Right to public services: A weapon against corruption in public offices
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Tanay Akash, BA LL.B. Central University of South Bihar
Democracy, as defined by ‘Sir Abraham Lincoln’ is the rule “Of the people, by the people and for the people” and India being the largest democracy follows a general principle of ‘Rule of general public’. But today’s era when democracy has turned up to be “Demon-Cracy” and influence of “Money” has made it “Mono-Cracy” the craze of extreme autocracy has enhanced. As ‘Power Corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ this extreme craze of autocracy has turned the public servants, who are appointed to serve people into the one who treats the public into worst possible way and bribe became a part and parcel, an integral part, the wheel to move files from table to table and if this wheel is not inserted in the vehicle of the work for government office the work can take a completion period of an infinite time.
Due to this slow, troublesome and painful general mechanism which is followed in the public offices has compiled the general public to hate the government offices or places of public services but there came the “Right to Public services Act” which ensured and given the Right to public services to general public.
The right to Public services Act
Public Services literally means that the services related to public and every citizen is entitled to have hassle- free public services and redressal of his grievances. Accordingly, the right to public services helped the states (particular) to frame a structure towards standard, quality and time period of the service delivery, also the transparency and accountability and redressal mechanism for the betterment of general public. In India Right to public services comprises statutory laws to guarantee a time bound delivery of public services such as issuing birth certificates etc. and to give punishment to the public servant who disobeys this statute.
The motto behind the formation of right to public services litigation is just to make a mere effective as well as more responsive relation in between general public and the government officials. India which is rapidly changing into a welfare state offers a wide amount of rights to its citizens and this right to public services move it two step forward and gives a new dimensions of rights provided. Right to public services could be taken as a day to day and in- practical right which gives benefit on such spheres of day to day life which are the part and parcel of one’s living.
These rights are designed to ensure the public to make them aware of and able to claim their rights or entitlements to public services. These are not simply rights but these are commitments to patients, public and staff in the form of rights to which they are entitled, ending the situation of “where to go” and “How to proceed” regarding public services. These rights also aimed to reduce corruption among the government officials and increase transparency and public accountability.
The delivery Mechanism
Right to public services are implemented differently to different states and M.P was the first state to implement this right. At present there are 19 states in which right to public services litigation has been already passed and rights are given to the general public. One more perspective of Right to public services is that it rapidly decreased the rate of exploitation of socially, economically and educationally weaker people, when they tries to owe any public services such as issuing birth certificate, death certificate, income certificate, identity proofs or other certificates such as caste certificate or residential certificates. These rights not only strengthen them but also provides them with the remedies against the irresponsible behaviour of public servants. Several states such as Bihar had for long been treated as India’s centre of in efficient governance, rampant corruption, inefficiency and lack of transparency in conduct of government affairs. This situation was worst in marginalised and remote areas of the state. But after the right to public services litigation, it became a time bound act to provide services.
The working procedure of this litigation is also made very easy and flexible. The primary focus is just to provide a time bound public service and if the concerned officer fails to do so than there is a procedure to file an appeal against him, there is also a provision of second appeal. Both the appeals are operational with law and need to be enforced certainly. This reduced the chances of corruption and also created the fear of law and order in the mind of undisputed autocrats.
Thus, in a nutshell the right to public services slight differently in different states worked to reduce the corruption rate and ill treatment present inside the public offices by providing the time bound public services to all and to ensure the equality before law.