Politics of Ordinance
Promulgation of laws through the passage of Bills and Ordinances is a working element of India’s Constitution. Numerous laws have been enacted through the passage of Bills and even Ordinances for purported smooth governance of our nation over the last six decades. The provision of Ordinance has been kept for such Acts as are required to be passed in an emergency situation where time is too short for tabling and passage of Bill in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the prescribed manner. Vastly important and urgent issues on which Acts need to be formulated can be pushed through the instrument of Ordinance, which requires a formal ratification by the Parliament in the following six months. The other reason behind the provision of Ordinance is the fact that parliament is not continuously in session through the year.
The manner in which the UPA Government has been using the instrument of Ordinance in its second term raises important questions about its intentions and sincerity in regard to its avowed tasks. These last few years of this Government have been marked by a spate of scandals and scams. The Government has faced serious embarrassment at the outbreak of one huge scam after another. The 2G Scam, Adarsh Housing Scam, Coalgate Scam and many other episodes of economic malfeasance have severely stigmatised the Government, pulling down its prospects at the next hustings. Driven by the Machiavellian approach, the Government has been working overtime to push through Acts directed at popular appeasement for the purpose of consolidating vote banks. In a blatant display of most irresponsible handling of taxpayer’s money, it has pushed through the recent Food Security Bill under the Ordinance route, the Bill seeking to reach out foodgrains to deprived sections including the BPL (Below Poverty Line) population at an expenditure of Rs. 1, 31,000/- crores per year. This is nearly as criminal as bribing people with money to get their votes. The latest episode is the ordinance passed to forestall the disqualification of convicted lawmakers in compliance with the recent pronouncement of Supreme Court and which has attracted huge additional controversy over the scathing criticism of the government’s action by none other than Rahul Gandhi, the vice president of the leading party of the ruling UPA.
A few years ago, the Government displayed precipitate hurry to pass the Bill on the nuclear deal in the Parliament. In the Food Security Bill case, even the President quickly accorded his assent to the Ordinance passed by the Government. The President, during the last two tenures of the UPA, has, by and large, displayed actions of a political stooge of the Government. The swathes of currency notes waved in the Parliament by two BJP MPs alleging that money had been offered to them by Congress MPs to vote in favour of the nuclear deal are still fresh in public memory.
It is most unfortunate that established institutions of our democratic nation and the sacrosanct values and traditions that go with it are being violated for sheer political expediency. The UPA has set a series of bad precedents that future generations of our great country will remember with utter shame. It is time our lawmakers, especially of the ruling coalition woke up to the crying need of relinquishing opportunistic politics for adopting politics oriented towards popular welfare and true national progress.