oppn parties Indian Parliamentary Democracy in Crisis

News Snippets

  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
oppn parties
Indian Parliamentary Democracy in Crisis

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2016-12-18 18:49:24

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
A parliamentary democracy thrives on debate and discussion. Those who are voted to power try and run the country, theoretically as per the promises they made in their manifesto before the elections but in reality as per their agenda perceived either through the conditions they encounter on assuming office or according to advice they receive from the various committees, think tanks or bureaucrats or as per the demands of the situation. Obviously, their way of running the country will differ from the way most of the other political parties, the so-called opposition, would want the country to be run. On most issues, the government would take a stand and issue either administrative fiats or make laws to ensure that work is done according to its reading of the situation. The opposition, on the other hand, would cry foul and complain that the government has read the situation wrongly and is pushing the country and its people down the path of destruction.

Both the government and the opposition are entitled to their views and are entitled also to present their views before the people, in Parliament, if it is in session, and outside through public meetings, rallies, press conferences and other forums. This presentation of views should be civil and informed, taking the shape of debate and discussion. As the government had won a mandate to rule the country, it is entitled to put its ideas into practice. Most of the times, the government should take the opposition in confidence on crucial issues – more so since in a federal structure, many of the states would be ruled by opposition parties – but sometimes, when secrecy and speed is of importance, like in the surgical strikes against Pakistan and the contentious demonetization issue, the government can also act unilaterally. Similarly, since the opposition is striving to show where the government is at fault and how its ideas will either ruin the economy or create hardships for the people, it is entitled to try its utmost to prevent the government from carrying out ideas that it thinks are wrong. It can use the Parliament to vote and defeat a government proposal, it can approach the courts of law to stall a measure it thinks is unconstitutional or it can, as a last resort, take to creating awareness among the people to make them rise against the government (though an extreme form of the last could lead to anarchy).

But the opposition should not, must not, stall work in Parliament. For, there are other things that are crucial to the country apart from the differences over a particular current issue. The Parliament was designed as a chamber where law makers could debate and vote to make or unmake laws. It was also designed as the place where the opposition could register its protest in a dignified manner, to be recorded for posterity. But it was not designed to be what it has been made by our “honourable” parliamentarians where they would stall work and indulge in unpardonable acts that are viewed by the whole world.

Indian parliamentary democracy is descending to depths that must be paining its founding fathers immensely. At one level, it is a reflection of the kind of people that are occupying seats in the august houses and at another level, it shows how the spirit of cooperation and intellectual exchange has given way to that of acrimony and games of one-upmanship. Politicians of all parties are failing the people and the sooner they realize this, the better for future generations. It is for this reason that radical political reforms – encompassing the entire gamut from funding, spending, registration of political parties, qualifications of candidates, behavior of peoples’ representatives inside and outside legislative houses and conduct of parties, their leaders and workers - need to be undertaken. But since all parties – without exception – are inflicted with viruses, who is going to conduct this surgical strike?