Saturday, April 25, 2015

Modi to protect ‘Honest’ Babus from CBI

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Exclusive report

Modi to protect ‘Honest’  Babus from CBI
Amend the law struck down by SC three times in the past

Almost one year after taking over, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to protect the Babus from the clutches of the dreaded CBI.

The government will make it mandatory for the CBI to seek its prior permission before launching inquiry against any officer of the rank of Joint Secretary and above. In order to protect the senior Babus who had virtually stopped taking decisions and any initiative for the fear of being hauled up by the CBI, the government will bring a bill in the Budget session of the Parliament itself.

A decision in this regard was taken at the highest level in the government with the Prime Minister directing the Law Minister Sadanand Gowda to bring the bill in the current session itself. Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley who headed the informal group of ministers on the issue suggested the British Bribery Act be followed in letter and spirit where a distinction has been made between an “erroneous or malafide” decision. While a decision taken with malafide intention aimed at causing loss to the exchequer or benefiting an individual is prosecutable, an erroneous decision be given exempted.

Interestingly, this will be a bold move on the part of the Modi government considering the fact that the Supreme Court had annulled the same provision three times earlier.

The apex court had overturned a legislative action to fetter the CBI from inquiring against senior babus first time on December 18, 1997 by striking down the 'single directive' provision. However, the Vajpayee government restored the shield for bureaucrats by promulgating an Ordinance on August 25, 1998. But the SC against struck it down the provision from the Ordinance itself. A determined Vajpayee  September 12, 2003 inserted Section 6A in the DSPE Act once again on September 12, 2003. But it was challenged again in 2005 by Subramanian Swamy and NGO 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation' and it was struck down.  The UPA government did not muster the courage to restore the Single Directive which made the Babus insecure. The PC Parakh and H C Gupta cases in the coalgate cases highlighted the problem faced by the honest bureaucrats again in 2012-13.

Modi held a series of parleys with the senior bureaucrats who demanded protection of the government. It was in this background that the government has now decided to suitably amend the section 6E keeping in mind the wishes of the Supreme Court and also to protect the honest babus. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Goodbye, ideologue

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

 The ‘election’ of Sitaram Yechuri as the fifth general secretary of the CPI(M) at the just concluded 21st party congress at Vishakhapatnam, and the obvious though unstated defeat of S. Ramachandra Pillai, a proxy of outgoing chief Prakash Karat, may acquire more than symbolic value if Yechuri can prove himself to be an agent of change. He has age on his side, being 15 years younger than 77-year-old Pillai. Yechuri is also a pukka Delhi-ite, educated in St. Stephens and JNU, and is a fluent speaker in Hindi and Bengali, in addition to his native Telugu. He is as much a member of the capital’s Lutyen circuit as was the late Harkishan Singh Surjeet, party general secretary prior to Karat. Pillai’s credentials on these scores obviously do not add up to even a fraction of Yechury’s. But Karat is an enigma.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


As the trust deficit rising, Modi is increasingly becoming a loner

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will baffle psychologists. When it comes to strategising, he is a Gujarati Napoleon. Before the budget session of Parliament, nobody thought he could move an inch on the trickiest of issues, the land acquisition bill. Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha stood like a rock to thwart the bill. But now there are chinks in the wall and many are betting in favour of the bill’s success. But when it is about handling people, Modi is prone to tie himself up in knots, or to fly off the handle. He is at his best when left to himself, but he is also ok when abroad, as he currently is. Problems are all at home.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Socialist alternative; Jam tomorrow

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

The first thing they (Socialists) want is that if they come to power", said B. R. Ambedkar in his speech on 4 November 1948, "the Constitution must give them the freedom to nationalize or socialize all private property without payment of compensation." Unlike Jawaharlal Nehru, a product of the British education system when Europe's intelligentsia was trying to come to terms with socialists if that could keep communists away, Ambedkar studied in the pre-War US which generally accepted the view that putting private property under state control is nothing but a journey down the "road to serfdom". It is therefore natural that the architect of the Indian Constitution was so wary of socialism.