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The Article ‘Constitutionalism and Good Governance: A perspective of 21st Century’ by Rohit Verma aims to highlight the importance of Good governance which is essential for the betterment of people, and definitely, this can not take place without the government being accountable to the people.
The Article elucidates the interrelationship between Constitutionalism and Good Governance. The author vividly explains the importance of rule of law as per our Indian Constitution and its influential impact on society. The article deals briefly with the historical perspective of good governance and thus lastly the author explains the significance of the right to information and e-governance pertaining to the Indian perspective on good governance.
Constitutionalism is an idea of political thought that ensures the liberty and the rights of the individual will be secured. It is an essential tool in a democracy. The end target of good governance is achieved through accountability. Constitutionalism ensures that the officers of the state fulfill their duties while dealing with their functions and carrying out their powers within prescribed limits.
Constitutionalism is a tool through which effective restraints are put upon the powers of authorities of the government and the enthronement of the rule of law as reflected in the absence of arbitrariness and equality of all before the law. In other words, constitutionalism is a systematic arrangement of political organizations that are governed by the supreme law in which the rule of law is considered an important aspect.
Also, there is a separation of powers and a procedure of checks and balances that prevent the government from acting arbitrarily and ensure a fair procedure has been followed where the rights and development of citizens are given paramount significance. The concept of good governance is linked with the idea that the government is perceived as justifiable and committed to improving public welfare and fulfilling the needs of its citizens. Good governance is attributed to some basic ideas and principles like the elimination of corruption from the government and being transparent throughout the administration process.
Truly said by Prathibha Patil (former President)
“Corruption is the enemy of development, and of good governance. It must be got rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective”.
Good Governance is a concept that has been linked with democracy and has been associated with the concepts like the encouragement of participation of people in a democratic nation and making all those decisions that are necessary for the welfare of its citizens.
Good Governance can be described as an art of governance in relation to the appropriation of values and use of the prescribed power allotted to the concerned authority. However, this concept is hard to define as it can be defined in a broader sense rather than just being limited to accountability because the definition might differ according to one’s perspective.
According to scholars, good governance is the management of resources and organization of individuals as well as of groups that are arranged in a systematic way through the methods of administrative and economic mechanisms. Secondly, according to the world bank, the ideas of governance have been expounded in a two-way ideology that is how the political powers exercise to manage affairs of their country and by associating it as democratic governance which is responsible for human development. Thus we can say that good governance is a multi-dimensional concept.
Good governance has been considered an integral aspect of a democratic nation. Firstly, because it evaluates the quality of governance that is being judged by looking at the performance of relevant institutions regardless of their size and parameters, therefore the goal of the government should be clearly defined. Secondly, good governance ensures that the resources are efficiently utilized for the development of a nation.
True democracy is defined by a picture of the component consisting of constitutionalism and governance. A democratic country cannot function in an efficient way in the absence of these components because they are the inevitable part of a democratic country. Even the provisions supplemented by constitutionalism and good administration form the foundation of a democratic country’s constitution.
The basic objective of effective government is ensured by constitutionalism. In other words, constitutionalism is the demise of effective government. The progress of good governance can be monitored on the fact that how evenly the elements of constitutionalism have been implemented in the constitution of that country. Both of these terms are interrelated with each other to an extent that one can’t be achieved in the absence of another.
Constitutionalism is the spirit of the constitution that is based upon certain principles and provision in the constitution that restricts the governance procedure and its power to prevent arbitrariness.
The rule of law is based upon the assumption that people are ruled by law and not order or anything else. Good governance and the rule of law are essential for a democratic nation to carry out its procedure in a fair manner. Rule of law is the character of the government which means that there is a framework that establishes and provides power to the government. It is a supreme law of the land that starts with a written or non-written constitution.
The notion of rule of law is heavily emphasized in the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, which also stipulates that it must be consistent with a legal framework. Additionally, there needs to be a powerful system of justice that would guarantee the safety and uphold the rights of its citizens and hold anyone including public officials responsible for breaking the law.
Rule of law is a prerequisite for good governance because without the appropriate rules and regulations effective governance cannot be carried out efficiently and will ultimately have an impact on the public’s interest that will result in subpar governance. This indicates that in order to control citizen conduct and maintain social order the administrative authorities should adhere to the relevant rules and regulations.
