Wednesday, April 28, 2010


My company is into auditing. Nowadays there's a recession.Therefore my colleagues are very vella.

Some vella person asked this question making me undoubt his stupidity (there's a spark of genius in every dhakkan, i guess)"Why can't government print more money to remove all this gareebi?"
People have become so vella nowadays to suggest Indian government should do the ISI's job of printing the money now, I thought. (I'll come to the genius spark later.)

Another colleague, whose mouth moves faster than his mind suggested that we should declare 1 Rupee = 1 Dollar , and that will make our economy at par with the world economy.

And now I have taken up a policy of giving short answers to such short questions. The damn deal is to make that short answer.

So answer1 to query 1 of removing gareebi by printing money is
A1) Printed money when handed over to the finite gareeb people will remove their gareebi is a sure thing. When the gareeb people will use the new money, major mehngai will set in and will be maintained because of higher circulation of money. This will make the next generation of the current gareeb people even more gareeb because by then the current gareeb people would have used up much of their printed money but higher mehngai would have left their saved stockpile of cash as lesser useful.

So, printing money will cause more despair to gareeb folks after some time. Thats why printing money is never a solution. And which ever dumb minister ever orders printing it, should be asked to sing his songs outside the parliament, near the chandni chowk gurudwara or something.

Query 2) Wouldn't declaring 1 Rupee = 1 dollar make us come to terms with world economy?
A2) Sundar ladkiyon waali akal paayi hai iss bande ne! Mere baap, if you declare 1 Rupee = 1 dollar then you'll have to give 1 dollar for every 1 rupee that any angrez tourist presents to the government. Now swear on your appraisal if you think that the government has so many dollars to pay for every rupee that we have.
Basically, other countries judge us by amount of dollars we have, not Rupees.
Declaring without thinking enough is for motormouths. Simple demand, supply and commerce will make you see stars in daytime if you declare so.

There are more questions which my intellectual team members keep asking. Will keep posted on them as well.

Answers were long. Pur I am trying, yaar! :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Royally dumb

Once upon a time in a beautiful country where sparkling rivers ran across green mountains, there ruled a sense of reason. As the winds of change blew across the reign, that rule was taken over by dark forces of passion. The dark forces never really usurped the rule because the people of the kingdom loved a sense of reason as their ruler. So the forces always did everything in the name of a sense of reason.

Then came a day when a chief secretary extended his own tenure without agreeing with sense of reason. Sense of reason expressed clearly that tenure would not be extended , yet the chief secretary, influenced by dark forces of passion, issued orders and boldly, on behalf of sense of reason.

When sense of reason approached the courts then the court of the kingdom upheld that order as valid even if he issued it for himself.

The people did not bother because it was still the rule of sense of reason after all. They never saw that dark forces of passion had overtaken sense of reason, and rule was in the name of sense of reason only in name.

The kingdom is Tamil Nadu. The judgment is on .
A chief secretary extended his own tenure, and the court did not have a problem with that.

Dark forces of politics had overtaken the reason of the constitution.

Treat for you..

You guys know that I am too much into constitution and its damn logic. These two things together should be able to solve a lot of our own queries about cause of corruption.

So , logically I kind of thought, that there is some major illogical lafda lurking at the way top ministers and bureaucrats work. I mean, c'mon, the constitution does not give powers to individual ministers at all. It gives power to Cabinet only; and that power to the Cabinet is also not formal at all. The formal power still has to vest with President and sarkari officers.

After a lot of fact finding, and crazy research through Transaction of business rules, appointment committee of cabinet process, , views from top civil servants I think I got close to this illogical working somewhere.

Basically, whoever amongst you answers these questions of mine and maintains logic(which is basically no round robin should be happening in the answers) gets a treat.

Q1) Which sarkari officer appoints the Secretary(Personnel, Ministry of Personnel) ?

Q2) Which sarkari officer appoints the Special Secretary & Establishment Officer (DoPT, Secretary to ACC) ?

Q3) Which sarkari officer appoints the Cabinet Secretary ?

In case, you think its the President then thats also acceptable as an answer. But ministers or a committee of ministers is not acceptable because they do not have the authority to do so due to article 77 clause 2 of the constitution.

I love this constitution. That combined with pure mathematical logic should be our cure.

And this illogical lafda , if proven such, is discovered right now at center level. I am sure such anomalies are even more prevalent at State level.

Answer this and you have delivered your first medicine for corruption.

(Btw, I have already filed an RTI for the above queries. And those guys were as lost to the logical answer as any outsider.)

Be Free

You speak of system being rotten. So do I. And I am going to take up this beaten up topic once again.

For analysis sake, I’ll assume the system to be same as The Constitution of India. The constitution is above all. It is supreme that I firmly believe. You can call me a constitutional extremist but that’s what I am. Today that’s what I need to be. That is my only hope today of the system, from the system. It is my holy book. No system or institution stands above it. Even the Supreme Court. As a citizen of India, you and I have a written fundamental duty to abide by that written document. You should know that per Article 51A clause (a) you will be duty bound to respectfully disagree even with the Supreme Court if it’s interpretations are not abiding with the constitution.

