More than 20 rights groups and individuals have collectively issued a “chargesheet” against the Modi government, accusing it of “subverting and undermining parliamentary democracy.” In a joint “chargesheet” issued on Friday, they raised concerns about the declining role of Parliament, reduced transparency, and alleged attempts to silence dissent.
Pointing to the low number of Lok Sabha sittings, no appointment of a Lok Sabha deputy speaker, and hurried passage of bills in the parliament, the rights groups alleged “systematic attack on our parliamentary democracy” by the central government.
In a press release issued on Friday, appended by All India Lawyers Association for Justice, Association for Protection of Civil Rights, Delhi Science Forum, and several other organizations, it was mentioned that the government was “curbing space for debate and discussion, avoiding scrutiny, and evading accountability.”
One major concern highlighted is the significant decrease in Lok Sabha sittings during the current and previous term, the lowest since independence. It alleged that this indicated “intent to curb space for debate and discussion on the country’s policies.”
The rights groups also underlined that the Lok Sabha deputy speaker, who is conventionally the opposition’s nominee, had not been elected in the 17th Lok Sabha session, reportedly in violation of Article 93 of the constitution.
“From 71 percent of all bills being referred to standing committees between 2009 and 2014, since 2019, only 16 percent of bills have been referred to standing committees… only 74 out of 301, ie, 24.5 percent of bills introduced in the parliament were circulated for consultation between 2014 and 2021,” said the statement, citing the chargesheet.
The chargesheet also accused the government of “deliberately” bypassing parliamentary scrutiny by incorporating “significant legislative changes in the form of ordinances” or tabling bills at the last minute. “Between 2016 and 2023, on average, 79 percent of the budget has been passed without discussion.”