Edit/Op-Ed

Danger Signals…

Prof. Kamal Chenoy

Within days of taking over in office, the Modi Government has rejigged laws, promises and conventions. On 27 May the Union Cabinet amended the Andhra Re-organisation Act, but did not include the ‘special category status’ to Seemandhra that would have given it extra funds from the Centre. Further, it passed another ordinance to rejig the boundary in favour of Seemandhra, but did not announce it so as not to exacerbate law and order problems in Telangana. This was far from the transparent governance promised by the NDA.

The new Principal Secretary to PM Modi, Nripendra Misra’s appointment to that position was in violation of Section 5(8) of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act, 1997 which barred any post-retirement government job for (the) “chairperson or any member ceasing to hold office.” The new TRAI (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 amends this section to allow a former chairperson ( in this case, Misra) or member to take up any government job, either at the Centre or any State, after a cooling-off period of two years.

According to legal opinion cited by The Indian Express, May 29, 14, this could be the first instance where a government at the Centre promulgates an ordinance even before proving its majority on the floor of the House. From these instances, it appears that the NDA may become as cavalier in bending laws and regulations as the UPA which brought in as many as 12 ordinances in its last year in office. Expectedly, Ajay Maken of the Congress slammed this move as done in utter “disregard of parliamentary and democratic norms.” But given the UPA’s own record, his stance is not convincing. Hopefully, these decisions are a deviation from the promised good governance. Modi must “walk the talk.”

(Kamal Chenoy is a Professor at SIS, JNU. This article is reproduced from his facebook post.)

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