Sidharth Mishra

With Educated Youth Pressing NOTA Buttons In Large Numbers, Political Parties Should Get Worried

Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) results were out last week. With dust having settled, the parties should be concerned at the voting pattern, which is not moving beyond caste and regional commitments and the rapid increase in the apolitical voters pressing the NOTA (none of the above) button.

The Gujjar students remained with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Jats with the Congress-backed National Students Union of India (NSUI). Where the NSUI lost out was the Jat votes cut by Indian National Students Organisation (INSO), the enterprise of the Chautala family of Haryana.

Prof. Rajvir Sharma12

Judiciary: Time To Revisit Its Role

India decided after being free from the colonial rule to opt for a constitutional mechanism based on west minster model; constituted a constituent Assembly to work out a constitution that should help construct a new age India to be governed on the principles of rule of law, equity, justice, fraternity, human dignity and liberal democratic ethos. It sought to strike a balance between political and social democracy to serve the cause of social re-engineering. This is all summated in the preamble, the fundamental rights and the directive principles of state policy.

Further, the polity was designed as per the dictates of constitutionalism. Rule making, rule execution and rule adjudication were assigned to three separate organs of the government, that is, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary respectively. The functioning of the government was supposed to be broadly regulated by the canons of balance of power.

Sidharth Mishra 2

Caste Drives DUSU Elections

In about a week’s time the keenly contested elections to the Delhi University Students Union of (DUSU) would take place. The direct elections to the students’ body started in the 1970s, sometime before the Emergency and has largely witnessed keen contest between the Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI) and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh-sponsored Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

There have been times when some other political forces have entered the fray and have had some impact but then those have been more or less cases of aberration than any trend. This time around too, the students’ arm of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Chatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) has entered the fray after a gap, albeit in alliance with the All India Students Association (AISA), which is closely identified with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Professor Rajvir Sharma 130x160

Electoral Reforms: Between The Two Strands

Free and fair election is the sine qua non of a robust democracy. The term implies that elections should be held in an environment of freedom of choice before the electorate without any fear, pressure or influence of any sort. As the democracy progressed in India, it was noted that the elections were becoming susceptible to manipulation and the administrative machinery as well as the muscle and money available with the political parties shaped the political fate of the contestants at the polls.

I remember the days of the late 1960s to early 1980s when, before the introduction of the EVMs, the polling booths were auctioned for grabbing, loot or destruction by the political musclemen. Electoral violence choked the voice and freedom of many a voters especially of the Dalits and the economically suppressed. Furthermore, the district magistrates and the police were often accused of taking sides in the game plan of the powers that be.

Prof. Rajvir Sharma12

Safety Valve: Applicable To Democratic Dissent, Not Violent Subversion

The protests by the Opposition and the lawyer activists’ arguments in the court at the arrest of five Maoist activists by the police on the ground of being involved in activities aiming against the society and the country raises several questions including the question whether freedom of speech and expression can be used by any person including the self-proclaimed or real ‘eminent’ as a shield for their unlawful and anti-national actions. Do the writings or speeches not have the potential for tearing apart the democratic fabric of our country?

The second question is for the judiciary to examine whether right to freedom of speech and expression can be read and enforced in part and not in its totality. The judiciary should revisit the entire content and intent of Article 19 which places certain important limitations determining the ambit and the scope of the right to freedom.