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Policy Recommendations on Right to Transparent Governance

Policy Recommendations on Right to Transparent Governance

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Priyanka Tisseverasinghe on Aug 20, 2010
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12/30/2010

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1
District Multi-Stakeholders Forum for Constitution and Peaceful CoexistencePOLICY RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE RIGHT TO TRANSPARENTGOVERNANCEPolicy Recommendation – 1: Constitutional and Legislative Reforms:
1.1.
 
Suitable provisions in the Constitution should be incorporated to declare andensure that transparency, not secrecy, shall be the general rule and norm whichwill govern the actions of the government, Executive (President, Ministers, otherMinisters), the Public Service, including public sector institutions and those of other institutions in which the government has some interest, the Legislatures, andthe Judiciary.1.2.
 
Effective Checks and Balances procedures should be introduced throughConstitutional Provisions among the three branches of the State- Legislature,Executive and Judiciary in order to prevent the abuse or misuse of powers vestedwith these institutions.1.3.
 
Executive immunity provided in the Constitution should be removed and Chief Executive should be made accountable to the rule of law through a Constitutionalprovision.1.4.
 
The proposed Freedom of Information Act should provide for the public officersto provide information when requested by any members of the public as well asmandate these offices to proactively display and publish critical information of their work, expenditure, etc on a regular basis, viz., once in six months or once ayear. There should be effective sanction provided for failure to do so or willfulneglect of these duties.1.5.
 
The Constitution and relevant laws should be amended to encourage ‘PublicInterest Litigation’ in matters of governance, whether relating to alleged abuse of power, corruption and/or bribery. Any purported action which undermines orcompromises the Rule of Law in the country should be a proper concern of everycitizen in the country and any citizen should be free and should have the right tobring such matters before the courts of law without any hindrance.1.6.
 
All provisions of the existing laws, regulations, rules, codes, practices etc whichmilitate against transparency and which foster secrecy or which are inconsistentwith the letter and spirit the right to transparent governance be repealed once theConstitutional and legislative measures as enumerated above come into operation.1.7.
 
A Freedom of Information Act should be enacted to enable public officers toprovide information when requested by any members of the public as well asmandate these offices to proactively display and publish critical information of 
 
2their work, expenditure, etc on a regular basis, viz., once in six months or once ayear. There should be effective sanction provided for failure to do so or willfulneglect of these duties. This act should incorporate the salient recommendationsof the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and World Bank Institute StudyGroup on Access to Information.
Policy Recommendation 2: Institutions to Safeguard TransparentGovernance:
2.1.
 
An independent Institution, such as a National Integrity Commission beconstituted through Constitutional provisions to deal with issues of anti corruptionand bribery and to ensure the proper and efficient administration of the legislationrelated to transparent governance. This Commission should have adequatepowers, authority, autonomy, human and financial resource and institutionalcapacity with regional branches to deal with issues of corruption and bribery in aneffective and efficient way.2.2.
 
The Office of the Auditor General should be made more independent andefficient. A National Audit Act providing for this as well as the establishment of National Audit Commission should be passed to give more powers for the AuditorGeneral’s office to audit the activities of the Public Service on a continuous basis.2.3.
 
The Parliamentary Oversight Committees, such as Committee on PublicEnterprises and Public Accounts Committees must be strengthened and activatedto perform its functions effectively and efficiently and in a transparent manner.Members of the public should be, as of rights, given access to the proceedings of these Committees as well as their reports and recommendations must be madeavailable to the public without any delay. These reports should be deemed aspublic documents which need no approval from anybody for being published.2.4.
 
The 17
th
Amendment should be implemented forthwith. And all the independentbodies envisaged in the Amendment should be established without any furtherdelay.2.5.
 
The Election Commission be established and election laws to be revised to ensurecorruption is eliminated in the process of elections. The laws must be amended toensure transparency of election process, in particular the polling and countingprocesses, subject to ensuring the confidentiality of voting.2.6.
 
National Procurement Agency to ensure obtaining of services and goods for thePublic Service should be done through transparent and efficient manner.

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