'US And Europe Not Doing Enough To Restore Democracy In India': Did Rahul Gandhi Breach His Oath As An MP With That Statement?

Swarajya Staff

Mar 07, 2023, 03:17 PM | Updated 03:32 PM IST

Rahul Gandhi at an event in London.
Rahul Gandhi at an event in London.
  • As per the third schedule of the Constitution, an MP swears that he/she will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India and will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of the country. 
  • Recently, former Congress president and current Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, while addressing an event in London said:

    The surprising thing is that the so called defenders of democracy like US and Europe seem to just be oblivious of the fact that a huge chunk of the democratic model has come undone in India. While the opposition is fighting that battle, US and Europe are not doing enough to restore the democracy in India. The inaction may be because of the trade and money they are getting.” 

    He went on to state that, “it’s not just an Indian battle, it’s a much more important battle, a battle for a huge part of democratic people on this planet.”

    The above remark is being seen by many as Gandhi calling for foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the country (assuming for the moment that the concerns he flagged are genuine). 

    While there is a debate raging over whether a sitting MP should be making such comments on foreign soil, there is also a much more technical question in play: by asking/encouraging/suggesting foreign intervention in Indian politics, did Rahul Gandhi violate his oath as an MP? 

    As laid down under the third schedule of the Indian Constitution, a Member of Parliament (MP) swears that he will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India and will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India. 

    However, when Gandhi says that ‘US and Europe are not doing enough’ to restore democracy in India, does this statement not violate the sovereignty part of the oath?

    On pursuing several relevant judgements rendered by courts on the issue of violation of oath by MP/MLAs, it can be said that while largely there is no remedy against the one violating, the courts have been strict to depreciate the practice of MPs/MLAs doing unparliamentary acts. 

    It has been observed by the Calcutta High Court that it is expected from a representative of the people that he must be courteous in his behaviour, dignified in his manners and cautious in the words spoken by him. 

    The Kerala High Court has held that even though a breach of oath is not a disqualification specified in the Constitution, it is however a breach of fundamental code of conduct and when the post is held at the pleasure of the appointing authority, the termination of tenure may be a possible outcome of such breach.

    An independent order can be made by the appointing authority in this regard.

    The courts have considered the issue of violation of oath by public servants as serious, but held that the remedy perhaps lies with those who appointed them in the first place.

    The courts have issued writ of quo warranto in certain cases of violation of oath, but the same is discretionary and can be availed by someone who approaches the court. 

    While it remains to be seen if any action is taken against Gandhi by the Lok Sabha speaker, other elected representatives would do well to avoid putting themselves in the same position as Gandhi during foreign tours. 

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