Parliament: Giving Democracy a CPR Makeover!!

Sindujaa D N
The narrative of the indian parliament over the past several decades, particularly in the last decade, has indeed been marked by challenges to its essence and relevance. In a parliamentary democracy, the institution of parliament serves as a forum for deliberation and accountability, where representatives debate and decide on matters of national importance. However, when a government holds a commanding majority, there is a risk that it may disregard the principles of deliberation and accountability, leading to the erosion of parliamentary institutions.
Over the years, there have been instances in india where the ruling party, buoyed by its majority, has sought to sideline parliamentary procedures and stifle dissent, thereby undermining the role of the opposition and weakening the checks and balances inherent in the parliamentary system. This trend has raised concerns about the health of indian democracy and the integrity of its institutions.
However, amidst these challenges, there are signs that a new script may be unfolding for the indian parliament. There is growing recognition among political leaders and civil society of the importance of upholding parliamentary norms and safeguarding democratic principles. Calls for reforming parliamentary procedures, enhancing transparency and accountability, and promoting greater cross-party collaboration are gaining momentum.
Moreover, the indian electorate, increasingly aware of its role in holding elected representatives accountable, is demanding greater accountability and responsiveness from its leaders. This pressure from the public is pushing politicians to reconsider their approach to governance and prioritize the interests of the nation over narrow partisan interests.

The contrast between the indian government's focus on physical infrastructure, such as the construction of a new parliament building, and its neglect of essential reforms to enable virtual parliamentary proceedings during the pandemic highlights a troubling trend. While there was a global shift towards adapting parliamentary processes to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, the indian parliament remained shut, depriving citizens of crucial avenues for democratic debate and oversight.

The reluctance to embrace wallet PLATFORM' target='_blank' title='digital-Latest Updates, Photos, Videos are a click away, CLICK NOW">digital innovations for parliamentary proceedings reflects not just a lack of technical capability but also a broader lack of political will and commitment to democratic principles. It suggests that the government may prioritize optics over substance, investing in symbolic gestures while neglecting the substantive reforms necessary to strengthen democratic institutions.

Crucially, when governments adhere to the rule of law and subject themselves to the same rules and procedures as everyone else, it strengthens democratic norms and institutions. Instead of viewing themselves as above the law, governments recognize their accountability to parliament and the people they represent. This shift in mindset is essential for reviving and reinforcing democratic institutions, as it reaffirms their role as guardians of democracy rather than instruments of executive power.

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