Fountain Of Ideas For Progress
[ Proposal No. 4 ]
Review of the Indian Constitution
NATIONAL COMMISSION TO REVIEW THE WORKING OF THE CONSTITUTION
VIGYAN BHAWAN ANNEXE, MAULANA AZAD ROAD
NEW DELHI - 110 011.
Acknowledgement: No. Res.I/16/2000-NCRWC
Goa Su-Raj Party
The Beacon for Good Governance,
383/A Pirazona, Moira,
I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 24/7/2000 and to say that the suggestions contained in your letter would be considered by the Commission at the appropriate time.
(The following sent to National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, subsequent to the invitation for
OUR REF: GSP/CR/07/00
Date: 24th. July, 2000
Dr. Raghbir Singh,
National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution,
Vigyan Bhavan Annexe,
Maulana Azad Road,
New Delhi 110 011.
Democracy has been defined as the "GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE" In India, for democracy to work, the country must be at least 75 to 80 percent literate if not more. Since that is not possible for a long time to come, certain provisions must be incorporated into the Constitution to safeguard the wellbeing and the development of the nation and of its people, specially the under privileged. We strongly feel that some of those safeguards must be:-
i) A strong anti-defection law.
ii) Recall Option.
iii) Abolition of Caste system and Reservations.
iv) Blank slot on the ballot.
Anti-defection Law: No elected representative of the people must be allowed to defect to another political party under any circumstances, since the very reason that this representative has been elected by the people is based on certain ideologies and beliefs of the representative as well as of the party he belongs to. If the representative can be allowed to change his/her allegiance and ideologies, it does not necessarily mean that the allegiance and ideologies of the people have changed.
Example: Goa's misrule, and chronic political instability, due to the people's representatives crossing the floor much too often for the only reason of LUCRE of office.
Recall Option: If the electorate had the power to recall their representative for misrepresenting them, abuse of power and/or for not being concerned with their betterment or wellbeing but seeking to promote his/her interests and the interests of his/her family and friends.
Example: Accumulation of assets disproportionate to their known source of income.
Abolition of Castes & reservations:The framers of the Indian Constitution had sought to eliminate caste system within a short period of five years. However 53 years shall be completed soon without loosening, in the slightest bit, the strangle hold on maintaining the castes, by vested interests. This strangle hold must be shaken off by bold constitutional amendments to free the people of India from the yolk of this degrading classifications and bring them in one stream, to develop and to prosper as proud citizens of a proud nation.
The damage that the reservations has caused to the growth of the nation , and its potential in the competing world, is phenomenal. Standards, in every respect, may it be education, administration, governance or public enterprise, have been compromised. Every nation has its under privileged people. These sections of people must be identified, subsidized on all fronts, well looked after , given additional free and efficient coaching and/or training at the cost of the well off cross section of the people, but must be tested and/or examined for excellence of performance on par with the rest of the nation 's people at every level of competence. Then only, first preference must be given for employment at every level to these under privileged people as a reward for excellence which would, in other words, mean reservations. In doing so, the quality and the required high standards of performance shall be rest assured as well as the under privileged shall be emancipated.
Blank slot on the Ballot:It is being noticed that more and more candidates with criminal records and/or thugs, goons and history-sheeters are being fielded as candidates by political parties for assembly and Parliamentary elections. There is no effective legislation yet at the center to take cognizance of this and to bar such candidates from seeking to represent the people. at the highest offices of the nation which demand respect. It is inevitable that the voting citizens are held to ransom not having a deterrent or an alternative to save themselves from such candidates.
The suggestion put forth by the Vice President of India, Shri. Krishna Kant that provision must be made in the Nation's Electoral Laws to add a blank slot on the ballot paper, so that the concientious voter may be given an alternative to register his/her vote as a protest vote if he/she feels that none of the candidates portrayed on the ballot deserve to be elected. When the candidates fielded by political parties lose elections, only then will they be pressurized into fielding clean and respectable candidates in the future. This way, the people get the representatives they deserve and the polity is cleansed.
