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Parliamentary oversight over executive action in recent times…

Parliamentary oversight over executive action in recent times has considerably eroded. Discuss the reasons for this trend and its implication on Indian polity. Also? Suggest measures to tackle this challenge.

  • Parliamentary oversight refers to function of Parliament to hold the executive accountable for its policies, schemes, their implementation and efficiency and these actions are empowered by the Constitution under Ar. 75.
  • Tools for Parliamentary oversight –
    • Debates and Motions
    • Parliamentary Committees
    • Question Hour
    • Zero Hour
  • However, Recently the functioning and efficiency of these Parliamentary oversight tools have eroded because of the following reasons
    • Neglect of Parliamentary committees – Sudden drop number of bills referred to committees in recent times. Example – In 15th Lok Sabha, 71 % of the bills were referred where as in 16 Lok Sabha only 25 % of the bills are referred.
    • Single party rule – This affects the questions raised or motions passed against the executive function. 3
    • Cancellation of zero hour in motion session due to Covid.
    • Ineffective Opposition – Clearly hampers the quality of debates on important public issues
    • Continued disruption in both hours, resulting into decreased time allocation for question hour.
  • These trends have a deep impact on Indian polity, some of them being
    • Increased unitary functioning of government, where Parliament does not effectively check the executive.
    • Shift of power in favour of executive thus disturbing balance of power and the system of checks and balances.
    • Interest of various groups are not considered while law making, this results into continued processed protest examples CAA, Farm Bills, J&K Reorganisation Act etc. drew large protests.
    • Principle of Responsible Government, as envisaged by Constitution makers also gets hampered.
  • In order to restore the morality and authenticity of Constitution, various measures need to be taken such as
    • The role of opposition should be increased. It could be done by allowing opposition to set agenda of the day on certain days as was recommended by All India Whips Conference.
    • Restoring the Questions hour.
    • All committee reports must be discussed in Parliament as recommended by National commission to review the working of the constitution (NCRWC).
    • Greater transparency in functioning of committees and to increase the oversight on regulators like TRAI, SEBI etc. whom executive power is often devolved as Second ARC has also recommended.
  • These changes can only ensure that Parliament works for democratic social and political well-being of all.