Govt and SAC in legal battle

The State Government is locked in a row with the State Accountability Commission on the issue of the latter claiming to be armed with suo moto powers under the provisions of the Act leading to the creation of the Commission as a statutory body. Hindsight shows that the Government of the State has been somewhat wary of the powers conferred on the SAC and the assertive attitude of the SAC to exercise these powers in letter and in spirit. The history of relations between the two ever since the inception of the SAC betrays meanness of the Government in not feeling happy with the ultimate objective for which the SAC has been constituted. Soon after the SAC began to use its constitutional powers, the Government knocked at the door of the single judge State High Court raising the issue that SAC did not have the powers and authority to use suo moto powers in cases where it has been using it. The judgement went in favour of the Government but SAC appealed to the full bench for dispensation of the case. The High Court clearly upheld the position taken by the SAC that the Act allowed it the powers of using suo moto option, Now, the State Government has appealed before the Apex Court of the country for revoking the orders of the State High Court,
The short and long of this row is that the Government feels that by resorting to the use of suo moto powers, the SAC is trespassing on its authority and thus putting curbs on its freedom of governance.  The SAC, however, believes that it is functioning within the powers and boundaries laid down in the Act and has never sought to violate these.  Actually, the point is that the Government does not want any agency, internal or external, to question its decisions, and administration of justice. Its hunch is that the SAC is its own creation and in using suo moto powers the SAC wants to prove that its powers are above that of the Government, What would be the verdict of the Apex Court is not the point we would concentrate upon because we cannot say anything on this subject as long as the case is pending at the Apex Court.
However, it is also a matter of the attitude of the Government of the day of how it would want to scuttle the powers of an institution which has come into being by virtue of legal and constitutional dispensation.  The Government has not perhaps reconciled to the fact that an institution like SAC should sit on judgment of its various decisions and actions. It has not perhaps really understood the far reaching meaning of the important political science term of “checks and balances”. Democracy does not allow unlimited and unbridled power to be vested in any single authority. That is the reason why notwithstanding the three organs of the State, legislature, executive and judiciary, there was the need of conceding powers to the press so as to call it the fourth estate. It is regrettable that the Government has been party to the creation of the institution of SAC along with its powers and jurisdiction in the shape of the Act and then it has begun o challenge its own creation. In other words this is state versus state, and a bizarre situation, The SAC Act was enacted as support structure to good governance, and good governance has become the statutory principle of a democratic dispensation. We do not approve the attitude of the Government in trying to seek curbing the jurisdiction of the SAC, and owe can say with full confidence that in case the jurisdiction of the SAC is sought to be minimised or restricted, the institution will not survive. What the Government wants is to say that the bureaucracy is above any limits and its authority cannot be challenged. This is absolutely wrong impression and should be discarded without a second thought. The Supreme Court of India to which the State Government has approached for reversing the verdict of the State High Court, in itself is the biggest and the strongest source of defending the concept of good governance and accountability of the executive to the rule of law. Moreover, if the Government thinks that by exercising its legal powers the SAC is challenging its authority, this is a very wrong notion and should be discarded as early as possible.


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