To make democracy work, leaders have to work with or within institutions. In this chapter, we will discuss about the roles of the three major institutions – legislature, executive and judiciary.
We will learn how a major policy decision is taken with the help of an example:
A Government Order:
- On August 13, 1990, the Government of India issued an Order numbered O.M.No.36012/31/90-Est (SCT) which was important and became a source of controversy for several years.
- It was mentioned in that order that 27% of the vacancies in civil posts and services under the Government of India are reserved for the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC).
- Till then, job reservation was only available for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The Decision Makers:
- This order was a result of a long chain of events.
- To determine the criteria to identify socially and educationally backward classes in India, the Second Backward Classes Commission headed by B.P.Mandal was appointed by the Government of India in 1979.
- This commission was famously known as “Mandal Commission“.
- The Commission submitted its report in 1980 and one of the recommendations was to reserve 27% of government jobs for the socially and educationally backward classes.
- The recommendations were discussed in the Parliament.
- In the Lok Sabha election of 1989, the Janata Dal promised that if it came to power then, the Mandal Commission recommendations will be implemented.
- The Janata Dal won the election and its leader V.P.Singh became the Prime Minister.
- On 6 August 1990, a formal decision to implement these recommendations was taken by the Union Cabinet.
- On the next day, V.P.Singh informed this decision through a statement in both Houses of Parliament.
- The decision of the Cabinet was sent to the Department of Personnel and Training.
- The senior officers drafted an order and it was signed by an officer on the behalf of the Union Government.
- Thus, the order was born on August 13, 1990.
- The people and associations who opposed this order, filed a case to declare the order invalid and stop its implementation.
- These cases were bunched together and came to be known as “Indira Sawhney and others VS Union of India” case.
- Eleven judges of Supreme Court heard arguments of both sides and finally the judgement was passed, in 1992, by majority that the order was valid.
- But the Supreme Court judges asked the government to modify the order so that the well-to-do persons among the backward classes will be excluded from this reservation.
Need For Political Institutions:
- Government has to undertake many responsibilities and to fulfil these responsibilities, special arrangements are made which are known as “Institutions“.
- A democracy works well when all institutions function according to the work assigned to them.
- Several institutions that we saw in the above mentioned example are:
- Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers are institutions that take major policy decisions.
- The Civil Servants are responsible for taking steps to implement the ministers’ decisions.
- Supreme Court is an institution where disputes are heard and resolved.
- Institutions involve rules and regulations which has to be followed by all.
- It also involves meetings and committees which can sometimes delay the decision making process.
- But to keep the spirit of democracy alive, institutions are important as they involve a wider set of people.