India's Dire Need - Revised Political System for Better Governance

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Create mass awareness to bring about required changes in the present political system

Friends,

This is a big fight and requires the support of all likeminded citizens, a majority large, who have remained silent spectators. If all of us come together it would certainly make an impact.  Please pass on this message to as many of your friends and acquaintances as possible as in democracy it the only the voice of people which would bring the required change.

 Please Sign my Petition

 Jashwant B. Mehta

 Petitioning to Hon'ble President - Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Hon'ble Vice President – Shri Venkaiah Naidu – Hon'ble Prime Minister - Shri Narendra Modi - Hon'ble Chief Justice of India - Shri Ranjan Gogoi, & Shri Rahul Gandhi - President of the Indian National Congress.

Our present Constitution while safe guarding fundamental rights of people has unfortunately provided for a political system which has only benefitted politicians. There is a dire need to have Constitution amendments which would bring about required changes in the Political System which would provide for better governance and restore people's faith in the democratic system.

 1.     No Restriction for politicians to contest from any number of Constituencies:

While the citizens can vote from only one constituency, and he cannot vote while being imprisoned, a politician can contest from any number of Constituencies and being even while in prison. In fact, even while being in prison he/she, under our present political system he/she can run the Government by proxy as we have witnessed in case of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jayalalithaa.

 2.     Merit or Competency a secondary issue:

To get even a clerk's job in bank or teacher's job in a school, you need to have degree whereas a politician without any qualification or knowledge of the subject can become Education Minister or Defence or Home etc. and hold  any  portfolio. We need to have separation of cabinet from Legislative wherein ministers are knowledgeable professionals competent to handle portfolios assigned to them. We seriously need to consider having separation of cabinet from Legislative where by ministers forming the most important part of executive are from the talented knowledgeable, professional cadre with no links to party politics. They can concentrate fully on their jobs. Even in countries like Japan, which has Parliamentary the Prime Minster is entitled to have 50% of the cabinet from outside the Parliament. As against this there are Presidential systems where President is bound to have cabinet from Parliament.            

 3.     Very poor Governance at local level:

We elect local Municipal Councillors who elect a mere show piece Mayor every year. We have no Executive Head of the Government at the local level. Our councillors have no accountability and there is very poor governance at local level. The citizens need to have two independent votes, one to elect a councillor who will represent the local area and other to elect Mayor as Executive Head of the local Government. Several countries in the world including all cities in the USA, Germany and even in London, the Mayors are effective heads of the Government elected for full tenure of 4 to 5 years. We can consider similar system at State level providing with two independent votes, one to elect MLA to represent the Constituency & the other for election of Chief Minister (also popularly called Governor in many countries) as executive head of State Government for full tenure of 4 to 5 years.       

4.     Reservation policy grossly misused by political parties for vote bank:

Reservations for schedule castes were proposed for 10 years in the Constitution but the same has continued in perpetuity by having the Constitution amended from time to time as it has suited our politicians for their vote banks.  Reservations for O.B.C.'s were never a part of the Constitution but now an integral part of the system.  Thanks to Mandal Commission report, we have reached a stage where every segment of the society now feels aggrieved and deprived and there are more and more agitations for other castes to be included in reservation category. A time may not be far away when the population of entire country may prefer to be designated as S.C.’s or O.B.C.'s.

 5.     Arbitrary selection of candidates by political bosses:

We need to have a law on political parties which would make it mandatory to have utmost participation by the people in selection of candidates by the political parties. In countries like U.S.A. & Germany the candidates are elected by party members in secret ballot and those elected automatically get the party nomination. This democratic way of electing candidates has strengthened the very root of democracy unlike in our system where the candidates are selected by party bosses. It has also prevented degeneration of major political parties as deserving meritorious persons do not have to beg to party bosses for being nominated.

 6.     Presidential Powers to provide check on the Executive virtually curtailed:

As originally provided for in the Constitution, President was given adequate powers meant to provide check on the Executive. Article 74  dealing with the powers of the President as worded said, “There shall be a Council of Ministers with a Prime Minister  at  its  head  to  aid  and  advise  the  President  in the discharge of his functions”.

