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Federal Institutions

 Federal Institutions

LegislaturesRight to Primary Education Legislation

In the pursuance of the 86th constitutional amendment (2002) making the right to free and compulsory education for all children in the age group of six to fourteen years, the Parliament had enacted the right to primary compulsory education Act, 2009, in the concurrent jurisdiction of the union and states. This is one of the few instances where an item in the directive principles of state policy (article 45 as it stood before the 86th amendment) became a fundamental right, initially through liberal judicial interpretation of the right to life and liberty (article 21) and finally through

a constitutional amendment and enabling legislation. This momentous legislative instrument was operationalized in the year 2010 on April 1. The first BJP government in the south the B.S Yeddyurappa-led dispensation in Bangalore since the May 2008 Assembly elections in the state was also rocked by dissidence and threatened defection when in October 2010, 19 MLA’s ( 14 belonging to BJP and five independents supporting the government) informed Governor H.R Bhardwaj by a joint letter that they had withdrawn support from the government. Seven of these legislatures were also ministers. Hectic political manoeuvrings by the CM at the state level and by the BJP national leadership somehow saved the situation and Yeddyurappa survived the confidence vote in the assembly. Political instability also stared in the face of the Jharkhand government. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)–BJP coalition government headed by Shibu Soren (JMM) was formed in January 2010. On June 1, 2010, President’s rule was imposed after the BJP withdrew support from the Shibu Soren government on account of the CM’s hobnobbing with the INC-led UPA government in the parliamentary proceedings in New Delhi. The assembly was, however, not dissolved and was kept on suspended animation. After about 3 months an uneasy truce was fabricated and a new BJP- JMM coalition government was sworn on September 11, 2010, with Arjun Munda (BJP) in the saddle.

Executive and Administrative Issues


The year 2010 witnessed a running spat between the BJP CM of Karnataka, B.S Yeddyurappa and the Congress led UPA government appointed Governor H.R Bhardwaj . The latter kept complaining to the central authorities in New Delhi as well as making statements to the media against the former in the context of alleged illegal public land allotment by the former to his family members as well as being mute witness to the

illegal mining by two Reddy brothers from Bellary, both state cabinet ministers. By January 2011, the Governor allowed sanction for prosecution of the Chief Minister for land scam, ignoring the latter’s as well as the state cabinet’s plea not to do so as the state government had already appointed an independent Judicial Commission of inquiry to

probe land dealings from 1995 to 2010. The Governor justified his action in view of the

rampant corruption, while the Karnataka BJP government and the central BJP leadership called him an “agent of the Congress” and appealed to the President of India to recall the ‘politician Governor’. Until sometime ago, the Governor was a Congress Union Minister.

Chief Ministers

Legislative-executive scene in the states during 2010 was marked by potential or real instability in a number of units of the federation e.g., Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Jharkhand. All the four states underwent mid-stream changes of the heads of the governments during 2010 due to dissidence in or defection from the ruling

parties or coalitions. The Andhra Pradesh Congress government has been bedeviled by

instability ever since the death of Chief Minister (CM) Y.S Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) in a helicopter crash in September 2009. K.Roasaiah who was given a nod to take over as CM was constantly discomfited by YSR’s son Y S Jagamohan Reddy, who was Congress M.P from Kadapa . He lost no time in demanding what he believed was his political


With signatures of 150 out of 156 Congress MLA’s in his support, he pressured Rosaiah to step aside and propose his candidature for chief ministership. Both the incumbent CM and the Congress central leadership resisted. Jagmohan undertook a sympathy yatra through the areas of his father’s and his own stronghold to mobilize mass pressure. When the Congress leadership remained unmoved, Jagmohan deserted his party with a sizeable number of followers. Meanwhile, the Telangana issue hotted up towards the end of 2009 causing a complete division within Congress party in the state along the Andhra-Telangana divide. The appointment of a committee to study and report on the issue kept the lid on during an uneasy and suspenseful year. Rosaiah requested the central party leadership to relieve him on health grounds. The national leadership finally decided to put in place a new Chief Minister in N. Kiran Kumar Reddy in November 2010, who  could face the twin challenges of the agitation for a separate Telangana state and dissidence in the state congress party. In November 2010, the Central Congress Party leadership also effected a chief ministerial change in the Congress–Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) coalition government in Maharashtra. In the wake of the expose of the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai, the incumbent CM Ashok Chavan “offered” to resign. He was replaced by Prithviraj Chavan, a Union

