Are the pillars of Indian Democracy faltering?

Bishaldeep Kakati

An extensive deliberation or colloquy regarding the Indian system of administration or operation has more or less always revealed India as a country that always mirrors the ideals of democracy. And that is the reason the entire world has always designated the nation of India as the ‘world’s largest democratic country.’ The democratic attitude that India possesses is not only displayed by the right of the people to select their own leaders via the process of voting, but also by various examples that have been already set by the leaders from the yesteryears that have democratically ruled India. India still clearly remembers the vibrant anecdote relating to former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, where he opposed against the act of removing Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s photo from the Indian Parliament, even when the Congress government was not in power. And if we flip the pages of Indian history, we would find many examples as such.

The system of Indian democracy, no doubt, has always been powered by people’s participation, but the infrastructural foundation of Indian democracy basically resides on the four pillars- the legislative, the executive, the judiciary and the media. And the palpable fact is that it is the proper amalgamation of these four pillars of democracy that has always ensured that the functioning of the Indian society as well as the wishes of the people is always tactically and scientifically maintained. But with the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic and the scenes that arose thereafter along with a number of astonishing decisions taken and done respectively by those in power, the citizens of the country have been forced to raise  a lot of questions on the operation of Indian democracy. Hence, in order to understand whether or not India’s four pillars of democracy have faltered, we need to critically analyze the activities done by it. 

India’s first pillar of democracy, i.e. the legislative, has been especially criticized a lot amidst the corona virus pandemic. The pandemic literally has brought in front the real picture of India’s economy, digital infrastructure as well as the loopholes in the education sector. The pathetic degradation of India’s GDP, the worsening employment rate and the difficulties faced by the students while doing online classes have all portrayed the legislative’s failure to come up with invigorating Bills, Policies or ACTs that had the capacity to revamp the scenario. Further, the approach of the upper house of the Parliament i.e. the Rajya Sabha to pass 8 Bills in a period of 3 hours, recently, without entertaining much of debate from the opposition has directly raised many questions on the Indian Parliament’s approach in terms of maintaining healthy democracy. In fact, when the people at large have been demanding since a long time for separate ACTs to deal with rapes and mob lynching, the Parliament or the Legislative rather is more oriented towards coming out with ACTs like CAA, or Bills like Farms Bills 2020 that have done nothing but only created many protests and agitations in the entire nation. And if this scenario continues for a longer duration of time, it would soon destroy India’s tag of ‘largest democratic country in the world.’

The second pillar of Indian democracy is the executive, which is endowed with the duty of proper implementation of the ACTs that are formed by the Legislative. The individuals holding the post of the executive are often regarded as the highly educated ones, but their problem lies in the fact that they have to remain more often than not under the shadow of the ministers or the legislatives. As a result of which even after gathering the adequate amount of knowledge and also the authority to look after the proper functioning and management of the administration, the executives somewhere down the line are limited from exercising their complete power and freedom, and that is where it feels like another pillar of democracy losing its real essence. Moreover, the denizens are also quite aware of the fact that each of the pillars of Indian democracy is independent from one another, and that is the reason it bothers them to see the executives being partially independent.

Added to this, India’s third pillar of democracy i.e. the judiciary has also been criticized many a time for the role it has been playing either in terms of discharging its duties or some of the decisions given by it, that have baffled the people at large. The judiciary has been under the scanner of the people’s eyes especially for its delay in discharging the cases at a swift rate. According to a report by the Financial Express, currently there are over 4 crore pending cases in the lower court, higher court and the Supreme Court. As a result of which the judiciary has been often criticized by quoting, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” In fact, the ‘Nirbhaya’ case is the clear cut example of the long and tedious judiciary process that one has to undergo before justice is served to that individual. Not to forget the fact that the citizens have also doubted the role of the judiciary at times, since they have also felt the involvement of the first pillar of democracy in the judiciary as well, disturbing its independent character. Hence the burgess questions: Is the judiciary completely independent?

Last but not the least if we speak of the 4th pillar of democracy, i.e. the media, it too has degraded to quite a great extent that has ultimately shaken the very foundation of the Indian democracy. Most of the media houses are either blind followers of those in power or they simply publish news that brings more TRP, compromising with the ethical aspects. Furthermore, the dwellers are also conscious about the fact that some of the news channels are more oriented towards making news like, “Whether aliens drink milk?” or creating an over hype regarding Sushant Singh Rajput’s case, rather than covering news or discussion regarding the Hathras rape case or some significant issues. And India’s ranking (142nd) on World Press Freedom Index 2020, directly throws a light to the degrading scenario of Indian media, which is indeed a threat to the Indian democracy.

Therefore, the above deliberation clearly shows the loopholes in each of the pillars of  Indian democracy and it won’t be wrong to conclude that most of the problems that are bothering India currently, are because of the improper functioning of these four pillars of democracy.

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Oct 10, 2020

Bishaldeep kakati Bishaldeep kakati 

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