Saturday, 29 February 2020

Restoring India’s Glory

Updated: January 2, 2010 4:18 pm

Coming from the pen of a person, a pure nationalist by culture and upbringing, this book is an expression of conviction and faith in the all-round growth and development of the country in spite of the problems and serious challenges it is facing. The writer puts forth an optimistic view of the Indian political and socio-cultural environment. He visualises a new India rising above the sub-entities of religion and caste. It is marching ahead in economy and technology gradually taking the shape of a global power. He feels confident that India known as “golden bird” in the past is going to achieve a global status in the present century. A galaxy of young faces shaping and designing the Indian polity and economic system and social order are emerging on the national horizon.

            The writer puts on record the role of sons of the soil and their valuable sacrifices in shaping the destiny of the nation in spite of the fact that our political system is denying space to Hindu nationalists projecting itself as secularist. Wahabi elements are gaining ground in some parts of the country. A reference has been made to the resolution passed by the Indian Parliament unanimously declaring Kashmir an integral part of India. It conveys a message of firm conviction that the country will counter all evil designs against the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.

            Making a reference the menace of terrorism, the writer conveys the feeling that India presently is badly bruised and brutalised by terror attacks. The security network must ruthlessly deal with these terrorist outfits. Arunachal Pradesh is also facing the problem of forced religious conversions accompanied by insurgency from the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland. Chinese incursions on the Indian Territory in the East are also becoming a cause of concern. India will have to face and fight this Chinese menace showing democratic solidarity cutting across party lines. Further, in the East Malaysia has become a hotbed of Islamic intolerance treating non-Muslims as second-class citizens. Internally, a precipitated hate against Hindus in an influential section of polity and media is taking an ugly shape leaving a demoralising effect on the nationalist forces. Even the nationalistic movements like building Ram Temple at Ayodhya and Ram Setu at Kanyakumari are being despised by an important section of polity and the class of people living in India without any emotional attachment to the nation. India has been a Hindu nation and a certain section of the polity has adopted secularism as its way of life. It has demoralised its majority population having deep-rooted patriotic moorings.


           Article 356: An Aberration Of Indian Federal System!


Article 356 of Indian Constitution, which provides for imposition of President’s Rule in a State, is a highly controversial provision in our democratic polity. The Constitution provided for imposition of President’s rule in the event of ‘failure of the constitutional machinery in States’.

The very fact that the President’s rule has been imposed in States 108 times within a span of about 60 years (1950-2009) compels us to review the provision critically. Not that the provision was misused all the time. On several occasions, the crisis was real and the centre found itself helpless to deal with a fast-changing unstable political situation in the State. Nonetheless, there were also highly controversial decisions on the part of the central cabinet.

The misuse of Article 356 by the Centre not only reduces the State’s autonomy and the people’s verdict but also has negative consequences on the Indian federal system.

No wonder, political parties have taken position on the use and misuse of the Article 356. But the real crisis remains in the form of political uncertainty in post-election times. Part of this problem was solved with the anti-defection law as well as the coalition politics which has been an accepted thing in the recent past.

The book critically assesses the use and misuse of provisions regarding President’s rule during the single-party majority government and minority/coalition regimes. The author also focuses on the impact of the use and misuse of the President’s rule on the Indian political system.

The author writes, “the provisions regarding President’s rule have been incorporated in the Constitution of India to maintain the unity and integrity of the country, the law and order, and the proper functioning of Constitutional machinery in the States. The President’s rule under Article 356 of the Constitution has been used 108 times till 2009. In some cases, the Union Government has rightly used this power for legitimate purposes, but this power has mostly been misused for political purposes. Undoubtedly, this tendency is against the basic intention of the framers of the Constitution.”

“The language of Article 356 is vague and ambiguous. The Constitution is silent about the circumstances that clearly indicate the failure of constitutional machinery of the State.”

“Therefore, the Union Government or Governors have interpreted this phrase to fulfil their vested interests. The Union Government uses or misuses this power through the Governor of the State concerned. Usually, Governors act as agent of the Union Government and not as the impartial constitutional heads of the States. The Constitution does not provide any safeguard against such misuse. It creates serious problems in Centre-State relations and Article 356 has become the most controversial subject in our Constitution. The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (Venkatachaliah Commision) (2000) pointed out that “Article 356 is one of the most talked about and a subject of controversy allegedly on grounds of having been frequently misused and abused.”

“The frequent invocation of Article 356 greatly disturb the balance of power of Indian federal system. In fact, it has become a weapon in the hands of the Union Government to intervene in the affairs of the states. During President’s Rule the Indian federal system turns into a unitary system. It has negative consequences for the principles of federalism. Granville Austin calls these emergency provisions as “The Union’s Long Arm”.”

The author divides the book systematically into eight chapters which include historical background of President’s rule, federalism and President’s rule, President’s rule and Indian political system, imposition of President’s rule in various States, recommendations of Commissions and Committees, and judicial response to the use of Article 356.

Considering the fact that this book is based on the doctoral thesis of the author, he has done a commendable job. The book contains comprehensive and useful information. However, a reproduction of the Article 356 would have been useful.

By Vaishali Tanwar


The writer feels that keeping the democratic set-up of the country in view, the citizens must actively participate in the development programmes and other affairs of the country. The writer concludes with a note of confidence that in spite of the serious challenges and problems India is facing, it is bound to win the battle with its invincible military might, recession-resistant global economic power and a vibrant and reformist youth energy having pride in its core Hindu character. Our religious and cultural heritage gives India a competitive edge to achieve a better prosperous, equitable and sustainable future.

 By Prof KD Sharma

 

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