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“Examining the Institutions for Public Policy in India: The Role of Judiciary in creating the space for Citizen-Centric Governance”

 Pradip Kumar Parida

Introduction:

Governance legitimizes the ‘state’ actions and duties as well as responsibilities of a ‘citizen’ in a given ‘state structure’.  As per the law of the land ‘what is the entitlement of a citizen’, keeping in background the political history, socio-economic development, resources available with the government at that particular point of time, social structure, cultural factors, level of participation of the people etc. Hence   providing the space for legitimate entitlement of a citizen in a state and creation of  a conducive atmosphere to realize the best potential  within the individual concerned are the two key  tasks with the government, as far as governance is concerned.  This spreads into all the aspects of society – social, economic, political. This spreads from individual to local to regional to national to global level. The fact of the matter is that, automatically an individual becomes a member of global governance process, once he links himself and channelizes his activity from one level to other. It also clovers the arena of State, Civil society and Market. As all of them influences the decision making process and behavior of the individual – ‘citizen’. State makes the rules and regulation and implements them through the institutions – Legislature (Parliament), Executive (Bureaucracy) and Judiciary (Supreme Court, High Court and Lower Courts) other constituent bodies. In other words the separation of powers among the institutions of democracy propounded by Montesquieu and the check and balance among them ensures that none of them transcends the barriers allotted to them as per the constitutional provision of the country.

In common parlance it is presumed that ‘accountability, empowerment, participation, accessibility to basic services in public domain and transparency’ are at the heart of ‘governance’ system in any country. Hence governance refers to traditions, norms, institutions, practices, space to the citizens in terms of participation and the procedures by which individuals and groups exercise their power respectively in the making of public policy. It also gives space to the citizens by making them actively involved in implementation of various programmes. It gives importance to the mechanisms where the voices of the people can be heard properly. However accountability may not necessarily be considered as accountability from government side/ officials/ administrative machinery to people. It is also other way round, which means people should be accountable to   other fellow citizens as well as government, law of the land, constitutional obligations and duties as citizens for the day to day actions in a true civic sense, by maintaining the spirit of democracy.

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