Decline of institutions aggravated recently: Ansari

In a foreword, former vice-president Hamid Ansari wrote for former finance minister P Chidambaram's collection of articles Undaunted: Saving the Idea of India, he refers to budget "being passed with scrutiny and debate" by Parliament among other violation

In a veiled attack on the Narendra Modi government, former vice president Hamid Ansari has said that a decline in the country's institutions, the "instruments of governance" like Parliament, has "aggravated" in the "recent" years.

Ansari, who was also Rajya Sabha Chairman in his capacity as the vice president, did not name anybody for the decline that "was in progress for some time" and one that "has been aggravated in the recent years".

In a foreword, he wrote for former finance minister P Chidambaram's collection of articles Undaunted: Saving the Idea of India, Ansari refers to budget "being passed with scrutiny and debate" by Parliament among other violations.

According to him, every action that violates the principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity or condoning their violation is a "contravention" and the "same holds for the efficacy" of institutions.

"Are they being used or misused?...if important pieces of legislation are endorsed without reference to standing committees or select committees, then it is evident that Parliament as the designated legislative institution is not doing its duty and the government of the day is failing in its primary duty," he writes.

Though he did not name the Modi regime, the issue Ansari raised forms part of the criticism of Opposition parties who accuse the government of rushing through legislations. During the debate on Constitution Amendment Bill seeking quota for economically weaker sections recently, the Opposition had raised this point though they allowed its passage.

"The same holds for several other institutions. Some have imploded, others have faltered on their essential functions. Still, others have succumbed to back-door control. Together they raise doubts in the public mind and undermine the confidence essential in a normal, open, system," Ansari writes.

Referring to Chidambaram's assertion that there is a "clear and present danger" that the Constitution will be replaced by a document inspired by the ideology of Hindutva, he says that it undermines secularism and the principle of fraternity. "This ideological deviation, conscious and unabashedly public, undermines the core values of the Constitution, differentiates between citizens on grounds of faith, seeks to impose a single cultural denominator to homogenize a plural society, and undermines secularism and the principle of fraternity," Ansari writes.

On Kashmir, the former vice president is of the view that the "muscular, militaristic policy" of the government has caused "alienation particularly among youth".

"The late (AB) Vajpayee had suggested a solution within the ambit of humanity (insaniyat ke daere main). We seem to have opted instead for inhumanity, forgetting the old dictum —might does not make right," he adds. 

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