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Think Learn & Perform (TLP): GS Mains Synopsis [Day 20]

  • September 20, 2015
  • 3
Think and Learn-2015, TLP Mains 2015, UPSC, UPSC Mains- Think and Learn-2015
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TLP: GS Mains Synopsis [Day 20]

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Q.1) “The CAG of India is a prosecutor with a law that hobbles its functioning, a judge without the power to sentence and a litigant with no right to appeal.” Do you agree? Substantiate your opinion by examining the role of CAG in India.

 

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Nishant

Ans) The CAG is required to secure financial accountability of the Executive. A look into its role in this regard:

  1. The CAG derives its powers and duties from Parliament Acts. But they have not been amended regularly to reflect the changes in public policies. For. The DPC Act 1971 is yet to be amended to provide CAG with powers to audit government spending in PPP projects.
  2. The CAG takes no further part beyond submitting its audit reports to the PAC. Further actions are conditional upon the Parliament and not CAG. Therefore, it has no power to punish despite ‘status’ of an SC judge.
  3. The CAG is obligated to report ‘post-facto’ only on the legality of executive spending. It “may” comment on acts of impropriety and wasteful spending. But the second role is only discretionary. For eg. The CAG reported a huge loss in the Coal Scam but it was simply brushed aside as “presumptive” by the PAC. Such incidents severely undermine the authority of the CAG
  4. The CAG cannot take suo-moto action on its reports. Neither can they be produced as evidences against government misappropriations. In a way, there is no right to appeal attached with CAG or its reports.

Hailed as the guardian of the public purse, CAG has fallen way of short of the words. In practice, it has been reduced to a glorified accountant of the government.


Q.2) Analyze the merits and demerits of creation of an All India Judicial Services in India.

 

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Jeandreze 

Ans) Any form of All India Service is created to serve the larger goal of National Interest.When Judicial Services of National Character is thought of, the following challenges emerge:-

  1. Multi-linguistic Nation:- It might become an administrative challenge to carry work when local language is different for the judge
  2. If it is cadre based then corruption may emerge as judges would be fixed for long term.
  3. People with lack of required experience may get selected.

However, this system should be welcomed for the following positive changes:-

  1. It will separate executive & judiciary as appointments would be exam based.
  2. It will clear backlog of cases and improve judges& judicial cases ratio as fixed no of judges enter the system every year.
  3. Preparing for the next role :- All India Judicial Services will bring new experiences to the Supreme court.
  4. It will improve Transparency as well as encourage meritocracy.This will clean the system in the long run.

As the changes would bring both positives/negatives result,the interest of the public especially poor sections should be the deciding factor for bringing reforms.


Q.3) Distinguish between the Cabinet Secretariat and Prime Minister’s Secretariat. Which of the above is more important in terms of its functioning in the country?

 

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Heidi

Ans) Cabinet secretariat is the supporting institution of the apex executive body of ‘cabinet’. On the other hand Prime Minister’s Secretariat, which has been transformed into a powerful PMO by Indira Gandhi, gives direct assistance to the prime minister.

As far as the ‘collective responsibility’ doctrine is concerned, cabinet secretariat holds more recognition by constitutional practices than the PMO. But in the context of a ‘prime ministerial government’, PMO has been increasingly recognized as the power center, especially in the recent Indian context.

There have been considerable debate in the country on an increasingly empowering PMO and a gradually declining cabinet Secretariat. And controversies between the two institutions also makes the question of ‘who is powerful’ ever alive.

The importance of the two institutions are equally recognized from the way they give significant and progressive assistance as per they are mandated with. both institutions are undoubtedly inevitable. However a strong and charismatic prime minister can always make PMO more powerful and influential. And India have seen this already on multiple prime ministerial periods in the history.

The functions, each institutions undertake make them important contributors of our political delivery mechanism. It is not competition rather cooperation, that makes them ever relevant.

 

The Other Top Answer for this question is written by – Manikanta Vasu

Ans) PMS was estd in 1947 and renamed as PMO ( Prime Minister office) in 1977. It is estd.to provide direct administrative assistance to Prime Minister. Cabinet secretariat is established in 1950 and mentioned in the allocation of business rules 1961.

The basic differences b/w the two are.

-PMO provides direct assisatnce to Prime Minister and CS provides secretarial services to the cabinet.

– Administration of rules of business was done by the CS but not by the PMO.

– PMO is responsible for advising PM in his role as “Head of the government” where as CS concerned with the PM responsibilities as the “leader of the cabinet”.

– PMO is also responsible for controlling PM relief fund, national defence fund. CS has no such responsibilities.

Both are important in functioning of the government. Both serve as the breeding grounds of policies of the government. But the present status of PMO was powerful than CS. It was Lal Bahadur shastri and Indira Gandhi who made the PMO more powerful. Almost all the decisions taken by the PM have backed by the PMO advice. CS advisory role was less compared to PMO. The recent initiative of the PMO is ‘mygov.in’ which itslef showing the importance of PMO in the decision making process of PM. Hence as compared to CS , PMS is more important and it is now in participative approach to run the government.


Q.4) “Parliamentarians have always held that Parliament is supreme. But, actually it is the Constitution that is supreme”. Comment.

 

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Deepansh

Ans) Indian Constitution has borrowed many concepts from the UK. But, UK does not have a written Constitution and the Parliament can make and amend any law it desires. Thus, in UK Parliament is supreme.

There are certain misconceptions that give the impression that the same maybe true in India also.

Misconception 1: Any law enacted by the Parliament, is supreme and unquestionable.

Reality: The Preamble clearly mentions, “We the people”. Thus we, as sovereign people, have given authority to the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. By the provisions of Articles 13 (Any law contravening the provisions of FR is void), 32 and 226 (SC and HC as protector of FR) of the Constitution, any law enacted by the Parliament can subjected to judicial review and can be declared ultra vires if found unconstitutional.

Misconception 2: Parliament’s amending powers are absolute.

Reality: Firstly, the power to amend is given by the Constitution itself by way of Article 368. Secondly, Parliament cannot change the “basic structure” of the Constitution eg: the democratic character of polity, etc. This doctrine was established by the Supreme Court in the Kesavananda Bharati case and reiterated in Minerva Mills case.

Constitution is the source of all the powers. The Parliament is just vested with some of the powers and thus can never replace the Constitution. Hence, the supremacy of the Constitution, in India’s context, is undeniable.


Q.5) In a recent move, Public Account Committee (PAC) had intended for bringing about a legislative change to make the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) accountable to the Parliament. Critically examine the consequences if this decision is carried out in India.

 

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Heidi

Ans) The move of the Public Account Committee to make CAG accountable to the parliament is likely to change the equations of the checks and balances in the system and autonomy and independence of CAG significantly.

Accountability

Being accountable to a constitutional entity will make CAG more responsible, credible and impartial in its function. However its autonomy which provides for fearless action should not be compromised.

Credibility.

CAG, being an independent constitutional authority is out of reach of political control. making it accountable to parliament poses threat on its credibility as there can be political influence on it.

Public Trust

Recent proactive interventions of the CAG which brought out a series of scams and corruptions to the light made immense faith in the public and they view it as a proper unbiased check on the executive. this trust should not be eroded.

Constitutional Promise.

An independent and autonomous CAG is a promising provision of the constitution. The wide ranging scope of such an institution cannot be compromised for political negotiations.

Though there are limitations for CAG on certain procedural and functional fronts, It still remains as an independent, credible and autonomous constitutional body mandated to have a watch and check on executive misdeeds and infringements. It should not be diluted.

 

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