Problems in Indian democracy (was Re: languages (question) (was Re: pronunciation of Sanskrit))

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at
Tue Apr 15 22:40:55 UTC 1997

> 2.  It is during the darkest period of Indian democracy thus 
> far that education was moved to the Concurrent List - the 
> Emergency during the mid-70s when many liberties were arbitrarily 
> suspended, governments were dissolved on a whim, and hooshiinis 
> of a number of people cut off.

Almost every Indian shares these concerns regarding Indian democracy.
Not only education, over the years many other items of jurisdiction have
been consistently moved from the state to the concurrent list. Some of
these transfers have also been justified under the Directive Principles 
of State Policy. And then, along comes a mindless bureaucrat who ensures
that the regional voice is completely ignored/suppressed for the sake of
a unity which exists more on paper than in practice. These kinds of
actions account in no small part for the various separatist movements one
finds in India. Parliamentary democracy in India has moved from crisis to
crisis, and we are seeing the fruits of its history now. 

S. Vidyasankar

ps. Are there any legal/constitutional experts on this list who think that
President Sharma should have told the Congress to introduce a 
no-confidence motion against Deve Gowda, instead of asking Gowda to seek a
second trust vote? After all, as the Congress party withdrew its support,
shouldn't the onus be on them to prove their point on the floor? I thought
that the Indian constitution requires a trust vote only for a freshly
formed government following elections. The outcome might have been the
same, but isn't the parliamentary process as important as its outcome?
Now, a precedent has been set whereby the president officially recognizes
a coalition government as always being hostage to the whims of a
supporter. Any party can table a no-confidence motion, however many times
it wishes during the tenure of a government, but how many trust votes is a
government expected to seek? Am I alone in thinking that this is an
unhappy precedent to set for the future, which is almost certainly going
to feature hung parliaments and coalition governments? 

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