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Current Affairs


Date : Nov 27, 2021

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Based on a News Article published in the ‘The Hindu’ on 27th November 2021 on Page Number 10


Useful for UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains (GS Paper II)




  • For more than seven decades, India has had representational democracy and parliamentary institutions. It's a wonderful compliment to India's democratic system.
  • However, in recent years, there has been discussion about the Indian Parliament's deteriorating standards. It is also mentioned in the Vice President of India's recent 15-point reform programme.
  • India's government is based on a parliamentary system.
  • Governmental system based on the parliamentary system: The legislature holds the executive responsible for its policies and actions.
  • The Indian Constitution establishes a parliamentary system of administration at both the national and state levels.


Constitutional Articles related to the Parliament:


  • Articles 74 and 75 deal with the parliamentary system of governance at the federal level, while Articles 163 and 164 deal with the states.
  • The Government of India Act 1935 is the source of India's legislative system.


Challenges associated with the Parliament:


  • Politics has been criminalised:


  • According to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the number of MPs facing criminal charges has steadily risen.
  • In 2009, it was 15%, and by 2019, it had risen to 19%.
  • This has had an impact on democratic debate, discussion, and dissent.


  • Archaic Laws Have Predominance:


  • Although India is a young country, it is nevertheless governed by outdated laws.
  • For example, colonial-era regulations such as the Police Act of 1861, which predates independence by over a century, control the police.

Challenges associated with the Parliament:


  • The outdated laws are ineffective in dealing with today's problems.



  • Anti-defection legislation:



  • The Speaker/Chairman of the legislature has the final authority to decide on a legislator's disqualification, according to the Anti-defection law (Tenth Schedule of the Constitution).
  • The role of the presiding officers, on the other hand, has grown highly politicised. As a result, there are questions about the Speaker's position in the anti-defection statute being prejudiced, as shown in the recent Karnataka political crisis.




Challenges associated with the Parliament:


  • Representative Democracy's Decline:


  • Legislators are required to vote according to the party whip under anti-defection legislation. As a result, parliamentarians are forced to vote along party lines, regardless of their personal or regional interests.
  • This has limited the scope of democratic criticism and opposing viewpoints.
  • In India, the electoral system is first past the post, which implies that candidates who receive the most votes are elected.
  • As a result, those who voted for a different candidate are underrepresented.
  • Furthermore, this voting mechanism is unsuitable for the representation of minorities, creating concerns about representation.
  • Women make up only 14.3 percent (78) of the current parliament's total membership.
  • All of these issues, taken together, work against representative democracy's stated goal.


Challenges associated with the Parliament:


  • Lowering Parliamentary Scrutiny Standards:


  • The notion of Department-related Standing Committees was adopted in March 1993 to ensure that Parliament successfully performs its law-making obligations.
  • These committees are tasked with reviewing legislation affecting various ministries.
  • The majority of the bills, on the other hand, were enacted by Parliament by voice vote, without significant debate or referral to parliamentary committees.
  • For example, the RTI Amendment Act (2019) and the UAPA Amendment Act (2019), both of which have significant civil rights ramifications, were passed without being referred to a Parliamentary committee.





Challenges associated with the Parliament:


  • Elections are held frequently:


  • Because India is made up of 28 states, it is subject to a continuous cycle of Lok Sabha and State Legislative Elections.
  • Elections are held frequently, resulting in tremendous spending and policy stagnation (due to imposition of the Model Code of Conduct during election time).
  • Privileges of the House of Commons Restraints on Freedom of Expression
  • Strategic lawsuits against public participation are sometimes used to curtail journalistic freedom under Article 105 of the Constitution (SLAPP).
  • In the name of parliamentary privileges, a SLAPP case seeks to suppress, intimidate, and silence the press.


  • The notion of checks and balances governs democracy.
  • These checks and balances keep democracy from devolving into totalitarianism.
  • The opposition party provides these checks and balances in the Parliamentary system.
  • The majority of a single party in the Lok Sabha, on the other hand, has weakened the function of an effective opposition in Parliament.


