Federalism doesn't permit secessionism

Telangana High Court
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Telangana High Court

Highlights

The recent political events do not auger well for the body politic of the country

The recent political events do not auger well for the body politic of the country. The picture is rather disturbing if not horrifying. The open defiance of the lawfully elected Parliament and its members by the ruling parties in several States cannot be taken as mere minor aberrations in the working of our democracy since they have been embedded deeply into anti-national conspiracies which have the overt and covert support from some of the foreign State players as well as non - State players.

One can understand the restlessness of the opposition parties who bite dust in the last elections; but it doesn't mean that their opposition to the lawfully elected government can be allowed to transcend into the domain of the Parliament. The Constitution of India puts Parliament at the top most pedestal. Since it is a meeting place for the members elected from all over the country by millions of people and these members carry with them the hopes, wishes, aspirations and dreams of the voters which are supposed to be reflected in the behaviour of these members in Parliament. Its decisions represent the dreams of the teeming population of the country. Therefore, the laws enacted by Parliament are final and abiding to all the people of the country. There cannot be any opposition to them except by way of the judicial review which may be taken up by the higher court like the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India.

True, a State legislature has exclusive powers over subjects enumerated in the State list which is a part of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and concurrent powers over the subjects enumerated in List III, but it does not mean that a State legislature can be allowed to override or nullify the acts passed by Parliament. The federalism is part of the basic structure of our Constitution and it cannot be altered or destroyed even through Constitutional amendments under the constituent powers by Parliament, leave alone the State legislatures. It must be noted that according to Articles 1 to 4 of the Constitution of India, no State can secede from the Union, whereas in the USA, the States cannot unilaterally secede from the Union.

Seen in this context, passing of the resolutions/bills opposing duly passed laws by Parliament by some of the opposition ruled States cannot be tolerated. Such a practice, to say the least runs counter to the basic spirit of federalism enshrined in the Constitution. It is one thing to use legislative mechanism to strengthen the spirit of federalism by enacting laws and passing resolutions if necessary by the State legislatures; while it is another thing to adopt resolutions or enact laws contradicting the provisions of the laws duly passed by Parliament. It not only insults or belittles the authority of Parliament but also that of the members sitting in Parliament with the electoral mandate of the people including the states ruled by the opposition parties. In other words, such acts of the State Assemblies dominated by the members of the parties who are in minority in Parliament are nothing but anti-people.

The examples of such defiant actions by the opposition ruled states are many. In the recent times alone the State legislature of Telangana passed a resolution declaring its intent to not comply with the provisions of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) duly enacted by Parliament, which also includes the elected Members from the State of Telangana. The Assembly of Punjab has recently enacted its own law ostensibly for the welfare of farmers. However, the motive behind passing of the law which arguably goes against the spirit of the recent laws passed by Parliament is well known. Other States in the row are: West Bengal, Rajasthan, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh etc., all ruled by the parties or combines opposed to the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre. In fact, this is nothing but an affront to the lawfully elected Parliament and parliamentarians of the country and such a practice has to be condemned by one and all. Because, if this tendency is not contained, the demon of secessionism is sure to pounce upon the body politic of the country. And before it is too late, the Central government should dismiss such anti-national State governments at the right earnest since this is the only way left open to enforce the rule of law.

Back to jail

The temporary freedom granted to 2,318 under-trials of Tihar Jail in Delhi has now ended with the order passed by the Delhi High Court directing them to surrender to the jail authorities in a phased manner between November 2 and 13. This follows the order passed by the same court on March25 granting them bail and extended from time to time in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier, the District Courts had granted interim bails to these 2,318 under-trials involved in heinous crimes which were extended from time to time in pursuance to the March 25 order. Besides, a total of 2,907 undertrials involved in minor crimes were also granted bail.

Rejecting the argument of the standing counsel of NCT of Delhi that Covid-19 pandemic is still prevailing and therefore, the earlier orders passed by the court should not be modified, the division bench comprising the Chief Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh pointed out that since there is no spread of Covid-19 in the jails and out of about 16,000 prisoners in Tihar Jail only 3 are infected and they have been segregated and are admitted in hospital, the court considers it proper to modify its earlier order dated March 25.

Insurance contract: Utmost good faith

In branch manager, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company Ltd. Vs. Dalbir Kaur (C.A No. 3397 of 2020), a three judge bench comprising Justices D.Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee has reiterated that a contract of insurance being a contract of utmost good faith , the proposal is bound to disclose in his proposal form full details of the pre-existing ailments and treatment taken therefore. Non-disclosure of such particulars would entitle the insurance company to repudiate the contract and reject any claim by such an insured person.

Covid relief leaves some high and dry

The disbursement of the balance amount of rupees 10 crore out of the total relief of Rs.25 crore announced by the State government has left some lawyers high and dry. The reason for the unhappiness of some advocates who have been left out from the government grant is that they had not applied for the share in the first tranche of rupees 15 crore granted earlier because of one reason or the other. The plight of some of the left out advocate clerks is also similar. It remains to be seen whether the government would pump in some more funds to provide succour to this left out legal fraternity.

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