Part 11: Constitutional Authorities

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Article 11.1 Sovereign Rights CommissionsConscience Keeper
Independent authorities called "Sovereign Rights Commissions" shall be instituted at the national and state levels with authority to direct referendums, except on issues fundamental to democracy or the integrity of the nation. There can, for instance, be no referendum on making the state theocratic, or a region seceding.
 
These commissions will hear petitions, hold consultations with various stakeholders such as political parties, industry, labour unions, farmers, women organisations and disadvantaged communities, and organise public hearings at selected rural and urban locations. Based on these, they will identify issues on which a large number of citizens have expressed concern, professionally draw up the issues with explanatory memorandums, and direct the Election Commissions to organise referendums on them along with the following local, state or national election, as may be appropriate. On approval by the people in referendum, the commissions with authenticate it in the name of the people whereupon it shall become the law of the land.
 
The Sovereign Rights Commissions shall also be the constitutional authority for interpretation of the Constitution. If its interpretation is challenged before and set aside by a superior court, it can seek decision by the people through referendum.
 
In the bygone day, there used to be a royal priest ostensibly functioning as the conscience keeper of the state, advising the monarch on righteous conduct. The royal priest sometimes abused authority. Superior to the royal priest, the Sovereign Right Commissions will function as the conscience keeper of the state, based on values of the society as a whole. They will correct faulty institutions, policies and practices thereby ensuring that is no or minimal exploitation and promoting an egalitarian, self-reliant society. Often referendums may not be necessary, since elected representatives, realising that there was a higher authority — the people — that could overrule it, would take decisions that the society as a whole would favour.
 
The present Law and Human Rights Commissions shall stand integrated in the Sovereign Rights Commissions. The Minorities Commission, SC & ST Commissions, Backward Classes Commissions, and Women’s Commissions shall stand integrated with multi-stakeholder upper houses at the local, state and national levels where they can best negotiate for their rights.
 
Note: Law and Human Rights Commissions will be integrated with the Sovereign Rights Commissions, as their functions are complementary. The Minorities, SC & ST, Backward Classes and Women’s Commissions too will be integrated with the Sovereign Rights Commissions so that, through the committees of the Sovereign Rights Commissions, they can best negotiate for their rights. They will also have opportunity to effectively negotiate for their rights in the stakeholder upper houses at the local, state and national levels.
 
Article 11.11 Local Sovereign Rights Councils
If more than 50 per cent grassroots parliament in any local entity through resolution so demand, the Sovereign Rights Commissions at the state level shall institute a Sovereign Rights Council in the said local entity. It will consist of member identified by the said Commission and will oversee that the sovereign rights of the people to information, consultation, participation and referendum are properly instituted and accessible to the people in the said jurisdiction.
 
Article 11.12 Review of Resource Allocation
An important function of the Sovereign Rights Commissions and Councils shall be to review every five years whether the allocation of resources to local, state and national governments was reasonable and appropriate or whether any adjustment was needed. The proposals of the Commissions shall be referred to the people for approval through referendum.
 
Article 11.13 Power of People to Demand Referendums
If more than 10 per cent grassroots parliaments, that is, village and/or urban neighbourhood assemblies, in any local jurisdiction, through resolution in open assembly, demand referendum on any issue, local referendum on that issue will become mandatory. Thus if a sovereign rights commission, under political or business pressure, does not direct referendum on an issue, grassroots parliaments can initiate local referendum on it.
 
If, through a similar process, 10 per cent local governments in a state adopt such a resolution, a state referendum on that issue will become mandatory. And if 10 per cent states in the nation adopt such a resolution, a national referendum on that issue will become mandatory.
 
Article 11.2 Media CommissionsThe Callous Fourth Estate
Press, often called the fourth estate (the legislature, executive and judiciary being the first three), plays an important role in democracy. Of late, the electronic media is becoming increasingly important. An independent and forthright media is vital for nurturing responsible democracy. However, controlled by business interests and often lacking professional autonomy, the media is not able to play its due role. The present Press Council of India lacks adequate authority to promote accountability of the media to the society.
 
Independent constitutional authorities called media commissions shall be instituted at the national and state levels. They will replace the present Press Council and oversee that the print and electronic media play an independent role essential in democracy.
 
In order that the media is able to play its due role, it is vitally important that the professional staff enjoys a fair amount of autonomy to serve the community and inform it of public matters without fear or favour. To facilitate this, the media commissions shall protect the professional autonomy of the editorial and reporting personnel of the print and electronic media in the manner indicated below.
 
