Presidential System of governance for India was first advocated by me in my Column so entitled of 8 October 2006. It was so advocated after witnessing the falling standards of India’s parliamentary democracy system, misgovernance, and inclusion of tainted Ministers in the Cabinet on the plea of ‘coalition compulsions. In 2012, five years over, it needs to be reiterated that India’s First Republic stands politically failed and that the First Republic stands failed by India’s political leaders, the unprecedented political corruption at the highest political levels and its supine bureaucracy. India needs a Second Republic with an entirely new Constitution incorporating a Presidential system of governance.
The reasons for such advocacy stand outlined in my Column of 8 October 2006 and I do not wish to repeat those reasons. All that I want to emphasize is that in 2012, with the same political dispensation in power, the political standards have fallen even more distressingly low. Political and bureaucratic accountability is brazenly shrugged off and the moral fibre of the Indian Republic is in tatters because those who should be setting exemplary standards in public life are the ones who have trampled on those values with immunity.
When it comes to political corruption scams of unprecedented magnitude and scale, one witnesses a slanging political match where the ruling party in public debates maintains that the opposition party when they were in power were more corrupt. Indians do not want a political debate on ’competitive corruption’ but action by political leadership to end corruption by a zeal born out of moral corruption and not evasion because of political expediency to stay in power.
The most disturbing phenomenon in the last five years has been the attempt by the Government and the ruling dispensation is to denigrate and devalue high Constitutional authorities who point out governmental and political follies. I have in an earlier Column mentioned the manner in which the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, the upright and solid Mr Vinay Rai was hauled over the coals by ruling party members in the Joint Parliamentary Committee’s hearings in the 2G Scam because the Government was being pilloried in his Reports.
Then was the brazen attempt by the Government to foist a Chief Vigilance Officer of its choice against the dissenting note by the Leader of the Opposition because his name figured in some earlier scam in Kerala. Ultimately he had to go because the matter was taken to Courts.
We now have the sorry spectacle of the Union Law Minister defying the directions of the Chief Election Commissioner on not bringing in Indian Muslim sub-quotas issue in election campaigns in Uttar Pradesh. Mr Salman Khursheed not only defied the directives but went ahead as per media reports that he is prepared to be hanged on the issue. The Chief Election Commissioner Mr Qureishi was thus forced to write a letter to the President of India on the issue seeking that the Government should take action against the Law Minister.
The President simply forwarded the letter to the Prime Minister and leaving it to him to decide on the issue. The Constitutional Appointments need the protection of the President and not of the Prime Minister who in any case would be weighed down by political expediencies.
The point that I am getting at is that such dismal falling standards in the political environment and political governance of the Indian Republic, there is no other alternative but to go in for a Second Indian Republic with a Presidential System of governance. The issue should be put to vote in a National Referendum.