Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 29 June 2022
- The Essence of Time
- Bring the Shine Back on Government Jobs
The Essence of Time
SC issued an order granting time until July 12 to dissident Shiv Sena legislators in the Maharashtra Assembly to reply to the Deputy Speaker’s notice under the antidefection law as against 2 days period granted by the Deputy Speaker. This has brought to the fore the significant question of whether the Court should have done this in the face of specific bar on judicial intervention in disqualification proceedings at any stage prior to final adjudication under the Tenth Schedule.
GS II: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these, Judiciary
Dimensions of the Article
- Why SC Exercised Judicial Review Power
- Scope of Judicial Review wrt Anti Defection Law.
Why SC Issued Exercised Judicial Review Power
- Time is of the essence when it comes to executing political maneuvers to reduce government to a minority. Dissident legislators need time to gather enough numbers to vote out the regime.
- Ruling parties need to close the window of opportunity soon, often using the threat of disqualification for defection.
- It is in this backdrop that judicial intervention in matters relating to disqualifying lawmakers for defection takes place — either buying the dissidents time or allowing disqualification proceedings to go on unhindered.
- Hence the Supreme Court has effectively made it possible for them to actualize their objective without the threat of disqualification for now.
- But brings the concern of judicial restraint as judicial intervention should strengthen anti-defection law, not undermine it.
Scope of Judicial Review wrt Anti Defection Law
- In Kilhoto Hollohan Case of 1992, a Constitution Bench, while upholding the validity of the antidefection law, held that the Speaker’s decision was subject to judicial review, albeit on limited grounds.
- It also made it clear that this should take place after a final decision, and there can be no interim order, except if there is an interim disqualification or suspension.
- The Deputy Speaker’s grant of just two days for the MLAs to reply may have occasioned the intervention; but it is doubtful whether the Court should concern itself with the question now, when it can be decided after their possible disqualification.
- There are Court judgments that say compliance with natural justice is not based on the number of days given, but on whether sufficient opportunity was given before a decision.
- Based on a conclusion in Nabam Rebia (2016) that a Presiding Officer should not adjudicate any defection complaint while a motion for his own removal is pending, the dissidents sent a motion to get the Deputy Speaker removed.
- After he rejected it, the rejection has also been questioned in court, thus raising a jurisdiction question on the adjudicatory power of the Deputy Speaker, who, of necessity, has to decide disqualification questions in the absence of a Speaker.
Motions to remove a Presiding Officer should not become a ploy to circumvent disqualification proceedings. If courts countenance maneuvers to preempt a decision on whether legislators camping in another State and questioning the Chief Minister’s majority have incurred disqualification by “voluntarily giving up membership” of their party, they undermine the anti defection law and render nugatory rulings by Constitution Benches. When defection is seen as a serious menace by the Constitution, courts should not act in furtherance of it. The duty to protect those wrongly disqualified is important, but so is calling to account defectors whose motives are suspect.
Source – The Hindu
Bring The Shine Back on Government Jobs
Several unemployed people in India resort to protests-thousands burnt railway coaches in January 2022 over alleged flaws in the railways recruitment process and more recently, India saw protests over the Agnipath scheme. In 2019, an Indian citizen died of suicide every hour due to joblessness, poverty or bankruptcy (NCRB data).
GS III: Growth, Development and Employment, Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.
Dimensions of the Articles
- A culture of hire and fire
- Job Opportunities
- Way Forward
A culture of hire and fire
For those employed in government, the situation is not much better. In May 2022, Haryana terminated the services of over 2,000 contractual health workers who had been hired during the pandemic. Similar trend is observed in other states as well.
- The problem is twofold. First, vacancies in the government are not being filled at a sufficient pace. There were over 60 lakh vacancies in the government across all levels in July 2021. The government has sought to push for recruitment of 10 lakh people in a mission mode over 1.5 years. However, this would fall short of the size of the problem. We need greater ambition on this front.
- Second, where vacancies are being filled, they are notably skewed towards contractual jobs which constitute 59% in 2018.
- In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that a contractual employee for a government department was not a government servant. If most government employees have contractual terms, will a public ethos continue to exist?
- Instead of expanding contractual employment, we should seek to bolster public services. For the past few decades, we have been underinvesting in public goods — as witnessed in healthcare sector amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
- Expanding public service provisioning will lead to the creation of good quality jobs, along with skilled labour, offering us social stability.
- A push for universal basic services programme with public healthcare would also help supplement insurance based models like Ayushman Bharat. Such spending will inturn have strong multiplier effects, while generally improving the productivity and quality of life in India’s cities and villages.
There is significant potential for job creation in diverse arenas.
- Consider renewable power generation. In rooftop solar power generation, manufacturing of solar panel modules and enduse servicing is labour intensive.
- Meanwhile, on the waste management front, there is significant scope for expanding wastewater treatment capacity, with the building and management of treatment plants leading to generation of jobs.
- A push for adopting electric vehicles and encouraging green mobility would require significant manpower, leading to the generation of ‘green jobs’. In addition, we must continue to encourage urban farming, with significant job potential in permaculture, gardening and nursery management.
- Our public services require more doctors, teachers, engineers, and fewer data entry clerks.
Reforms advocated by the Administrative Reforms Commission should be our initial step. This is the time to build capacity for an efficient civil service that can meet today’s challenges – providing a corruption free welfare system, running a modern economy and providing increasingly better public goods. Improved public service delivery, through better compensation, should be our ethos. ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ used to be a driving motto for the government of the day. Instead, treating them as dispensable seems to be the norm.
Source – The Hindu