Minister of State from Maharashtra. The new CM was acceptable to the NCP as well, which also took this opportunity to replace its nominee for the post of Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, a dalit, by Ajit Pawar, a nephew of the NCP supreme Sharad Pawar, who is also the agriculture minister in the UPA government. Both the CM and Deputy CM are Marathas, the dominant cultivating community of the state ,

which comprises nearly 40% of the state’s population. Leading Maratha leaders like the

Chavans and the Pawars mentioned above also form part of the phenomenon of sugar cooperative capitalism of Maharashtra.

Inter State Council

Despite the repeated emphasis on the need to set up and make the Inter-State Council (ISC) as the constitutionally designed forum under Article 263 for the conduct of intergovernmental relations by the Sarkaria Commission, Venkatachaliah

Commission, and the Punchhi Commission, this institution remains overshadowed by the National Development Council set up by a cabinet resolution outside the framework of the constitution and the informal Chief Ministers’/ Ministers’/Secretaries’ conferences. The ISC remains a constitutionally sanctified forum existing in splendid isolation on the sidelines of the aforementioned forums of “executive federalism”. Lately the changing role of the ISC Secretariat is noticeable in serving as the secretariat for both the M.M.Punchhi commission on centre-state relations and the Justice Srikrishna

commission on the demand for separate statehood for Telangana.

Administrative Reforms

The second ARC report aptly considers the state administration as “the cutting edge of the public administration system in the country.” Its major recommendations are the following:-

Need for national consensus to fix the size of the council of ministers in the range of 10 to 15 percent of the strength of the legislatures (lower chamber)

Government functions should be divided between those that are critical to the mission of a government department and those that can be carried out by executive agencies, undertakings, boards etc., existing or new.

Need for a national consensus for a uniform legislation by all states setting up of a civil services authority on the lines of the proposed Union enactment for recommending panels for appointment to the highest civil service positions to the government.

With improved communication, the districtshould be made the key unit of the field administration,dispensing with the commissioner.

State vigilance commissions to be appointedon the pattern of the central vigilance commission.

Every state to have a comprehensive humanresource development policy with training as animportant component (on the lines of the National Training Policy 1996.)

Public Service Commission should handle only class I jobs, leaving class II jobs to be filled

under their broad guidelines by subordinateservice commissions, school teachers selection commissions, and district recruitment boards

Surveys and measurements of landholdings and property ownership in rural and urban areas using new technologies.

Reorientation of district administration to new political and administrative concerns of the political system, civil society groups, and media.

Activities and functions transferred by state government to the panchayati raj institutions/ urban local bodies need not remain with district administration.


The year 2010 witnessed a number of instances of corruption in the higher judiciary e.g.: those relating to the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High court P.D. Dinakaran, and the move to remove Justice Saumitra Sen of the Kolkata High court. The UPA government addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of India conveying its intention to

review the system of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high Courts through a collegiums of senior most judges, whose recommendation has become binding on the Union cabinet and the President of India under the Supreme Court Advocates on the Record Vs Union of India (Supreme Court, 1993) and a presidencies reference advisory opinion of the supreme court  (1998).

The Union cabinet also cleared the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2010, to replace the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968, under which, the Union Law Minister, Veerappa Moily, said not a single case of impeachment took place that gives the impression that there is no corruption in the judiciary which is not really the case.

Contributed by: Mahendra Prasad Singh