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Hegde moots auditing to assess performance of lawmakers

Bangalore: Taking on a section of political class which questioned the need for civil society to contribute in law-making, Team Anna member N Santosh Hegde today sought annual auditing of Parliamentarians to assess their performance.

The former Supreme Court judge told PTI that if democracy was functioning "normally", he might have agreed with the view of those who say "you can`t make laws in maidan and can`t make laws through agitation" in the context of the recent Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption campaign.

Hegde, who retired as Karnataka Lokayukta a month ago, referred to law-making processes in some countries, including in the UK, where a lot of importance is given to public opinions because "it`s for the people that laws are made".

Quoting `Election Watch` magazine, Hegde said from 2004 to 2009, out of a sample of about 500 members in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, only 174 spoke during Parliamentary proceedings in those five years.

"What a disgrace… And who are these people who beat their chest and say we are the law-makers; who are you (civil society)?… unelected tyrants. Are they doing their job," Hegde commented, apparently referring to some politicians targeting the anti-corruption campaign, demanding strong Lokpal.

He suggested annual auditing of Parliamentarians and its publication in their constituencies to give an idea to people on how many times their representatives spoke in Parliament or in assembly and on what subject, "apart from increase in their allowance and salary".

The auditing would show how much each Parliamentarian contributed to law-making, Hegde said, and criticised the tendency that "once you elect somebody, there is nothing more to be done…you leave everything to the thinking of these so-called elected representatives".

In India, he said Parliamentarians (legislators at the state level) are elected to conduct Parliamentary proceedings, and not for governance for which there is a separate system – cabinet and bureaucrats.

While, the only business of Parliamentarians or legislators is to conduct proceedings, they have been conferred with "so many other things — they are part of committees, transfers are made at their behest" and they interfere in appointment, among others.

"But in reality Constitution framers never thought of these powers to them," he added.

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