Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NAC's style of drafting Bills

The National Advisory Council (NAC) has in its agenda, among other things, giving legislative inputs to the Government. This it does, by preparing draft Bills on important issues. But little is known about how it goes about this exercise, notwithstanding the transparency which marks its website. The Draft Bill on Prevention of Communal and Targeted violence, prepared by NAC, is being submitted to the Government for its consideration, after NAC put its first version on its website, inviting comments. After the deadline for receiving the comments was over on June 4, the NAC agreed to 49 amendments on its first draft. Even though the NAC had constituted a Drafting Committee and an Advisory Committee, very little is known about what were the comments of members in these committees, and whether the NAC considered them at all at the drafting stage, and if some of them were rejected, why. In this article, I bring to light some of the misgivings on the final draft which the NAC has produced. If some of the critics who served on the AC and DC are to be believed, the NAC's in-house style of democratic decision making leaves a lot to be desired. If consultation with experts proves to be a farce, NAC's credibility will be at stake.

In another article, I examine the AG's advisory opinion to exclude CBI from the RTI Act's purview, and question some of his assumptions. The Law Ministry, which favoured a partial exemption of CBI from the Act, is no less culpable. The erstwhile Law Minister, Veerappa Moily, might have been shifted to another Ministry for other reasons, but one wishes the Prime Minister considered this as reason enough for shifting him.
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