Sensing the need for immediate and comprehensive evaluation of the administrative system, the Government of India appointed the second Administrative Reforms Commission on 31 August 2005, under the chairmanship of S. Veerappa Moily, member of Congress working committee and former Chief Minister of Karnataka. The Commission gave three reports in June 2006, July 2006 and September 2006. The fourth report released on 12 February 2007. ‘Ethics in Governance’, has been the latest, recommending greater transparency, accountability and ethical behavior in politics, judiciary, and administration.
Corruption is an important manifestation of the failure of ethics. Consequently, the commission also suggested measures for reducing or eliminating corruption. An empowered committee had already been set up to examine the recommendations of the commission and give its report.
The Commission was supposed to –
Suggest measures to achieve a proactive, responsive, accountable, sustainable and efficient administration for the country at all levels of the government. submit its report to the government within one year. broadly give recommendations on the following –
- Organisational structure of the Government of India.
- Ethics in governance.
- Refurbishing of Personnel Administration.
- Strengthening of Financial Management Systems.
- Steps to ensure effective administration at the state level.
- Steps to ensure effective District Administration.
- Local Self Government/Panchayat Raj Institutions.
- Social capital, Trust and participative public service delivery.
- Citizen-centric administration.
- Promoting e-governance.
- Issues of Fedeal Polity.
- Crisis Management.
- Public Order.
Composition of Second Administrative Reforms Commission
Main Recommendations of 2nd ARC
- National Ombudsman: Lokpal should be given a Constitutional status and renamed the ‘Rashtriya Lokayukta’.
- Jurisdiction of Lokayukta should be extended to all Union Ministers except the Prime Minister, all Chief Ministers, all those holding public office equivalent to the ranks of a Union Minister and MPs.
- Lokayukta: The Constitution should be amended to incorporate a provision making it obligatory on the part of State Governments to establish the institution of Lokayukta.
- Lokayukta is to deal with curruption related cases only against ministers and MLAs.
- Ombudsman at Local Level: A Local Bodies’ Ombudsman should be constituted for a group of districts to investigate cases of corruption or maladministration against the functionaries of the local bodies and submit reports to the competent authorities.
- National Judicial Council: It recommended for setting up a NJC by amending Art. 124 and 217 of the Constitution of India for the purpose of recommending appointments of Supreme Court and High Court Judges.
- The NJC should have the following composition: The Vice-President should be the Chairperson of the Council. The PM, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India, the Union Law Minister, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha should be its members.
- The Council should be authorised to lay down the code of conduct for judges, including the Subordinate Judiciary.
- NJC should be empowered to investigate to inquire into alleged misconduct and impose minor penalties.
- NJC should be empowered to recommend removal of a Judge, if so warranted, based on the recommendations of the NJC, the President should have the powers to remove a Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court.
- Corruption: Citizens should be empowered to file cases to recover loss of public money due to corruptions.
- The Prevention of Corruption Act should be suitably amended to include in its purview private sector providers of public utility services.
- Office of Profit: It recommended that the law should be amended to define office of profit.
- All offices involving executive decision-making and control of punlic funds, including positions on the governing boards of public undertakings and statutory and non-statutory authorities directly deciding policy or managing institutions or authorising or approving expenditure should be treated as” office of profit and no legislator shall hold such offices.
- Election Commission: A collegium headed by the Prime Minister with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Law Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha as members should make recommendations for the consideration of the president of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners.
- Election Expenditure: A system for partial state funding should be introduced in order to reduce the scope of illegitimate and unnecessary funding of expenditure for elections.
- Anti-Defection Law: There should be a constitutional amendment to bar mid-stream alignment of parties in a coalition.
- The constitutional amendment should ensure that a party which joins a coalition on the basis of a common minimum programme should be required to seek a fresh mandate if it attempts mid-term re-alignment.
- The Commission has recommended empowering the President and Governors in the States to take a call on allegations of defection.
- The President and Governors should disqualify MPs and MLAs respectively for defection, at the recommendation of the Election Commission.
MPLADS and MLALADS: SARC has recommended that schemes such as MPLADS (Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) and the MLALADS (Member of the Legislative Assembly Local Area Development Scheme) should be abolished.