Violation of law, policy is subject of grievance: Parl panel

The Parliamentary panel is examining a bill to provide citizens the right to time-bound delivery of goods and services.

New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel examining a bill to provide citizens the right to time-bound delivery of goods and services has said violation of law, policy or a scheme by a public authority should form part of the grievance redress mechanism.

In its report on the `Right of Citizens for time-bound delivery of goods and services and redressal of their grievances Bill, 2011,` the committee also said the clause providing for appeal against any decision of the central or a state commission with the (proposed) Lokpal or Lokayukta should be deleted.

The Standing Committee on Law and Justice and Personnel has also recommended award to public servants who perform well in providing timely services to citizens and redressing their grievances.

The panel, which tabled its report in both Houses of Parliament today, said "...Issues related to violation of law, policy, scheme are vital and the same cannot be kept outside the purview of the grievance redress mechanism..."

It said the definition of the term `complaint` is comprehensive enough to cover not only cases of failure to deliver goods or render services in accordance with citizens` charter, but also cases where public authority has violated any law.

Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, Trinamool Congress member from Rajya Sabha, has given a dissent note stating the central act should not cover services of the state government as it infringes upon the federal structure.

He said states which do not have such a mechanism should be provided with a model bill.

The committee said it does not find "much justification" in providing for appeal with the Lokpal/Lokayukta against the decision of the central/state commission.

"Such a linkage is unfounded as the institution of Lokpal has been (would be) set up under a different legislation aiming to put in place an anti-corruption institution, while the objective of the present bill is to ensure timely delivery of goods/services," the report said.

The report said the Ministry of Personnel, which moved the Bill in the Lok Sabha in December, 2011, should review whether the coverage of the bill can be extended to non-citizens also. It said the government can consider notifying a few limited services and goods for non- citizens rather than totally exclude them.

The proposed legislation spells out a citizens` charter containing a category of goods and services to be delivered in a time-bound manner and setting up a public grievance redressal panel.

The government had proposed a "bouquet" of legislations - Lokpal, a bill on judicial standards, whistleblowers` bill and citizens` charter - in response to Team Anna`s demands. Team Anna had criticised the government not including this charter in the Lokpal Bill.