UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (30-09-2022)

UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing

Questions

  1. Define pre-legislative consultation. Discuss the provisions and significance of recently proposed Legislation and Expenditure Accountability Bill 2022. (10 marks)
  2. Recently, the Supreme Court has put on hold the controversial and draconian sedition law. Enumerate the reasons as to why this law shouldn’t be in a present day democracy.           (15 marks)

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Model Solutions

1. Define pre-legislative consultation. Discuss the provisions and significance of recently proposed Legislation and Expenditure Accountability Bill 2022. (10 marks)

Model Structure
Introduction

  • Pre-Legislative consultation is a process of keeping draft bills in public domain for specific time to elicit opinion and bring in participatory democracy with transparency. This was done through a Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy (PLCP) in 2014 where legislative proposals were publicized for at least 30 days before submitting to the Cabinet.

Main body

  • There are measures for parliamentary scrutiny, like parliamentary committees, but this is by-passed because it is optional. In the previous Lok Sabha, only 1/4th of the bills were referred to Committees.
  • Recently, a Legislation and Expenditure Accountability Bill 2022 has been proposed to further strengthen the pre-legislative consultation process. It has provisions and advantages like –
    • There is provision of pre-legislative checks with fool proof mechanisms.
    • It is proposed to be legally binding. This will ensure accountability of the executive to the legislature, especially in the context of anti-defection law.
    • It has detailed provisions on legislation impact analysis (LIA) and a scheme impact analysis which will provide a holistic perspective.
    • LIA report will contain potential drawbacks and benefits to society along with objectives of the intervention. This will increase public participation and acceptability.
    • Laws and schemes must have sunset clauses which will allow the legislature to reformulate laws ensuring they are in line with changing times.
    • A law or scheme failing its PIA test thrice consecutively, it would be automatically repealed. This will reduce litigation and save time for the judiciary.

Conclusion

  • The Government needs to strengthen the Pre-Legislative Consultation Framework in order to improve transparency and accountability of the legislative process. This is needed to enhance the constitutional culture in India.

  1. Recently, the Supreme Court has put on hold the controversial and draconian sedition law. Enumerate the reasons as to why this law shouldn’t be in a present day democracy. (15 marks)

Model Structure
Introduction

  • Section 124A of IPC which has provisions on sedition has been continuously under questions since the time it was framed. Recently the Supreme Court put the law on hold and asked the centre to review and reconsider the law.

Main Body

  • It has vague provisions like punishment with a three year minimum jail term to life imprisonment if anyone brings into hatred or excites disaffection towards the government. A vaguely defined draconian law doesn’t merit place in a democracy because-
    • NCRB’s statistics of the last decade show 168 cases of sedition only in Bihar which points to its frequent use.
    • The Supreme Court itself in Kedar Nath Singh vs Union of India (1962) said that a person cannot be prosecuted unless the acts or words incite violence or public disorder.
    • Despite this, there has been indiscriminate use by law enforcement agencies.
    • Huge pendency of cases and vacancy at various levels mean acquittal is an approximately 6 year long struggle.
    • The law is anti-democratic as it prohibits freedom of expression and has vague terms like “waging war against the state”.
    • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 highlights the right to freedom of expression. Thus the law is against this provision.

Conclusion

  • The sedition law has been strongly opposed since independence but due to lack of consensus, it has stayed as a part of IPC. Due to its wide misuse as a gagging law to stop government criticism, it is time to repeal it.

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