Public Grievances and Redressal Machinery

The grievances of citizens against government machinery needs to be heard and redressed, every democracy sets up appropriate machinery for the redressal of citizens’ grievances. Some States have appointed Lokayukta.

There is a Central Vigilance Commission for several government departments and public sector undertakings to deal with increasing corruption, thus there are varied institutional devices to deal with redressal of public grievances.

Ombudsman

A Swedish word stands for an officer appointed by the legislature to handle complaints against administrative and judicial action.

  • As an impartial investigator, the ombudsman makes investigations gets at the facts objectively, and reports back to the legislature.
  • The complainant has simply to write to the ombudsman appealing against an administrative decision.
  • The ombudsman system has been popular because of its simple and speedy nature. It is a cheap method of handling appeals against administrative.

Parliamentary Procedure

They provide for opportunities to raise questions in Parliament by the elected representatives concerning their constituencies.

  • Under the provisions of the Public Servants (Enquiries) Act departmental as well as public agencies can be instituted against a public servant for his misconduct.
  • Complaint forums have been set up at different levels to deal with public complaints.
  • Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, this is the nodal agency of the government for Administrative Reforms as well as redressal of public grievances.

Lokpal

The Administrative Reforms Commission's observation:

  • One authority for dealing with complaints against the administrative acts of ministers or secretaries to government both at the centre and in the states.
  • Another authority in each state & the centre for dealing with complaints against the administrative acts of other officials.
  • All these authorities should be independent of the executive as well as the legislature and judiciary.
  • ARC called the first authority the Lokpal & the second authority the Lokayukta.

Lokayukta

Maharashtra was the first state to enact such legislation in 1971.

Section 12 of the Himachal Pradesh Lokayukta Act 1983 provides, “If, after enquiry in respect of a complaint, the Lokayukta is satisfied that all or any of the allegations made in the complaint have or have been substantiated, S/he shall by report in writing her/his findings & recommendations to competent authority & intimate the complaint and the public servant concerned about his having made the report".

Central Vigilance Commission

The CVC is headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner appointed by the President of India for a period of six years or until he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

  • The Commission’s office is in the Ministry of Home Affairs having an autonomous status.
  • The Commissioner, a secretary, one Officer on Special Duty, one Chief Technical Commissioner, 3 Commissioners for departmental enquiries, 2 Under Secretaries and 6 Technical Commissioners.
  • Its jurisdiction extends to all employees of the central government and the employees in public undertakings corporate bodies and other organisations dealing with matters falling within the executive powers of the central government.
  • It cannot probe cases of corruption against ministers and members of parliament.
  • The CVC receives complaints directly from the aggrieved party.

The complaints about Central Government employees received by the State Vigilance Commissions are forwarded by them to the CVC, on receiving complaints, the Commission may ask:

  • Concerned ministry/department to inquire into them.
  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to make an inquiry; and
  • CBI direction to register a case and investigate. Prosecution, however, depends on the approval by the appropriate sanctioning authority.

The CVC has a role to play in the case of the appointment of Chief Vigilance Officer of each ministry/department.