Uploaded on August 27, 2021



Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam 

Amidst  the  edge  of  the  second  wave  of  the  pandemic,  India  celebrated  its  75th anniversary  of  freedom.  The  milestone  was  honored  with  seeking  pride  in  India's achievements over the last few years. Undoubtedly, India has had its fair share of ebb and  flow  throughout  history,  and  most  of  the  time,  it  has  emerged  out  a  vigorous, independent, and democratic state. However, one cannot let go of the recent crisis India is facing through the hands of the current regime. Hence, inciting the masses with pseudo nationalism would not do the trick for the ruling party.   

When  the  people  are  reminded  of  the  welfare  programs  and  the  Olympic  success,  it becomes  pertinent  to  count  the  lost  lives  of  innocent  people  due  to  the  dying  health infrastructure of the nation. There needs a balance between the promises and the ground reality to keep a check on the unrealistic dream manifested by the current regime. The speech delivered on Independence Day is one such example of the hypocrisy and bogus declarations,  which  has  become  the  modus  operandi  for  the  government  to  maneuver people from the calamitous condition of India's democracy.   

The dream that India collectively built 75 years ago is on its way to doom in this time of absolute mayhem of democracy. The democratic turned majoritarian state has surpassed many  red flags,  and now  it  is  time for  the  stakeholders  of  democracy  to  wake  up from their patriotic hangover. Or else, it could malign the proceedings of the parliament. When discussing the pillars of India’s  democracy,  the  legislature holds a  pertinent  position  in upholding the democratic principles of India. However, looking at the current situation of the parliament, one could sense the upsetting condition of India's parliament.   

The parliamentary debates at the time of the formation of the constitution were extensive and  time-taking.  The  parliamentarians  thoroughly  debated  each  legislation  to  focus  on every aspect of the laws and their consequences on people belonging to different sections of society. Contrary to this, the current parliamentarians do not realize the dynamics of discussing a bill before its enactment. Highlighting this issue, Chief Justice of India N. V. Ramana commented on the "sorry state of affairs" of our parliament. All of this points to the waning standards of lawmaking of our nation.   

Introducing any new law entails a quality debate to bring out the intent of the law and its functioning to the people it aims to target. However, the 2021 monsoon session portrays a horrific picture of the state of our parliament. This monsoon session witnessed 15 bills getting introduced and passed in the same breath. It was the first time in 22 years that the Lok Sabha did not bother to send any law to a select committee for detailed analysis and outcomes of applying such legislation for a diversified nation like India.   

An  unprecedented  situation  like  the  pandemic  had  already  undermined the  capacity of the  legislature.  The  deteriorating  functioning  of  both  houses  in  terms  of  working  hours further blows the aspiration of our policymakers who fought the battle for independence. 

The ruckus created by the opposition leaders on the recent snooping case and the ruling regime's  denial  of  the  same  has  taken  center  stage  in  lieu  of  mindful  and  critical parliamentary  debates  regarding  new  bills.  Imagine  the  horrors  of  discussing  the supplementary budget of 15,750 crore, in response to the COVID-19 crisis for merely 9 minutes. Critical decisions pertaining to national interest need thorough discussion before deciding the fate of billions of people through these laws and provisions.     
Our  constitution  gave  us  the  dream  of  a  democratic  country,  which  needs  constant nurturing. The dream needs to be worked upon and not simply left by virtue of being the heir of that legacy. The decline in the functioning of India's parliament is paralyzing the intrinsic purpose of adopting a parliamentary democracy. It is absolutely essential for the parliament to be relevant in order to not lose the essence of our democracy. As accurately pointed  out  by  President  Ram  Nath  Kovind—"Parliament  is  the  temple  of  democracy," India's legislative needs to step up and respect the sacred forum that provides a platform to our lawmakers to make decisions on behalf of over 1.3 billion people regarding their well-being and security. Or consequently, a lack of discussion could result in introduction of more biased laws such as anti-conversion laws, and amendments to the existing ones that deepen communal differences amongst the people of India.  
(The writer is General Secretary, All India Milli Council) 
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