Bringing Probity In Public Life:
“Be the Change you want to see in the World.”
~ M.K. Gandhi
Luizinho Faleiro was instrumental in bringing in The Goa Public Men’s Corruption (Investigations and Enquiries) Act, 1988, which showed his commitment to probity in public life and to integrity in public service. Writing in his book, “Goa Black on White”, he says there was need to bring back the public men and women to the right path to sanity and to honesty. “The moral values have been eroding and the social fabric corroding,” he said in the Goa Assembly while presenting the bill and seeking the approval of MLAs to his initiative.
Luizinho observed with regret, that the pursuit of power had become much more reckless and disastrous, as evidenced from the seven governments which took office in the 1989-1994 tenure of Goa’s First Assembly, after it attained statehood.
Provisions of the Act: The Goa Public Men’s Corruption (Investigations and Enquiries) Act, 1988Act prohibited any public person from accepting any gratification other than legal remuneration, as a reward for rendering any service to any person, either on his behalf or for any other person by corrupt or illegal means or by his exercise of personal influence. Public Men were forbidden from showing favour or disfavour to any person under the Act by using or abusing his/her position or accepting any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage.
Public men were also forbidden from willfully contravening any provision of any law to show undue favour or cause injury to any person. If any public man was found to be showing favouritism or nepotism in the discharge of his official functions by obtaining monetary gain for himself or his family he /she too would be culpable. More importantly, the law mandated that at no point in his service could a public man be found to be in possession of pecuniary resources or property which is disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Who is a Public Man? The term Public Man applied to Chief Minister, Ministers, MLAs, employees of the government, member or director of boards, public sector corporation or government companies, statutory bodies or boards, or societies controlled by the government and local bodies, members of the university syndicate, executive council, members of the State Transport Authority or Regional Transport Authority, office bearers of a political party, office bearers of registered trade union, chairmen, Secretaries, Manager of schools receiving grant in aid from the government, chairman, Manager or Secretary of private engineering college or private polytechnic whether under individual, corporate management, university of State Board of Technical Education, all of whom came under the purview of the anti corruption Act.
The Goa Public Men’s Corruption (Investigations and Enquiries) Commission:
The Commission was to be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the chief minister in consultation with the senior judge of the High Court and Leader of Opposition. The chairman had to be a member who had held office as Judge of the Supreme court or High court. Other members of the commission should be persons qualified to be appointed Judge of the High Court.
The members of the commission were not allowed to hold any other office, including public office or have any practice during their tenure in office or after laying down office to allow them to be independent and fearless. Very thoughtfully to avoid an political bias, a person who was a member of a political party during the previous five years was debarred from being a member of the commission.
The position of the Commission members was equal to that of a High Court Judge, drawing the same salary, allowances, pensions and other benefits. Similarly retired judges of the Supreme court would draw salaries, allowance and other service conditions as applicable to the Judge of the Supreme court to ensure independence.
Services of other department officers or services of experts could be summoned by the commission. The commission could investigate any complaint filed before it, examine their veracity and hand out suitable punishment. This Act could dissuade many from corruption and bring in a gradual cleansing of corruption within governance. Today of course, the discourse is about a foolproof and watertight people’s LokPal and Lokayukta bills, which are the need of the hour.