PIL Seeks Right To Time-Bound Service To Be Declared As Integral Part Of Right To Life [Read Petition]
A PIL seeking direction to the Central Government to provide a Citizens’ Charter and notify the Grievance Redress Officer in each government department and to establish a Grievance Redressal Commission has been filed before the Supreme Court.
The petition, by Bhartiya Matdata Sangthan, states that India has been ranked 81st in the Corruption Perception Index, 2015 of Transparency International.
It throws light on the consequent injury caused to the public on account of the failure of the Government in appointing the Lokpal at the Centre and the Lokayuktas in the States, in pursuance of the Act of 2013, as well in providing a citizens’ charter in every government department. “Hence, the right to time-bound service is not recognised in the spirit of the Article 21”, laments the petitioner.
It places reliance on the following observations of the apex court in Subramanian Swamy v. Manmohan Singh (2013): “Corruption threatens constitutional governance and shakes the foundation of democracy and the rule of law…The duty of the Court is that any anti-corruption law has to be interpreted and worked out in such a fashion as to strengthen the fight against corruption…”
The petition prays that the Right to time-bound Service be accordingly declared as an integral part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
It avers that existing Citizen’s Charter has several shortcomings: (i) No funds have been specifically earmarked for sensitising the public about the Citizens’ Charter or for the orientation of the staff on various components of the Charter; (ii) Many ministries have not adopted the Citizens’ Charter on the ground that they are not public organizations like the Ministries of Home Affairs, of Human Resource Development etc. Other Ministries have failed to implement the Charter despite having one, like the Ministries of Rural Development, of Women and Child Development etc.; and (iii) Absence of penal provisions in case of non-implementation of the spirit of the Charter.
The approach of international jurisdictions such as the UK, Malaysia, Canada and Australia in framing and implementing similar charters has been referred to.
It has been contended that The Citizen’s Charters, as they stand today, are a voluntary scheme, not legally enforceable on the part of government. In this direction, the Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of Grievances Bill of 2011 was placed before the 15th Lok Sabha but the same has lapsed. The Bill made it mandatory for every authority to publish a Citizen’s Charter to address grievances within 30 days.
That Central Government may also ascertain the feasibility of reintroducing the 2011 Bill has been sought.
Prayers in the petition
a) direct and declare that Right to time bound Service i.e. Right to time-bound delivery of Goods and Services and Right to time bound Redressal of Grievances is integral part of right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India;
b) direct the Central Government to ascertain the feasibility of reintroducing the Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of Grievances Bill, 2011, which was lapsed due to dissolution of Loksabha;
c) in the alternative to Prayer(b), direct the Central Government to take appropriate steps to provide a Citizen Charter in each department, notify the Grievance Redress Officer in every department and establish a Grievance Redressal Commission;
d) pass such other order(s) or direction(s) as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit to provide a Citizen Charter in every department and ensure time bound delivery of goods and services and for redressal of citizen’s grievances in time bound manner
Read the Petition Here