So far, following steps have been taken:



  • Bonds for Elections:


  • The Electoral Bonds Scheme was established in 2017 to clean up the country's political fundraising system.
  • This is an effective way to limit the role of black money in elections while also preventing political criminalization.




So far, following steps have been taken:


  • Anonymous Donations Must Be Regulated:


  • The government decided in the Union Budget 2017-18 that the maximum monetary donation a political party can collect from a single person is Rs2000.
  • The Supreme Court of India ordered the NOTA (None of the Above) option in electronic voting machines in 2013. It allows the voter to cast an official vote of no confidence in all of the candidates running for office.


  • Archaic Laws are being repealed:


  • The government intends to remove around 1500 antiquated legislation in compliance with the Ramanujam committee's (2014) report.
  • In 2008, a bill was submitted in Parliament to provide for women's reservation. However, it has not yet been passed.

Way Forward/Conclusion:


  • Legislative Impact Assessment for the Future:


  • It was necessary to develop a precise framework for pre- and post-legislative impact assessments.
  • For greater knowledge and subsequent legal review, every legislative proposal must include a full analysis of social, economic, environmental, and administrative impacts.
  • A new Parliamentary Legislation Committee should be established to monitor and coordinate legislative development.


  • Privileges Codification:


  • Legislative privileges should be defined and regulated in order for Parliament and state legislatures to work freely and independently.
  • Article 105 could be changed to clarify the scope of members' immunity under parliamentary privileges.

Way Forward/Conclusion:


  • Reforms to parliamentary committees:


  • Longer tenure (instead of the current one year), promotion of specialisation, and other measures are needed to ensure the successful functioning of Department Related Standing Committees.


  • Anti-defection legislation to be re-examined:


  • The use of the whip could be limited to no-confidence motions alone in order to revive debate and deliberations in Parliament.
  • The Speaker's adjudicating power over anti-defection legislation could be handed to the Election Commission of India.




Way Forward/Conclusion:


  • Stopping Politics from Turning Into a Crime:


  • In 2017, the Supreme Court ordered the Central government to open the 12 promised special courts by March 2018 so that criminal politicians might be tried in a timely way within a year.
  • However, only seven of these courts are now operating.
  • As a result, the government should work to increase the number of such fast track courts.
  • India must implement state funding of elections in order to reduce the use of money in elections.
  • A national electoral fund, made up of all political donations, may be established for this purpose.


  • Legislative Changes:


  • By altering the Representation of People's Act of 1951, a hybrid voting system can be implemented. Simultaneous elections, on the other hand, will necessitate a constitutional amendment.

Way Forward/Conclusion:


  • Voting mechanism that is hybrid
  • It is a hybrid system that combines first-past-the-post with proportional representation voting.
  • The Law Commission recommended in its 170th report that the Lok Sabha be expanded by 25%, or 136 seats, and that proportional representation be used to fill them.
  • As a result, all segments of society will be better represented.


  • Elections taking place at the same time:


  • It will save the government money, lessen the pressure on administrative and security personnel, and ensure that government plans are implemented on schedule.
  • It will also ensure that the administrative machinery is working on development rather than campaigning.



Way Forward/Conclusion:


  • India's Election Commission has to be strengthened:


  • Model Code of Conduct has statutory support: It is preferable to give the Model Code of Conduct legislative underpinning, as this will prevent the Election Commission of India (ECI) from using its residuary jurisdiction to enforce the Model Code of Conduct.


  • Strengthen the Opposition's Role:


  • In order to improve the opposition's participation in India, a shadow cabinet could be established.
  • The British cabinet system's 'Shadow Cabinet' is a one-of-a-kind institution.
  • The opposition party founded it to help balance the ruling government and prepare its members for future ministerial positions.
  • In such a system, each Cabinet Minister's action must be countersigned by a shadow cabinet minister.

Tags : parliamentary form of government, lok sabha, rajya sabha

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