1. The executive has the power to issue ordinances in exceptional circumstances. A series of such ordinances have been issued during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Can you recall the most important ones?
कार्यकारी के पास असाधारण परिस्थितियों में अध्यादेश जारी करने की शक्ति है। अभी चल रहे COVID-19 महामारी के दौरान इस तरह के अध्यादेशों की एक श्रृंखला जारी की गई है। क्या आपको सबसे महत्वपूर्ण याद हैं?
Demand of the question:
It expects students to write about ordinance making power of the executive i.e. President (Union) & Governor (State) in specific. It also expects students to recall & write about the most important ordinances promulgated by the President during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
The executive has been empowered to promulgate Ordinances based on the advice of the central government & state government under Article 123 & 213 respectively of the Constitution. As Indian Parliament shut down due to ongoing COVID-19 crisis, President of India promulgated number of ordinances to deal with the situation during this period; same practise has been followed by Governors of various states.
Conditions to issue Ordinances:
- Executive can promulgate an ordinance only when both the Houses of Parliament/Legislature are not in session or when either of the two Houses of Parliament/Legislature is not in session. The second provision implies that an ordinance can also be promulgated by the president only when one House is in session because a law can be passed by both the Houses and not by one House alone.
- An ordinance issued by him/ her has the same force and effect as an act of the Parliament/Legislature.
Promulgation of ordinances during COVID-19:
Since the start of lockdown period till today, a series of Ordinances are promulgated by the President; important ones with their respective importance and impact are mentioned below:
Taxation and other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance, 2020:
- Taxation and other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance, 2020 has been promulgated to provide relaxation in the provisions of certain Acts a including extension of time limit, in the taxation and other laws.
- A special fund “Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES FUND)” has been set up for providing relief to the persons affected from the outbreak of Corona virus.
- Keeping in view the challenges faced by taxpayers in meeting the compliance requirements under such conditions these kind of relaxations proved to be helpful to reduce taxpayers hardships.
Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020:
- 30% reduction in salaries payable to MPs to meet exigencies of COVID 19.
- It in turn led to divert the expenditure from spending on salary to spending on healthcare infrastructure.
Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020:
- To protect healthcare service personnel and property including their living/working premises against violence during epidemics.
- The Ordinance provides for making such acts of violence cognizable and non-bailable offences and for compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property in which healthcare service personnel may have a direct interest in relation to the epidemic.
- This Ordinance issued with hope that it will infuse confidence in the community of healthcare service personnel so that they can continue to contribute to serving mankind through their noble professions in the extremely difficult circumstances being witnessed during the current Covid-19 outbreak.
Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020:
- It was promulgated to make sure the sufficient availability & affordability of essential commodities to people during the COVID-19.
Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020:
- The Ordinance amends the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 as applicable to Cooperative Banks.
- Ordinance seeks to protect the interests of depositors and strengthen cooperative banks by improving governance and oversight by extending powers already available with RBI in respect of other banks to Co-operative Banks as well for sound banking regulation, and by ensuring professionalism and enabling their access to capital.
But, Ordinance making power of executive comes in contradiction with the principle of Participative democracy. In Participative democracy representative come together, debate, discuss and then form a law for the welfare of people.
- Our Constitution does not prohibit meetings that may require maintenance of physical distancing or remote meetings.
- It states that the President may summon Parliament “to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit”.
- Rules of procedure of house specify that Speaker has the power to decide how to organize sittings. Speaker may permit meetings to be held outside. Thus, there is no prior parliamentary action required to permit meetings through video-conferencing.
Though the Ordinance making power of executive comes in contradiction with the Participative democracy it seems suitable when it comes to emergency situations like COVID-19.Hence, In a democracy like India, Ordinances play a pivotal role but it should be taken care of that their nature should not turn harmful to democracy.