Editorial

Parliament Has Been Held Hostage To The Whims Of The Government….

The government of India has told protesting farmers to approach the Supreme Court with their demand that it should repal the three new farm laws passed in September. The government says that it would be difficult to withdraw the Acts as they have been approved by Parliament and the President has signed them. The government seems to be telling the farmers that Parliament is paramount and the government is bound by its will. As a general principle, that should be the case. But that can hold only if we have a government that is answerable to Parliament. There could also be a situation, not uncommon in the history of the nations, when the reverse is true: parliaments being answerable to the government. In the India of our times, Parliament has been held hostage to the whims of the government. Parliament was forced it to hold sessions when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak. But now, when all government offices and other establishments have returned to functioning as normal, the government decided against holding the winter session. The government claims to be acting within the powers conferred on it by the Constitution. Experts agree. ​“What has been decided by the elected representatives cannot be undone by a crowd,” said the constitutional scholar Subhask Kashyap. “This is a democracy not a mobocracy and the government will not be worth its salt if it passes a law today and repeals it tomorrow under pressure. It will set a very bad precedent. Instead of parliament making laws, crowds will make laws.” In other words, a constitutional government cannot be forced by mobs to change its mind. But only the smugness of expertise could denigrate the agitating farmers by calling them a crowd or believing that crowds should not be allowed to present their point of view to a government that works on a constitutional mandate. The serenity of the protest sites is a reminder to the government that the people know that they are His people and not creatures of this government. It is for the government to remain alive to these rights of the people, people with feelings, emotions, intellect, and to avoid humiliating them by describing them as mobs. The government must understand that their protests are constitutional. Constitutional governments allow, by the very same constitution, every right to the people to assert their opinion and ideas effectively upon those who govern.

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