Skip to main content

Credibility crisis: India's top institutes increasingly turn inefficient with ripple effect down to the bottom

By Pushkar Raj*
The credibility of India’s top institutions has lately suffered, affecting governance and democracy in the country. Its strong indication came in the form of the impeachment motion against the chief justice of India which was rejected by the vice-president and was subsequently challenged in the highest Court.
When the case challenging legality of the vice president’s action came before the court, the petitioner sought clarification on the bench hearing the case expecting that the chief justice could not pick and choose judges (bench) that heard his own case. But the court refused to give explanation, meaning that the court would not follow the first principle of justice in its own conduct that one cannot be a judge in his/her own case. It is logical that such a court could not be expected to deliver justice fairly and therefore the petition was withdrawn.
It is a crucial self -goal, akin to a sabotage from within putting question marks on the highest court’s ability to enforce the constitution fairly, thus damaging democracy in the country.
But it is not only the Supreme Court that has failed to inspire confidence, even the parliament of India has failed to discuss, debate, moderate and legislate on urgent public issues. For instance, the Lok Sabha functioned for only 33. 6 hours in 28 days during recent budget session passing two bills in 14 minutes. It passed the annual budget for the nation without discussion and the speaker of house disallowed to take up a no confidence motion against the government.
In a cabinet system of government, it is the Prime Minister’s duty to conduct the proceedings of parliament with the help of his/ her cabinet. However, the present prime minister took little interest in doing so, instead after the washout of the parliament session, he observed a day’s fast with his cabinet colleagues and cleared his conscience. It is like sinning to national loss and bathing to personal purity, adding little value to the highest executive office of the country.
The Reserve Bank of India sets the monetary policy of the country but it took merely a day to approve government’s advice on demonetisation without giving thought on its rationale or how it would handle post-demonetisation situation. Consequently, 99 per cent currency came back at the cost of more than a hundred human lives and huge loss to nation as economy slowed down due to unavailability of currency in a cash dependent system.
For democracy to function, election commission must be beyond reproach. However, election commission sullied its image by its conduct during the Gujarat election postponing election dates against norms and by disqualifying AAP legislatures of Delhi assembly without giving them a fair hearing thus inviting Delhi high courts criticism that struck down its decision.
Inefficient and self-perpetuating institutions at top have a ripple effect down to bottom. For example, the Chennai High Court could not decide on the case of disqualification of 18 legislators for five months, causing a government to continue in the office that might be found to be functioning illegally for all these months. It finally delivered a split verdict recently lingering the matter indefinitely, more in line with other high courts across the country where 4.2 million cases are waiting to be heard.
Similarly, the state assemblies of UP, Gujarat and Rajasthan functioned for 17, 25 and 33 days in 2017, and the latter passed a legislation granting a 'former chief minister' an official bungalow with 9 employees for life , under the patronage of sitting Chief minister who hopes to become a 'former chief minister' soon as election are due shortly in the state.
The institutions are the last resort of the people for getting justice in a democratic society. If they are unable to do so because the institutions are weak, self-perpetuating, unaccountable and politically influenced, then democracy becomes a farce and the leader who presides over such a spectacle is judged by the history harshly, be it Indira Gandhi or Narender Modi.
In this context, learning from history is useful. India’s first prime minister, Pandit Nehru is revered largely because he built, nurtured and respected institutions that, he recognised, outlast individuals who, howsoever popular or clever, are merely slaves of time in a democracy.
---
*Melbourne based researcher and author, former national general secretary, People's Union for Civil Liberties ​

Comments

Uma said…
Just looking at the picture of Sinha felicitating those accused of lynching and justifying this by saying they are innocent until proved guilty is sickening. What about the victims? Weren't they held guilty without being given the chance to prove themselves innocent?

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.