Alina induction: Law v/s Morality

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
06 May 2012 19:33 IST

Who says inducting a minister in the cabinet is the prerogative of any other authority than the chief minister? It is the constitutional right of the chief minister and no authority, even the Election Commission of India, can take over this right and appoint anybody as the minister in the government. In that sense, chief minister Manohar Parrikar is absolutely right when he wants to induct Alina Saldanha as a minister in the cabinet.

But the Election Commission is also a constitutional authority, having responsibility to provide a level playing field during election to all the candidates in a free and fair manner. Precisely this is the reason the ECI is authorized the government to tell what to do and what not to, after election date is announced and the code of conduct comes into force. Precisely this is also the reason why the cabinet does not take any policy decision that could influence the voter and even surrenders its official vehicles.

There is no doubt that the ECI sometimes crosses the limit and stalls anything and everything. It was observed, discussed and even opposed during the recently held Assembly election of Goa, on 3 March. Besides the candidates who were in the government, the ECI even went to the extent of strangulating the Freedom of the Press and tried to restrain the media from performing its duties ethically. On the other hand, the ECI miserably failed to control the paid news and penalize the media which got involved in this.

The ECI sometimes pounced upon limitlessly while sometimes it simply failed to perform its basic duties. It is high time all the concerned - the Parliamentarians, the Judiciary and even the Voter discusses all these issues thoroughly and decides what the ECI can and what it cannot do.

But the ECI should definitely stall Alina Saldanha’s induction in the cabinet, in case she is going to be the candidate of the ruling BJP from Cortalim, in a bye-election scheduled on 2 June. There was a plan to induct her today, almost one month in advance and even before she is being announced as the official BJP candidate.

Legally, in such a situation, there is absolutely no hurdle to induct her, since she is not yet the candidate, the vacancy exists in the cabinet, the law allows any citizen to become a minister provided he/she is elected within six months and the chief minister is constitutionally authorized to  fill the vacancy.

But the ECI sometimes should also look at the sinister designs of those who are in power, who take advantage of their powers to influence the voter. Can anybody deny that Alina, if inducted as a minister and then fielded as the ruling party candidate, will not influence the voter? It’s a bye-election and not a general election, where you cannot guarantee that today’s minister may not continue to be in power tomorrow. The BJP government has come to stay and even the candidate, sworn in as the minister, would continue to rule. Cortalim is a bye-election.

If Cortalim is a typical case having no past conventions, then the ECI should set up a convention with Alina’s case. It could be conditional restraint, like Alina should not be inducted if she would be the candidate tomorrow. Or she should be inducted only after the whole process of deciding the candidate is over, after the date of withdrawal. If she is not the candidate, there cannot be any objection to her induction. The ECI should not only deal merely with legal provisions but also apprehensions of somebody misusing the law to influence the voter.

The real test is however of the BJP and chief minister Manohar Parrikar. The BJP has been given a mandate on the basis of ethics and morality. The Congress and their cronies have been rejected outrightly by majority voters, especially by the youth, because the Congress had thrown all the ethics and moralities to winds. They were blatantly misusing the power, the law, the loopholes in the law and fooling all the people all the time.

Will the BJP also follow the footsteps of the immoral Congress and misuse the constitutional powers for their petty political gains? Can’t Alina win election without ministerial position? Is the situation so fluid that the only way to influence the Cortalim voter is to have a minister as the candidate? If it can’t, then it is proved even before election that the BJP is on a slippery ground in Cortalim. If such is the case, then Parrikar should definitely go ahead, fully use his constitutional power and induct Alina in the cabinet. Let the law prevail; not ethics, propriety or morals.

All the best!

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

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Previous Comments

Nice editorial....The money and muscle power should not have any place in winning elections in a good democratic system...Only when the system is allowed to degenerate to make the money and muscle power as the criterion for winnability---rest assured--it would breed all corruption and nepotism as was seen in last few years....For the ideal system it is the honesty, values, personal integrity and ideologies which should collect votes for the candidate....Will we ever see such a system revived in our country?

- vishwas prabhudesai, loliem | 12 th May 2012 10:19

 

Very Good editorial. People who quote the Constitution have themselves misused it. It's like devil quoting the scriptures. Mr.

Parrikar just go ahead. We'll see when the next elections come. Good luck to Alina !

- A. Pinto, Olaulim | 07 th May 2012 20:51

 

This Govt. started on a positive note with a lot of goodwill of people. They should be careful about peoples mandate and should not misuse it. if you disrespect peoples mandate you shall suffer same consequences as congress. We the people will find other alternative. Be carefull.

Regards!

- Peter , Margao | 07 th May 2012 19:34

 

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