrat nexus? The armed forces personnel, serving and retired are guilty by association and of impropriety and collusion. They will definitely face justice of one kind or another but will the politician and the bureaucrat be touched? We have seen what happens to them post 26/11.

Liar Rajdeep Sardesai

55% of Mumbai?s population of 15 million live in slums or on the streets while 13 % live in ownership flats. 70% of the rest live in one-room tenements, some of which are crumbling. In a scenario of such abject deprivation, Adarsh is a monument of shame. Let us not drag the names of Kargil heroes into this filth even by association, which the media (Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai) insists on doing. I cannot ask retired officers to stop appearing on TV talk shows, but I wish they would because they make asses of themselves.

– Carl H. Gomes.

September 6, 2010

How the UPA robbed us of Rs2,80,795 crore

An excellent article by R Jagannathan appeared on DNA.

The number in the headline is the amount of money looted by the UPA government from taxpayers and investors since 2004. And all this is from just one sector: petroleum.
The only difference between a Ramalinga Raju, who raided Satyam’s cash chest to bankroll his infrastructure dreams, and the government, which dipped into public sector assets to finance its re-election, is this: Raju cannot legislate away his crimes. Government can.
Let’s go back to the first number: Rs2,80,795 crore. I owe this piece of info to my colleague Mayank Aggarwal, who had put in an RTI query to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas asking them how much money was transferred from profit-making oil companies to loss-making ones to fund the subsidisation of kerosene, cooking gas and diesel (among other things).
The answer he got was frightening. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the three most profitable oil and gas companies (ONGC, GAIL and Oil India) were summarily asked to hand over Rs1,12,592 crore to three loss-making oil marketing companies.
That’s nearly three times the current year’s central outlay for NREGA, the flagship social security scheme of the UPA. But even Rs1,12,592 crore wasn’t enough to staunch the bleeding of Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL. Over and above the robbery of three profit-making oil companies, the government had to raid the taxpayer’s chest for another Rs1,68,203 crore over 2005-10 (paid through oil bonds) to ensure the marketing companies stayed afloat.
Now, let’s restate the full extent of the skullduggery. To ensure that oil prices did not rock its electoral boat, it transferred Rs1,12,592 crore from publicly-listed profit-makers to the loss-makers, but there’s a procedural complication here.

Politicians & Corruption

Cartoon Sourcehttp://lifesacomicstrip.blogspot.com/2009/09/politicians-and-money.html
The government itself owns majority stakes in these profit-makers, so the real extent of money transferred from private investors is equal only to the level of public shareholding in these companies.
Since the public shareholding is 25.86% in ONGC, 21.57% in Oil India and 42.18% in GAIL, private investors were cheated of Rs29,991 crore in the process. That’s their share of profits in ONGC, Oil India and GAIL that got transferred to the marketing companies. Investors in these three companies can approach Sebi and ask it to take action against the promoter (the government) for corporate misgovernance and misappropriation of shareholders funds.
To be sure, this is not a point that has not been made before. What we are now clear about is the exact extent of the government’s bad politico-economic decisions that investors and taxpayers finally ended up paying for.
Misgovernance and fraud is built into the public sector primarily because politicians use public assets for private ends, including financing their own re-election.
Let’s also remember, the Rs2,80,795 crore scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. If we add up the subsidies handed over to fertiliser companies, farmers and the Food Corporation of India (a substantial part of the grain mountain that is now being fed to rats), the losses will be truly stupendous.
The best thing the UPA did recently was thus to move towards oil price deregulation, but we are going to continue to pay for past follies. A case in point is the Direct Tax Code (DTC) that was recently cleared by the Union cabinet. Originally touted as a big deal for taxpayers, it has been reduced to a minor concession, thanks to past overspending.
The original idea behind the DTC was to move to a tax system that was transparent and easy to administer, but the UPA cannot afford it anymore. A mountain of work has, thus, yielded a mouse. After producing two draft codes for public discussion, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has more or less opted for incrementalism rather than radical change.
The initial proposal was simple enough: give taxpayers a large dose of tax relief, lump all exemptions into one package, and make the tax system less complicated. If Mukherjee had stuck to that goal, taxpayers would have surrendered small reliefs here and there and gained big on tax slabs and choice of tax-free investment avenues. But now Mukherjee’s DTC is a pale shadow of its former self.
Under the original draft proposal, taxpayers in the higher brackets would have saved more, as the idea was that the lowest rate of 10% would cover incomes upto Rs10 lakh. The middle rate of 20% would apply to incomes in the Rs10-25 lakh bracket, and the top rate of 30% to incomes above Rs25 lakh. As things stand now, the tax-free bracket merely moves up from Rs1.6 lakh to Rs2 lakh.
The 10%, 20% and 30% brackets also shrink to Rs 2-5lakh, Rs5-10-lakh and Rs10 lakh plus.
This is incrementalism at its worst, and Pranab-da has missed a golden opportunity to empower taxpayers. Having robbed them in the past, he cannot play Robin Hood now.

