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Withering democracy

Withering democracy

Punjab Assembly's resolution against the CAA and its decision to challenge the same before the Supreme Court in a similar fashion as Kerala only adds substance to Kerala's suit. The Supreme Court will likely club the suit should Punjab, as per its Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, approaches the Supreme Court over CAA. Amarinder Singh asserted how the Census process would be conducted in the old manner, rejecting the new factors added by the government for the purpose of National Population Register (NPR). Punjab exhibiting a similar feeling as Kerala may not make a dent on Centre's ambition so long as Supreme Court intervenes. But with their separate resolutions, the two states in the Union of India have truly highlighted India's quasi-federal structure. With an argument that constitutionally favours them, the two states' resolve to have the CAA declared unconstitutional is unwavering. While the states are doing their bit, it is regrettable that a country like India — largest democracy — failed to produce any large-scale discussions on the controversial legislation and ongoing protests yet. With the Central government forwarding an indifferent face to student-led protests and rather trying to muster support for the same, lack of discussion has become an anathema for the BJP-led NDA government. It is impossible to ignore the sporadic protests that have kept the dissent simmering for a month now. Yet, apart from patchy mentions in speeches at rallies, none of the Union Ministers has actually stepped forward to allay fears of students. A reclusive attitude from the government does not help as students hold democracy in high regard. Their academic comprehension of the polity does not understand an ignorant government. With states lining up to oppose CAA by placing it in front of the ambit of law, the Supreme Court is set for a remarkable decision. But while Supreme Court performs its duty as the custodian of law and sole interpreter of Constitution, the government answering questions forming the bulk of dissent would have been a much better way of catering to the issue. Discussions and dialogues are essences of democracy and its people. For those who understand it this way that a democratic government draws its power from the will of people, and dissent is constructive in a democracy, the Centre's undiscussable argument of historic wrong being remedied does not clear their wide apprehensions and nor does it explain the latter's ignorance. Internet shutdowns and imposition of section 144 in a bid to suppress dissent only amounts to government's arbitrariness. More than the legislation, the Centre's intolerance towards dissent is what depreciates the democratic value of the country.

(Image from thestatemans.com)

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