The Parliament is the visible face of democracy in India. It is the epicentre of political life, public institutions of great verve, and a regime of Rights. In a first-of-its-kind study, this book delves into the lived experience of the Indian Parliament by focusing on three distinct phases–the 1950s, the 1970s, and the 1990s and beyond. The authors argue against the widely held notion of its ongoing decline, and demonstrate how it has repeatedly, and successfully, responded to India's changing needs in six decades of existence.
This comprehensive and authoritative study examines the changing social composition and differing modes of representation that make up the Lok Sabha and critically explores its relation with the Rajya Sabha. Developments in the institutional complex of the Parliament, including the functioning of the Opposition and the Speaker are traced over time, along with the processes of legislation and accountability. Major debates in the House are scrutinized, and much of the analysis is based on empirical data gathered from surveys circulated among prominent politicians and public intellectuals. It also addresses the intricate issue of relations between the Judiciary and the Parliament.
In its in-depth focus on the Lok Sabha, the volume highlights the way the Parliament has come to encompass India's proverbial diversity. It especially demonstrates the route this institution has taken to engage with fractious issues of diverging linguistic and regional demands.
This landmark book is indispensable for students, scholars, and researchers working on Indian politics, political theory, and political sociology. It will also be of interest to policymakers, administrators, diplomats, journalists, politicians, lawyers, judges, public intellectuals, and NGOs.
B.L. Shankar is former Member of the Lok Sabha and former Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council.