Editorial Analysis - India’s democracy, diminished and declining

Editorial Analysis – India’s democracy, diminished and declining

Source – TH

  • Prelims: Current events of national importance, democracy, covid, elections etc
  • Mains GS Paper I and II: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, institutions and other measures etc

Key Points

India displayed its soft and hard power during this year’s Republic Day parade, conveying a message to the world that it has arrived on the global stage.

About the Issue

Democracy

  • Democracy is a government form where leaders are elected by people in free and fair elections with universal adult franchise.
  • It operates on fundamental rules outlined in a constitution.
  • It’s a topic of contemporary political philosophy and social choice theories.
  • The essence of democracy lies in a government by discussion, but the discussions should not lead to division into hardline factions.
Features of Parliamentary System Democracy

Instances of diminishing democracy

  • Recurring reports of constitutional transgressions raise concerns about the quality of democratic engagement.
  • Opposition leaders’ parliamentary statements being expunged is questionable.
  • The disruption of the Prime Minister’s speech in the Rajya Sabha is concerning.
  • The disproportionate penalty of suspension imposed on an Opposition MP for recording the proceedings of the House is problematic.
  • An 18-year-old Dalit student’s suicide in a premier educational institution allegedly due to caste discrimination is tragic.
  • A 16-year-old Dalit student being beaten up by his principal for drinking water from the principal’s bottle is a serious issue.
  • A court in Uttar Pradesh sentencing a sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly (Opposition party) to a two-year jail term for blocking a road in a 15-year-old case is perverse.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision to suspend the bail of a disabled accused charged with sedition on a court holiday is concerning.
  • Leaders using obscene language towards each other in parliament has coarsened the fabric of democratic politics.

Importance of language in democracy

  • The language of democracy emphasizes accommodation and moderated thought, using rational persuasion to reach agreements.
  • Political adversaries should be respected, not mocked or crushed, and sensitivity should be acknowledged.
  • Democracy rejects extremes and searches for middle ground, which is best achieved through elegant communication.
  • The strength of democracy lies in the speeches and spoken words of leaders.
  • Public figures are judged by the quality of their communication.
  • Democracy is not about a strongman imposing their will over everything.

Way Forward

  • The current political language is hypocritical, driven by personal animosity, and violates the Constitution’s dignitarian promise, damaging broader social harmony.
  • To restore India’s democracy, we need a civil conversation founded on reason and faith in the power of decency.
  • Celebrating the Republic is incomplete if our politics remains narrow-minded and driven by power-hungry individuals whose concern for justice is questionable.
  • The Republic’s foundations rely on just exercise of power by ruling parties and fearless pushback from the Opposition against abuse of power.
  • Aspiring leaders must consolidate a political universe rooted in moral judgment, answering the call of good conscience to lead India in its full glory.

Mains PYQ

On what grounds a people’s representative can be disqualified under the Representation of People Act, 1951? Also mention the remedies available to such person against his disqualification.(UPSC 2019) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)

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