Making a case for ‘right to recall’ of public servants

Shaun Wright and Ranjit Sinha may be as different as chalk is from cheese but, like UK, is it time we also started a debate towards a law to recall – even for dereliction of duty or impropriety?

anju

Anju Yadav | September 16, 2014 | New Delhi



After three weeks of dithering, Shaun Wright finally resigned on Tuesday. Shaun Who? 

The South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner was in the middle of a storm ever since a report detailed widespread child sex abuse in the UK’s Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. Wright was in charge of children's services in Rotherham between 2005 and 2010.

Now, Wright was not accused of any crime. He could at most be held guilty of dereliction of duty. Still, from British prime minister David Cameron to home secretary Theresa May and Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, all called for Wright to resign.

His deputy, Tracey Cheetham, quit in protest. But Wright brazened it out for three weeks.

The Guardian writes: “When Labour threatened to drop him last week, Wright resigned from the party. He has not been working at his office in Barnsley, and was seen walking out of the South Yorkshire police HQ in Sheffield on Monday. Wright is due to appear before the Commons home affairs select committee next week.”

In another country, another officer in-charge of criminal investigations is facing a similar charge – impropriety. Central Bureau of Investigation’s director Ranjit Sinha is in the dock over a log register of names of his visitors over the last years. On the face of it, it appears Sinha was repeatedly meeting, at his official residence, people against whom his bureau was conducting investigations. The sheer number of visits and their timings – close to their case hearings in court – point to complicity of sorts, say many.

The matter is currently in supreme court, which is also determining the authenticity of the log register as it verifies the meetings and their effect on the outcomes of CBI investigations in, mainly, 2G spectrum and coal allocation scam cases.

Unlike Cameron, his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, has said nothing to make Sinha ponder resignation. Even if it were as serious a case as Rotherham, the PM could only request!

Politicians in the UK have started thinking on lines of ‘right to recall’ to be able to promptly remove all future Wrights. India has borrowed largely from the British Parliamentary system. Is it time then that we too start a debate towards such a law?

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