The Indian Constitution, when
adopted, mirrored the soul of Indian Democracy on a healthy balance of ‘a
process of checks and balances’ that its different wings exercise on
each-other, notably the Indian Parliament, the Judiciary and the autonomous
constitutional entities like the Election Commission (EC) or the Comptroller
and Auditor General (CAG) or the Central Information Commission (CIC).
There are many other institutions
and functional establishments including the law and order apparatus but most of
them either can’t keep the politicians in check or have been efficiently co-opted
by the political class.
And there are really very few institutions
that still matter as the forces ‘still able’ to take on the political class and
have the lethal edge by their Constitutional guarantee and the positive public
perception about them and so are in the hit-list of the politicians.
Here, when we talk of the
institutions, we need to keep in mind that it is about the people running those
institutions and how they have undermined the sanctity and authority of the
institutions provided by the Constitution and so of the Constitution itself.
The situation in the country, at
the moment, is more or less ‘politicians Vs the rest of all’ where on one side
are the institutions controlled, manipulated and co-opted by the politicians
and on the opposing side are the few institutions where not all but still many
people refuse to be co-opted by the political class.
The different functional wings of
the Indian Democracy have no visible lines of demarcation. On one side, there
is corruption and their promoters – the corrupt politicians and the
On the other side are the
institutions that are seen as ‘still’ viable option to get some Constitutional
remedy, to the problems that owe their genesis in the systemic failure of the
System called Indian Administration.
While the all-pervasive corruption
has eaten into the credibility of almost every functional wing of Indian
Democracy, its scale of imminence to cause a chronic and systemic problem
As the majority of the politicians
of the day have become synonymous with corruption, elitism and
authoritarianism, the Indian Parliament has seen the maximum credibility
erosion, and by the political developments in the country, the rot, at the
moment, looks irreversible.
The rot in Indian Judiciary is
also deep, but the activism and alertness of higher courts and Supreme Court
has become a big relief point for the people oppressed from the political
tyranny and from the chronic corruption in the lower courts.
On a more positive note,
Constitutional bodies like the Election Commission, the Comptroller and the
Auditor General or the Central Information Commission have performed
exceedingly well in an atmosphere of political gloom and sociopolitical anarchy
and so are being targeted increasingly by the politicians.
If the Indian Democracy is still surviving
somehow it is because of the institutions like the higher courts or the EC or
the CAG or the CIC.
And politicians look all set, hands-in-glove,
to challenge the good work being done by the good people in these institutions.
Subverting the Democracy by
negating the important decisions taken by the Supreme Court or the
Constitutional bodies has been an old practice but in recent times, it has
grown on an unprecedented scale.
In the last few months, the nation
has seen the ugly display of corrupt politics when the politicians across the
party-lines came together to make Constitutional amendments and legal changes
to nullify the Supreme Court orders on reforms in ‘Representation of the People
Act’ regulating the conduct of elections, to invalidate CIC’s ruling on keeping
political parties under the Right to Information Act (RTI) or the demands to
scuttle the EC’s efforts to regulate the electoral ecology of the country for a
free and transparent way.
And the political brazenness says it’s
just the beginning.
*“Why democracy in India is in
imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging
platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly
round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments
that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to
the process of social disintegration of the nation..”