When the coercive power of the State is wielded by the executive, this should be accompanied by appropriate checks and balances. Good practice in regulatory governance requires that when regulators wish to make changes to regulations, and thus affect the rights of private parties, the regulators must furnish reasons for making those changes. This increases transparency, predictability, and accountability.
I have a post on Prof. Ajay Shah's blog discussing how the constitution prevents PSUs from taking pure commercial decisions from their very inception: Click Here.
My paper proposing a framework for Parliamentary Oversight in India has been published in the NUJS Law Review (link). A brief description of the paper: "The need for a strong monitoring mechanism of the Executive in India has been made clearer by recent allegations of corruption against high-ranking officials of the central government. The Indian Parliament … Continue reading My paper on parliamentary oversight in India
I have a co-authored post on the reforming the FDI regulatory framework in India on Ajay Shah's blog here. The post was published on April 21, 2014, and has been co-authored by me, Ajay Shah, and Arjun Rajagopal. The post is being reproduced below. Capital controls against FDI in aviation: An example of bad governance … Continue reading Post on revising the regulatory framework for FDI and capital controls
This post was first published by Humorlessindianlawyer.blogspot.in on April 8, 2014. Imagine, living in India with a Parliament that makes laws, an executive that implements these laws and a court system that interprets these laws. Now, imagine Parliament making the following law: Right to regulate all Economic Activities Completely Act, 2014 Section 1. This Act … Continue reading Putting Carts Before Horses. And How?
1 Introduction Today's Mint carries an article on how political parties have increasingly moved to a system of "localised" manifestoes for the 2014 general election. This is a significant trend that began with Aam Aadmi Party's Delhi election campaign where it released local manifestoes for each assembly constituency (link). The BJP followed suit in Delhi, and according to … Continue reading Constituency-wise Manifestoes, their regulation and consequences
This post has been written by Mr. Pratik Datta. Background Present Indian laws ’prohibit’ foreign direct investment (FDI) in railways (other than mass rapid transport system). Of late there has been growing expectation that the Indian Government might allow 100% FDI in construction and maintenance of railway projects (but not in operations). Suddenly the optimism … Continue reading Foreign direct investment in railways: Does national security matter?
1 Introduction The Aam Aadmi Party led Delhi Government has (link) slashed power tariffs in Delhi, and is in the midst of an ongoing tussle (link) with Reliance owned discom BSES over the supply of electricity in certain parts of Delhi. The AAP, even before taking the reins of the Delhi Government had long accused the Delhi discoms of overcharging … Continue reading AAP Governance:The dangerous and regressive fight over Electricity pricing
Some good stuff to read this week: Vinod K. Jose in Caravan on the lack of a larger philosophical framework for the Indian media to operate within: "Habits of Mind" Nobel Laureate physicist Walter Kohn remembers one-time partner, Indian physicist Chanchal Kumar Majumdar in "A master and his protege". Pratap Bhanu Mehta's engaging piece on … Continue reading Interesting reads: Media, merit vs. communism, and elections 2013
A woman bank manager was brutally attacked yesterday while inside an ATM in Bangalore yesterday. Apart from the gruesome attack on the lady, what has been bizarrely shocking has been the response of the police to the same. Facts: On Nov. 20, a woman, who is also a bank manager (not clear if she was … Continue reading Bangalore ATM Attack and police abdication
iPal is an attempt to make comprehensible certain words that sound familiar, but mean something entirely different when used in Indian governance and politics. 1. Aam Aadmi: Rich people who dress badly. 2. Public interest: a) Interest of Aam aadmi. b) source of power to override law, constitution, logic, reason, everything. 3. Subsidy: Screw you … Continue reading Introducing the Indian Public Administration Lexicon or “iPal”*
The text below is from my brief titled "Who is a Public Authority under the Right to Information Act, 2005?" as published on the website of Accountability Initiative, published in September 2013. The brief can be accessed here. The definition of ‘public authorities’ under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (“RTI Act”) has been an … Continue reading What entities are public authorities under the RTI Act?