The number in the headline is the amount of money looted by the UPA government from taxpayers and investors since 2004. And all this is from just one sector: petroleum.
The only difference between a Ramalinga Raju, who raided Satyam’s cash chest to bankroll his infrastructure dreams, and the government, which dipped into public sector assets to finance its re-election, is this: Raju cannot legislate away his crimes. Government can.
Let’s go back to the first number: Rs2,80,795 crore. I owe this piece of info to my colleague Mayank Aggarwal, who had put in an RTI query to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas asking them how much money was transferred from profit-making oil companies to loss-making ones to fund the subsidisation of kerosene, cooking gas and diesel (among other things).
The answer he got was frightening. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the three most profitable oil and gas companies (ONGC, GAIL and Oil India) were summarily asked to hand over Rs1,12,592 crore to three loss-making oil marketing companies.
That’s nearly three times the current year’s central outlay for NREGA, the flagship social security scheme of the UPA. But even Rs1,12,592 crore wasn’t enough to staunch the bleeding of Indian Oil, BPCL and HPCL. Over and above the robbery of three profit-making oil companies, the government had to raid the taxpayer’s chest for another Rs1,68,203 crore over 2005-10 (paid through oil bonds) to ensure the marketing companies stayed afloat.
Now, let’s restate the full extent of the skullduggery. To ensure that oil prices did not rock its electoral boat, it transferred Rs1,12,592 crore from publicly-listed profit-makers to the loss-makers, but there’s a procedural complication here.
The government itself owns majority stakes in these profit-makers, so the real extent of money transferred from private investors is equal only to the level of public shareholding in these companies.
Since the public shareholding is 25.86% in ONGC, 21.57% in Oil India and 42.18% in GAIL, private investors were cheated of Rs29,991 crore in the process. That’s their share of profits in ONGC, Oil India and GAIL that got transferred to the marketing companies. Investors in these three companies can approach Sebi and ask it to take action against the promoter (the government) for corporate misgovernance and misappropriation of shareholders funds.
To be sure, this is not a point that has not been made before. What we are now clear about is the exact extent of the government’s bad politico-economic decisions that investors and taxpayers finally ended up paying for.
Misgovernance and fraud is built into the public sector primarily because politicians use public assets for private ends, including financing their own re-election.
Let’s also remember, the Rs2,80,795 crore scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. If we add up the subsidies handed over to fertiliser companies, farmers and the Food Corporation of India (a substantial part of the grain mountain that is now being fed to rats), the losses will be truly stupendous.
The best thing the UPA did recently was thus to move towards oil price deregulation, but we are going to continue to pay for past follies. A case in point is the Direct Tax Code (DTC) that was recently cleared by the Union cabinet. Originally touted as a big deal for taxpayers, it has been reduced to a minor concession, thanks to past overspending.
The original idea behind the DTC was to move to a tax system that was transparent and easy to administer, but the UPA cannot afford it anymore. A mountain of work has, thus, yielded a mouse. After producing two draft codes for public discussion, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has more or less opted for incrementalism rather than radical change.
The initial proposal was simple enough: give taxpayers a large dose of tax relief, lump all exemptions into one package, and make the tax system less complicated. If Mukherjee had stuck to that goal, taxpayers would have surrendered small reliefs here and there and gained big on tax slabs and choice of tax-free investment avenues. But now Mukherjee’s DTC is a pale shadow of its former self.
Under the original draft proposal, taxpayers in the higher brackets would have saved more, as the idea was that the lowest rate of 10% would cover incomes upto Rs10 lakh. The middle rate of 20% would apply to incomes in the Rs10-25 lakh bracket, and the top rate of 30% to incomes above Rs25 lakh. As things stand now, the tax-free bracket merely moves up from Rs1.6 lakh to Rs2 lakh.
The 10%, 20% and 30% brackets also shrink to Rs 2-5lakh, Rs5-10-lakh and Rs10 lakh plus. This is incrementalism at its worst, and Pranab-da has missed a golden opportunity to empower taxpayers. Having robbed them in the past, he cannot play Robin Hood now.

April 11, 2010

Cartoons in US Media on Obama’s Nobel Prize

Filed under: Bureaucracy,Corruption,USA — Abhay @ 6:00 AM
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March 15, 2010

Corruption hits social projects in India: Bill Gates

While the congress government is trumpeting the victory of NREGA scheme in India, many parts of country where this scheme is introduced, has only fed the middle men and local politicians at the village level.Unless and until we get rid of these middle men and bureaucracy, corruption can not be eliminated.

