NAC and its obsession with Parallel Authority

National Advisory Council. The name doesnt sound so dangerous until one reads about people associated with the name, and the proposals these people have put forth. NAC has had its way with UPA government since its inception. NAC is a brilliant political move by Indian National Congress. NAC has no accountability and so NAC has extreme freedom in proposing policy initiatives. If Government of India accepts NAC proposals, INC can use it as a publicity point in its Election Campaigns that “if it were not for NAC and Sonia Gandhi…..“. If Government of India doesnt accept NAC proposals, INC can still use it to its benefit in its Election Campaigns that “if only INC had full majority at Center, NAC proposals would have been accepted” or worse still “if only one of the Gandhis were PM, NAC would have had superb co-ordination in ensuring that NAC’s proposals are worked out in a better way“. The clear ploy seems to be “create confusion among citizenry” and at an opportune moment, propose an adhoc NAC Chairperson and PM equivalency as per requirement. So, when something goes wrong, NAC Chairperson is immune to any damage while receiving all praise for everything that gets general public acceptance.

Take a cursory look at NAC’s work so far:

  • Food Security Bill
  • Communal and Targeted Violence Bill
  • Transparency and Accountability Bill
  • Tribal Development, Denotified and Nomadic Tribes
  • Domestic Workers’ Issues
  • Skill Develpoment and Placement

And there are some more. Note that top 3 proposals being drafted or drafted already by NAC have a very common strategy. All three proposals, working groups etc., are quite similar in their approach, attitude and reasoning, despite dealing with problem set which is pretty extensive and to an extent exhaustive too. The most striking similarity in these three bills is creation of unconstitutional authorities. If you are a geek, you may look at NAC as something similar parallels with an approximate Turing Machine, which creates itself when set into action.

NAC’s Food Security Bill has dedicated chapters proposing such unconstitutional authorities. Chapters VIII through XI are specific in their proposition – overriding authorities. The proposal is so brazen in its nature that overriding authorities are proposed right from National level to District level. To quote from final proposal document,

Page # 19,  section # 36, point # 1,

The Central Government shall constitute a body known as the National Food Commission, to exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned to it under this Act.

So, what are the powers for such a commission as per NAC’s proposal? Page # 24, section # 46, specifically point # 1,

The National Food Commission shall, while inquiring into complaints under this Act, have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in particular in respect of the following matters, namely :
(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath;
(b) discovery and production of any document;
(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;
(d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
(e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
(f) any other matter which may be prescribed.

In Page # 26, section # 47, point # 5,

The National Food Commission shall satisfy itself about the correctness of the facts stated and the conclusion, if any, arrived at in the report submitted to it under sub-section (4) and for this purpose the National Food Commission may make such inquiry (including the examination of the person or persons who conducted or assisted in the investigation) as it thinks fit.

In Page # 32, section # 62.

The State Food Commission shall submit an annual report to the National Food Commission and may at any time submit special reports on any matter which, in its opinion, is of such urgency or importance that it should not be deferred till submission of the annual report.

So, basically, State Food Commission shall stand as a watchman for National Food Commission i.e., the Government of India which appoints its members and would intervene in any matter that is it feels fit. Couple this with Page # 23, section # 45, point # 1.a.ii which says that National Food Commission can act upon suo moto or on receipt of information on:

Dereliction of duty by a public servant as defined under Section 85 of this Act: Provided that the National Commission shall not inquire into any matter that is pending before the State Food Commission or a District Grievance Redressal Officer duly constituted under this Act

In Page #31, section # 61, point # 1.a.ii which says that State Food Commission can act upon suo moto or on receipt of information on:

Dereliction of duty by a public servant entrusted with the performance of duty under this Act. Provided that the State Food Commission shall not inquire into any matter that is pending before the National Food Commission or a District Grievance Redressal Officer duly constituted under this Act.

