‘Foresight must for good governance’

Calling for a collective fight against corruption, Justice (retd.) N. Santosh Hegde, former Supreme Court judge and former Lokayukta of Karnataka, said here on Tuesday that good governance was a fundamental and basic right contemplated under the Constitution and can be provided by public servants if they realise their duty to the people and not think of themselves as masters.

“Good governance requires foresight and master planning. Cynics say in a democracy people get the government they deserve. I do not believe in it. In a democracy many changes can be achieved if people fight for it collectively. According to me, good governance is our fundamental right. A collective voice for this will have its own effect. No doubt, eternal vigilance is the price one has to pay in democracy and that eternal vigilance should be a collective one,” Justice Hegde said while delivering the 12th Nani Palkhivala memorial lecture on the topic ‘Is Good Governance a Right of a Citizen in Democracy.’

Justice Hegde said the Indian “dual executive system” comprising political executive and the bureaucracy should work independently. However, “political executive by its presumed popularity has acquired excessive dominance by misusing the transaction of Business Rules.”

Political dominance

The political dominance on bureaucracy goes unchallenged by the bureaucracy. “On the contrary, many bureaucrats willingly or meekly submitted to this dominance because of which good governance has suffered,” he said.

Lack of ethics

The lack of ethics and fairness in governance was felt by the common people as well as those in high offices, he pointed out, citing from the speeches of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who spoke of corruption at the political and administrative levels among persons holding high offices.

“But who will bell the cat? The country does not need to be reminded time and again about this evil. The country wants to know what is being done about it,” Justice Hegde said.

Transfers and postings were some ways in which the bureaucracy was made compliant.

In the wake of several major scams, such as Commonwealth Games, 2G and Coalgate, that rocked the country, in the last few years, Justice Hegde underscored the need to evolve a mechanism to prevent siphoning of public funds.