In India, literacy rate is very poor and even most of the Indian Citizens do not know their fundamental right enshrined in our Indian Constitution. They are not acquainted with their general duties also. The matter of liabilities of our MP’s and MLA’s is far away. They do not even know that how a legislation process works and what are the duties of these elected candidates as MP and MLA. We proudly say that India has a biggest democracy in the whole world by giving a “Right to Vote” to our citizens once in a five years. Is it true in the real sense? By giving just only “Right to elect” our candidate as MP/ MLA without any further check or restrictions on the unlimited powers of these candidates extinguish the meaning of the democracy. I think firstly, we should get aware about the functions of the Legislative assemblies (both at the center and state level). It is must to know the process of Legislative Assembly in the country, before electing any candidate to Lower House or State Assembly. Without any knowledge, how can we elect any candidate to do a job? It is just equal to ride a horse without sitting upon it.
Election Procedure & Constitution of Parliament: I wish to throw some light upon the election procedure in our Country, by which center and state govt. came in to existence. Our India had adopted a quasi - federal system by its Constitution and our state govt. works separately from the center govt. However center govt. has some overriding powers upon the state govt. given by our Institution. Where there is any conflict between the center and state govt. in relation to any policy, rule or law and both govt. have power to make provisions in this regard under concurrent list, then the powers of the center govt. has overriding effect upon the state govt. Thus we can say that our Constitution framers have made this provision to keep united the integrity of nation and to make the center strong along with federal provisions.
In center, we have two houses i.e. one is Upper House/ council of States (Rajya Sabha) and second is Lower House (Lok Sabha). The members of Lower house are directly elected by the election procedure for the term of 5 years whereas the members of Upper House are elected by the state legislative members by proportional representation for the term of 6 years of which 1/3rd members retire after every 2 years and being replaced by new members.
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of the Republic of India. Our Hon’ble President act as a head of the both houses and Vice President act as a Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The President as a head of the both houses has full powers to summon and prorogue either house of parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and not subject to dissolution. Every citizen of 18 years or more is eligible to vote for Lok Sabha, minimum age of 25 years is required to become the member of the Lok Sabha and the minimum age is 30 years for becoming a member of Rajya Sabha. The same procedure of election of Lok Sabha is followed in states, where elected member is known as MLA. In some states, there are two houses i.e. Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, whereas in some states there is only one house i.e. Legislative Assembly.
Law making process: The Parliament must meet at least twice in a year and there should not be more than a six- month gap between two sessions. A bill can be brought in either house of the parliament. A bill is a draft of a legislative proposal, which after passed by both of the houses and after the assent by the President becomes an act of Parliament. Money Bill is an exception to this general rule and it must be originate in the Lok Sabha. Parliamentary committees also play an important role in the law making process. These acts are enacted to move the whole machinery of the Country and Our Constitution is the supreme Law of the country, it means the acts passed in these houses must be intra-vires to our Constitution. Law making process is a very important task and to participate in this process is really a matter of proud. The future of the nation, economic policies, foreign policies, budget planning, reservation policies, education policies and so many other policies are depend upon the working of the legislation. Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Council can make laws for that particular state only & applicable on domiciled persons in that state.
Lack of knowledge: It is the fact that most of the Indian citizens are not aware of working of legislation and duties of legislative members and you will be wondered to know that even some of our MP’s and MLA’s did not know their duties also. In such a case, how can we expect that they will perform their duty with their best efforts?
Here, I strongly advise the followings for the betterment of the nation.
1. Legislative Process should be a compulsory part in higher education: The subject of the legislative process and its functions should be made a part of syllabus in every stream of higher education (i.e. 10+1 & 10+2). However the students of Public Administration and Law are known to these subjects but I think the working of the legislation should not be restricted to these students only. Students of all other streams are also citizens of India and they have full rights to know its legislative functions and without a part of education, it is difficult to understand. These students become Doctors, Scientists, Artists, Writers, Engineers, accountants afterwards and each person plays an important role in the building of the nation. They should know the complexities of law making process, which governs to them also.
