Constitution and Democracy! Are we really following the boundaries?
07 Dec 2019
Democracy, a system which is adapted to give the power in the public’s hand by selecting their representatives amongst themselves and forming a governing body soothing their calls and needs. Opportunely, India is worldwide known as the 'Biggest Democracy' of the world. But is it? While doubting the fact I have no questions on it being the 'Biggest ' but my thoughts are forcing me to ponder over it's functioning as a 'Democracy'. As every Democracy has its Constitution which gives its citizens at least the fundamental rights irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, race or gender. No matter what kind of democracy a country works on, be it presidential or parliamentary, the power is in the 'hands of the people'.
But the recent reports of 'World Press Freedom Index' ranks India at 140 amongst 180 countries, which says it all about the suppression of the voice and brings the shame to the country by maligning the image of the 'Biggest Democracy'.
Leaving the power in people's hands means a strong follow up of basic human rights and other constitutional boundaries, analyzed through the eye lens of the 'media'. Media is the voice of people and has the whole sole responsibility of analyzing the government's steps with the eagle's eye. Democracy may be very powerful in its terms and conditions but is not fully efficient in working without media, especially the free press. But this reality is a matter of threat for our country because the harsh reality hits hard targetting the authenticity of media roles and the appropriate implementation of fundamental rights in India. Though the Indian Constitution does not imply any term 'Freedom of Press' but it combines it with "Article 19(1)" i.e. Right to speech in the constitution, which enhances its importance as it protects the voice of every individual.
The vigorous working of media is the effort that keeps the space for a constitution and maintains the difference between 'Democracy' and 'Republic'. The World Press Freedom Index is not the only sign where we can notice this change. It is clearly visible the way people of J&K were house arrest, the way government is formed in Maharashtra or the way government has turned deaf ears towards the protests made by people over the closure of PMC Bank or Job losses. Moreover, there is a long-simmering crisis of credibility in the Indian news media, which was clearly seen in the distance Modi has created with media since his first tenure.
In J&K, removal of Article 370 was appreciable but the unconstitutional way the government had opted, has not only curbed the media’s rights but has added on to the feeling of indifference and insecurity in them. For the whole 2 months, the situation was no less than that of emergency 1984. Media powers were not curbed at once in the case but have been hindered since long by the government, either the channels are government favored or the journalists are censored for coming at the upfront level. Starting from abandoning Karan Thapar after Modi's interview in 2007, to alienating Punya Prasun Bajpai for referencing PM Narendra Modi in his criticism of government policies during his prime-time show Masterstroke and Abhisar Sharma taken off air for 15 days after taking PM's name on his show 'Aaj Ki Badi Khabar' in a shootout case in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur district, there lies a series of such incidences.
Such follow-ups seem to be abusive towards the ideology of Democracy and threatening in the case if we still think that we are the 'Biggest Democracy' in the world.