Home | Talks | Transparency, Accountability & the Threat to Independent Institutions - The PK Dey Memorial Lecture

Transparency, Accountability & the Threat to Independent Institutions - The PK Dey Memorial Lecture


May 18 2024 to May 18 2024 7 p.m.



Bangalore International Centre

7 4th Main Rd, Stage 2, Domlur 560071

Event Description

Independent constitutional bodies like the Supreme Court, Election Commission of India, CAG, and RBI play a crucial role in safeguarding democracy, ensuring adherence to constitutional principles, and preventing power politics from undermining democratic values. Operating autonomously, they uphold free and fair elections, audit government finances, and maintain monetary stability. However, recent instances of political interference raise concerns about their effectiveness in upholding democracy. Historical precedents warn that when these institutions prioritise the interests of those in power over constitutional principles, democracy suffers. Therefore, assessing their impact on democracy requires objective evaluation, recognising the vital role citizens and their votes play in holding these institutions accountable.

Civil society, alongside these independent bodies, media, and the judiciary, also plays a pivotal role in holding governments accountable for their actions and policies. Despite promises made by political parties, gaps and shortcomings persist in their delivery to the public, including misuse of power and corruption. Organisations like ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms) have been instrumental in promoting transparency and accountability in the political sphere through interventions such as advocating for the NOTA button on EVMs and exposing violations of FCRA. Utilising RTI applications, ADR has uncovered crucial information, making ITRs and assessment orders of political parties accessible to the public and highlighting concerns about the lack of oversight in electoral bond schemes.

In his reflection on ADR’s achievements, Maj. Gen. Anil Verma (Retd.) underscores the importance of assessing the current state of independent constitutional bodies and charting a path forward to strengthen transparency and accountability in democracy, which requires continued vigilance from civil society. This will be followed by a talk by Prof. Trilochan Shastry where he will present some facts about the current situation in India over the last ten years.

Tea will be served at 6:15 pm.

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