The ferment in institutions such as the CBI recently and in the Supreme Court earlier this year are “internal issues,” and, therefore, call for “internal correctives,” Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said here Tuesday.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Naidu said “there is a self-correction needed in those institutions” and there have to be internal discussions. “You see what has happened also, even in the Supreme Court, even in the CBI, all these are internal issues, so there has to be (an) internal corrective mechanism.”
Naidu said that people expect these institutions to “live up to the expectations” and “institutional self-correction is always good”. He added that beyond these self-correctional measures, “wherever the government or Parliament has to intervene, there are set procedures in these things and that course will be taken”.
On the ongoing tussle between the RBI and the government, the Vice President said he did not want to make any specific comments but in RBI, there is a board and there are members, “they can discuss it and there are banks”. The central bank, he said, “needs to engage banks regularly, on a regular basis”.
“Going by internal discussions, there have to be corrective decisions and moving forward, only that much I can say,” said Naidu, striking a note of caution and calling for a carefully calibrated response.
“I don’t want to get into controversies. My saying any word about any of these institutions will have its own effect,” Naidu said. “I don’t want to cause any problems to these institutions. I am just talking as people’s wish is they want to see these institutions maintain their functional autonomy and take correctives wherever there is a problem, and through internal discussions, consultations, this much only I can say.”
Everyone’s role and responsibility, the Vice President said, “has been clearly spelt out in the Constitution”. All institutions must follow the mandate assigned to them and the responsibility given to them and function “without encroaching over other’s domain”, which makes the system “perfect”.
They should “adhere” to their defined roles and “if there is anything, they should discuss, after all government is the elected government of the day, you discuss and then you take your own decisions. But discussion, dialogue is necessary,” he said.
As Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Naidu said he hasn’t received any complaint regarding any allegations of sexual misconduct against Rajya Sabha member M J Akbar who has been accused of sexual harassment, assault by more than a dozen women in the last month. Days ago, he wa also accused of rape by former colleague Pallavi Gogoi who works with National Public Radio in the US.
Akbar had to step down from his role of Minister of State for External Affairs after the allegations were made public in the recent wave of MeToo disclosures. Asked what would happen if the ethics committee takes it up or a formal complaint is made against Akbar, Naidu said he did not wish to “speculate”.
The opposition has been demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee to look into the Rafale deal. Naidu said that he does not want to “foresee anything in Parliament”. The Opposition, he said, “has got every right to raise every issue” and the government has to respond.
“Whatever is as per the rules, depending on the importance and urgency I am always of the view that issues should be allowed to be taken up, but provided the House functions,” Naidu said adding, that “allow the House to function, and take advantage and then raise issues, discuss the issues and find out solutions”.
The opposition “must have its say and the government must have its way,” as a “broader principle”.
He emphasised that he has an “open mind, I am there as the Chairman of the House and I will go by the rules and regulations and also public interest and see to it that proper discussion is allowed on important issues”.
There is a need for the political parties to “really think of having some code of conduct for their own members”. If the system has to be improved, he said, parties should “take interest in the decline that is happening and also the effect of it on the image of Parliament.” For, if institutions weaken, democracy gets weaker and public interest is affected, he said.