THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE (AMENDMENT AND VALIDATION) BILL, 2013: WHY DEMOCRACY IN INDIA IS IN IMMINENT DANGER OF DISINTEGRATION?

The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013: Rajya Sabha, the upper House of the Indian Parliament, on August 27, 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.

The Supreme Court decision united the whole political class in an unholy alliance to thwart the reform measure as they viewed it as something affecting the political career of many of their types, scores of the tainted politicians of the day.

Now, once approved from the Lok Sabha, the amended RP Act will be effective from July 10, 2013 and will negate the Supreme Court order passed on July 10, 2013 that said the people lodged in jails and convicted politicians could not contest elections. The Supreme Court, as per the RP Act, very logically had ruled that those who could not vote because of being in jails could not contest the polls either.

Let’s see what the sub-section (2) of the section (62) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 states:

62. Right to Vote. (2)No person shall vote at an election in any constituency if he is subject to any of the disqualifications referred to in section 16 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 (43 of 1950). (From the Law Ministry website)

Section 16 of the Representation of the People Act 1950: (From the website of the PRS Legislative Research)

16. Disqualifications for registration in an electoral roll — (1) A person shall be disqualified for registration in an electoral roll if he—
(a) is not a citizen of India; or
(b) is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court; or
(c) is for the time being disqualified from voting under the provisions of any law relating to corrupt* * *practices and other offences in connection with elections

(2) The name of any person who becomes so disqualified after registration shall forthwith be struck off the electoral roll in which it is included:

[Provided that the name of any person struck off the electoral roll of a constituency by reason of a disqualification under clause (c) of sub-section (1) shall forthwith be re-instated in that roll if such disqualification is, during the period such roll is in force, removed under any law authorising such removal.]

With an ever increasing number of corrupt and criminal elements in Indian politics the authoritarian mentality in politicians saw it big threat coming, and in their usual style, amended the concerned section of the RP Act (sub-section (2) of section 62) on which the Supreme Court had based its decision. They did so even while they had already filed review petition in the apex court to review the decision.

The proposed amendment seeks to ‘subvert’ the provision of this section that disqualifies those in jails based on certain categories of unlawful behavior.

According to a Time of India report, “The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, which was passed by the House, seeks to add a proviso to sub-section (2) of section 62 of the RP Act to state that a person cannot cease to be a voter while in detention as h/his right is only temporarily suspended.”

It further said: “One of the amendments states that as the name of the jailed person continues to be on the electoral rolls, s/he also continues to be an elector and can file nomination for an election.”

Though, today, the Supreme Court rejected the review petition to review its decision on convicted politicians (while accepting the same for politicians lodged in jails), it cannot be the said the political authoritarianism would not act to subvert it further.

Now, once the amendment is approved (some Constitutional or legal expert can tell it better, but if we go by the possibility), anyone (read politicians or their affiliates) in jail would be able to contest elections, the way they have been doing, making mockery of the Constitution, manipulating the democracy and humiliating the primary stakeholders of this Republic, the voters.

What is worrying is the frequent audacity, the recurrent brazenness of the political class to change or co-opt anything that is coming in its way. The practice was always there but it has grown at a deafening pace in recent times. The Representation of the People Act is just yet another democratic casualty while our politicians enjoy a highly subsidized lifestyle.

Their opulence humiliates the poverty of India.

Such moves are effectively blocking the possibilities to reform the Indian democracy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

*“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..”
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/why-democracy-in-india-is-in-imminent-danger-of-disintegration/

POLITICIANS VS THE REST OF ALL: WHY DEMOCRACY IN INDIA IS IN IMMINENT DANGER OF DISINTEGRATION?

The Indian Constitution, when adopted, mirrored the soul of Indian Democracy on a healthy balance of ‘a process of checks and balances’ that its different wings exercise on each-other, notably the Indian Parliament, the Judiciary and the autonomous constitutional entities like the Election Commission (EC) or the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) or the Central Information Commission (CIC).

There are many other institutions and functional establishments including the law and order apparatus but most of them either can’t keep the politicians in check or have been efficiently co-opted by the political class.

