I Satya Sundaram
Because of rapid change economic, political and social—a fresh look at the provisions of the Indian Constitution may become necessary and desirable. The Indian Constitution has so far experienced as many as 80 amendments, since its inception.
The booklet* under review deals with four important issues: (i) Instability of Government and Presidential System; (ii) Electoral Reforms; (iii) Justice Delivery System and (iv) Implementaton of Aims and Objectives of the constitution. The appendix deals with conferring writ jurisdiction on District courts.
While amendments to the Constitution may be necessary, there is also scope for misusing such amendments. Hence, it is widely believed that the basic structure of the Constitution should not be disturbed. For instance, India is a democratic, federal country, with an independent judiciary. No political party, whatever may be its majority in Parliament, should attempt to change these basic characteristics of the Constitution.
In order to end political instability at the centre, a case is often advanced for the Presidential system in the place of Parliamentary system. It is argued that the Presidential system provides a wide choice for the Prime Minister in selecting his cabinet colleagues. However, the Presidential system may remove the democratic character of the Indian constitution. It may degenerate into dictatorship. By amending Article 75, the Prime Minister may be permitted to appoint a small minority of his Ministers from outside Parliament.
The author feels that men of competence are not occupying Rajya Sabha seats at present. In fact, a candidate defeated in the Lok Sabha elections finds a place in the Rajya Sabha. According to the author, the Rajya Sabha should consist of persons of merit and expertise with special knowledge or practical experience in their fields. This alone can enrich the quality of the Upper House. The author also feels that the states do not require Upper House.
Defections have become a bane of Indian politics. Tarkunde therefore observes that any person who is elected on a party ticket will have to resign, if he changes his party or becomes a non-party member. This rule should be applicable to the independent candidates also.
The author feels that there should be a limit on the size of the Cabinet so as to avoid jumbo cabinets formed in order to satisfy diagruntled politicians. A poor country like India cannot afford that luxury.
The electoral reforms should aim at reducing the role of money and muscle power. Criminalisation of politics should be curbed. The author observes, ‘‘candidates who are convicted in a serious criminal offence or offence by a court of law or against whom a charge is framed by a court for such offences shall be disqualified from contesting an election, even if an appeal or other proceeding is pending in higher court.’’
The author is not in favour of constitution of Special Tribunals because these can be influenced by politicians, and corruption may also go up. The author feels that the strength of the ordinary judiciary should be increased and then they should man these tribunlas by turn.
The author’s views on the Constitutional Amendments, Presidential system, electoral reforms and justice delivery system are pragmatic.
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