Opinion DC Comment 26 Jun 2016 No referendums, plea ...

No referendums, please

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jun 26, 2016, 1:07 am IST
Updated Jun 26, 2016, 1:07 am IST
The rebellious Mr Kejriwal espouses many good causes, but he too must follow the rule book.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (Photo: PTI)
 Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (Photo: PTI)

Fanciful as the idea of a referendum seems — Britain itself is in uncharted territory today after the Brexit verdict of Friday — vox populi cannot be a determinant of everything. Plant the idea of referendums in our country, whose Constitution mercifully does not provide for such demonstrations of public opinion on all matters, and the results, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, could be unfathomable. A representative legislative system itself throws up problems aplenty; if people are given a choice they might vote on just about anything, from changing the national animal and sport to the design of the national flag to independence.

A leading case of what a referendum may do in India is the NCR aspiring for full statehood under the tutelage of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who believes a mandate in one Assembly election means the right to determine everything else his way. Long before eyeing statehood, for which a case could be made out not only for Delhi and Puducherry but for all UTs, his government must first respect the Constitution.

 

The new set of 14 bills — including the Lokpal Bill, which the AAP with its anti-corruption plank should treasure — that the Union home ministry has returned because of a vital procedural flaw can become law only if they are handled as per the rules governing a Union Territory, even if Delhi has special status. Instead of politicising the issue, the Delhi government would do well to address the flaws and follow proper procedure. The rebellious Mr Kejriwal espouses many good causes, but he too must follow the rule book.

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