Editorial Summary 23/3

Free and Open

  • US Secretary of Defense Austin's visit to India
  • visited early on in President Biden's tenure- tells about priority India holds for US and US' focus on maritime cooperation in Indo-Pacific bilateral: improve defence relationship, AI, info sharing, logistics, space
  • On Afghanistan: so far, not paid much heed to India's concerns on talks with the Taliban On sanctions on countries procuring Russian military hardware: would be applied to India only after procurement of missile system raised issue of human rights in India avoided direct reference ot LAC dispute and China because India considers them bilateral issues

The Way Forward

  • military in Myanmar toppled democratic government, declared emergency, assuming they would be able to quickly consolidate power
  • But proved wrong by large-scale protests. Military responded to protests with brutal force.
  • large number of people crossed border to India, India has sealed border for now, but will get difficult if situation in Myanmar worsens
  • unlike last times, when military was able to dissuafe protests by force and fear, this time finding difficult
  • international pressure building, but the military has paid little attention to intl opinion historically
  • in best interest of the military to heed to public demand and restore democracy, because if not, will be left with a fragmented isolated Myanmar

Delhi’s administration as the tail wagging the dog

parliamentary democracy is a part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution

History of Delhi's governance model

  • initially, Type C state because one, if Delhi was made a State, it would occupy a predominant position wrt other states and two, keeping national cappital under Union govt jurisdiction for national interest
  • then made into a Union Territory, was to be governed by a President appointee, legislative assembly and council of Delhi stood abolished
  • Delhi Administration Act, 1966: limited representative govt in Delhi- metropolitan elected council
  • 1987: Balakrishnan Committee recommended remain UT but with a Legislative assembly and Council of Ministers, was implemented via GNCT Act 1991
  • holds till date, despite efforts for full or near statehood
  • for many years, Delhi govt and Union govt have been rules by different parties but none of them have found a peaceful co-existence arrangement (modus vivendi)

Supreme Court verdicts

  • SC verdict in 2018 says Legislative Council to act on topics in State list and Concurrent list, rest for the Lieutinant General, in consultation with Council of Ministers
  • SC verdict in 2019 brought a difference of opinion between two judges, awaits hearing before a larger bench

GNCT Bill, 2021

  • degrade elected government in Delhi to a mere vestigial organ and elevates the centrally appointed LG in essence, the elected government can do nothing, if the LG does not permit
  • “The expression ‘Government’ referred to in any law to be made by the Legislative Assembly shall mean the Lieutenant Governor."
  • bill likely to be passed in both houses- will result in unrepresentative administration in Delhi
  • bill likely to be challeneged in courts- SC has already cautioned 'interpretation cannot ignore the conscience of the Constitution'

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