With the above relationship definition and function between National Food Commission and State Food Commission, what NAC is proposing is to make Federalism Irrelevant. Today, Central and State governments dont work together on issues. When governments do come together like it happened when Dantewada incident happened, such cooperation beyond political motives and party lines almost unnoticed. There is more of retribution than suggestion of course correction by Central Government on State Governments in case the ruling parties at State and Center are different. So fundamentally, any public servant can be pulled into all sorts of inquiries and commissions so that he gets minimum time to govern. Chances of harassment by members of National Food Commission and State Food Commission- One Hundred Percent.

Prevention of Communal Violence Bill is something more or less similar. Page # 10, Chapter # 4, Point # 20, Bullet # 1:

The Central Government shall constitute a body known as the National Authority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation to exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned to it under this Act.

Page # 10, Chapter # 4, Point # 20, Bullet # 2:

The National Authority shall be a body corporate with the name aforesaid having perpetual succession and a common seal with the power, subject to the provisions of this Act to acquire, hold and dispose of property and to contract, and may, by the aforesaid name, sue or be sued.

Page # 15, Chapter # 4, Point # 31, Bullet # 2:

The National Authority shall, while inquiring or investigating, have the powers of a Civil Court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:-
(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath;
(b) discovery and production of any document;
(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;
(d) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
(e) any other matter which may be prescribed.

Also, similar to the National Food Commission – State Food Commission ecosystem proposed in Food Security Bill, Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill also proposes a similar top down ecosystem which can thrive by itself ensuring its own existence, there by also ensuring that parallel authority to constitutional powers exist.

Page # 19, Chapter # 5, Point # 42, Bullet # 1:

Each State Government shall constitute a body to be known as the ……………. (name of State) State Authority for Communal Harmony, Justice and Reparation, to exercise the powers conferred upon, and to perform the functions assigned to a State Authority under this Act.

Page # 23, Chapter # 5, Point # 51, Bullet # d:

appoint such number of Human Rights Defender for Justice and Reparations in accordance with section 54 as may be deemed necessary

Note that this is not done by National Authority, but only by State Authorities and State Authorities report directly to National Authority. This is clearly a case of trespassing Federal Values of our constitution.

Page # 24, Chapter # 5, Point # 54, Bullet # 1:

The State Authority may invite nominations from non-governmental organisations, civil society or individuals to appoint, for each district, such number of non-governmental organisations or individuals as it may be necessary, who shall be known as the ‘Human Rights Defender for Justice and Reparations’ to perform the functions assigned to it under this Act

In both National Food Security Bill and Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, parallel authorities to existing constitutional powers from National level to District level have been proposed. There is no justification at least in writing in these proposed bills as to why these parallel authorities are required.

No wonder NAC found it worth its time to look into Lokpal bill! Its working group constituting several of its important members are supposed to be drafting a bill since 4th of April, 2011. Clearly, we are in for another parallel authority. If NAC doesnt have a copy of Constitution of India with them, probably it would be a very good gift to them by its best defenders. NAC clearly has an obsession with parallel authority. They better answer why three separate national authorities are required for the proposed bills.

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4 comments

  1. […] Congress Secret Weapon Revealed […]

  2. […] This very nature of Government of India, especially when led by INC, is the reason why, as noted here, NAC’s proposals really are paths being laid of institutionalize these mechanisms of clouding […]

  3. […] we have seen previously, UPA and NAC have been showing a very unhealthy obsession with parallel authority. Creating […]

  4. […] The departure is most visible with programs like MUDRA bank, Jan Dhan Yojana. Had it been a UPA government or a government that harbors left leaning intelligentsia, both the schemes would most certainly have resulted in two news rights – Right To Bank Account, Right To Access Affordable Finance, which at the outset mean nothing unless government can setup grievance redress mechanisms to handle where people were prevented to exercise these rights. Naturally such a mechanism cannot be a parallel authority to the judiciary. Once judiciary is involved, the redress is as good as impossible. The problem therefore compounds necessitating the government to form parallel authorities as was discussed here. […]

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