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Needed, an Indian Legislative Service

Context

Dr. P.P.K. Ramacharyulu was elevated to the post of Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha. He is the first ever staff of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to be elevated to this post.

Relevance

GS-II: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

Dimensions of the Article

  • Secretary General of Parliament: An Overview
  • Need for Independence of Parliament
  • Why Civil Servants are not suitable for Parliament Secretariats?
  • Why an All India Service is needed?
  • Way Forward

Secretary General of Parliament: An Overview

  • Rank Equivalent to Cabinet Secretary
  • Third most key functionary of the House of the Parliament after Presiding Officer and the Deputy.
  • Enjoys privileges like freedom from arrest, immunity from criminal proceedings, and obstructing and breach of these amounts to Contempt of the House.
  • They are mandated with various parliamentary and administrative responsibilities of the House they are associated with.

Need for Independence of Parliament

  • Article 98 of the Indian Constitution provides for the scope of separate Secretariats for both houses of Parliament.
  • Secretariats should be independent of the Executive as it is a feature of a functioning Parliamentary Democracy.
  • Parliament has to watch over the administrative actions of the executive.
  • Parliament can meaningfully scrutinize the executive and hold them accountable.
  • Make the Executive more answerable and hence making the Parliament stronger.

Why Civil Servants are not suitable for Parliament Secretariats?

  • Lack of expertise and experience about working and administration of the Parliament.
  • Dishonours the purpose of separate Secretariat.
  • Breach of Principle of Separation and Power.
  • Gives rise to Conflict of Interest.
  • Bureaucracy often hinders the smooth functioning of the Parliament.

Why an All India Service is needed?

  • Law making institutions in India lack their own common public recruiting and training agency at the national level.
  • Need of qualified and well trained professionals handling the Parliament and the State Legislatures.
  • Expansion of modern governance and government institutions require adapting professionals with experience.
  • A common service can create a cadre of professionals serving across from Local Bodies to the Parliament.

Way Forward

For a democracy to thrive, Parliament has to play an active role. It needs more human resource and well qualified staff to fulfill its duties, this is where an All India Service would help. Article 312 enables Rajya Sabha to pass a resolution to this effect and Lok Sabha can give it the legislative shape. We would be inculcating best International Practices and make our democracy stronger.

Source – The Hindu


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