Legal scholar Upendra Baxi has expressed deep concern over the state of implementation of the recommendations of various Commissions of Inquiry in India. Their implementation would not only “check official misconduct,” “government lawlessness” but would go a long way in nation-building.
He made these observations in the course of his presidential address at a public lecture organised by the O.P. Jindal Global University here.
The lecture was delivered by Peter Schuck, Professor of Law in Yale Law School, in which he pointed out various dimensions of official misconduct and related remedies in the U.S.
Referring to the manner in which reports of the Commissions of Inquiry are laid to rest, Prof. Baxi compared their treatment to “nuclear waste” and suggested, in a sarcastic vein, there could well be a new course on “Juristic Archaeology.”
Terming resort to litigation a national pastime, he pointed out that suing government contributed to explosion of litigation in public law and thereby contributing to delays. He, however, favoured steps to check “impunity” and also judicial misconduct. He noted that in both the U.S. and India, there was ever-escalating official misconduct.
In his inaugural address, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Salman Khursheed stressed the need for innovative thinking in new emerging areas following forces of globalisation, liberalisation, disinvestment and privatisation. He also referred to the blurring of lines between administrative law and private law. Referring to public interest litigation, he stressed the need for further thinking on what needed to be done to make the government more accountable.
No single problem
Prof. Peter Schuck said official misconduct was not a single problem but had many facets which required deep analysis. He added that corruption was only a part of the problem. There was a paradigm shift from a position that “the king can do no wrong or that government authority is immune from remedies” to the present day situation in the U.S. which provided for injunctive remedies and damage remedies.
He further pointed out that a culture of democracy, free speech, right to information, separation of powers, courts, legislatures, civil service reform as possible steps to check official misconduct.
The Chancellor of the University, Navin Jindal, highlighted the university's commitment to a global platform for comparative learning and research on various disciplines.
Earlier, C. Raj Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of the University and Dean of the Jindal Global Law School spoke about the vision of the University and the importance of research and scholarship in academic institutions.