Q.1) Although, the Constitution very well enshrined the tenet of direct parliamentary control of the executive, the last decade was testimony to the limitations of parliament to check executive corruption. Do you agree? Elaborate.
In such “Elaborate” and “Do you agree” questions, one should use a lot of examples and facts to justify one’s answer, alongwith a bit of background theory.
The Top Answer is written by – Harshit Ladva
Ans) There is no denying that last decade was “marred by corruption of executive” as per popular media. The parliamentary control was in spirit limited to only corrective measure and failed to be a preventive cause as envisaged by the constitution due to various reasons
1) Anti-defection law prevents individual dissent and curbs mature criticism of government forming political party by its own’ members. EG:- CWC scam scrutiny
2) No shadow cabinet of opposition which can tail ministers and portfolios for check and control. Eg:- British parliament.
3) No healthy democratic precedents that respects offices like PM, Speaker , No-Party Speaker etc.
4) Insufficient allocated time and undue opposition by other MPs on trivial matters limits parliamentary interaction between executive and legislators.
Socio-Economic profile of legislators
1) Lack of expertise of MPs limits their appreciation of technical issues in matters like Spectrum allocation corruption scam.
2) No post- election training of MPs due to which they cannot exercise their powers and rights to fullest. Novice MPs and MLAs often depict ignorance in procedures. Eg – Lack of recognition of Coal-Gate as an unconstitutional Scam/scandal.
1) CAG, CBI, ED, NHRC etc act as investigating agencies on behalf of parliament. Political control and interventions distorts their functioning.
2) Lack of lateral entry of experts to guide parliamentary committees.
It is important to empower and educate parliament to effectively control the executive.
Q.2) Present your views on the need and suitability of the proposed Judicial Appointment Commission. Do you think that the proposed body for appointing SC and HC judges undermines judicial independence? Discuss.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Harshit Ladva
Ans) The article 124(A) was proposed as 99th amendment to usher in NJAC – which will be responsible for appointments and transfer of judges.
Need of JAC
1) Present collegium system is opaque, arbitrary and relies heavily on personal preference which fosters nepotism and corruption.
2) Failure of Collegium system: While the SC has noteworthy work in by-gone years , the district courts & high-courts have failed to deliver quality service. The various stakeholders – citizens , civil society , media etc have frequently voiced their concern about having a predictable , transparent and reliable vis-a-vis quick judicial system.
3) Collegium seeks no public participation and hence no responsibility.
4) The seniority criteria doesn’t guarantee competence. Due to this , many deserving and honest court officials are overlooked in making various appointments.
5) Absence of All-India-Judicial Service in-line with IAS/IPS/IFS selection exams further aggravates the “competency” issue and it is important that the very best are appointed from the available lot.
Sustainability of JAC
1) Any appointments commission is not permanent. Eg;- 1st, 2nd ,3rd Judges case.
2) To ensure the judicial independence , a multi-stakeholder but transparent process can be devised for JAC by tweaking the proposed system.
The doctrine of ” contempt of court” has severely restricted public scrutiny of court’s functioning in media as well as in open.
Thus the idea for NJAC is noble but its implementation may require tweaking its composition.
Q.3) The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill tries to lay down enforceable standards of conduct for judges. Mention the important provisions of the bill. How far can the provisions of the bill ensure judicial accountability? Critically examine.
The Top Answer has been written by – Nishant
Ans) A “check” on the Judiciary itself has been missing in the Indian system. The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill (JSAB) seek to correct this imbalance. Its key features are examined below:
The bill lays down standards of judicial conduct eg. Prohibiting a judge from hearing cases involving family and friends. Although the bill is silent on its enforcement procedure.
A judge is required to declare his assets and liabilities along with that of his family. This is to bring the judges at par with similar provision for the members of legislature.
To address lack of accountability, the bill creates a mechanism via the Oversight Committee to entertain complaints against the conduct of judges. But there’s further scope to put in place stringent penalties on frivolous complaints
Parliament can introduce a motion for removal of judges. Since members of the Oversight Committee and Scrutiny Panel have non-judicial members, this directly impinges the independence of judiciary, a basic feature of Indian Constitution. Extreme fears of bi-partisan support to corner the judiciary can’t be overlooked as well.
