Why Trump failed and Modi succeeded in passing new laws forcefully

 

S Kumar

There are many parallels between Indian PM Modi and US President Trump. However, the focus of this article is only on why is Modi able to push through his agenda by passing new laws while Trump is unable to get through his way in the law making process.

In US, Trump's first proposed reform i.e. Healthcare bill to repeal Obamacare can't be passed despite the Republicans having absolute majority in the Legislature. This was possible because Congress (equivalent to Lok Sabha) stalled it and the opposition came from the ruling Republican party members. At the same time, Modi is able to pass almost 14 laws, including some controversial laws, simultaneously with the annual Budget. Modi Govt has been able to pass almost every Law (except Land Amendment Act) in the last 3 years of his power.

syam public order

In the US system which is a Presidential system, there is a complete box like separation of Power between the Executive and the Legislature. This makes the Executive accountable to Legislature, however the survival of the Government is not dependent on the support of Legislature.

In the Indian system, which is the Parliamentary system, separation of power between the Executive and the Legislature is incomplete, and it is overlapping. Under the standard Parliamentary system (not currently in India), the Government remains accountable to Legislature and the survival of the Government depends on support from the Legislature. Even in case of absolute majority of any party, the separation of power remains intact because a legislator remains independent of the Party inside the Parliament.

Under the original Constitution of India, the framers including Babasaheb never wanted complete separation because it leads to a stalemate situation where things gets stalled between Executive and Legislature. Further, the intent was to make the Executive accountable to the Legislature on a daily basis.

However, the original plan of Indian Constitution failed completely with the Anti-Defection law or Dal Badal Kanoon passed in 1985 by the Rajiv Gandhi government. This law merges the executive and legislative power in case of majority and accountability of executive towards legislature becomes NIL on a daily basis, because survival of the Government (represented by Party MPs) depends totally on the Political Party.

Article 105 of Indian Constitution clearly says that Members of Parliament have right to free speech and freedom to vote in parliament and they are not answerable to any Court for their vote or speech in the Parliament. Contrary to Article 105, the Anti-Defection law curtailed the freedom of MPs to vote and made them answerable to the Party chief. In case of dissent by the MP, the MP has to lose his/her seat in the House of Parliament.

Many political and legal analysts have raised the issue that Modi Govt is able to pass many bills as Money Bills, which don't require Rajya Sabha approval. However, this is incomplete understanding of the underlying problem. The author's understanding is that Money Bill is not a problem, but the issue is how a bill becomes a Money Bill and does the person approving a Bill as Money Bill have necessary authority. A Bill is authorised as Money Bill after the approval from the Speaker. However, if the speaker himself has been elected by using the brute force of the Party whip under Anti-Defection Law, then the Authority of the Speaker is itself questionable. The power of the Speaker is merged along with the Executive and the Legislature to the Political Party with the Anti-Defection Law.

There are only two means of avoiding autocracy i.e. ensuring liberty of people and making government accountable. Parliamentary or Presidential system of Governance is a matter of choice for any country. However, both the systems demand liberty for citizens and accountability of the Government. Any democracy is made successful with freedom of thought and expression in form of speech, writing and voting while protecting the fundamental rights and with the accountability of the Government.

How can an elected MP/MLA (who represents a population) have NO FREEDOM TO VOTE as per his/her conscience? How can a Parliament represent and create a liberal democracy which prohibits freedom of vote to its own members. Only a few failed states like Pakistan, Bangladesh, a few African countries have this kind of law that prohibits freedom of expression to elected MP and MLA in the name of Party or any extra-constitutional authority.

So, when elected member of parliament don't have freedom to vote in Parliament (only directly democratic elected institution with complete political equality), then a democratic nation is not possible.

~~~

 

S Kumar is a technocrat with education from a top engineering institution.

Cartoon by Unnamati Syama Sundar.

Other Related Articles

TISS Alumni Stand In Support of Striking Students
Thursday, 22 February 2018
  PUBLIC STATEMENT  WE CONDEMN THE TISS MANAGEMENT'S DECISION TO ROLL BACK FEE EXEMPTION TO SC, ST AND OBC STUDENTS WE CONDEMN GOVERNMENT'S APATHY OVER EXCLUDING DALIT-ADIVASI-BAHUJAN... Read More...
Students' Strike in TISS Mumbai
Thursday, 22 February 2018
  21st February 2018. TISS, Mumbai, observes 100% university strike against privatisation of higher education and withdrawal of financial aid to SC-ST-OBC(NC) students TISS students union gave a... Read More...
Caste isn't a Dalit question, it's a Brahmin question: Rahul Sonpimple
Friday, 16 February 2018
Round Table India In this episode of the Ambedkar Age, Round Table India talks to Rahul Sonpimple, leader of BAPSA (Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association), an active political platform of... Read More...
Caste in Muslim Theology
Monday, 22 January 2018
  Lecture organized by Pasmanda Students in collaboration with Syahi Literary Society, Students Union, on 27 January 2018 At Library Conference Hall, Tata Institute of Social Sciences... Read More...
What the National Law Schools don't teach
Friday, 29 December 2017
  Swagat Baruah Law as a profession has been often ridiculed for its lack of integrity, greed, and immorality. Justice as a profession has been criticized for the joyous self-exiles of its... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Caste Capital: Historical habits of Savarna Academicians and their Brahmastras
Sunday, 17 September 2017
  Sumit Turuk Growing up as a child in the Dom caste in a village in Odisha made me a close witness to some of the most dehumanizing and filthiest jobs my community that were imposed upon us by... Read More...
'Indian education doesn't have any emancipatory agenda': Prof Vivek Kumar
Monday, 11 September 2017
   Round Table India This is the transcription of Round Table India's interaction with Prof Vivek Kumar, Professor, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences,... Read More...
Why did Dalit become the mascot for the caste system?
Thursday, 21 September 2017
  Gaurav Somwanshi  This piece is in continuation with its previous part, the fourth question in a series of seven, but it can be read independently too. This is going to be the... Read More...
Seven Questions
Sunday, 17 September 2017
  Gaurav Somwanshi   In this piece, I seek to outline some questions that arose in my life or I have seen them arise around me, questions which may contain within them their own... Read More...
Graded Solidarity: An Interview with Ambedkarite Rapper Sumeet Samos
Friday, 01 September 2017
  Tejaswini Tabhane "Revising our past time and again.It drives me insane,Like a stream of current flowing through my vein,Squeezing out all the gray matters of my brain.I see too many patches... Read More...