Makers of the constitution were not dumb. They made the checks and balances in the system to avoid getting power concentrated in the ministers. Refer to the recorded debates of the constituent assembly which was making the constitution before 26th Jan 1950. Their concerns raised then look almost prophetic today.

Only assumption that the makers of the constitution made and did not write in the constitution is that the written constitution will be followed and made to be followed by the institutions it is creating.

Obviously you and I do not expect the wily politicians and their cohorts to follow the constitution out of their own sweet will. Those guys are not that great.

Besides following the constitution to the dot makes them loose their powers big time.

Do you know that government claims that all the day to day powers of the President are actually that of ministers because of article 74(1) which binds the President to accept ministers’ advice?

But why hasn’t the government ever highlighted the clause right next to the above clause in the constitution which says that no court can assume existence, let alone the nature, of such an advice? Effectively, highlighting the second clause means giving a lot of leeway to the Prez.

Do you know that constitution allows all orders only in the name of the President? Then why has the Supreme Court declared this clause as non-mandatory. Orders made by ministers have thus been taken as orders of government. Hence this laxity by court has invited even more corruption.

Do you know that constitution says that all transfers have to be consulted through UPSC? And if the suggestion of UPSC is not followed then the government has to explain that with a memorandum in the Parliament. It does not happen though you may like to think it does.

I can go on and on. But that’s not the point I want to make today. Since it’s the Supreme Court itself which is not taking the constitution seriously enough for the sake of “not only delivering justice, but also appearing to deliver justice”, there’s little you can expect from them, though the court is still our best institution. The point is that the written constitution has to be followed.

Do not underestimate your power of expression. You earned the right to express after 26th Jan 1950 even though the right to vote had already come in before that date(Provincial elections existed even before independence). Freedom gave us the everyday right to express. Freely and fearlessly. Use that power and scare the hell out of the institutions that are taking your silence for granted.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Better pay that price now. Or else you will be forced to pay against your will. The least you could do is make them follow the constitution. Everything else will fall in place.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

One level deeper after constitution...

This writeup is targeted to senior civil servants whose work follows the "Rules of Business" made by the President or the constitutional lawyers who interpret the provisions of constitution.

Under article 77(3) of constitution, the President is empowered to create rules for convenient transaction of business and allocation of said business amongst ministers.

The President has thus made 2 rules called as

(i) "Allocation of Business rules, 1961" for allocating department and subjects to ministers, and

(ii) "Transaction of Business rules, 1961" for more convenient transaction of business of government.

The official government of India website of the rules are linked above.

I do not see anything in "Allocation of Business rules, 1961" which is against any constitutional provisions. That is not being challenged. ( I would reserve the following challenge for later, that allocation of business rules should be the ones referring the transaction of business rules due to word "said business" in the article 77(3) and not the other way round. )

It is the "Transaction of Business rules, 1961" that is being challenged.

Specifically the following 4 rules in it are challenged on grounds being constituionally invalid and requested that they do not have any place in President's rules. It is admitted that these rules are very valid in toto and are helpful but only for functioning of Council of Ministers internally. However these rules must be excluded out of President's rules.

The 4 rules are:

1) Rule number 3 which gives individual minister powers to dispose business alloted to them.

2) Rule number 4's clause 1 which gives Cabinet to decide on inter-departmental consultations on special cases.

3) Rule number 6 defining committees of the cabinet and their executive powers.

4) Rule number 12 providing power to PM to directly permit or condone a departure from these rules.

Note: The President is bound to act on aid and advice of Council of Ministers(CoM) under article 74(1). That aid and advice is not to be enquired by any court under article 74(2).

Following are the challenges offered against each of the above four rules:

1) Rule 3 which gives individual minister powers to dispose business alloted to them.

Power to dispose of business is executive action. Article 53(1) states that President exercises his authority either directly or through officers sub-ordinate to him. Therefore the person to dispose of business must be an officer, and sub-ordinate to the President as well.

If minister is treated as an officer exercising executive authority of President, then the decision of minister becomes the decision of President and therefore binding on the State. That is not the current view. Decision of minister's do not become decisions of the State as per Supreme court decisions. Therefore, power to dispose of business assuming minister is officer cannot be valid.

Also, the view of the courts' is minister is no more than an advisor to the State, constitutionally(refer Shanti Sports case and many others). Also, advises are kept away from the purview of courts because of article 74(2) as per note above. Therefore if the minister is disposing of the business as advisor then his advises to the executive will be beyond the purview of law. But then this is also not the correct current position since all of ministers advises, file noting, decisions are open to RTI. If ministers are to dispose of business as advisors then their advises must be kept secret.

Not only that. The advise, its existence , and inquiry into the nature of advise would be beyond any court. Yet courts are full of cases under Prevention of Corruption etc where minister's binding advises have been inquired into and brought into open.

Therefore, rule 1 is invalid to be included under President's rules if open-ness of minister's decision are to be allowed.

