Setting The Standard
Brenda Marjorie Hale, the Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE, PC and a British Judge serving as President of the Supreme Court of the UK since 2017, and her colleagues recently set a new standard, as far as the Parliamentary Democracy is concerned…
The British Parliament is popularly known as the Mother of all Parliaments… not only because of its age, but also because of its historical evolution! Time and again, the British Parliament has proved that it has the strength to handle the problems and prospects, weaknesses and capabilities, and other miscellaneous obstacles of Democracy…
In August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had thrown a strong challenge to the British Democracy, as he asked Queen Elizabeth to prorogue the Parliament for few days so that he could conclude the Brexit process by the end of October without discussing the issue in the House of Commons. However, eleven judges of the British Supreme Court delivered a unanimous verdict: “The PM’s decision is illegal!” Going through the stunning decision that PM Johnson acted unlawfully when he suspended the Parliament in the lead-up to the October 31 Brexit deadline, the 74-year-old Hale ruled the PM’s actions “void and of no effect“. Although the British Premier expressed a different opinion about the verdict, he had to accept it as he had no other option…
The Supreme Court’s verdict is valuable not only for Britain, but also for other Parliamentary Democracies in the world. There are two main essences of this verdict: the Government or Legislature should be accountable to the Parliament, and the Judiciary will have the right to decide whether the Government violates this basic rule. Of course, the balance of a Democratic System lies in these two rules. It is clearly mentioned in the US Constitution how the three pillars of democracy (Legislature, Executive and Judiciary) will maintain the checks and balances. Although this particular concept is not clearly described in Westminster Model, the idea is still there!
The Indian Parliament
India, too, follows the Westminster Model of Democracy. Therefore, the verdict of the British Supreme Court is applicable to the Indian system. In the history of Indian Politics, one can find that the Government has a tendency to bypass the Parliament while implementing major decisions. When former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared National Emergency in 1975-77, she suspended the Parliament in order to avoid discussions with the Opposition parties. This tendency still remains there in the South Asian country. Of course, the Government has Prerogative Power, but that should be used only to ensure Good Governance.
Unfortunately, the Government of India, like the Boris Johnson Government, often used this power to bypass Parliamentary debates. That’s why it becomes important for the Judiciary to play its role, properly. All we can hope that the Indian Judiciary will learn a lesson from the verdict delivered by the British Supreme Court and safeguard the world’s largest Democracy…
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