Is Our Democracy Healthy?
The debate is on and shall continue whether democracy is a better form of government. As is the experience, democracy if practiced in right spirit is, for sure, better than any other form of governance. It is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’.
Governance is not a one man show, there is people’s participation. It gives freedom of speech, freedom of press and many other advantages. However, there are pitfalls, not in the principles but in practice. For example, it does not prevent dynastic rule. But it is expected the elected members to be conscientious to work for the state instead of their own selfish interests.
With the erosion of value system there is a danger of failure of democracy. In the past two decades democracy in India has taken a nose drive. PV Narasimha Rao had to bribe three MPs to prove his majority. The UPA I and II have not bettered the situation either. But more than this, there are areas where the malaise is far deeper.
Shocking is the disclosure by constitutional expert Fali S Nariman in Supreme Court (TOI, Jan 11, 2013) that 274 of the 547 MPs are facing criminal trials for serious offences. The number was 296 in the last Lok Sabha. There can’t be any justification to allow this even if there is a coalition government and the government has a razor-thin majority. This is the root cause of corruption in India. It is laughable to think, if 274 MPs facing criminal trials can come together, they can form a stable government!
With this backdrop can anyone believe that we are on the right track? Is there no way to treat this malady? I am not an expert in constitution and do not know if Election Commission, President, Speaker and judiciary can do something to rectify this obvious defect.
Parliament is the temple of democracy, and does it not amount to contempt of Parliament, if it houses so many MPs with blurred history!
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Dr. Kumarendra Mallick
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