President Pranab Mukherjee has recently given assent to Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 and Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Ordinance, 2016. These are the latest ordinances of the Modi government which immediately after taking charge in May 2014 began its innings with recommendations for two ordinances at the very first Cabinet meeting.
Article 123 in the Constitution of India 1949 lays down Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament as under:
President has promulgated 679 Ordinances after the Constitution came into force in 1950 till December 2014. During the five-year period of the UPA-II headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 25 ordinances were promulgated and Modi government has almost touched the same number during the period from May 2014 to December 2016. These decisions imply that the President, acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers, may promulgate ordinances at any time for any reason. More importantly, such ordinances can produce permanent changes in the law even if they fail. Article 123, as a result, has morphed into a second Parliament, and more importantly, renders India’s normal Parliament nearly redundant. Compared to the cumbersome method of making laws through Parliament, ordinances are easier and quicker; they require neither debates nor votes. Article 123 is a handy legislative tool for the President, and has been abused more than it has been properly used.
President Pranab Mukherjee while responding to questions during an address to Central Varsities and Research Institutions in New Delhi on January 2016 had remarked that, the “Ordinance route cannot be taken, should not be taken for normal legislation”.
Supreme Court and High Courts and Constitutional functionaries have routinely deprecated the tendency of governments to take the ordinance route for mere political expediency. The temptation to use the power vested in the President and the Governors under Articles 123 and 213 of the Constitution is generally a result of one of the following three reasons:
There is no denying the contention that ordinances should be issued only to meet certain exigencies and under compelling circumstances, it is equally important to understand that disruptions in parliamentary play a significant role. A dysfunctional House sometimes constitutes a compelling circumstance in itself. Generally, it is the combination of ‘Opposition’ obstructionism and ‘Government’ adamancy that derails the legislation and leads to ordinances. It is as such expected of the elected members and political parties to observe constitutional propriety and have healthy debates and votes in the national interest and help follow the legislative route to enact laws.
Created at: Oct 28, 2018
Created at: Oct 26, 2018
Created at: Oct 25, 2018
Created at: Oct 20, 2018
Created at: Oct 6, 2018
Created at: Oct 5, 2018
Created at: Oct 3, 2018