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Speakers

Founder & Chairman, Association for Democratic Reforms
Head, Association of Democratic Reforms

Date & Time

Saturday Sat, 18 May 2024

Location

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

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.

In collaboration with The School for Democracy and Asha Dey and family, in the memory of Air Marshal PK Dey.

Speakers

Trilochan Sastry

Founder & Chairman, Association for Democratic Reforms

Prof. Trilochan Sastry is the Chairman, Founder Member and Trustee of the Association for Democratic Reforms. He was formerly the Dean at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, (from 2008 to 2011), and now, he is a faculty member in the Decision Sciences Area there. He is also the Founder & Secretary of the Centre for Collective Development (CCD) and the Founder of Farmveda.

Anil Verma

Head, Association of Democratic Reforms

In 1975, Anil Verma joined the Indian Army and retired after 37 years of distinguished service. Currently, he is the Head of ADR since December 2013, and oversees all administrative and operational activities of the pan-India organisation. He frequently writes for English and Hindi newspapers/magazines on issues related to electoral and political reforms. He has represented ADR in several national and international events pertaining to democracy, electoral and political reforms.

From time to time, he is also invited to interact with foreign delegations on issues of governance & advocacy, transparency & accountability in electoral politics, citizen engagement through RTI etc. On 25th January, 2020 (National Voters’ Day), on behalf of ADR, Maj. Gen. Verma received the National CSO Award at the hands of the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, in presence of Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, CEC and other Election Commissioners for the voter awareness campaign conducted by ADR.