OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

It is time to show the Speakers their Legislative place

It is also time to evict the Political Stooges holed up in Raj Bhavans across the country

Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat on Monday survived the floor test in the Assembly after the Speaker restrained three legislators from taking part in the voting.  The Goa Democratic Alliance on Monday night decided to approach the Supreme Court, challenging the manner in which the vote of confidence was conducted in the Goa Assembly on Monday. Leader of the Opposition and former Goa CM Manohar Parrikar alleged that everything was ‘manipulated’ in the Legislative Assembly on Monday to save the ‘minority’ government. He reiterated his demand for ‘outright dismissal’ of the Digambar Kamat-led Government in the state. Presenting a copy of Monday’s proceedings of the House to the Governor, Parrikar told him that the Speaker failed to abide by the former’s directive. The Governor told him that he would look into the proceedings besides, the report of the Speaker on the outcome of the vote before taking further decision on the Opposition charges.

The vote of confidence was passed in favour of Congress amid noisy scenes in the Assembly with the Speaker Pratapsingh Rane applying dubious interpretations of the law, Ninad over at Lex has the legal analysis.  Offstumped makes the political argument that it is time to junk the present Parliamentary system of Government where the Executive is elected by the Legislature.

What was involved in Goa was commerce and economy on the land deals and not ideology and politics,”

That was the irrepressible verbal gymnast and Sonia spin meister Abhishek Singhvi.

What Mr. Singhvi fails to address however is if it was about the commerce and economy and not about politics, why did the Congress shy away from a honest division of votes on the floor of the house.

Why did it not debate the issues – Commerce and Economy ?

Why resort to a sly and dubious application of the law to save the day ?

If it was all about land deals why was the Congress afraid of making its case on the floor of the house and pressing for a honest vote after all the people would have sided with it if as Mr. Singhvi argues this was about vested interests and selfish ends.

The fact that the Congress had to resort to sly underhand tactics to save its face pours water over Singhvi’s assertions. With the matter headed to the Courts we will soon hear of the Constitutionality of the games the speaker played in Goa. One can only hope that the Supreme Court delivers its verdict in a timely manner unlike the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh case where the damage could not be undone.

The larger question for the rest of the political opposition to ponder over as we approach the 60th anniversary of our democracy is how many more violations of the Constitution must we endure ?

Starting with the Emergency the Congress has a demonstrated track record of changing Chief Ministers at the whims of the high command, dismissing state governments by applying article 356 at the drop of a hat and most recently resorting Gubernatorial games. The dubious practice of Speakers exercising wide discretion in recognizing splits and disqualifying legislatures started in Uttar Pradesh and the BJP carries some share of the blame there as well.

The bottomline is by treating the Legislature as Supreme and by requiring that the Executive be elected by the Legislature, we have paved the way for perennial dissidence and continued toppling of Governments through Legislative manouvers in violation of the mandate of the people and the spirit of the Constitution. By continuing with the un-democratic and anti-federal practice of having stooges of the Central Government in the Raj Bhawans we have given these manouvers political and constitutional cover.

The legal redressal in the Supreme Court is of consequence only in name and in a country where a Judicial Slap in the face counts for nothing it rarely undoes the damage. In Bihar when the Supreme Court ruled the imposition of President’s Rule Unconstitutional it was hardly of any consequence to the Manmohan Singh UPA Government or to the Sonia Gandhi Congress Party. In fact the only person to suffer from that judicial slap was President Kalam who became party to the midnight conspiracy. In case after case be it Uttar Pradesh or Jharkhand the Supreme Court decisions came to late in the day to be of any consequence in retrospective. Even the most shameful of episodes in Indian Parliamentary History when the Prime Minister of the day bribed MPs to save his Government, the judicial redressal was inconsequential as Member of Parliament could not be held to account for their actions on the floor of the house, so it was not illegal to accept a bribe in exchange for a vote. This despite the fact that Shibu Soren was convicted for murder to avoid blackmail on account of the bribe.

From pliant Governors to sly speakers our democracy has had to serve every possible consitutional infraction to either preserve the government of the day or to topple it. The tragedy was in none of the cases was anybody ever held to account legally nor was it possible to apply the legal remedy retrospectively.

So the question of the day is why should we the people suffer a deficiency in our Constitution that the politicians, especially the Congress, have exploited every step away of the way for the last 60 years with no accountability or consequences ?

Offstumped Bottomline:

It is time we showed the Speakers that their place in the Legislative scheme of things was not to subvert the mandate of the people but to just run the business of the house.

It is also time we booted the Geriatrics who occupy the Raj Bhawans and told them that they need to look for other avenues of employment post political retirement.

It is time we insulated the Government of the day from hung legislatures and fragmented verdicts.

It is time we directly elected the Executive and put an end to perennial dissidence.

It is time we separated the Executive from the Legislature and restored the  Checks and Balances our Democracy needs.




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