The reasoning behind the bill is sound in principle. But the key issue is to strike a balance between the accountability and independence of the judiciary. The provisions of the bill shouldn’t become another battle front between the Judiciary and the Parliament.
Q.4) In the light of the recent SC judgements directly or indirectly affecting the provisions of the Representation of the Peoples Act, analyse the impact of these judgements on the Indian polity and on the relationship between the judiciary and the executive.
The Top Answer for this question is written by – SK
Ans) The Supreme Court of India has recently given judgements relating to elections and on some provisions in the Representation of People’s act which had an impact on Indian polity and also on the relation between judiciary and executive.
In Jan Chowkidari case, the Supreme Court barred those in custody from contesting the elections. Though this judgement prevents criminals from entering politics, innocent under trails will lose their political right to contest.
In the Lily Thomas case SC held that Section 8(4) of RPA was unconstitutional. RPA 8(4) gives protection to convicted MPs/MLAs if they file appeal against conviction within 3 months. Since normal citizens when convicted are disqualified from contesting automatically, how can MPs/MLAs cannot be disqualified? Thus, the SC tried to restore equality of citizens.
In a recent judgement, SC held that it is mandatory fill criminal, educational and financial background of the contestants while filing nominations, otherwise they can be disqualified. By this, the SC upheld the voters’ right to know about their candidates.
Still, another judgement enforced NOTA option in EVMs. This gives the citizens the Right to cast a negative vote.
These judgements though aimed at empowering common man and cleaning political system in the country, the executive viewed it as Judicial Activism. It hastened the enactment of NJAC in which it sought an equal representation in appointments of judges.
Q.5) The role of individual Members of Parliament(MP) has diminished over the years and as a result healthy constructive debates on policy issues are not usually witnessed. How far can this be attributed to the anti-defection law, which was legislated, but with a different intention?
The Top Answer for this question is written by – Deepansh
Ans) The Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution validates the Anti-Defection Law, mentioning conditions for disqualification of MPs. A parliamentarian may be disqualified on the grounds of defection to another party. It was not originally a part of the Constitution, but was enacted by 52nd CAA after a sudden spurt in political defections.
Primary intention was to curb political defections and rein in the issue of horse-trading
Also, to bring stability in the structures of political parties and strengthen parliamentary practice by banning floor-crossing.
Promote party discipline.
Unfortunately, it has had some glaring anti-democratic fallouts like:
Muzzled Free Expression: since the law makes it mandatory on the parliamentarian to vote along party lines or face eviction.
Debating Rendered Moot: by curtailing the parliamentarian’s discretion to voting, effectively suppressing intra-party debate.
Dissent Not Allowed: presence of party whips has been stifling dissent and gradually decreased the quality of the debates on various policy issues.
Issue of Accountability: moratorium on allowing MPs to change parties reduces the accountability of the government to the Parliament and the People.
The unfavorable consequences of the Anti-Defection law which potentially undermines the tenets of Democracy demands that the law should be revisited.
The Other Top Answer for this question is written by – Nishant
Ans) Indian Politics has been reduced to a game of numbers. Gone are the passionate debates of Nehru and Sardar Patel which galvanized the Parliament in the 1950s. Constructive criticism has given way to unquestioned submission by Members of the Parliament towards their respective parties.
Anti-Defection Law came in 1985 to check on the issue of “political horse trading” in the coalition era. Unfortunately, it has undermined the Parliamentary freedom of speech (article 105) as well.
The law empowered the whip with unprecedented control over party members. Simple disagreement became digression.
Loyalty was forced just to protect one’s membership. Soon, the rare enthusiastic lot of members also lost interest in raising issues.
Cabinet turned into the mini-parliament where decisions were done and dusted with
Yet, not everything has been impacted. Different motions raised by private members are still hotly contested in the Parliament. Opposition has invariably filled in for the lack of debate within the government itself. The Speaker ensures the incumbent government fulfills its duties towards the Parliament. The proceedings of the Parliament are shown on LSTV / RSTV which is seen by many people. Hence, it becomes important for the government to table all important national issues and encourage intelligent discussion on the same.