Centre, many States yet to file reply on administrative reforms

Serious matter, says court; they get four weeks' time

The Supreme Court on Monday granted the Centre and States four weeks to file their response to a petition filed by the former Cabinet Secretary, T.S.R. Subramanian, and 82 others seeking implementation of recommendations on administrative reforms.

A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma had on March 4 issued notice on the plea by the petitioners who included a retired Chief Election Commissioner, retired police officers, a former Governor, retired diplomats and retired Chief Secretaries.

During the resumed hearing, the Bench said all States, except a couple of them, and the Centre had not filed their reply.

Justice Bhandari told senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, counsel for the petitioners, and Solicitor-General Rohinton Nariman, appearing for the Centre, that as the matter was very serious the court wanted to dispose it of expeditiously.

Weak governance

Granting the Centre and the States four weeks for filing their response and two weeks thereafter for rejoinder, the Bench directed that the petitions be listed for final disposal after six weeks.

The petitioners said weak governance manifesting itself in poor service delivery, excessive regulation, whimsical interventions for personal benefit, uncoordinated and wasteful public expenditure, inadequate transparency and lack of accountability reduced the effectiveness of government policies and impinged adversely on growth and development.

Lack of good governance affected quality of life and violated the guarantees provided under Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution. Implementation of administrative and civil service reforms would substantively remedy these shortcomings and dramatically improve the impact of economic and social development programmes, the petitions said.

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