And there are really very few institutions that still matter as the forces ‘still able’ to take on the political class and have the lethal edge by their Constitutional guarantee and the positive public perception about them and so are in the hit-list of the politicians.

Here, when we talk of the institutions, we need to keep in mind that it is about the people running those institutions and how they have undermined the sanctity and authority of the institutions provided by the Constitution and so of the Constitution itself.

The situation in the country, at the moment, is more or less ‘politicians Vs the rest of all’ where on one side are the institutions controlled, manipulated and co-opted by the politicians and on the opposing side are the few institutions where not all but still many people refuse to be co-opted by the political class.

The different functional wings of the Indian Democracy have no visible lines of demarcation. On one side, there is corruption and their promoters – the corrupt politicians and the bureaucrats.

On the other side are the institutions that are seen as ‘still’ viable option to get some Constitutional remedy, to the problems that owe their genesis in the systemic failure of the System called Indian Administration.

While the all-pervasive corruption has eaten into the credibility of almost every functional wing of Indian Democracy, its scale of imminence to cause a chronic and systemic problem varies.

As the majority of the politicians of the day have become synonymous with corruption, elitism and authoritarianism, the Indian Parliament has seen the maximum credibility erosion, and by the political developments in the country, the rot, at the moment, looks irreversible.

The rot in Indian Judiciary is also deep, but the activism and alertness of higher courts and Supreme Court has become a big relief point for the people oppressed from the political tyranny and from the chronic corruption in the lower courts.

On a more positive note, Constitutional bodies like the Election Commission, the Comptroller and the Auditor General or the Central Information Commission have performed exceedingly well in an atmosphere of political gloom and sociopolitical anarchy and so are being targeted increasingly by the politicians.

If the Indian Democracy is still surviving somehow it is because of the institutions like the higher courts or the EC or the CAG or the CIC.

And politicians look all set, hands-in-glove, to challenge the good work being done by the good people in these institutions.

Subverting the Democracy by negating the important decisions taken by the Supreme Court or the Constitutional bodies has been an old practice but in recent times, it has grown on an unprecedented scale.

In the last few months, the nation has seen the ugly display of corrupt politics when the politicians across the party-lines came together to make Constitutional amendments and legal changes to nullify the Supreme Court orders on reforms in ‘Representation of the People Act’ regulating the conduct of elections, to invalidate CIC’s ruling on keeping political parties under the Right to Information Act (RTI) or the demands to scuttle the EC’s efforts to regulate the electoral ecology of the country for a free and transparent way.

And the political brazenness says it’s just the beginning.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

*“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..”
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/why-democracy-in-india-is-in-imminent-danger-of-disintegration/

WHY DEMOCRACY IN INDIA IS IN IMMINENT DANGER OF DISINTEGRATION?

Democracy in India is in imminent danger of disintegration. The fissures are getting clearer. The underlying reasons are getting more and more visible. This visibility looks sinister and sounds scary.

Political events and their sociopolitical and socioeconomic repercussions that are acidic to the health of social weaving and democratic principles are growing, in frequency and in corrosiveness.

If it is not dystopian, the scenario is certainly gloomy, and if the course of political deterioration continues unchecked, like it is happening now and looks set to follow the trend in the future, it is going to create a disorder (in India) that would be beyond control.

‘Why democracy in 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.

A natural follow-up to this process is inclusion of the developments, spin-offs or causal, that anyhow relate to the political developments under purview in the column.

The principal themes and concerns of this column (in Indian context) are:

Political Authoritarianism
Political Corruption
Nepotism in Politics
Crony Capitalism
Sociopolitical Milieu
Socioeconomic Consequences
Political Kinship (the flipside of it)

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LIFE BLED LIVING BLASPHEMED

A PHOTOGRAPHY SERIES

Making a human life so miserable that it itself forgets it was born human is a sin that has no parallel.

Pushing a human life to such extremes that it starts believing in a life beyond resurrection is a sin that has become an epidemic.

