Scroll Top

ROLE OF EXECUTIVE AGENCIES IN PARTY POLITICS

INTRODUCTION

It is said by Aristotle that a man, by nature, is a political animal. Politics is both a significant and insignificant part of an average citizen’s life. It is significant in a way that it controls the country and the authorities in the country, and insignificant in a way that many citizens have lost hope in politics due to their prejudiced opinions, such as all politicians being corrupted or all politicians being liars and making fake promises during elections. Politics refers to the means through which people, law-making organisations or governments try to influence the way a country is governed and a way through which people or elected representatives make rules to maintain law and order in society. An important aspect of politics is political parties. Political parties are organizations are groups formed by people with common interests, ideologies and visions. The main aim of any political party is to come to power, hold governmental offices and make laws for the country. It is often seen when these parties form the government; they make use of their dominance on executive agencies and target their opposition parties or anyone that challenges their authority, distracting the agencies from their main task of policy execution and implementation.

INTERTWINED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE POLITICS, POLITICAL PARTIES AND EXECUTIVE AGENCIES

The term ‘Politics’ is derived from the Greek word ‘polis’, which means ‘city-state’. The existence of politics is fuelled by the disagreements and conflicts people have about the way they should be governed. It mainly concerns itself with the governance, growth and development of the nation. It establishes inter-country relationships and strengthens ties for the advancement of the nation. It allows a particular section of people to have power and influence over others and govern them through laws, policies and regulations.

In India, another significant aspect of politics is political parties. Political parties are those organisations where people with common interests, visions and ideologies participate in the process of elections to be the public’s representatives. In DMDK v. Election Commission of India 2012[1], the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India defined political parties as an association of individuals pursuing certain shared beliefs. It further stated that the members of such parties are generally citizens. India follows a multi-party system, which refers to a system of politics where multiple parties participate in the process of elections to capture power and form the government to govern the people. In India, there are several parties present, whether national, state or regional and this gives the voters multiple options of candidates to choose from as their representative in the government. In recent times, it is seen that another entity is added to the equation of politics and political parties, and that is Executive Agencies. Executive agencies are those agencies which, as their name suggests, work to execute the legislations, rules and regulations made by the maw-making body of India. They work for better implementation and execution at the lower level. Some of the prominent executive agencies in India are the Election Commission of India (ECI), the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The relationship between politics, political parties and executive agencies is webbed intricately in our democracy. Politics is the means or the approach through which the political parties reach the law-making bodies as its members through the process of free, fair elections. The elected representatives of these political parties then make legislation for the society that is executed and implemented by the executive agencies to maintain law and order. The agencies act as a link between the elected representatives and inform the government about the grassroots problems faced by the common people. They also recommended taking policy measures for the smooth functioning of society.

THE INFLUENCE OF EXECUTIVE AGENCIES ON PARTY POLITICS

The doctrine of ‘separation of power’, propounded by Charles De Montesquieu, states that the state is divided into three branches, namely, the executive, the judiciary and the legislature and their roles and responsibilities are divided, and one branch should not interfere with the function of another branch. Though not strictly, India still follows the doctrine, and it is expected of the executive not to interfere with the work of the legislature; though political parties are not a part of the legislature per se, they still play a crucial role in the legislative process. The elected representatives always show a flicker of the party’s ideology while making laws. How executive agencies can affect the party politics are:

  1. Influence on Public Opinion: The executive branch is taken as a trusted source by the public, and if it supports a certain political faction, it can strongly influence the opinion of the public.
  2. Implementation of Legislative Actions with a tinge of Political Ideology: The executive agencies quite often execute rules, regulations and legislations made by the legislature or the ruling party in alignment with the political ideology of the ruling party. The agencies may also help in drafting legislation that aligns with the party’s vision and motives and enables the smooth passing of bills and policies.
  3. Appointment in the Office with the help of Political Parties: Political parties may select individuals for the post of higher officials who will help their case, promote their vision and support their decisions without any objections, thereby hampering the system of checks and balances that should be there between the executive and legislature.
  4. Help in Fulfilling Electoral Promises: Political parties, while campaigning for elections, make promises to their voter base that they pledge to fulfil after coming into power and forming the government. They promise to distribute cycles, clothes, grains, phones, etc., provide reservations, and many more. The executive agencies help them to fulfil these promises.
  5. Target Opposition and Objection: The ruling party or the more powerful and influential party may exert their dominance over the executive agencies to target politicians and leaders from opposition parties and trap them in the vicious cycle of accusations related to corruption, violence, riots, etc.

RELEVANT CASE STUDIES

There are several instances of accusations of bias about the executive agency that is responsible for conducting the electoral process in India, and that is the Election Commission of India (ECI). The ECI is accused of favouring the ruling party and not taking action for the said members, showing no such kind of relief against the opposition members. The opposition parties, such as the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Shiv Sena, have made constant statements about the ECI favouring the ruling alliance that is led by the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).

A petition was filed by Anoop Baranwal[2] in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in 2015, which was heard by a constitutional bench. The said petition challenged the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs). It highlighted the fact that though the appointment is made by the President, the recommendations are given by the Prime Minister. The bench decided that to make the process independent of political interference, a committee was formed, comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition of the Parliament and the Chief Justice of India. The committee will make recommendations until the Parliament enacts a separate law for the same.

The Directorate of Enforcement is one of the agencies that is at the forefront when it comes to getting attacked by the accusations made by the opposition leaders and parties. The agency is accused of targeting mostly opposition leaders or people who object or have a dissenting opinion against the BJP. Fourteen opposition parties led by the INC reached the Supreme Court of India against the selective actions taken by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation against the opposition politicians and leaders with dissenting opinions against the ruling party. They further stated, with the help of data, that 95% of the leaders under the target are from the opposition side. The opposition parties often have the same opinion regarding selective raids, seizes and investigations by the concerned agencies.

CONCLUSION

The Indian society, everything and everyone is interdependent. The same is the case of politics, political parties and executive agencies. These three different spheres are intricately intertwined with each other. Politics is a larger sphere, and political parties are a part of it. A group of individuals sharing common beliefs, visions and ideology participating in elections, promising a better future for the country. When the elected representatives from these political parties form the government, they become a part of the legislature. Executive agencies are those agencies whose work is to make rules, regulations and legislation to govern society. There are even instances of opposition parties reaching the doors of the judicial branch of the state to get justice for the unfairness happening against them and their members. The only way to maintain that trust in the agencies is to practice fairness and transparency. If such events keep occurring in the foreseeable future, it might prove difficult for the Indian democracy to breathe.

Author(s) Name:  Vijaya Nidhi (Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow)

Reference(s):

[1]DMDK v Election Commission of India (2012) 7 SCC 340

[2]Anoop Baranwal v Union of India (2023) 6 SCC 161