ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

AccountabilitySubscribe to Accountability

How Can We Rethink Police Accountability in India?

Use of force by the police is a substantial problem in India. To a large extent, the measures so far have focused on police’s functional autonomy and independence from political pressures. Yet, this also merits the question of whether fixing the political–police relationship alone will lead to more accountable police. While such top-down reforms have been pending since the time of independence, they have overlooked the simultaneous need for bottom-up approaches focusing on police empowerment. To rethink police accountability in India, we must focus on two core areas—community policing, and better training. These structural measures focus on changing the police–public power equation and mark the shift from a colonial police force to one that is true to the spirit of democratic policing.

Who Will Guard the Guardians? State Accountability in India's Environmental Governance

Effective public accountability is a prerequisite for protecting India's environment and the environmental human rights of all Indians. However, the question of what factors promote the accountability of public institutions remains under-researched in India. The recent and ongoing attempts by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to undermine environmental regulations beg a fundamental question that has yet to be debated adequately: Who will guard the guardians? In this essay, we discuss the importance of divided administrative jurisdictions for fostering relations of accountability in public institutions. Specifically, we highlight the divided jurisdiction that the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 creates in the regulation of mining and other non-forestry activities in forest areas and its implications for bolstering relations of accountability in environmental governance. Amidst serious attempts to undermine these arrangements, we ask the readers and policymakers to consider the importance of public accountability for transforming India’s national environmental regulatory framework.

India’s First Per Curiam

A per curiam opinion seeks to project the court as a resolute bloc in unanimous verdicts by concealing the identity of the author(s). However, arbitrarily employing anonymity, without due regard to legal tradition and reason, adversely impacts accountability and transparency in the judiciary. As such, it is important to evaluate the Supreme Court of India’s choice of anonymity in the momentous Ayodhya decision.

Collegium System in the Indian Judiciary Needs to be Reformed for Greater Transparency and Accountability

The collegium system must not see itself as being above the safeguards and measures for transparency, accountability and demographic representation that apply to India’s pillars of democracy.

Right to Information: The Promise of Participatory Democracy and Accountability

In July 2019, the parliament passed an amendment to the Right to Information Act, 2005, that reduces its effectiveness. The amendment adds to the long list of erosions the Act has weathered by prior governments.

Supreme Court of India Needs Transparency to Ensure Judiciary's Credibility

The author traces the history of the question of judicial accountability through important judgments and argues for a transparent system within the judiciary itself to deal with cases of judicial misconduct.

Tyranny of MGNREGA’s Monitoring System

The management information system of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 was hailed as a pioneering tool for enhancing transparency and accountability. However, it is now being used with impunity to centralise the programme and violate workers’ legal entitlements, causing frequent disruptions on the ground and opening new avenues for corruption in the programme.

The Media, the University, and the Public Sphere

Looking at the uneven phenomenon that higher education in India is, this paper focuses on the ways in which the mainstream English-language media represents issues related to the university. In particular, it looks at press coverage of the “controversy” that surrounded the introduction of a four-year undergraduate programme in Delhi University, and the ways in which it constructed a notion of the university in the public sphere. It also considers some of the television coverage on the rollback of the programme, while pointing to the substantial issues that seem to have been overlooked by the med

Decentralising Accountability

Ensuring good governance while devolving the 3Fs— functions, funds and functionaries—is a formidable challenge. An action research conducted in Sikkim from 2010 to 2016 focused on four questions: where is the corruption, what are the different types of corruption, how much is the quantum, and how do we reduce it effectively? A set of anti-corruption tools was integrated in the programme delivery, and corruption practices were broadly grouped into “easy to prevent,” “difficult to prevent but easy to detect,” and “difficult to prevent and detect.” By applying this strategy, we found that the corruption level dropped more than three times from 1.74% to 0.55%, and the savings from sanctioned cost rose to 20% (₹30.16 crore). This reduction was achieved despite weak enforcement, highlighting that a dynamic anti-corruption strategy that increases the probability of being caught can significantly reduce corruption by decentralising accountability.

Breaking Free

Radio is an inexpensive medium in terms of production and management. It overcomes the limitations of literacy and is more appropriate for cultures dominated by orality. All over the third world radio has been a catalyst for social change. Although the state-owned public service broadcaster, All India Radio has turned 75, broadcasting in our country continues to be governed by archaic laws and uncompromising bureaucracy. Recent developments however may make for some loosening of the state's hold over radio, making room for alternatives in the form of popular, community-based media. This collection of five articles attempts to raise some critical questions related to broadcasting in India, with specific reference to community radio

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