I had written this post in 2009 when Telengana first became a major political issue. I am re-posting it since major decisions about the creation of Telengana are underway. Minor edits and updates have been made and are provided in italics. In my earlier post on the issue of Telengana's statehood, I tried to provide … Continue reading State Building in India II: Indian Constitution and new states
Following is the article I wrote for Seminar Magazine (May 2013 issue) as a response to a piece on obstructions in Parliament: Communication AN article in the February 2013 issue of Seminar titled ‘The Real Price of Parliamentary Obstruction’ by Tarunabh Khaitan highlights the issue of recent obstructionism in Parliament and elaborates on its attendant consequences. The piece highlights … Continue reading My article in Seminar Magazine on Parliamentary obstruction
-writing from Harvard Law School. Over the last few months, people have either whole-heartedly supported Ana Hazare's crusade against corruption, or have cautioned against the dangers of un-deliberated actions by civil society. Some have also taken pains to highlight how the movement is seemingly undemocratic. One of the most interesting analyses I read of … Continue reading Can “civil” society also reform the state?
The central government does not have a direct role to play in the functioning of municipal bodies. It however releases funds to state governments annually for urban development. These funds are released based on the recommendations of the Central Finance Commission’s report. The central government also has a role in municipal administration by promoting urban … Continue reading Local Government II: Central government and local bodies
This post tries to pen down my recent pre-occupation with the concept of the 'welfare state' as we understand in India. The dominant story of our democracy through the last 60 years has been of bringing the majority of our population out of poverty, and providing them a social security net. Even the economic reforms … Continue reading What is a true welfare state?
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India audits the accounts and performance of government ministries, departments, and various schemes that are being run in the country. It is a body set up under the Constitution of India (Article 148), and its reports have to be tabled in Parliament (Article 151). A report or document tabled … Continue reading Selective transparency: CAG Reports on Defence
"What kind of impact do some judgements have on the finances of the government?" In this post, I propose to look at this question using a judgement delivered in April 2009. In the course of this post, I also argue that judges should refrain from delivering judgements which have huge financial and policy implications, as … Continue reading How much does a Supreme Court judgement cost?
In this post, I very briefly summarise the current flashpoints between India and China. I am also mentioning 10 points about the strategic interests of both countries in the Indian Ocean, as we tend to overlook that in most discussions on border disputes. Jammu and Kashmir - Since India was invaded by China in 1962, … Continue reading India v. China III: Current Flashpoints
For this entry, I decided to look into the question of Tibet, and came across references to a meeting very few have heard of. It was probably the last meeting at an international forum that Tibet represented itself as an independent country. The meeting I refer to is called the Asian Relations Conference of 1947. … Continue reading India v. China II: Tibet
Beginning today, I am planning to write a series of posts on relations between India and China. I mainly intend to summarise facts and opinions which are being talked about, rather than formulate my own opinions. My sources are mostly going to be newspaper articles and so on, and also government information, whenever possible. In … Continue reading India v. China I: Early on
Today's post is an article appearing in the Indian Express, concerning the condition of judges in our country: In defence of their lordships (Indian Express) GOPAL SANKARANARAYANAN Posted online: Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 0250 hrs On September 1 2009, Neeraj Kishan Kaul stepped down as a judge of the Delhi High Court — a … Continue reading Judging our judges
The cover-story of a recent issue of COVERT magazine provides an alarming picture of drug-abuse in Punjab ('THE DRUGS HURRICANE OF PUNJAB'). To quote some statistics: 1. 16% of the population of Punjab is hooked to hard drugs. 2. As of 2000, 67% of rural households in Punjab had at least one drug addict in … Continue reading Drugs Hurricane in one of the richest states in the Country
This is from a link a colleague forwarded. A group called Freedom House has just completed a 'Freedom in the World 2010' survey. Here are a couple of graphs from their work: The graphs show, (1) the number of democracies in the world today are the least since 1996, and (2) the percentage of electoral … Continue reading Amount of freedom in the world
Two new op-eds in Indian Express offer substantial views on the issues discussed in the last entry: Call off the mob Article on the Ruchika case highlighting the following issues: (1) the easy acceptance of injustice in society, (2) the systemic failure which prompts the Union Law Minister to say one particular case should be … Continue reading Ruchika and the Indian Visa embargo
The re-organisation of states in India may not simply be a question of giving voice to the aspirations of neglected groups within a specific region of the country. It is also a question of whether such a group will be able to form capable institutions of administration to reap the benefits of statehood. This is … Continue reading State building in India – I