Software czar Bill Gates engaged in a large number of social projects in India, has told US lawmakers that the northern parts of the India face difficult challenges.

“We see places like India, where the results are mixed. The north, which has the greatest need, tends to have the most difficult challenges,” Gates told members of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wherein he testified on “Building on Success: New Directions in Global Health Care”, convened by its Chairman John Kerry.

Bill Gates

Former US President Bill Clinton, who too is involved in social welfare projects in India and African countries in a big way, also testified before the Committee.

Gates was responding to question about experiences of corruption and accountability in these countries where his Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation is involved in social welfare projects.

In places like India, he said, there are mixed results. “Fortunately, things like vaccines or bed nets are not that attractive for the political elite to stockpile. And so if you can track the grants to the purchase of the commodity and the commodity getting delivered, then you can make quite sure the money’s not being diverted. It gets more difficult as you get into personnel systems,” he observed.

However, this is difficulty with education, road building, and even health systems to make sure that the work is actually being done, jobs just aren’t being given to the politically favoured, as opposed to the people who have the skill sets.

“That is not always executed on very well. You see, we see programmes like in Ethiopia where that’s being done well. We see places like India, where the results are mixed,” Gates said.

“The answer in many locations is to organise women’s groups and to make sure they have the expectation that their kids will be vaccinated, that they will get a bed net. And in a lot of locations, their activism has been key to making sure that nothing is lost between the money being given and the services being delivered,” he said.

In the case of vaccination, if people claim they are doing it when they are not, it’s easy to go in and do surveillance.There’s also a disease, measles that very quickly shows up; people who claim to have high rates who don’t, he said.Gates said there is always the challenge of which countries to help, the ones that are in the greatest need or the ones that have the best government so that the money will be most effective.

“In Ethiopia, certainly in the health area, they have very effective leadership. And the GHI (Global Health Initiative) proposal talks about some of the ambitious goals they’ve set for Ethiopia,” he said, adding there are some things like vaccinations that can be done even in the worst areas.

“Some of the other things, like training health-care workers and trying to get big improvement there, you want to pick places where you have strong governance, and GHI has this idea of picking countries. They have a challenge with India in particular where you don’t want to pick the whole country. You probably want the ability to pick parts of the country,” Gates said.

Source: Rediff

February 19, 2010

Genetic engineering: The world’s greatest scam?

December 26, 2009

Article 311

Filed under: Bureaucracy,Corruption,India — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

The Central Minister of Law, Shri Virappa Moili made a public statement that the corrupt government employees should be dismissed or removed from service and Article 311 of the Constitution of India which is protecting them should be amended or be dropped from the Constitution.However,Biswabhusan Harichandan, the former minister of Law, Government of Orissa has objected to the abolition of this article.

Veerappa Moily : Image Courtesy - http://harinigallery.blogspot.com/

So far as the first part of his statement is concerned, we entirely agree with him but the second part of his statement that Article 311 should be dropped from the Constitution requires close examination.

Article 311 provides that (1) No person who is a member of the civil service of the union or an All India Service or a Civil Service of a State or holds a Civil post under the Union or a State shall be dismissed or removed by an Authority sub-ordinate to that by which he was appointed.

(2) No such person as afore said shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges.

Article 311 of the Constitution does not prohibit the government from dismissing any corrupt government employees, it only provides that the delinquent employee should be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of charges made against him. There should be an enquiry against him where he will have the opportunity of explaining his conduct. Article 311 has also authorised the government or the concerned Authority in the government not to hold any enquiry where it is not reasonably practicable. The authorities are required only to record the reasons as to why it is not practicable to hold the enquiry. If the government is armed with so much of power to dismiss a corrupt government employee, after observing some formalities as required by Article 311 what prompted the Law Minister to think of abolishing such a valuable right of the employee. If the government employee is corrupt, he should immediately be dismissed from service in the greater interest of the administration, but the case of corruption must be proved against him otherwise the employees who are dutiful but upright and a bit independent minded will be subjected to victimisation, if they fail to act according to the whims of their higher bosses.

This valuable right of a citizen or government employee cannot be taken away arbitrarily without giving him any opportunity of being heard. He is entitled to know the crime he has committed. We should not forget that we are governed by rule of Law on which the entire Constitutional system of this country is based. The cardinal principles of rule of Law is that nobody should be punished without being afforded an opportunity of hearing. The framers of the Constitution had clearly foreseen this danger while drafting the Constitution.

Read the complete article here.

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