July this year, in two landmark judgments, the Supreme Court had ruled that jailed persons could not contest elections and a convicted politician was to be immediately disqualified. It sent shockwaves in the political fraternity, for future of many politicians, many big names including existing members of legislative bodies, was in imminent danger. But they had a clear ray of hope, a certain way out of the abyss, in their political brethrens.
In August, the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of the Indian Parliament, unanimously passed a proposed amendment in the Representation of the People Act 1951 (RP) to negate a landmark Supreme Court order that could have brought fundamental (and desperately required) improvements in the conduct of the political class. But, somehow, the amendment act could not be passed in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament due to the sustained ‘political’ pandemonium, over this or that issue.
It had to come down to the Lok Sabha. It was supposed to be discussed by the enlightened wisdom of the political parties on the floor of the Lok Sabha. That was, once again, supposed to be a decorative sham, as it was their collective wisdom only that had it passed unanimously in the Rajya Sabha. Even the political furor over the ordinance route now is nothing more than a sham. Had it not been the case, the amendment bill could not have passed the Rajya Sabha hurdle.
The Winter Session of the Parliament (coming November-December) was supposed to be the time for the final execution in this episode of subversion of democratic values in India’s democratic evolution.
But, suddenly, within three weeks of the Monsoon session of the Parliament, the Congress led UPA government yesterday cleared an ordinance to shield the convicted of the political lot.
And it should not be surprising at all. What is surprising is it could not be passed in the Monsoon Session after all the political bonhomie. After all, all politicians are similar under the skin they had shown once again by ensuring the unanimous passage of the amendment act in the Rajya Sabha.
But its timing worries like most of the acts of the Indian political theatre. It is ominous for the democratic spirit of the country. The ‘fact’, that it was not unexpected or it is not surprising, makes its even more menacing.
Reports say the decision in a Fodder Scam case where Lalu Yadav is an accused is just one week away. Only last week, a court convicted Congress Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Masood in a corruption and sentencing is due.
Whether reasons like these played any role pushing the UPA government to bring an ordinance so early may be debatable but the intent is always clear – it was to undermine the guiding spirit of the Indian Constitution envisioned by its framers.
And if it is timed to work for reasons as reported, it shows how irresponsible the existing political class has become to the democratic values.
This frequent audacity, the recurrent brazenness of the political class to change or co-opt anything that is coming in its way is threatening the democratic structure of social weaving in the country.
The practice was always there but it has grown at a deafening pace in recent times. The ordinance to shield the convicted politicians is just yet another democratic casualty.
*“Why India is in imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to the process of social disintegration of the nation..”
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/