DailyPost 1760

If you ask the common man in this country what parliament has delivered, he would be completely amazed with this question. He would generally think about what is there to deliver. If he is a person who can be thought provoked, he would get into deep thought as to what can be parameters on which the performance of the Parliament can be judged. We have been accustomed to stormy sessions inside and a bunch of the mikes outside,  of heckling, of dharnas or passage of law in the din of the house or sometimes some enactment with CCTV not in operation. The opposition crying foul, whichever might be the government and finally everything ending as a failure for the electorate to whom the parliament is accountable through elections.

What did constituent assembly and its legal document have in mind? That it would usher in a robust democracy which would be best in the world, and would work to ameliorate the plight of the masses, who were provided with Universal Adult Franchise at one single shot. If you read the debates of the constituent assembly, you would realise the acumen the body had and as a result of which,  the most comprehensive constitution was drafted. Constitution is a legal document which should provide the sacred legal thread for all legislations in the country to abide by. Acts / sections being challenged for  constitutional validity has happened so many times. Is there an issue with the understanding of constitution, or was it enacted in the fond hope that it would not be struck down? Lots continue unchallenged.

After more than seven decades have we  reached a robust legal regime at the enactment level, at least. Parliament is a law making body and how much of its time is spent for this purpose? What is the legal acumen required by this body in totality to fulfill this task? If law is a tool to make a difference to the lives of the masses or businesses or education and every single facet of the nation’s existence, how far have we come so far. Can laws be debated only on party lines? Was there any chance of dedicating a sizable amount of the legislative time for this purpose? Do we have a system or a roadmap for abrogating the laws which are not required, or amending the sections of different acts which are antithetical to other laws, or any reviews of what all bodies have not been created or are non-functional which are mandated as per different legislations.

With the world churning at a gigantic pace, there are areas completely unattended by law. This needs to come out in our legal planning. Do we do anything called legal planning for the country? Have our laws enabled and streamlined our digital existence? Can data become an asset class? The struggle and friction in this country emanates and finally converges in law. The Directive Principles of State Policy, gives the direction in which the country needs to go. With timelines for legislation not stipulated it has  been a wild goose chase? When the number of the bill comes, nobody knows, it might just be passed in minutes, then why did it have to wait for years and decades. Some last hours of the last day of the session, bills become act at breathtaking speed. The accountability of the government to the legislature and how it has benefited either of these or both and also the masses, is surely another imbroglio we need to sort out.


Sanjay Sahay    

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