2. Accountability of legislative members: In our democracy, the most defective part is that there is no accountability of MP’s and MLA’s. Most of these leaders enjoy the powers but they are rainy frogs that appear in the public during election seasons only. Once the elections over, then it becomes Kashmir problem to meet with your constituency member and the solution of the problem is far away. I always questions myself, is this democracy good? You have assign one person on most important duty of the country for the term of fixed term five years in consideration of heavy salary and remunerations along with several allowances and emoluments to live a luxury life. They spend huge funds out of the public money collected through revenues and taxes for just show –off purpose. Even after that if he or she is not working properly his/her job, which is assigned to them then you have no alternative except to wait for further five years. Means, the selection of wrong candidate spoil the development of that constituency for the five years. Is it justified in democracy? This defect of democracy has made our political leaders out of every fear. There should be a Public Adalat at a regular interval, in which the progress report of the developments done by the legislative members should be compared with their actual manifestos. A report card should be made for every act of MP and MLA individually and collectively for the ruling govt. and these should be compared with their manifestos. A minimum bench mark of satisfaction level should be established for general situations and exceptional bench mark of satisfaction level should be made for extraordinary and emergency situations. These report cards should be published by independent agencies (like election commissioner) to prevent misleading information and to provide authenticated data of govt. working and these reports should be made available in the hands of general public easily as like newspapers. General public can make their decisions easily by comparing these manifestos of each candidate and they can check the report card of the candidate at regular interval and compare the satisfaction level given in the manifesto of the candidate. By this, the trend of wrong promises will go away and the candidate works efficiently in their constituency due to the fear of impeachment.
3. Lack of expertise: Our India has a federal system. We elect our legislative members through elections and executives got selection through the competitive exams which need very hard working, general expertise in the almost every field and special expertise in subject of their choice. Only after cracking this competitive exams they can recruited to the administrative jobs like Deputy Commissioners, Senior Superintendent of Police, Executive Magistrate, Income Tax and Excise Officers etc. Judiciary has a separate procedure of electing judicial officers and also needs very deep knowledge of Law, Precedents and Language subjects to get elected as judicial officer. So in short, only political leaders did not require any special skill or qualification to get elected as members except cheap tricks of politics, without which election of corrupt and criminal ground leaders is not possible. The only requirement is that one should be a citizen of India. It is a very good criteria made by our Constitution makers that every citizen of the country have a right to contest election, but I want to ask here that “Is every citizen of India so capable to run a country and there is no need of further expertise or qualification?” Can a Doctor made a map for a building? Can an engineer give justified decision in a court? Can an artist do the operation of a patient? Answer is obviously NO. If a small task of minimum expertise cannot be done by the expertise of the other field, then how can every person become a competent to run a country?
4. Laws governing to all citizens: We have discussed that these leaders without any expertise knowledge, make laws for every community i.e. Doctors, Engineers, Artists, Accountants, Businessmen etc. Is it justified to let these illiterate people make laws for the whole nation? Should not they possess any expertise in Legislative functional process?
5. Minimum educational qualification: According to my views, at least a crash course of combination of public administration, legislative law making process, judicial review of acts in India, minimum one basic language (up to matric level) and a short course of economics should made a minimum qualification for the candidate of MP and MLA and this course should be provided only through the authenticated institutes subject to higher standards of education. The purpose behind this crash course is just to filter the efficient leaders to participate in the building of the nation.
6. Right to recall: As I have already given my views that there should be report card made for each act of the candidates showing progress and development and it should be compared with their electoral manifesto. If the satisfaction level given in the manifesto is not achieved, then that candidate have no right to retain in the office means he/ she should be recalled immediately subject to any special provision made under the law and that candidate should be replaced within six months with new candidate.
These are just some suggestive initiative steps in the direction to nail the unlimited powers of the political leaders and to make participant every citizen in the law making process, which is the most important task of the country through which the whole country governs its citizens. These are my personal views and you may be agree with me or may not but a hope of light can be shown in the positive direction by some change only.
The author can also be reached at email@example.com