Political parties should be held accountable like a government and they must be answerable to people for all their actions, decisions and policies, a professor of social development said last week while talking about civil liberties in independent India at the Asiatic Society.
Kalpana Kannabiran, a professor at the Council for Social Development, cited a petition that came before the Andhra Pradesh High Court before the bifurcation of the state in 2014.
A Congress leader had gone to the high court alleging that there was not enough representation of people from Telangana region in the distribution of tickets.
“K.G. Kannabiran, the lawyer who represented the leader, argued against the lack of representation from Telangana region,” said Kalpana.
“He said that a party is a public body and not a private entity. Being a public body that fights election it is accountable to the people for every decision that it makes in the same manner as the state is accountable,” said Kalpana.
K.G. Kannabiran, who is Kalpana’s father, was the national president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) between 1995 and 2009.
The accountability of political parties should be understood as part of the constitutional scheme, Kalpana said.
Political parties are bound to answer how they select their candidates, what they do, the question of their funding and the policies it adopts, Kalpana said while trying to highlight the argument that KG had made in court.
Kalpana was delivering a talk titled ‘Speaking the Constitution: A Biography of Civil Liberties in Independent India’ as a part of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Lecture.