CPM that is projected by the ?secular-liberal? brigade as a party with a strong moralising streak has proved by its actions that it is a fascist outfit that has no commitment to constitutional norms and political morality. It does give the impression that it is committed to constitutionalism, but it is only a veneer that is shred to pieces the moment any constitutional authority or institutions does or say anything that threatens Marxists? partisan interests. On the slightest hint of a hostile action, the CPM unleashes its unmatched propaganda machinery with full support from its moles in the media and the intelligentsia to launch a malicious campaign of vilification against institutions and authorities concerned, howsoever high they may be. Its attack on the Election Commission during the recently held Assembly elections in West Bengal is a case in point.
The party that perfected the art of ?scientific rigging? was nervous when the Election Commission made earnest efforts to hold fair and free elections. Its top leaders demonised the EC by accusing it of being anti-CPM and playing into the hands of its political rivals. They asserted that no fair election was possible if the Commission continued to make ?undue interference? in the poll processes. The Commission didn'trelent but the Marxists won hands down largely because of the absence of a credible alternative and the party'svice-like hold over all organs of the administration. The Commission did the party a favour by silencing critics who otherwise would have accused the CPM of rigging the polls. But the Marxist had no word of praise for the EC for conducting one of the fairest elections in decades.
The CPM is on the top of the mess created by the Office of Profit (OoP) controversy. In a brazen attempt to browbeat the ruling alliance and the EC, the comrades have told its MPs that are threatened with disqualification that they are not to worry about their seats in Parliament because the ruling alliance would have to bail them out if the Government were to survive. They don'twant to face the uncomfortable question raised by the President about the constitutional morality and legality of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Bill that the Government enacted in indecent haste to save 56 MPs?a large number of them belonging to the Left Front. Their stern warning to the EC to desist from acting against any of its MPs facing disqualification for holding OoP is yet another manifestation of the party'sfascist character. The constitutional position, as articulated by Abhishek Singhvi, a distinguished lawyer and official spokesman of the Congress party in a recent newspaper article, is as follows:
?Under Article 103, the EC would be obliged to apply the law as its stands amended on the date of the adjudication of the pending complaints. If on such date the law stands amended by an expansion of the list of exempted offices, the EC cannot go behind the law (which stands on the statute book and by which EC is equally bound). Hence, the amending law would prevent disqualification, provided it becomes law before EC adjudication (sic).?
Since the amending Bill is not a law as the President has not given his assent to it, the EC is bound, as argued by the legal luminary belonging to the ruling party, to adjudicate on the basis of the existing law under which these offices are not exempt. The Government has by hurriedly enacting the amending Bill conceded that certain legislators, including the Speaker, were violating the office of profit norms. If that is the case, why is the EC not proceeding against them with the same alacrity that it showed in the Jaya Bachchan case? The Congress and the Left Front'sproblem in matters of constitutional morality is much deeper than doing wrong things. They have lost any sense of distinction between the right and the wrong. They impute motives to the opposition and brand its demand for adjudication of cases pending before the EC as ?irresponsible?. Congress party'sofficial spokesman goes to the extent of accusing the opposition of encouraging the EC to indulge in ?competitive adjudication by embarking on a race against time (or, at least, a race against Parliament)? by disqualifying legislators even before the Parliament meets. By these standards, no court should decide any case pending before it till the affected person or persons are able to get the law amended by the legislature?
The Communists are so rattled by the prospects of their 18 MPs, including Comrade Somnath Chatterjee, may attract disqualification for holding offices of profit that they have lost all sense of proportion. They have publicly criticised the President A P J Abdul Kalam for returning the Bill to the Parliament for its reconsideration and accused him of acting at the behest of the Opposition.
Such utterances don'tbehove a party that claims to be committed to political morality and constitutional norms. The President?unlike his controversial predecessor, is non-partisan and enjoys immense credibility?was simply exercising his constitutional right?nay duty?to ask the Parliament to reconsider the Bill that the President thinks is flawed on several counts. Instead of trying to respond to his queries, the CPM is putting pressure on the Government to show to the President who is the boss by getting the Bill passed again by Parliament without any amendments and sending it back to Rashtrapati Bhavan. CPM Supremo Prakash Karat'sastounding statement that making laws was the prerogative of Parliament and State legislature, speaks volumes about his dictatorial streak and constitutional illiteracy. Doesn'the know that President is part and parcel of the Parliament and no law can become Act unless the President give assent to it?
One of the most pertinent questions raised by the President is about the retrospective clause in the controversial Bill. The Parliament can enact a law that is effective retrospectively provided it serves a public purpose and not the personal interests of lawmakers. For argument sake, if the Parliament were to enact a law seeking to drop charges against all or any MP to save them from criminal proceedings, should the President sign it? The answer is an emphatic NO. If the Parliament were to adopt such a law second time and present it as fait accompli, the President is bound to sign it. But there are other options available to the head of the State. He may make a reference to the Supreme Court for its opinion and in the event of an adverse opinion may withhold his assent, as the Constitution provides no time limit for the President to give his assent. There are precedents set by Giani Zail Singh and R Vekataraman who killed controversial and unpopular Bills by sitting over them. And a conscientious President can go to the extent of putting in his paper rather than give assent to an enactment that is flawed and serve no public purpose.