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Errors of judgement not corruption, says Indian President

Nov 02, 2012

Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee, has called for efforts to re-engineer national institutions so that they become stronger, instead of destroying them.

India’s President, Pranab Mukherjee today said that the institution of Lokayukta or the anti-corruption ombudsman organization in Indian states, is an ally to good governance not an obstruction to development.

He was addressing the inaugural function of All India Lokayukta Conference 2012 on November 2, 2012 in New Delhi.

The President advised the Lokayuktas to remember that their duty is not just to indict public functionaries when they are guilty but also to protect them when nothing is found wrong with their conduct and to correct wrong perceptions about them with equal force and earnestness.

He said that vilification campaigns are not carried out to defame or destroy reputations in the name of checking corruption. The President stated that false allegations aimed at impugning reputations are bad.

The President’s remarks come as public attention in India has been focused on the fight against corruption. Activists under the banner of India Against Corruption have been demanding a national ombudsman or Lokpal, to investigate corruption at the national level.

However, much of the activists campaigns are being seen as a name-and-shame effort and political pundits have decried the trial the activists have put them on in the media. The campaign has caught popular imagination.

President Pranab Mukherjee also said that while it might be true that the country’s institutions may have suffered from the weariness of time, yet, the answer is not to destroy what has been built, but to re-engineer them so that they become stronger than before.

“We must also distinguish bonafide errors of judgement from graft and corruption, civil wrong from criminal intent and the need to have swift and effective sanctions against corruption from the imperative of protecting the innocent,” he added.

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