To give proper weightage to the protest votes, the formula could be as follows:-
The total number of votes polled - total number of protest votes = total votes secured by the candidates collectively. A certain safe percentage must be determined which the candidates must secure collectively in relation to total votes polled i.e. say 75 %, below which all candidates shall be disqualified from contesting elections for the next five years. In other words, the percentage of protest votes should not cross 25 % of the total votes polled.
To be more specific, the following suggestions are put forward for special consideration for review vis a vis the Articles of the Constitution of India listed below:-[Compiled by Lt.Cdr. Francis Furtado(Retd.) - Vice President ]
Removal of word "Socialist" from para 1.
Reasons: In a competitive global economy, community control over national assets and their utilization centrally is no longer possible. Privatization has to be accepted as a reality. We can afford to shed the hypocrisy of the 50s.
Art. 15: Omission of 15(3) & (4).
Reason: Equality per article 16 would become a joke if Govt. went in for special provisions for special classes of citizens even after 50 years of self-governance with 15(3) & (4) in operation.
Art. 16(1): Addition of 'and in every other employing agency including private sector within the country.
Reason: Even with the Govt. being the largest employer, there is need to apply the article in every area of employment to prevent discrimination and inequality.
Art. 16(1): Deletion of clauses (2) to (4) as redundant.
Retention of present clause (5) in its present form as clause (2).
Reason: There is no need for elaboration.
Art. 19: Deletion of all clauses other than (1) (a) to (g).
Reason: These clauses can lead to unlimited exercise of powers to muzzle the public opinion, movements, residence and practice of any chosen profession by the free people of India, leading to autocracy by the Govt. Common people cannot take resort to legal remedies when the State clamps fetters en masse.
Art. 22(4): Advisory Board to include a representative from a national level NGO serving public interest and one press representative.
Reason: With due respect to the judiciary, an element of human interest needs to be involved in curtailing the liberties of a citizen. Hence the suggestion.
Art. 22(6): Deletion.
Reason: For too long has the State assumed total responsibility of 'public interests'. A transparent Govt. would do well to disclose the main reasons for preventive detention.
Art. 31C: The last part of para 1 "and no law.. to such policy" to be deleted.
Reason: A Govt. by the people and for the people carries the responsibility to keep the people informed. If the Courts are debarred from looking into both the rights of the people and the duties of the State, and the people too are blindfolded, where is the promise of good governance ?
Art. 37: Even to make a claim of good governance, it is most essential that Article 37 has to be deleted.
Reason: Directive principles are directly related to eventual enjoyment of fundamental rights and welfare by the country's citizenry. Making fundamental rights enforceable by Courts of justice whilst absolving responsibility of the elected Govt. comprising of the same citizens albeit forming part of a people's Govt. sounds contradictory and ridiculous. The Govt. should therefore be fully responsible to put these principles into practice and then be accountable for any lapses in implementation?.. at least now, fifty longs years after the Constitution came into effect.
Art. 58: Add an extra clause (d) - be declared physically and mentally fit by a board of relevant medical specialists.
Reason: The country cannot afford to have a CEO who is not completely fit to take the stresses and strains inherent to his office. Then there is the need for even the lowest of public servants to be fit physically and mentally for being appointed. This should be more applicable to the top men who carry great responsibility for their performance as heads of the nation.
Art. 72: Delete the article.
Reason: In a country where 'Truth alone Triumphs' and in which the last vestiges of rulers by descent viz. Kings as the will of gods has been consigned to the dustbin of history, it would be a mockery of the judicial system to arbitrarily grant suspension/remission or commutation of a sentence handed down by a Court of Law after a judicious trial. We ought to have a difference between the presidents of India (and Governor too) and Pontius Pilate!
