Tendulkar’s ostensible disregard for his attendance at the Council of States,
to which he was appointed by the President in 2012, highlights a crucial
problem with the nominees elevated to the Rajya Sabha, which is their apparent disinterest
in parliamentary proceedings. Article 80(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution highlights
that twelve members shall be nominated by the President to the Council of
States. The nomination of the retired cricketer Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu, among
others, reflects upon the urgency to rethink about the stated clause and
introduce a permanent body that is competent enough to aid the Parliament in
law making.
alternative to Clause (a) of Article 80 was suggested by Prof. K.T. Shah in the
Constituent Assembly Debates in 1949. His speech termed legislative drafting as
a ‘fine art’ and a task too complicated for majority
of the people’s representatives, whom he thought of as “laymen”. He advised the framing of what he termed as the ‘Consultative Council’, which in his
opinion, must be a permanent body established by a constitutional mandate to
aid the Parliament in drafting legislations.
by Lord Hewett’s concept of New Despotism, which is a theory to arm the civil
services with wide discretionary powers including quasi-judicial decision
making, Professor Shah recommended the formation of a body that includes
experts from the fields of agriculture, industry, commerce, mining, forestry,
engineering, public utilities, social service and economics to advise the Parliament and the Council of
Ministers in matters concerning their respective fields. He asserted that these
members would not be lawmakers in the
true sense of the word, as they will not be burdened with any administrative or
executive functions like the other members, and their sole objective would be
to concentrate on building sound legislations.
 He then went on to submit that the Council should
only be selected on merit. Training and experience in the said fields must be
the sole criterion for inclusion in the body. He further suggested that these
members should be paid handsomely and be given due respect for their
contribution to the Parliament and influence on the Council of Ministers.
said proposition was submitted before the assembly vide Amendment No. 1377 to
Article 80. However, it was criticised by a few members. R.K. Sidwa opposed the proposition on the ground
that the number of members proposed by Professor Shah to each committee was not
agreeable. He contended that the government on previous occasions had consulted
experts in matters of importance and there was no need for a constitutional
provision for such a committee when it can be constituted under an Act passed
by the Parliament. In his opinion, giving the committee a constitutional status
will result in giving them undue
list of critics also included Dr. Ambedkar, who, like Sidwa, argued that the government indeed consults experts before
passing a Bill. His substantive argument, favouring his own amendment, was
firstly, that the twelve nominated members by the President, were sufficient as
expert opinion, and secondly, he proposed to later move an amendment that
allowed the President to nominate three additional members, whenever the
President felt necessary to do so. He submitted that these experts must
continue to be members of the House, till the bill requiring their assistance
is disposed of, but stated that they should not be allowed to vote.
the proposal of Professor Shah was noted on valid grounds in the light of
circumstances prevailing post-independence, when members possessed plenty of
verve towards the construction of legislations. However,
contemporary nominees are not as dedicated as their predecessors and they
remain persistent in carrying on with their
former occupations or venture into new ones and disregard their parliamentary
obligations. Another argument against nomination under current
circumstances is that twelve expert nominees is
not an appropriate number to persuade two hundred and thirty-eight other members with their expertise.
Shah additionally recommended that the clause needed to be more comprehensive.
The author is of the opinion that Professor Shah’s
recommendation has an edge over the existing clause, as in addition to the current
fields from where nomination of persons should be done, namely, arts, literature, science, and social service, it
provides for categories that are less ambiguous, legislation centric and are
branches of governance that have the largest impact on people. Lastly, although
it is true that the government does form
expert committees to aid in legislation making, it is also a well-known fact
that the constitution and functioning of these committees is rather cumbersome.

this suggestion proposing a permanent body with high expertise is the need of
the hour; however, it must be restructured
to include areas of lawmaking that have evolved due to growing security
concerns, changing geopolitical motives, technological expansions, booming
businesses and climate change. The success of this idea is essential to set out
thoughtful legislation and a higher benchmark for law making bodies worldwide.

About the Author:

Nazeer U. Khan, is a 5th year BBA.LLB. student from the Faculty of Law, IFHE. He is holds high interest for the legality of armed conflict and is a staunch pacifist.

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