Whenever the appointment of the principal editor of a print or electronic media is to be made, the owners shall select a suitable professional for appointment. The selected professional shall then have to appear before an appointments committee of senior media and other professionals constituted by the concerned media commission. The committee, if satisfied, shall approve the appointment on contract for five years. The termination of the contract and refusal to extend it up to the age of 60 years shall also require the approval of the appointments committee of the concerned media commission. The principal editor shall in turn control the appointment and termination of the other media professionals in the organisation.
 
The principal editor shall, as a consequence, exercise professional autonomy and protect the other media professionals so that they can report and edit without fear or favour. Media that abides by such discipline shall be entitled to display "Media professions protected by Media Commission" on its publication or visuals. Such media alone shall be eligible for state recognition and government advertisements and other patronage.
 
The Media Commissions at the national and state levels shall thus nurture the development of a responsible media accountable to the society thereby facilitating responsible democracy. They will give special attention to the development of a sound, responsible media at the local level.
 
Article 11.3 Public Attorneys
There shall be autonomous district/city, state and national attorneys called District/City Attorney, State Attorney General and Attorney General of India. The District/City Attorney will be an independent constitutional authority who will be in overall charge to civil litigation on behalf of the state and who alone will have the authority to sanction criminal prosecution of any citizen for crime in his jurisdiction. The State Attorney General and the Attorney General of India will be constitutional authorities sanctioning civil and criminal appeals and arranging defence on behalf of the state before the superior courts. They shall also advise the state on constitutional issues.
 
Article 11.4 Election Commissions
There shall be a National Election Commission, State Election Commissions, and Local Election Commissions, each consisting of three members. The National and State Election Commissions shall issue guidelines. The Local Election Commissions shall control and conduct all elections.
 
The local election commissions shall give recognition to local parties, the state election commissions to state parties and the National Election Commission to national level parties. They will have the power to revoke the recognition if after giving due opportunity, they are satisfied that the party has violated the regulations, guidelines or code of conduct.
 
Article 11.5 Public Auditors
Every district and city government shall have a District/City Auditors, every state government a State Accountant General and the national government an Auditor General of India. They will examine the accounts and submit periodic and annual reports to the concerned parliaments. Joint committees of the concerned assembly and council shall consider their reports and examine the concerned departmental heads. Based on these, the committees will prepare their reports for consideration by the concerned parliament.
 
Article 11.6 National Bank of India
The real national reserve being the social and environmental wealth at the local level, the Reserve Bank of India shall be renamed National Bank of India. It shall be an autonomous body overseeing the monetary policy and banking regulations. It will exercise strict control over state borrowings and overdrafts. It will prescribe banking regulations and oversee that they are adhered to. It will coordinate with the finance ministry of the national government but will function in an autonomous manner on monitory policy and such other matters.
 
Article 11.7 Public Service Commissions
Autonomous Public Service Commissions shall be established at the local, state and national levels for recommending candidates for public appointment at the local, state and national levels respectively. Promotions and termination of services at the officer level will also require the approval of the concerned public service commission.
 
The appointment of departmental heads on contract, with the approval of the concerned parliament, shall be outside the purview of the public service commissions. However, if the chief executive wants it to propose panels for specified positions, the commissions shall undertake to do so.
 
Article 11.8 Vigilance and Investigation Agencies
Autonomous vigilance commissions and bureau of investigation shall be instituted at the local, state and national levels to keep vigilance and investigate charges of corruption and other malpractice. The Appointments Authority of Independent Functionaries shall be the appointing authority of the heads of the vigilance and investigation agencies.
 
Article 11.9 Public Trusts Authority
In the context of Article 12.4 motivating business to promote public trusts, public trusts promoted by it will play an increasing role in provisioning social infrastructure such as education and health-care to supplement the efforts of the state in reaching them to the disvantaged and developing the talented amongst their youth. The public trust authorities at the national and state levels shall register such trusts and oversee the genuineness of their efforts.
 
Article 11.10 Appointments Authority for Independent Functionaries
Autonomous Authority for Independent Functionaries consisting of a chairperson and nominees of the courts and various independent functionaries shall be set up at the local, state and national levels for selecting head and members of various independent constitutional authorities including the judges of local, state and national courts. Joint committees of the two houses of the concerned parliament shall approve after interview the appointments proposed.
 
Article 11.11 Ban on being member of a political party and tenure
No member of any constitutional authority, shall be a present or past member of any registered political party, nor can become one after relinquishing office. No person can hold office as member of independent authorities for more than a total of six years.


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