National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution
The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) was set up by a resolution of the Government of India in 2000. The member Commission was headed by M.N. Venkatachaliah, the former Chief Justice of India. It submitted its report in 2002.
TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE COMMISSION
According to the terms of reference, the commission was required to examine, in the light of the experience of the past fifty years, as to how far the existing provisions of the Constitution are capable of responding to the needs of efficient, smooth and effective system of governance and socioeconomic development of modern India and to recommend changes, if any. The terms of reference clearly specified that the commission should recommend changes that are required to be made in the Constitution within the framework of parliamentary democracy and without interfering with the 'basic structure' or 'basic features' of the Constitution.
The commission clarified that its task was to review the working of the Constitution and not to rewrite it and its function was only recommendatory and advisory in nature. It was left to the Parliament to accept or reject any of the recommendations.
The commission had no agenda before it. On its own, it identified the eleven areas of study and proposed to examine them They included the following";
The observations made by the Commission on the working of the Constitution from 1950 to 2000 are as follows ':
What are our achievements and failures over the 50 years since Independence? How have each of the three organs of the State-the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary-redeemed the constitutional pledge of ushering in a social revolution? Has the dream of the founding fathers for a life of dignity to the vast millions through the process of socio-economic transformation been realized ? What then is the Balance Sheet?
India's democratic base has stabilized as a working federal polity. With the 73 rd and 74th Constitutional amendments, the base of democratic debate has widened. There is greater push towards non-centralisation. General Elections have been held with regularity; and transfers of power consequent upon the results of elections have been orderly, peaceful and democratic.
The educational qualifications of the Members of Parliament and State Legislatures have shown marked improvements. The Parliament and State Legislatures are increasingly more representative of the composition of society. More and more members of the hitherto backward classes are moving up in the political ladder.
AREAS OF CONCERN: COMMISSION'S PERCEPTION
The following are the important areas of concern according to the perception of the Commission" :
In all, the commission made 249 recommendations. Of them, 58 recommendations involve amendments to the Constitution, 86 involve legislative measures and the remaining 105 recommendations could be accomplished through executive action.
The various recommendations of the commission are mentioned below in an area-wise manner/
On Fundamental Rights
(a) Right against torture, cruelty and inhuman treatment or punishment.
(b) Right to compensation if a person is illegally deprived of his right to life or liberty. (c) Right to leave and to return to India.
(d) Right to privacy and family life.
( e) Right to rural wage employment for a minimum of 80 days in a year. (f) Right to access to courts and tribunals and speedy justice.
(g) Right to equal justice and free legal aid''.
(h) Right to care and assistance and protection (in case of children).
(i) Right to safe drinking water, prevention of pollution, conservation of ecology and sustainable development.
Article 300-A should be recast as follows:
The heading of Part-IV of the Constitution should be amended to read as 'Directive Principles
of State Policy and Action' .
A new Directive Principle on control of population should be added.
An independent National Education Commission should be set-up every five years.
An Inter-Faith Commission should be established to promote inter-religious harmony and social solidarity.
There must be a body of high status to review the level of implementation of the Directive Principles.
A strategic Plan of Action should be initiated to create a large number of employment opportunities in five years.
Implementation of the recommendations contained in the Report of the National Statistical Commission (2001).
(a) Duty to vote at elections, actively participate in the democratic process of governance and to pay taxes.
(b) To foster a spirit of family values and responsible parenthood in the matter of education, physical and moral well-being of children.
( c) Duty of industrial organizations to provide education to children of their employees.
(a) provide that political party or alliance should keep its doors open to all citizens irrespective of any distinctions of caste, community or the like.
(b) make it compulsory for the parties to maintain accounts of the receipt of funds and expenditure in a systematic and regular way.
(c) make it compulsory for the political parties requiring their candidates to declare their assets and liabilities at the time of filing their nomination.
(d) provide that no political party should provide ticket to a candidate if he was convicted by any court for any criminal offence or if the courts have framed criminal charges against him.
(e) specifically provide that if any party violates the above provision , the candidate involved should be liable to be disqualified and the party deregistered and derecognized.
(a) aim at bringing transparency into political funding;
(b) permit corporate donations within higher prescribed limits; (c) make donations up to a specified limit tax exempt;
(d) make both donors and donees of political funds accountable;
(e) provide that audited political party accounts should be published yearly; and
(f) provide for de-recognition of the party and enforcement of penalties for filing false election returns.
The provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution should be amended to provide the following: