DailyPost 1775

If something needs to be immediately legally defined in this country, its public interest. It should be codified in the constitution of India, so that it cannot be loosely used in the way it has been for years. It has to be defined with very clear ingredients, so that it is not used against those the democratic system is supposed to serve. Take the present parliament session, both the ruling and the opposition parties are both working in public interest, while wasting the parliament session’s time and the taxpayer’s money. The primary task of enactment of law is happening in the conveyor belt manner; whatever bill you leave on it, becomes the law at the other end.

Besides, the constitutional definition and ingredients of public interest, it needs to be defined for every democratic process, activity, power, and in all its wings; legislature, executive and the judiciary. The vagueness of public interest is the best alibi, which can provide cover to you, for all sorts of government and public domain acts. What is the definition and ingredients of public interest when it comes to transfers of public servants? The courts have also not defined public interest, which could become a standardized guideline across the country. Even on the other hand, while we know how to use and misuse public interest, there is nothing which stops its blatant negative application.

If these two words are taken out of the dictionaries of the political parties, the legislative proceedings and the government, they would lose their most valuable currency. The other challenge one faces is that there are orders which are in complete contravention of not only public interest but impacts lots of people with worth and experience in a very negative manner. The question thus arises; can the public interest cover be challenged? What would be its legal validity? If an action / posting made supposedly in public interest leads to a clear negative result, proven on the ground, can the person or authority be held accountable for and punished.

Can the lack of legal acumen amongst the vast majority of law makers be treated in favor of public interest or otherwise? How do our parliamentarians fit into the parameters of public interest? Can anything decided by any political party, in power or otherwise be treated as in public interest, as that is the most common refrain. Or the direct assaults on the public itself; like the promise of vaccines in elections or long-standing promises of medical care. Public Interest is the most abused democratic phrase. It is more known for its wrongful usage, rather than the rightful ones. When will we develop a heart, mind and conscience in consonance with public interest? It seems to be not happening, then legal remedy needs to provided by way of constitutional provisions and various other enactments / amendments.


Sanjay Sahay

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