Thus, it can be stated that the rule of law is one of the basic requirements of good governance without which the aim of good governance which is the welfare of the citizen cannot be achieved, therefore the government should be based upon the legal system based on the law which represents the people’s will.
The idea of good governance is nothing new because it has always been a crucial component of government without which it would be difficult for the government to carry out its functions. However, it gained importance on a worldwide scale in the middle of the 16th century when the range of governmental responsibilities was greatly increased. By the 19th century, governance was understood as how a public institution manages its operations and serves the interests of its citizens. The significance of good governance was even acknowledged by Kautilya around 150 A.D when he mentioned the act of good governance in his book arthashastra in which he described the administration of internal and external senses.
The comprehensive interpretation of the Arthashastra equates to political as well as economic governance. The thought of the Kautilya on governance was quite modern and was presented in a systematic way that was contemporary in operational times. The perspective of the Kautilya on good governance is still relevant in today’s world as it has not only attracted philosophers and political leaders but has also been the emerging topic between researchers and academicians. The philosophy outlined in Arthashastra includes the foundational ideas of contemporary good governance, which include responsiveness, quality of life, and individual property rights.
According to Chanakya’s Arthashastra
“In the happiness of his subjects lies the king’s happiness, in their welfare, his welfare. He shall not consider as good only that which pleases him but treat as beneficial to him whatever pleases his subjects.”
The whole concept of good governance in India is based on a participatory type of government in which candidates are chosen to lead the country on behalf of those who have been driven to do their best. The writers of the Indian Constitution inserted provisions for rule of law(not explicitly) and good governance after independence in order to uphold justice and safeguard the society’s weakest members. The whole of the Constitutional provisions is based upon rule of law. All of these provisions are based on the notion that the well-being of its citizens is the foundation of effective administration. The government’s key endeavour for enhancing the welfare of its people is the right to information and e-governance
RTI (Right to information): The welfare of the people is the goal of governance and in order for the people to monitor the government’s performance of its duties, it is necessary for it to be open and responsible. It is at this point that the right to information became important. The public has a legitimate right to obtain information relating to the formulation and application of policy. These rights are granted to individuals under the RTI Act of 2005, which also guarantees the right to legal recourse in the event that the information is false.
Participation of the public in internal affairs of government is crucial to provide openness and put people in a position where they may participate in the decision-making process. Prior to 2005, people were not given the right to demand information, making it impossible for people to check the current situation of the policies enacted upon them.
The invention of e-governance has had a favourable influence on the process of good governance. E-governance has improved government quality by bringing about greater openness and by making it more accessible. E-governance is one of the most important aspects of good governance in the modern democratic nation as it involves the application of information and communication technology(ICT) that facilitates efficient transmission, processing, and revival of the data. It is a comprehensive approach that brings inclusive good governance to the country.
This new paradigm has brought the revolution in terms of the quality of service delivered to its citizen. It has ushered in maintaining transparency in the governing process which also saves time and simplifies the procedure that reduces corruption and further improves the job handling capacity of the personnel. Thus, it can be said that the adoption of e-government applications expedited the process of service delivery, which in turn helped to reduce corruption and bring about greater stability in government procurement.
With the information provided above, it can be concluded that without the fundamental rules and regulations, the goal of good governance cannot be fully realized. This is because the principles on which the notion of good governance is built are “rule of law” and “constitutionalism,” which offer a legal framework that facilitates the smooth functioning of government in a methodical manner.
Further good governance is a multi-dimensional concept that has been linked with a socio-economic development that emphasizes the democratic participation of its people at large that ensure transparency and accountability of governance among its people. Governance is said to be good when the decision made by the government is based upon the consent and legitimacy of its people and when people are encouraged to take part in the role process carried out by the governance.
As government operations take on a wider scope, good governance is no more a static concept, and its demands and requirements must adapt to the changes. Being responsible and providing for the welfare of the people is the ultimate objective of good governance, which the government achieves by following the lead of constitutionalism. Thus, it can be said that excellent governance is a fundamental prerequisite of any democratic country for its development and prosperity.
 Constitutionalism & Good Governance: A Dangerous Servant, Available Here
 State of Governance A Framework for assessment, Available Here
 Dr. Rahul Tripathi, Good Governance: Origin, importance, and development in India, Available Here