The Ordinance Raj

The Narendra Modi Government has promulgated eight ordinances since coming to power last May. Readers may be aware of Shubhankar Dam’s excellent recent book, Presidential Legislation in India: The Law and Practice of Ordinances (Cambridge University Press, 2014).  In this interview, Dam answers questions on the recent controversy, by speaking at length on the validity of justifications offered for the promulgation of ordinances.  In an accompanying article, I give the necessary factual details of the controversy, which is still unraveling.  A report today speculates about dissensions within the Cabinet on the need for these ordinances.   In a sense, Dam is correct in suggesting that the blame for the ‘inevitability of ordinance raj’ must lie with India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.  How else can one explain the resort to ordinance by the Rajasthan Government, which does not face the problem of lack of majority in the Upper House, like the Modi Government at the Centre?

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