Book Review: Sandy Gordon, India’s Rise as an Asian Power: Nation, Neighborhood, and Region

Published date01 December 2015
Date01 December 2015
Subject MatterBook Reviews
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Book Reviews
essay on delegated legislation brings out, through the reading of various judgements, ‘the perceived
limits of delegation’ and as a judgement said, ‘… the legislature must not efface itself or abdicate all its
powers’ (p. 236). This point should have been addressed by Arora and Kailash: if delegated legislation,
a constitutional tool, creates a fear of political ascendancy of the executive (pp. 243–244), the NAC was
a complete negation of legislative autonomy.
The third part of the volume—‘External Dimension in Parliamentary Functioning’—has four
chapters discussing criminalization of politics, criminality in Lok Sabha, media corruption and civil
society and the parliament. Avinash Kumar’s ‘Crime, (Politics) and Non-Punishment’ meanders before
coming to the issue at hand, letting an intensive discussion on the question at hand get dissipated,
despite presenting the Election Commission and PRS Legislative data based on affidavits of the contest-
ing candidates. In his chapter, ‘Criminality in the Lok Sabha’, Devesh Tiwari, using the same data, takes
a step further by comparing participation of MPs with a criminal taint with other MPs. However, most
analysts have apparently not noticed—at least, this is yet to be analyzed—that the affidavits include
some false cases too, or cases routinely filed by the police on charges of breach of peace on politicians
leading a demonstration, mostly on political grounds. Also, often the upper-caste politicians slap false
criminal charges on the politicians from the marginalized sections of the society to do away with the
challenge they might face from them, or just to subjugate the community.
Pranajoy Guha Thakurta, by arguing that corruption in the media undermines working of parliamen-
tary democracy, introduces a new dimension but does not sufficiently probe it. If Arora and Kailash’s
well-researched essay highlighted the contribution and institutional use of civil society organizations,
Niraja Gopal Jayal goes deep into rival representative claims of the phenomenon which parties and the
government love to hate vis-à-vis that of the...

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