Rule 1 can be held as valid and consistent with courts only when it is interpreted that individual minister's instructions in this rule are not advises, therefore non-binding on civil servants. In case of difference of opinion between a minister and a civil servant final decision rests with President who may either choose to accept that minister's decision or choose to exercise his right under article 78(c) to let the minister's decision be considered by CoM.

2) Rule 4 clause 1 which gives Cabinet to decide on inter-departmental consultations on special cases.

(This rule 4 clause 1 is being challenged as invalid on the assumption that by Cabinet is meant "Cabinet of Ministers or CoM". If it is interpreted as Cabinet Secretariat, then it is not being challenged. )

For inter-departmental consultations, President cannot make decision of the cabinet binding on the civil servants without compromising open-ness. Decision of cabinet will also,constitutionally speaking be treated as advise only , and hence will have to kept out of purview of the courts.

However the decision of Council of minister, to President can be considered as binding on civil servants and not compromise open-ness. It will be made open to court as well because it will be the instruction from the President to the civil servant that will be brought into open even though that instruction may be same as CoM's advice.

This rule 4 is assuming that decisions of CoM are same as decisions of President, and assuming further that President is denying himself the right to encourage, right to warn and right to be consulted by the CoM. Decisions of CoM are not the decisions of President and therefore not the decisions of the State , this has been established by courts. President cannot not only give up his rights, but also cannot appear to give up his rights. There is a case of an act of self-abnegation.

Therefore rule 4 clause 1 is invalid to be included if Cabinet is interpreted as not being Cabinet Secretariat, and open-ness of decisions to civil servants in inter-departmental matters ,from CoM is to be allowed.

The executive business of inter-departmental decisions should be with Cabinet Secretariat or the head of all departments i.e. the President, to make the system open and consistent with courts' view.

3) Rule 6 defining committees of the cabinet and their executive powers

This rule 6 is being challenged as invalid because

a) As shown above, it will require the communication of standing committee's decisions to civil servants as not eligible for coming into open. Standing committees consisting of ministers can communicate only their advise.

b) The President under article 74(1) is to take advice from a Council of ministers as a whole. President cannot break CoM into smaller parts (of committee's) for decision making for his convenience. Breaking up itself is CoM's internal matter. In fact President is supposed to enforce collective responsibility inherent to article 74(1) . President is even further expected to return decisions as specified under article 78(c) for consideration by entire council if he feels that such a decision has not been considered by the CoM.

This rule is valid if it was a rule made by Council of Ministers for their internal working. However it is invalid to be included in President's rules.

Also, the Standing committee minister's have been given direct charge to issue orders without allocating the said business to a ministery/department/mantralaya in allocation of business rules. The orders of Standing committees will become binding once they have been accepted by a department head/ministry/mantralaya. Article 77(3) makes it binding on President to include the said business in allocation rules. Since such is not the case, rule is invalid till then.

4) Rule 12 providing power to PM to directly permit or condone a departure from these rules.

As per rule 12, PM gets direct powers to permit or condone departure from these rules to the extent he deems neccessary.

It is fact that these rules are made by the President and therefore only the President can permit or condone departure from these rules. Permitting or condoning departure from these rules of business is executive decision. PM is not the head of executive and does not have executive authority. PM can definetely advise the President to permit or condone departure from the rules, and the President is bound to act on that advise as PM is the head of CoM.

However, until that advice is accepted it does not become effective in executive functioning of the government. President can exercise his right to warn, consult and encourage. This rule is valid if it is interpreted as condonation or departure pemitted by the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Corrections to these 4 rules above should get us quite ahead in sorting out this corruption.

At the constitution level there does not appear to be any systemic problem. We have chosen the Parliamentary style of working which is working very well in developed countries like UK, Canada, Australia etc. The systemic problem is therefore not as deep as being at constitutional level.

Getting one level above constitution throws up inconsistencies as shown above. The corruption appears to be spreading from inconsistencies of these business rules with provisions of constitution.

These 4 medicine prescriptions after diagnosis should be able to sort out the corruption. In case, they think clearing these rules is too tough a medicine then they can at least take the medicines with easiest first as follows:

a) In rule 12, add "President, on the advise of the Prime Minister" instead of "Prime Minister". President is anyway bound to act on the advise of the Prime Minister.

b) Mention the business of Standing Committees of rule 6, in "Allocation of business rules, 1961" such that the business of the Standing Committees fall under one department/mantralaya or vibhag. In any case, the departments/mantralaya/vibhag will be instructed by corresponding Standing Committees due to Rule 3.

c) The word "Cabinet" in rule 4 should be replaced with "Cabinet Secretariat". Cabinet Secretariat is already bound under Rule 3 to be instructed by Cabinet. Its decisions will be decisions of the Cabinet.

d) Modifying Rule 3 is going to be the toughest medicine to take. The rule in reality is useful, but not relevant under President's rules. Perhaps, they should be followed internally as Council of Minister's rules, signed by PM. Perhaps, these rules should be retained as it is, with a provision of difference of opinion between the department and minister(s) to be referred to Council of Ministers and the President.

Lets try getting these medicines across one by one.