ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Call for a National Code of Conduct

What are the resources and concerns that can contribute to a substantive ethical code for the political class from the experience of the working of parliamentary democracy in India? Such a code need not put a damp squib on the ideological fervour of political parties but set them an anchor. A vibrant democratic culture is a better ground for the cultivation of social values than much preaching, be it in the classroom or in other public fora.

On the occasion of the release of his book, Moving On ... Moving Forward: A Year in Office on 2 September 2018, India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu argued,

In my view political parties must evolve a consensus on the code of conduct for their members both inside the legislature and out of it, otherwise, people might soon lose faith in our political processes and institutions.

He also asked “Parties to come together, transcending political considerations, on issues of national importance,” and felt that while India’s economic progress was commendable, and Indian stock of reputation was growing worldwide, the functioning of Parliament was clearly a matter of concern. From the language employed by Naidu, and the composition of the audience at the release of the book, it was clear that his call for a public ethical code was not limited to the functioning of the Parliament but expressed a wider concern, a deficit in India’s political class to be made good. But, while the vice president dwelt on several specific institutional reforms, he said little about the “issues of national importance” around which an ethical direction for the political class has to be forged.

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Updated On : 8th Oct, 2018

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