An educated and competent Parliament for the Modern India.
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The problem I want to address here is: Bad governance.
As wide an interpretation the two words are capable of, including (but not only limited to)
- All the charges against any and all government officials, whether elected, nominated or appointed under any heads of the Union of India or any of the States/UTs; of criminal charges, charges of curroption, mismanagement, fraud, negligence etc.
- All the goals that the Constitution is aimed at securing and achieving for the citizens of India but is still far from being achieved as a Nation.
- Ineffective, inefficient, lethargic and opaque working of the various governments. Lack of public accountability.
It is futile to enlist the reasons and causes for alleging the various governments of the various charges, several of which have been proved in the various courts of law time and again while the majority of which have not been able to be convicted due to a plethora of reasons.
But, IMHO, I would like to raise a serious theoritical error in this whole process here.
As per the Constitution of India, keeping in mind when it was drafted and implemented, the needs of the hour then and the socio-economic situations of the demography, the elegibility criteria for the various public servants, both elected and appointed, were defined in various different parts or eventually - keeping in mind the guidelines thus set forth by our Constitution.
Perhaps it is time, that we took another look at some of these.
We have been updating the elegibility criteria for the various Civil serants, by upgrading the various entrance processes of the UPSC for instance.
Why not then, don't we still have, ANY minimum or basic Educational requirements for the Elected candidates, the members of our Parliament, the Legislative - the law framers ?
Not that of a graduate degree or a high school certificate.
Rather a test on their knowledge of the History & Civics of the country or at the very least, their knowledge of the Constitution of India.
How can we allow anyone to be an elected member of the Parliament without even trying to find out how well and to what extent do they really understand the Consitution of India, which they swear to live by and upohld and
how aligned are they, in their Public capacity, with the spirit of the Consitution of India ?
These should form a crucial test for allowing one to even contest a general election.
I will enlist the reasons I find relavant here and would invite the general opinion of the larger mass on these.
Why/how would it be justified to implement one such requirement ?
1. Being an elected member of the Parliament is a serious responsibility, to begin with. It entails intrinsic knowledge of Civics and our whole political system - in all its complexities. They must understand their own functions, importance and duties as the elected members, without any ambiguity.
And if they all unanimously claim that they do, then they should not be opposed to a systematic method to test and verify the same transparently for the public, on the same lines as the Civil servants are put through such detailed tests only after clearing which are they appointed for the service.
Right now, all that is needed to get to the Parliament, is to contest elections and get Elected, of course if one qualifies the mandatory basic requirements of age and nationality. Even that of not having been convicted has not yet been implemented totally/effectively, resulting in Ministers with multiple portfolios and multiple convictions or on-going legal proceedings in the various courts across the nation.
They MUST, at the least, have a thorough understanding of our Constitution, which they are being entrusted to uphold, while in office.
2. Its been over 7 decades since we have had the Fundamental Right to Education. Despite the hindrances, we have managed to achieve some growth towards a more and better educated society. We have enough educated people to be able to constitute the Parliament.
3. Also, keeping in mind the representation and the opportunity of an illiterate citizen to be able to contest elections, there could be a reservation in that regard to secure a certain portion of seats for such candidates, but with a revision scheme to revise and update the same percentage based upon the growing literacy rate in the country with the passage of time.
Who wouldn't want fewer such rapists and criminals in our Parliaments ?
Ask any of the former Speakers from either House of the Parliament for a more seasoned perspective.
4. A revised scheme for the elegibility to contest the general elections would directly result in reducing the shenanigans around our elections, which is becoming a blatant mockery of our Socialist Secular Demoratic Republic, seriously jeopardising each of those Constitutional concepts.
We have an elected and acting Chief Minister of one state, travelling to another state for an Election Campaign, rallying with full pride and sense of servitude - more to the party than than state or the nation, without even realising, forget acknowledging, that he is doing so during his office hours as a public servent.
This is the kind of irresponsiblity should not just be accounted for, but must be avoided.
We can design the much better and efficient system that we all fantasize about.
But we'd need to sit down, together and discuss the exact problems and find exact long lasting, sustainable solutions which are not just a quick temporary fix but serve the purpose better in the future too.
Also, we need to look beyond a single party and look into several or as many of them, to realise the actual loopholes which are working to the advantage of the whole existing political structures dominant in the country and rebuild this improved version with precision and utmost care.
I know only a test would not be the end to all the menace that I started off with, but it would be a substantial and very fundamental requirement, in my opinion, that all those attending the Parliament, forming the Legislation MUST have a deep and thorough understanding and respect for the Consitution, in as much detail as possible.
Or to put it in simpler words, using religion as an example;
Would you have a person who doesn't know your own religious texts ruling the highest temple/religious institution of your religion ?
The Parliament is, so to speak, the Highest temple of a democracy;
how can we demand any less ?
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