Democracy in crisis

All of us have a chapter on democracy in school and in the phrase of Abraham Lincoln we have been taught Democracy is a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”. It made it easy to understand the complex phenomena of democracy. Today the most common form of democracy is representative democracy which means you elect the officials or representatives to the parliament to formulate policies, make political decisions and administer programs for the public good. Moreover, we have also been taught about the 4 pillars of democracy — the legislature (Parliament & State Assemblies), the executive, the judiciary and the press. Based on the performance of these pillars you can easily assess the performance of the democracy. Upendra Baxi defines crisis as a situation where “the structure of a social system allows fewer possibilities for problem-solving than are necessary for the continued existence of the system. In my words Crisis is a situation where we always discussed problem rather than looking for the solution of a problem

Let me explain the crisis of democracy

Legislature (Parliament & State Assemblies) — In my own words, it is a place where your representatives deliberate,discuss and formulate the policy for the public good. This means the legislative assembly decides the fate of the nation and its people. Instead of working for the public good, legislative assembly becomes a place of winking of eyes after hugging the Prime minister and disrupting the parliament session on trivial issues based on caste, class and gender, disorders and political turmoil. It’s become common for parliamentarian to walk out from the parliament. According to a PRS study, in the Lok Sabha only 1 percent of allocated time to do legislative business is actually used. The Rajya Sabha used only 6 percent of the allocated time for legislative business in budget session of 2018.

There is not a single instance where the parliament’s time was spent in addressing the chaos caused by themselves. However, there are instances when Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings become the victim of personal motives of the members of the parliament.

According PRS legislative assembly research, the working day of the parliament has been also reduced to 73 days for both the houses in 2011 from 120 days of proceedings of Lok Sabha and 93 days of Rajya Sabha in 1952. This implies that one of the pillars of our democracy is leaning towards a crisis and is jeopardizing the growth of the country.

Executive:- The executive branch is responsible for implementing and administering the public policy enacted and funded by the legislative branch2. At present, it seems like only two people are acting as the executive and the rest of them are just following the order of these two people (PM and AS) . I have not found a single case where the government has launched various program and policy where the presence of other executive dominated. It implies that incumbent government more or less working in a dictatorial way where all the executives are just following the orders.

Incumbent government is functioning in a centralized way where all the discussion and decisions are diktat by PM. However,in the previous government PM was silent and rules and norms where directed by the high command. In a nutshell Since independence, we are ruled by one or two people (from Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi to Manmohan Singh to Narendra Modi) which is unhealthy given the history of the country, reasoned democratic dissent and debate.

Judiciary — We have a utmost faith in our judiciary system and we believed that (Kanoon ke haath lambe hote hai) Kanoon has long hand. But it seems like with the passes of time law of hand become shorter and the number of cases has been piled up across the Supreme court , the High court and the subordinate courts.As of April 2018 more than 3 crore cases are pending across the Supreme court , High Courts and the subordinate courts.It is not about only pendency of cases in a Courts, however,there are instances when useless wish has been coming out from ex justice of the supreme court. Moreover,we cannot deny the fact that our judicial system is free from corruption and corruption attributes to the delay in disposal of cases. In a brief,we have a judiciary system which is corrupt and overburden and opened the door of crisis.

Pendency of cases across the courts

Media:- Article 19 of the constitution talks about the freedom of press and gave enough freedom to media to work as an independent institution.We need not to talk about the instances when government completely dominated over the media and did not given enough space to work as an independent media. Recently we have seen how the government has been thrashed journalist because they were reporting against the government. In few of the instances journalists have lost their life and it open the window of deep crisis in terms of independent Journalism. We are moving in a direction where the journalists are either getting killed or forced to stop writing against the government. Moreover,there is mushrooming of media that is owned and controlled by corporate conglomerates and TV channels that are besotted with covering every melodrama which are not in interest of the nation and do not have significance on long run.

Conclusion

We are heading in a direction where all the pillars are crumbling due to corruption, Parliament disruption, overburden on judiciary system and lack of freedom of expression. In order to root out these crisis we need to take few strong decision for instances live proceedings of courts, Both the house should pass the Parliament (Enhancement of Productivity) Bill 2017, and government should respect independent journalism and give enough space to media to write brazenly for the people of India and work as a check post for executive , Judiciary and legislature.

References

1. http://www.rediff.com/news/interview/washed-out-parliament-sessions-and-its-impact-on-india/20161215.htm

2. http://www.prsindia.org/media/articles-citing-prs/fewer-and-fewer-parliament-sittings-4989/

3. https://www.dailyo.in/voices/no-confidence-motion-lok-sabha-narendra-modi-rahul-gandhi-wink-hug-parliament-congress-bjp/story/1/25585.html

4. http://www.ncsl.org/research/about-state-legislatures/separation-of-powers.aspx

5.http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/vital%20Stats/Vital%20Stats%20-%20Pendency%20and%20Vacancies.pdf

6. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/justice-markandey-katju-wants-katrina-kaif-as-the-next-president-of-india-then-retracts/

7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_of_India#Judicial_corruption

8. https://thewire.in/media/punya-prasun-bajpai-abp-news-narendra-modi

9. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/gauri-lankesh-journalist-murder-the-gauri-lankesh-they-knew-4836198/

10. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/aug/03/rajya-sabha-mps-want-parliament-functioning-for-120-days-more-working-hours-1852815.html