The sovereign’s right --M.G. Vaidya (questing NCA right to draft the law)

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by anoop_mig25, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 17, 2009
    Likes Received:
    The sovereign’s right
    M.G. Vaidya Posted: Fri Jun 17 2011

    In a few recent issues of The Indian Express, I find an extraordinary, incessant vehemence in criticising Anna Hazare’s and Baba Ramdev’s agitations. The principle underlining this criticism appears to underscore the sovereignty of the Parliament. But is that sovereignty absolute? No, it is relative.
    If this Parliament, or any other Parliament of India, decides to pass a law declaring India henceforth a fascist or a communist state, can it do so? No, it has no power to do that, because its powers are limited by the preamble of the Constitution which declares in no ambiguous words that India shall be a “democratic republic.” If Parliament passes a law that is against the words and the spirit of the Constitution, the judiciary has the power to strike it down, declaring it ultra vires. In short, the sovereignty of Parliament is not absolute, it is relative. The Constitution is superior to Parliament. And as for the Constitution, the people are superior to it. It is the people who have framed the Constitution. The very words that begin it are “We the People of India” have resolved to have this Constitution. People are supreme; and people constitute the nation. Actually the people are the nation. The Parliament as well as all other institutions of democratic polity are, in a way, subservient to the people.

    Article 79 of the Constitution says that the president and the two Houses shall constitute Parliament, but the two are not of equal power and influence. In a democratic, parliamentary system, the Lok Sabha is the real representative of the people. But for the last seven years, we are suffering a head of government who is not a member of the Lok Sabha. Why?

    Because, the Constituion is silent about it? But is that the spirit of the Constitution? In exceptional circumstances, for a short period, the president can appoint a person who is not a member of the LS. For six months, you or I can be appointed the PM. But an exception is not a rule.In 1966, after Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sudden demise in Tashkent, Mrs Indira Gandhi was sworn in as PM. At that time she was a member of the RS. She could have continued as PM, even in that capacity. But she understood the spirit of the Constitution and fought an election, got elected to the LS, became the leader of that House, and continued in the august office of the PM. We need an amendment in our constitution that will make mandatory for the PM, to be a member of the LS.

    If civil society drafts a bill, what is the harm in it? It does not become a law. Even this bill will have to be discussed and debated in Parliament. If Parliament passes it, then only can it become a law. Anna Hazare’s team that drafted the Jan Lokpal bill is denigrated as outsiders with no mandate to draft it.

    May I ask then about the National Advisory Council (NAC) drafting the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence bill? Which provision of the Constitution empowers the NAC to draft the Bill?
    If NAC can draft a bill, why not Anna’s team? A bill drafted by civil society neither usurps nor curtails the legislative powers of Parliament.

    As for the prestige of Parliament, whose responsibility is it? Are MPs by their behaviour in the House, maintaining the stature of the Parliament? Are they ignorant about how one indicates opposition? Why do they so often rush in the well of the House? Why is the speaker required so frequently to adjourn it? How much time is wasted in slogan-mongering, how little is spent in serious debate and discussion? How many MPs are present in the House? A whole fortinght was lost on the issue of the JPC. Is this lapse excusable?

    It is my considered opinion that UPA 2 has lost the confidence of the people. Its methods of handling Baba Ramdev are whimsical and arbitrary. The midnight crackdown on a sleeping crowd, beating them with lathis, lobbing tear-gas shells on them, is criminal. A PIL to prosecute the home minister will be legitimate. Had there been a provision for right to recall, at least 100 MPs of the ruling combine would have lost their position. I think that such a provision is essential. The conditionality and methodology of recall is a matter of debate and deliberation. Let us not overlook the significance of huge gatherings of people, both men and women, voluntarilly assembled at Jantar Mantar and Ramlila grounds.

    The writer is a former spokesman for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

Share This Page