June 08, 2015

A political gridlock in India

Vivek Dehejia writes about government’s heavy reliance on the ordinance route in this Mint article. Edited excerpts:

"The government argues that the ordinance is necessary to maintain the continuity of its land acquisition policy, pending the bill being taken up again in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament. Critics contend that this represents constitutional overreach, and that it sets a bad future precedent.....

...India finds itself exactly in the fix that the UK and Canada have wisely avoided. Constitutional reform, to weaken the Rajya Sabha, is simply not politically feasible—unlike Lord Grey in 1832, Prime Minister Modi cannot ask President Mukherjee to swamp the Rajya Sabha with more BJP members.

Resorting to the ordinance route, or the even more extraordinary measure of calling a joint session of Parliament—which may yet await the land bill—is thus a pragmatic and legitimate political response to the conundrum that our founders bequeathed to us".



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