Art. 84: Add clause (d)- 'has not been charge-sheeted as an accused by a Court of Law in any criminal proceedings for an offence punishable with a term of not less than five years imprisonment.
Reason: India, in the recent past has had bitter experience of having had, in the Parliament (and Legislatures too), men and women with long lists of pending criminal trials and whose culpability in most cases well-known. The application of the ground-rule of British vintage that unless guilt is proved, one is assumed to be innocent, could lead to acquittal of innocents in a few cases since almost all trials in today's Courts are dependent on the advocate's ability to convince the judge and not on truth. In the case of law-making bodies, for the preservation of democratic values and system, we would rather close the doors on suspects.
Art. 85: Add clause (3) - To make the proceedings of the House valid, a matter ought to have been discussed with the presence of members being not less than 1/3rd the total strength of the House.
Reason: Ever since the DD telecasts of Parliamentary proceedings began, it has been noticed that our representatives have not all been conscientiously attending the sessions and participating in the proceedings thus reneging on the very duty for which they have been elected. As a result, very important bills are passed by a majority of ever a single vote in a house with a mere 10% attendance- the quorum! Repeated absence from the House ought to be penalized by suspension and even disqualification.
Art. 93: A provision ought to be added making it compulsory for the Speaker/Dy. Speaker to resign membership of their political parties on election to those offices. They may be allowed to resume membership after relinquishing their posts.
Reason: This would put an end to suspicions of partisanship in deciding contentious matters whilst the officers preside over proceedings.
Art. 100(3): The quorum is to be raised to 1/3rd. the strength of the House.
Reason: Reasons as against Art. 85 above.
Art. 102(1): Add (f) if he is charge-sheeted in a criminal trial before a Court of Law for an offence carrying the maximum penalty of 5 years of imprisonment.
Reason: To cleanse the law-making body of any criminal elements who may have penetrated it already.
Art. 131A: Re-insert the repealed article.
Reason: Necessary to place judi-checks on irresponsible legislations merely based on the strength of ruling party.
Art. 157: Add 'and is qualified to become a member of Parliament, He should also be certified mentally and physically fit by a board of competent medical authorities.
Reason: To be answerable to the Parliament, it is essential that he possesses equal qualifications even though he is appointed at the pleasure of the President at the recommendations by the Cabinet.
Art. 173: Add (d): - has not been charge-sheeted in a criminal trial by any Court of Law in an offence punishable with imprisonment for 5 years or more.
Reason: This will keep out criminal elements from penetrating and polluting our legislatures.
Art. 178: Add "the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of Legislative Assembly shall resign their membership from the political party/parties to which they belong soon after being elected to those offices. They may rejoin their parties on relinquishing their posts.
Reason: This will make the posts free from bias or suspicions of bias by the other parties.
Art. 189(3): The quorum for any valid proceedings of a Legislature ought to be increased to 1/3rd. the total membership.
Reason: The present quorum of 10 members or 10% is considered to be unreasonable considering the serious business of laying down laws and overseeing administration which affects the lives of common citizens.
Art. 191: Same proposal as for Art. 102.
Art. 332 to 342: Part XVI of the Constitution relating to SC/ST/Anglo-Indian community is to be deleted.
Reason: Past 50 years have shown that the polity of reservations for SC/ST/Anglo-Indian communities have not actually uplifted the lowest of the low in these communities. It is time to place every citizen on par and think of other ways of empowering these and other backward citizens, in other ways.
10th. Schedule: To be deleted.
Reason: In every case since the 10th. Schedule was added to the Constitution, every so-called split of party has been plain turn-coatism for the sake of grabbing power. Except in the case of genuine merger of political parties, every other change of loyalties by an elected member must be treated as, and dealt with as a defection resulting in dismissal from the Legislative body. Seeking a fresh mandate is the only fair method for such individuals for coming back into the Legislature. Paras 6 to 8 of the schedule could be then rendered redundant.
(Floriano C. Lobo)