The recent hullabaloo over the 12 members who defected to other parties had gained its momentum for a week or so that the entirety of the state was discussing it, but flamed out steadily as the Kanchendzonga issue, the football controversy, the dates of the by-polls being announced etc., all took precedence in the public mind.
So, the recent news that the dismissal of the petition filed by Nawin Kiran Pradhan, vice convener of the Sikkim Subject Committee for disqualifying the defected MLAs, was rejected by L.B. Das, Speaker at the Sikkim Assembly comes as a reminder to what happened not too long ago.
A similar incident happened in 2017 when a petition was submitted by Pradhan and other petitioners regarding seven MLAs who had defected from SKM to SDF, to the erstwhile Speaker, K.N. Rai. That case remains pending, as it seems will the current one.
In the current case, the reason cited for the rejection is lack of material in support of the rejection. The petitioner is of the belief that the Speaker’s decision is unconstitutional and therefore, since the order is reviewable by the Judiciary, he would approach the High Court for further action.
Under Article 191(2) and Para 2(1)(a) scan with 6(1) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India, the petition was filed stating “the unconstitutional behaviour of the MLAs who had easily couch hopped from party to party”.
Undemocratic, unconstitutional, shameful – all these words are being associated with the parties within Sikkim and yet, somehow the leaders seem unaffected by it. Additionally, the whole business of calling each other names and debating hotly as to which party is worse seems a little too ridiculous for the public to behold. The only question that can be boiled down from this and is relevant is – are the leaders going to be held accountable for all the things they did wrong? Because as far as the next generation, the future of Sikkim is concerned, they are at this moment watching policymakers and political critics make statements, break statements and deciding the future of Sikkim and its citizens. The younger generation is subconsciously picking up the same behaviour and attitude to governance as their leaders, so there is great responsibility on the shoulders of our government.
If at all a lesson can be learned from this, it is that transparency is essential in governance. Having said that, it feels like a fanciful request that might be promised on paper but disregarded in practice. Will both the public and petitioner finally get a clear answer to the questions raised?