Q.1) Structural issues regarding the manner in which the Speaker is appointed and his tenure in office makes the office of speaker paradoxical in nature. Comment. Also mention the major challenges faced by speaker in changing political scenario.
The Speaker’s powers and functions can be carved into three broad categories:
- Speaker facilitates the business of the House. Speaker decides the permissibility of different motions such as adjournment motions and motions for short duration discussions
- In order to maintain decorum in the House, the Speaker takes on the role of a disciplinarian.
- The Speaker also performs a quasi-judicial role. In matters of defection, the Speaker decides on the petition alleging defection.
Challenges faced by Speaker:
- Claims of prejudice: This is because of structural issues regarding the manner in which the Speaker is appointed and his tenure in office.
- Managing a large number of political parties and coalition governments: With the increase in the multitude of parties, the time available to each party to represent its interests during discussions is reduced. This aggravates the constraints faced by the Speaker in prioritising between matters and often face the allegation of partisan.
- Anti-defection law: In recent times, there are number of instances where the role of speaker has been criticised for decision on membership of MLAs under the anti-defection law and their ruling have been challenged in courts.
- On use of Discretionary power: There are various instances where the Rules vest the Speakers with unguided powers such as in case of declaration of bill as money bill. This discretionary power come under criticism when Aadhar bill was introduced in Lok Sabha as Money Bill.
- Increase in disruptions: Frequent disruptions reduced the time required for important discussions and compel speaker to allocate less time for discussion. This often questions the impartiality of speaker as he allegedly provides more time to ruling party.
Q..2) MPLADS scheme empowers MPs to effect changes in the society but it has many loopholes. Discuss.
MPLADS provides each MP with a grant of 5 crore rupee per year.This fund was supposed to be used in creation of community assets and basic infrastructure in their constituency in case of elected MPs or in any part of State in case of nominated MPs.
- As the funds is non-lapsable, they lie unspent in most cases.
- Even if MPs use the funds,it has been always noted for allegation of corruption or misusing for private projects
- 2nd ARC mentioned the issue of MPLADs violating principle of separation of power.
- CAG reports have pointed out that MPLADS promotes corruption as an unaccountable Bureaucrat-politician-contractor nexus is at centre of scheme
Q.3) The Sabarimala judgment and its aftermath have brought the issue of state intervention in religion. Comment. Also, give your opinion about state intervention in religious affairs.
Religion refers to that aspect of human life where we relate to the transcendent, through personal belief or collective practice. This transcendent entity can be seen either as existing within human persons or outside them, in the highest possible realm.
When should state intervene:
- if collective rituals involve human sacrifice, then states should intervene
- If the rules of the institutionalised religion lay down spurious rules that split followers into the normal and the deviant
- to prevent discrimination, exclusion, marginalisation, humiliation, oppression, or persecution by elite-controlled religious institutions within the religion
- Instances like Caste domination or gender violence if ingrained into a religion
No need for intervention:
- no need for a state to have any law or public policy pertaining to matters of faith untainted by control, hierarchy or exclusion
- A state must not interfere in what faith we have and how it is practised
- Faith in god, gods and goddesses or in god-independent human qualities such as reason must remain free from interference
A just, egalitarian, and freedom-sensitive state cannot abandon its obligation to remove the residue of intra- or inter-religious domination from its society.
Q.4) What is criminalisation of politics? What measures have been taken by the government to prevent criminalisation of politics?
Criminalization of Politics means that the criminals entering the politics and contesting elections and even getting elected to the Parliament and state legislature. It takes place primarily because of the nexus between the criminals and some of the politicians.
Steps so far:
- In the Lily Thomas v. Union of India case, SC ruled that any Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) or Member of a Legislative Council (MLC) who is convicted of a crime and awarded a minimum of two year imprisonment, loses membership of the House with immediate effect.
- Association for Democratic Reforms & PUCL vs Union of India – SC upheld a High Court order mandating the Election Commission to obtain and disclose to the public background information relating to candidates running for office, including information on their assets, criminal records, and educational background.
- Supreme Court approved Centre’s scheme to set up 12 fast-track courts. These courts will exclusively prosecute and dispose of 1,581 criminal cases pending against Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies within a year.
- Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections had endorsed partial state funding of recognised political parties and their candidates in elections in 1998.