Friday, May 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Crumbling pillars of governance: dangers of a system where jobs are sold

You have made some very good comments on the crumbling pillars of governance in your article (April 26). You have rightly observed that the quality of governance really depends on the quality of the services and the quality of education in the country. So much has been said and written in national newspapers about rampant corruption in the administration at all levels. However, the rapid deterioration in the old standards of IAS, IPS and other senior officers finds no mention in the excerpts of the reports submitted by the Constitutional Review Commission as published in newspapers. Thus, no recommendation whatsoever appears to have been made by the commission to make any changes in the Constitution for upgrading the standard of services or at least save them from further deterioration, although this is the most important core issue constantly facing all citizens in this country.

Politicians in India today are primarily interested in grabbing power and in conducting governance of the state in the old feudal style without showing consideration for any merit in the selection or appointments of public servants. It is well known to all citizens that appointments of members and Chairmen of State Public Service Commissions have never been made on any consideration of merit by Chief Ministers and often known corrupt and controversial persons have been given this constitutional responsibility of selection of personnel for appointments to senior administrative and judicial jobs in the state administration. It is also widely known that some of them had paid large amounts to some Chief Ministers for their appointments as members/ Chairmen of State Public Service Commissions.


It is indeed amazing that the Governors, who are charged with the responsibility of protecting the Constitution and upholding the rule of law, have meekly administered the oath of office of members and Chairmen of State Public Service Commissions to even such citizens who were facing criminal prosecution or were unable to pass any school examination in their life time. Such gross abuse of official power by Chief Ministers and the Governors blessing such misconduct of the Chief Ministers has finally led to the constitution of such Public Service Commissions in some of the states where all good jobs are openly sold to citizens. In this background, nobody should expect any honest response from state officers, who have secured their appointments through unfair and corrupt means.

However, the conduct of large majority of senior IAS and IPS officers in the state administration is also equally pathetic because over the years the politician has discovered the fact that all government powers really vest in him and the civil servant, whatever be his official status, is more like a domestic servant who cannot afford to disobey his illegal orders. Therefore, IAS, IPS officers have finally reconciled to accept this position and most of them now volunteer to misuse their official position for satisfying the personal interests of the politicians in power. That is how most of the IAS, IPS officers have protected their service career and many of them have also promoted their personal interests by openly colluding with politicians in all kinds of illegal activities.

There is no possibility of any selection and appointment on merit until adequate Constitutional changes are made not only for making appointments of members and Chairman of State Public Service Commission on the pattern laid down for the appointment of judges, but also for protecting senior officials of the state against the whims and tactics of the politicians in power in matter of their transfers and postings, promotions and demotions and also suspension and prosecution on false and frivolous allegations which often frighten even most upright officers to succumb to the pressure tactics of the politicians in power. The principles of democracy no doubt envisage that final authority in all administration matters should vest in the elected representatives of the people. However, the rule of law is a more sacrosanct principle of democracy and no elected representative of the people should be allowed to violate this rule by misusing his powers and position through any public servant.

R. S. MALIK, IAS (retd), Panchkula.

Badal vs Amarinder: Mr Ravi Sidhu is not a rare discovery which the new government in Punjab just stumbled upon. Sidhus are everywhere but governments lack will power to corner them. These Sidhus have insatiable lust for money. The hawk-eyed politicians reward them with plum positions using their discretionary powers. Here these Chairmen, chiefs of public undertakings squeeze the public blood and feed it to their masters who were kind enough to bestow powers on them.

The Punjab Vigilance Department never dared to touch Mr Ravi Sidhu since he was a product of the corrupt government, which patronised him for definite motives. He did his duty for which his appointment was exclusively made. What he had been doing during his whole tenure was well known to the public as well as the Punjab Vigilance. But only with the change of government, the same police was able to nab the big shark. This clearly shows the priorities of Mr Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh. Let us understand that a corrupt system thrives only under a corrupt government.

KARNAIL SINGH, Ranjit Sagar Dam.

Sukh Ram case: This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article in which we find a reference to once great French revolutionary Regis Derby, who in the company of legendary Che-Guvera in the jungles of Bolovia in Latin America, thought of the theory: “Revolution in the Revolution”. What he meant is that “Stagnant waters stink”. In theory, though in a little lop-sided manner, was applied in China in the name of Cultural Revolution. Nehru too experimented a little in the shape of Kamraj Plan where many such persons were removed. They included Jagjivan Ram, a powerful Cabinet Minister, who is reported to have admitted that he forgot to file his tax returns for 10 years.

But what can be done with people who keep gunny bags full with currency notes, be it the ex-governor of Punjab, the late Surinder Nath, who had died in an air crash near Mandi where bags full of money rained from the sky or the alleged recovery of gunny bags full of currency notes worth crores from the house of Sukh Ram at Mandi? Ravi Sidhu, PPSC chief, seems to have broken all the previous records.

The malady of corruption is eating the system bite by bite and the skeleton of Indian democracy is likely to crumble if the Preamble of the Constitution which talks of socialism, secularism, democracy is not enforced. I congratulate Mr Hari Jaisingh for speaking his mind off and on.


He will escape: Frequent exposes of cases of corruption and the wide publicity these exposes get have in the absence of punishment to the guilty led to an increase in corrupt practices. What has been the end result of all that has been said or done about the Bofors case, the JMM case, Fodder scam, Jayalalitha’s cases and her foster son’s marriage, Urea scam, hawala scam and the recent tehelka exposes? Everybody, except the CBI and the courts, knows who the culprits are. Thousands of crores of rupees have been pocketed by a few individuals, and the irony of the situation is that these same persons are at the centrestage of national political institutions from where they deliver sermons on honesty and secularism.

Yes, jobs can be bought and “the first priority of these successful persons would be to fleece the public” as Mr Hari Jaisingh says. Even postings and transfers are bought, and the person buying one posting has to recover the amount spent and also keep in reserve the amount that will be required for his next posting. And once an employee has tasted the blood.... And if a patient has to undergo laboratory tests for the sake of commissions that are paid to a registered medical practitioner or a registered veterinary practitioner, or for the approval of a map to the engineer concerned, the system under which admissions to professional colleges are bought is to be blamed. Can a government that sells admissions and transfers and postings expect honesty from its employees? Mayawati (and Rajnath) have yet to pay their electricity bills running into lakhs of rupees, and she is going to be the CM again! With the PM’s active help at that!

So what will be the fate of the present case? “Nothing will happen to Ravi Sidhu. We know he will manage to wriggle out.” So say the students as reported by Reeta Sharma. (Windows, April 27). And the students are right. And the selected (now rejected) candidates have themselves to blame for having paid a person appointed by a CM who is no longer in power. You cannot pay one shopkeeper and get your goods from the next!

No, sir, the solution does not lie in a reformed service commission. It lies in empowering the heads of departments to make recruitments to class IV and class III posts and the higher posts should be filled through the UPSC.

L. R. SHARMA, Solan


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