Check on Dictatorial Tendencies

Dr amna mirza Sat, 16 Jul 2016

Check on Dictatorial Tendencies

Constitutional democracy and interplay of vested political interests were narrated aptly from the tiny state of Arunachal Pradesh. At a time when unethical ways were bing adopted to mock at electoral mandate in Arunachal Pradesh, the Supreme Court’s historic verdict came as a grim stopper to illegal means to topple state governments. The judgment also pointed out to the current ruling regime of blatant misuse of power in order to cater to its vindictive motive. Imposition of the President’s rule on pretext of using Machiavellian means of misuse of Governors’ office  showed nothing less than of a desperate attempt to uninstall a democratically elected government.

The Presidential proclamations put in question the office of the Governor wherein the court observed how the operation of different parties at centre and in states led to ‘vendetta-oriented’ style of functioning by political authority. It further gives an affirmative note to the way as to how judiciary underscores the importance of the democracy and the constitution.
 
Constitution Bench of Supreme Court gave the judgment that the decision of Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to advance the date of the Assembly session from December 16, 2015 to January 14, 2016 was beyond the authority of the Governor. There were cries from various segments of polity that this move led to a phase of unrest which becomes crucial looking at the fact that Arunachal Pradesh has a sensitive terrain. Declaration of President rule on 26 January further made mockery as to how political might was being misused by the ruling government. It even went to the extent of massive
play of money power which can be read to be against national interest in unequivocal terms looking at the fact that the state of Arunachal Pradesh is strategically crucial for our country security and current regime played with internal issues to cater to its vested interests. The court judgement also pointed that the attempt by the centre to dislodge state governments is detrimental to rule of law and federalism, principles which are cornerstone

Court for explaining to the Prime Minister what democracy is,” tweeted Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. Sheer attempt by the Centre to misuse Article 356 in oppositionruled States was vehemently turned down by the court in this landmark judgment. Further, the nation merits an apology from the current regime for misuse and derail constitution & democracy.

The government has to justify its actions when asked by the court. In this regard if we read in between the lines of the Supreme Court’s judgment, it was critical of the role played by Arunachal Pradesh governor for the dismissal of the State government. The tenant at raj bhawan cannot work at the behest of centre in a political way for oppositionruled states. ‘Thrashing given to constitution’, ‘spanking of governance’- these were the critical observation of the apex court in its verdict.

The governor must function on the aid and advice of the council of ministers as stated in Articles 200 and 201 of the Constitution. The action of the state governor Rajkhowa to summon the assembly without due consultation with the cabinet was duly quashed by the judgment that it cannot be an authority to work outside the realm of the constitution. Using discretionary powers to summon or dissolve Assembly without any input or advise from Chief One also needs to point out that the Governor is not an elected representative, but executive nominee. Therefore, Article 163 (2) of the Constitution that talks about the discretionary powers of governor needs - to be debated Minister and Cabinet is definitely unconstitutional.

in a more clear manner. The tenure of governor depends on the pleasure of the President and juxtaposed with the fact and structure of parliamentary democracy in Indiathe governor cannot compel the speaker to work in a way which he feels deem fit.

Governor misused the shield of discretionary powers to destabilize by meddling in the affairs of democraticallyelected governments. Ups and downs, dissent and consent are part and parcel of working of democratic organizations and any political party are also part of this fulcrum. The governor cannot meddle and poke in the working of political arrangement in the state. The blatant support to political horse trading that was being unearthed in the state by the governor by supporting the clever political gimmick of the central government needs to be condemned in all terms. Further, there is no just explanation that can be tendered for Governor role in relation to proceedings and disqualification of MLAs under the Tenth Schedule. Any action taken shall surely be dubbed as impropriety towards the constitution.

The need of the hour is that Central Government should have respect for idea of power sharing as subtly enshrined in the law of the land. The word federal is nowhere used in the constitution but the successful working of the polity since the dawn of independence and constitution thereof definitely speaks volumes about the way federal structure idea has been kept sacrosanct by Congress.

Sheer attempts to grab power at the expense of bullying an opposition state makes mockery of ethos of the law of the land, keeping in view its guiding principles. crushing an elected government, destabilizing state governments can be viewed as disregard and contempt towards the idea of cooperative federalism. The verdict unmasked this truth.

The political prism had an interesting narrative as it was a major setback to the BJP-ruled Centre with the apex court ordered restoration of Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh. No one can dispute the fact the national government has been attempting to impose of unilateral and homogeneity in the country. What does not suit their view or gain that it not accepted. This verdict can be seen to give boost to the realm of democracy which respects diversity and difference. Political commentators also read this judgment in a way that it restored faith of people in democracy and placed it above monetary and vested motives. Difference cannot be bent to likes and dislikes of few.

Arunachal Pradesh is a sensitive border state over which Indo-China relations have been often strenuous. At a time, when Chinese incursions in the region and other diplomatic moves are not favourable to India, the government of the day through clever gimmicks led it into a situation of crisis. It is yet to learn the nuances of maturity that it expected by ruling political party towards such border regions where it is not in power. Its actions to incite turmoil in the problems simmering there speaks volumes about its inadequate commitments towards national interests and security. Tradeoffs in polity cannot be seen in mere ‘us versus them’ perspective, rather an issue where the centre has acted in undemocratic way which is against the spirit of the federal structure.

Such acts of transgressions are immoral and a cruel example of rise in authoritarian tendencies. The enlightened polity must put in question the notion of accountability to people and forces that have been responsible for it. Further, let us hope that this serves as a detriment for future course of action while thinking about misuse of power in bringing down democratically elected governments in different states of the country.