44th Constitutional amendments has virtually made the President a mere ceremonial head without any powers. As amended now (amendments in bold) Article 74 reads...

74: “(1) Council of Ministers to aid and advice President. There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice. Provided that the President may require Council of Ministers to reconsider such advice, either generally or otherwise, and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration”. (2) The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the President shall not be inquired into in any court.”                          

7.     Gross misuse of Article 356:

In our present system Governors have proved to be mere show pieces reminding us of Maharajas staying in palatial houses. In fact, Governors are nominated by the Central Government and the post of Governors has often been misused by the Central Government. The Sarkaria Commission had noted the gross abuse of Article 356 which empowers Central Government to declare President's rule. Out of 57 instances of President's rule in the period from 1951-1957 nearly 50 percent had resulted from (arbitrary action of) Central Government.

8.  Role of legislature:

Our legislators are not required to do any home work and bound to vote in accordance with the 'whip' issued by the party and the legislation is voted most often on party lines then the merit. Under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) Fund our every MP  has now been provided with a sum of Rs. 5 crore per year to be spent for development for his/her constituency as per his/her discretion. This scheme was introduced in December, 1993 with a view to placate our MP's with an initial funding of Rs. 5 lakhs per annum and has now been increased from time to time to Rs. 5 crores per annum!  This is in spite of the fact that time and again there has been severe criticism and adverse remarks against the misuse, skimming and sometimes outright misappropriation of funds as well as recommendation to scrap the scheme.            

Our Rajya Sabha is supposed to be upper house of the Parliament but has miserably failed to play its role unlike Senate in USA. It may be mentioned that unlike our present system of Rajya Sabha members being selected by the high command or party bosses, the Senators in USA are directly elected by the electorate votes of entire state. 

 (a)              It is a convenient ploy to accommodate important/influential party members who have lost the Lok Sabha elections. They are nominated by the high command to the Rajya Sabha.

(b)             It is also a convenient way for prominent persons from trade and industry to enter the Parliament via a back door on a quid pro quo basis, by striking a deal with major political parties. Their real motive  is to further their business or personal interests by establishing contacts at the highest political levels in the government. There is a price fixed for such deals by the political parties. While the list of such persons is pretty long, Anil Ambani and Vijay Mallya are among some of the notable examples. Vijay Mallya was elected for two terms in Rajya Sabha. In 2007, he was elected as an independent member from Karnataka with the support of Congress and Janata Dal (S). In 2010, he was re-elected with the backing of BJP and Janata Dal (S). Anil Ambani was elected as an independent member from UP in June 2004 with the support of Samajwadi Party. 

9.     Frustration of very people who had framed  the Constitution:

Some of the very people who had played a major role, (as members of Constituent Assembly) in drafting the Constitution including the political system arising out of the Constitution were frustrated when they observed the actual performance of the Government. This long list included Dr. K. M. Munshi, Dr. Venkataraman (Ex-President) and Dr. Ambedkar himself among others. There is an aura surrounding Ambedkar as a framer of India's Constitution. His own clarification in this regard is quite significant. In this very speech in Rajya Sabha, he had reported to have said: "People always keep on saying to me: 'Oh, you are the maker of the Constitution.' My answer is I was a hack. What I was asked to do. I did much against my will."   Within three years of adoption of India's Constitution, Ambedkar seemed to have expressed his own frustration in no uncertain terms when he spoke in Rajya Sabha on 2nd September, 1953. 'Sir, my friends tell me that I have made the Constitution, but I am quite prepared to say that I shall be the first person to burn it out. I do not want it. It does not suit anybody."

 10.     Political system virtually for the benefit of politicians:

It is said that democracy is "of the people, for the people and by the people". However, our seven decades experience has clearly established that the word 'people' has been replaced by 'politicians' and it is now virtually 'of the politicians, for the politicians and by the politicians'.



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