The concept of parliamentary democracy takes off

A new trend has crept into Indian politics. The parties in power – whether state or central – are not ready to accept any kind of criticism. Intolerance of criticism has increased over the past decade and over the past six years it has taken on new dimensions.

Now it appears to have reached a new high where even a comment or observation from the respective state governor is seen giving ammunition to the opposition. Previously, it was believed that the situation was such in the states due to regional parties winning the elections by absolute majority. But the national parties also prove that they are no different.

In the past, all governments would reflect on criticism from the media, the opposition or even the governor and take the necessary corrective action. But now governments are issuing GOs giving officials absolute power to file complaints if they believe a news story, editorial or article criticizes government actions and prevents the opposition from protesting omissions and commissions. the executive. .

Now a stage has come where governments are becoming overly responsive to any remark, even from the governors of the respective states. They want governors to be simple rubber stamps.

The institution of governor is a contested phase of Indian democracy. Center agent, puppet and stamp are some of the terms used to describe it. The then governor of Uttar Pradesh, Sarojini Naidu, said: “I am a bird in a golden cage”.

She was referring to the limited political role of a state governor. Although the governor, according to the Constitution, is the head of a state just like the president, he is only a nominal head while the chief minister is the head of the executive, all executive actions of the State are taken on behalf of the governor. He or she is devoid of any important decisions.

The real powers in the executive relations of a state belong to the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. But then, the question is does this mean that they cannot make even indirect comments against what is happening in the state of which they are the first citizens?

The executive’s argument on all these occasions is that “ours” is a form of parliamentary government. Where a Cabinet is collectively responsible to the legislature, is required to provide advice and assistance to the Governor, it is conventionally expected to accept such advice.

Opportunities should be almost nonexistent for him to act contrary to their advice. But does that mean they have to keep quiet even if they see shortcomings in the administration?

If the objections raised by the Telangana government to certain observations made by the governor of the handling of Covid-19 cases and the low rate of testing are any indication, it is obvious that they want the governor to confine himself to the precinct. of Raj Bhavan and invite visitors and guests to lunch and dinner and inaugurate the first session of the state legislature each year outlining the new administrative policies of the ruling government.

Well, while this is one side of the coin, we’ve also seen that on many occasions the state governor’s office has often sparked controversy for the incumbent’s political views. The latest example of this trend is the Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammad Khan.

Speaking recently at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress in Kannur, he called “potholes” those protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens ( NCR). The unpleasant remark was preceded by the governor of Meghalaya, Tathagata Roy, asking those who oppose the policy of division in the northeast to visit North Korea.

The then governor of Rajasthan, Kalyan Singh, also crossed the line. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he said: “As a BJP worker, I really want the party to win. It is important for the nation and society that Narendra Modi becomes Prime Minister again.”

He remained unfazed by the reprimand from the Election Commission that he had violated the model code of conduct. It is time to fine tune the constitutional bodies and restore Dr Ambedkar’s concept of parliamentary democracy so that the importance of each wing is well protected.


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