Are suggestions of citizens taken into consideration by Government only when invited?
A letter to the Cabinet Secretariat by a citizen.
ALLOCATION OF BUSINESS RULES – DELEGATION OF POWERS AND PROACTIVE DISCLOSURE
Kindly refer to my letter dated 19.09.13 on the subject above, and another letter titled DEALING WITH POLICY MATTERS dated 23rd Oct, 2013 resting with you. My letter dated 19.09.13 received through PMO was further forwarded by you to DARPG vide No.1/21/111/2013-Cab. dated 14.11.2013 (inadvertently 2012).
Democracy is an open Government by the people, of the people and for the people but not a governance/dictation by Permanent Executives. The Permanent Executives are servants to democracy not masters. Democracy is worth neither leaving at the mercy of Permanent Executives nor in their tight grip. The Rules, Regulations, Acts, Schemes etc framed by Government reflect the policies pursued or followed by a Government. Democracy is a form of governance by the people hence democracy requires active participation of Citizens. Obviously being a citizen of Republic of India I have suggested some changes in the existing rules and procedures of transacting Business in governance. The said suggestions were processed by Shailja N. Joshi DS, DARPG, and she has advised vide her letter No. H-16012/3/2013-PG(Misc.) dated 03.12.13 that as per prescribed procedure(?) , suggestions of citizens on various Statutory Rules in Government are taken into consideration only when these are invited from citizens……, and the suggestions put forth by me have been stalled and dejected without any authority belying the basic philosophy of democracy.
However any reference to such “prescribed procedure” has been neither made nor such anti-people procedure is in existence in any of the manuals of procedure but Ms. Joshi has planted such an arrogant procedure in a totally self-styled manner.
The OM No.1/6/2011-IR dated the 15th April, 2013 issued by DOPT goes on to say, “ ALL GOVERNMENT OFFICERS HAVE TO FOLLOW LAID DOWN OFFICE PROCEDURE MANUAL OR THE OTHER RULES which gives details of how representations, petitions and applications from citizens must be dealt with.”
Some of the selected paras from Central Secretariat Manual of Procedure prepared by DARPG itself say as under:
161. Review of rules, regulations and manuals :-
(1) Every section will maintain an up to date list of rules, regulations and manuals administered by it and take action for their review, every three years.
66 (4) Where the request of a member of the public cannot be acceded to for any reason, reasons for not acceding to such a request should be given.
(5) As far as possible, requests from members of public, should be looked at from the user's point of view and not solely from the point of view of what may be administratively convenient.
3. The Council of Ministers -
(1) In the exercise of his functions, the President is aided and advised by a Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. In actual practice the executive power of the Union resides in the Council of Ministers.
(2) The Council of Ministers consists of three categories of Ministers, namely:
(a) Cabinet Ministers;
(b) Ministers of State; and
(c) Deputy Ministers.
(3) The Cabinet, which consists of Ministers of the first category only, is responsible for shaping the overall policies of the Government in discharging its responsibilities. It sometimes functions through its Committees.
Illustrative list of functions to be performed by the Internal Work Study Units/O&M Units
Rationalisation of structures and procedures suo moto or on request, including those relating to activities where the public comes into contact with governmental administration with a view to obviating harassment to the public. (For these studies they will compile and maintain upto date information concerning the organisation and functions of the Ministry/Department including an organisational chart).
In view of the above I am constrained to say as under:
1. Since the suggestions submitted involve change in Policy matter hence a comprehensive, self contained note touching all the crucial issues must have been placed before PM( being incharge Cabinet Minister) because any Secretary or even the State Minister have no authority to decide on policy matter in terms of Para 3(3) of CSMOP. Authority to accept includes authority to reject.
2. DARPG should follow para 66(5), 161, 167(3)- APPENDIX -65.
Therefore it is requested once again that the DARPG be directed in unambiguous terms to follow the rules, and prepare a note for PMO in the matter highlighting all the pertinent issues raised in my request dated 19.09.13.
Mani Ram Sharma
Chairman, Indian National Bar Association, Churu- Chapter