Parties unaccountable for poll promises: Chief Justice of India
New Delhi : Chief Justice of India, Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar on Saturday slammed political parties, saying electoral promises routinely remain unfulfilled with manifestos remaining "mere pieces of paper" and they must be held accountable for it.
"Electoral promises routinely remain unfulfilled and nowadays manifestos turn out to be mere pieces of paper," he said without taking name of any political party.
Expressing his candid views in his address at the inauguration of the two-day all India seminar on 'Economic Recovery with reference to Electoral Issues' organised by the Confederation of Indian Bar, he said political parties give "brazen" excuses like lack of consensus amongst their members and allies to justify non-fulfilment of their poll promises.
"No consequences utters whether promises are fulfilled or not. Every political party find an excuse of not reaching at consensus among alliance partners. Even our legal system provide for no consequences to be suffered by political parties," the CJI said adding that "political parties must be held accountable".
He said that although political parties talk about economic reforms and globalisation in their manifestos, they never link the achievements of economic growth with the constitutional goal of socio-economic justice for the Schedule Castes/Schedule Tribes (SC/STs) and other weaker sections of society.
"Manifestoes does not have the linkage to the common goal of social economic justice. The promises for poor, marginalised, SC/STs have no linkage from the economic revival programme," he said.
He said there was no link with the goal of socio-economic justice as spelt out in the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution.
"No political party can work contrary to the Directive Principles. Since these principles are fundamental in governments of the country, the Directive Principles and Fundamental Rights are constitutional manifesto of the political parties," he said.
Pointing out that the manifestos of different parties were "remarkably" similar, Khehar said that the problem arises in their implementation where the generation of wealth is compartmentalised.
Noting that it was always easy to speak of constitutional values and all the more easy to speak in abstract, he said the question is "How to operate the economic system for the good governance of the people through constitutional means".
He also said that economic growth has to be coupled with economic justice and economic harmony.
Calling for the accountability of the elected representatives, President Pranab Mukherjee in his inaugural address said that all the political parties will have to develop a voluntary code of conduct for their working.
He said that except for the two general elections of 1957 and 1984, in no election since has any party in the Lok Sabha secured 50 plus percentage of votes.
Even in 1984, the Congress under then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi got only 48.6 per cent of votes.
Mukherjee said that the difficulty was that those getting less than 50 per cent votes and not in power have "every thing but no accountability".
Calling for a healthy debate, the President said that Parliament was not just a deliberating body but also a decision-making body.