Religion or no religion, science or no science, logic or no logic, faith or no faith, the Creation is driven by a System and for those who believe in God or an Almighty running this System, it is no less than Blasphemy to subject the fellow human beings to such a debasement, such a contempt and such a discrimination, forcing them to extreme exploitation.

If one believes in the concept of God, one must believe in the fundamentals of his Creation the founding principles of which say He is in us all, that we all come from Him and go to Him and that we all are equal in His eyes.

How can we colour our lives while our acts make some other lives blanched?

How can we call Humanity His creation when we don’t respect His values behind His Creation?

How can we live peacefully when we see a life bleeding?

If any act is blasphemous then it is this.

LIFE BLED, LIVING BLASPHEMED – a themed photography series over these concerns, the concerns that symbolize a HUMANITY BLANCHED

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LIFE BLED LIVING BLASPHEMED – HUMANITY BLANCHED

LIFE BLED LIVING BLASPHEMED - HUMANITY BLANCHED

LIFE BLED LIVING BLASPHEMED

HUMANITY BLANCHED

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©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

IT IS NO BIG DEAL WHEN EVEN DEATH CASES ARE HANDLED EASILY WITH CASH COMPENSATION!

“O Sahab, let’s us settle it between us, why to involve the police, tell us how much you need, after all it is just a small accident. It is no big deal when even death cases are handled easily with cash compensation.”

An unwelcome suggestion, a disturbing tone and a menacing voice!

This was one of the suggestions (and the veiled threat) made by a goon looking guy to the person who had just met an accident when a commercial minivan run by one of the stooges of the guy had rammed into the standing bike of the person.

Though the person stood his ground, called the police, waited for them to come while getting veiled threats and suggestions from the cartel of the goons who were running that illegal minivan business near one of the busy Delhi Metro stations, the subsequent details of the incident were reflective of the overall deterioration in the society.

Deterioration of values in the society – it is not dystopian to write so, but it is about being realist.

How easily the fellow could say that loss of a life could be compensated easily with money?

A loss of life can never be compensated. The pain of separation never heals.

But the insensitivity and the moral disintegration of the society and its various formations have become so common that one can easily find such goons talking this or the similar other nonsense ironies almost on a daily basis, almost everywhere.

People kill people and they move on as if the person killed didn’t even exist.

People see people being killed and they move on as if the person killed didn’t even exist.

The System is getting insular to the pain afflicting everyone while selectively recruiting the victim and the assailant.

This one incident was reflective of countless such incidents happening every passing moment, everywhere.

Nothing much happened to them – to the assorted goons of the cartel there. Though the police tried to sound sympathetic to the person (largely due to his ID), the primary response was that police could not do much in the case as it was a minor accident.

On being told about legality of the permission to run the minivan business there, the police official said he would look into the issue and would ensure that they didn’t operate from there anymore.

Next day, it was the business as usual, the same spot, minivans overloading passengers, drivers driving rash!

Rule of law needs the element of fear in the mind of those who break the law but corruption in the apparatus to ensure the rule of law has killed that spirit, has made that need redundant.

It results in the mentality where people disregard every other life while trying to corner the maximum of the sky for them.

And it is fast becoming a commonality.

People are rapidly forgetting the difference between human and inhuman.

It is a big lie and an unforgivable crime.

And indeed this crime-to-the-humanity has become a regular part of our social weaving. There are many wars going on within India that has become a society dissected with religion, caste and region biases. The killing teeth of these biases become even more lethal with the chronic corruption that has become a way of life in India.

When someone finds an easy, alternative but corrupt route to earn easy bucks for which someone else has to work hard, the person starts losing every regard for the disciplinary rules of life.

We are living in a society when we hear debates about issues like ‘legalizing bribery’ or formalizing the ‘convenience fee’.

Expecting a work done without paying bribe, in almost every walk of life has become a next-to-impossible thing, be it health service, education, police or even the so-called social security measures like MNREGA or farm-debt-waiver or the upcoming food security.

The request of a threatening eye and a menacing voice was, like always, reiterating this only.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/