July 26, 2021
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'Stop Being The Congress Party’s Apologists'

'Stop Being The Congress Party’s Apologists'

Seema Chishti in the Indian Express:

...the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council may have made it clear that it wouldn’t discuss the Lokpal Bill, the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) — whose membership overlaps with that of the NAC — has indicated that it’s working on its own draft of an anti-corruption law.

This was evident at a two-day session that ended today, hosted by the NCPRI and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander, who are members of both the NCPRI and of the NAC sub-group that was initially working on the Lokpal Bill, argued for nurturing existing institutions and empowering them, rather than simply drafting new laws and creating new institutions.

Read on here

R. Jagannathan in the Firstpost joins issue:

...NCPRI (which has members common to both NAC and itself) wants the Prime Minister to be accountable and brought under Lokpal, but wants to steer clear of making him accountable for the actions of his ministers. It does not want the PM to be “vicariously” accountable for ministries he does not directly control. In short, if Manmohan lets Raja get away with looting the exchequer, it’s not his responsibility. If the defence ministry allows Israeli firms to pay commissions to Indian agents on defence deals, it’s not the PM’s problem.

As opposed to this, the NAC Communal Violence Bill wants the exact opposite. It wants to introduce the doctrine of “command responsibility” which wants the top man (or woman) to be accountable for things that go wrong in his bailiwick. The attempt here is to get Narendra Modi for his Gujarat failures, but the shot may ricochet on the PM instead.

The NAC is clearly running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. Obviously conscious of the fact that the PM should not be held accountable for all the scams he was a silent spectator to (2G, Commonwealth, etc), the NCPRI wants to free him of his “vicarious” responsibilities.

But what is the purpose of holding a Narendra Modi accountable for lapses in his command responsibility if you are not going to do the same with the PM and Sonia? Don’t they have command responsibility for steering the ship of state in the right direction?

Read the full piece at Firstpost

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