By Vivek Pattanayak in Bhubaneswar, April 30, 2023: In my article on Utopia and Dystopia, I made an observation which alluded to that if the executive will have all the powers of appointment of judges, positions of constitutional and statutory bodies and civil servants, the whole governing architecture will be based on political ideology, considerations and factors, which may lead to tyranny, oligarchy, plutocracy, kakistocracy and even finally lead to ochlocracy.

This would be the first step towards a dystopia. In this context it will be appropriate to refer to the doctrine of Montesquieu as recorded in his classic book,The Spirit of Law.

“When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there
can be no liberty… there is no liberty if the powers of judging is not separated from the legislative and executive… there would be an end to everything, if the same man or the same body… were to exercise those three powers”.

In other words, if the legislature also acquires all three powers it can also lead to indistinguishable situation. So will be the case if judiciary has all three powers .Montesquieu even went to say that judge will become violent.

When all the three powers are combined by one person or a body or a group it would be nothing but absolutism reminiscent of the King of England before the Magna Carta and the Roman Senate during the time of Caesar, Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, Augustus, Mark Antony, and Pompey.

Even in India before independence, the magistrates also exercised executive power . When the Constitution came in, it mandated separation of power under Article 50 which ultimately led to independence of judicial magistrates from the executive.

It must be stated here that it is Madhusudan Das who had raised the voice against executive and judicial power on the same person during the British rule. Recruitment of judicial officers after separation of power was done by the Public Service Commission keeping the High Court in picture. When the District Judges are directly recruited it is under the total control of the High Court.

During the initial period of the imperial rule recruitment of civil servants, magistrates and judges were being done by the Governor General or Governors who was the emblem of the executive. No wonder there were dissatisfactions among the people who were called subjects. Should India enter the similar period ?The answer is clearly in negative.

Let us examine the countries like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Libya under Gadhafi, and Tanzania under Idi Amin. These countries could be called monocratic tyranny. Although Saddam held elections securing almost 100% of votes his regime could not qualify to be called representative of people. Governing systems in these countries generated dystopic society.

The countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, even other Gulf countries like Bahrein, Qatar, and UAE in the Middle East where the idea of separation of power or check and balance never surfaced in a traditional way although the countries have a lot of wealth being the cornucopia of oil and gas and no wonder prosperity of people although small in sheer number compared to India, UK, France , Germany and Japan is distinctly visible.

In countries in Latin America like Argentina and Chile in the past, regimes of Peron and Pinochet were despotic and absolutist. Incidentally, Pinochet led a coup against Allende although a Marxist had won the election by popular vote.
In Somalia the absolutist President, a dictator was deposed, and there is at present three sets of States with factional armed struggles and occasional attacks by Islamic terrorist group called El Sabah. Somalia is considered as a failed State. One can easily describe it as a veritable dystopia.

In Libya after Gadhafi lost the power and killed in a brutal way by angry and unruly mob, the country is facing civil war with three major factions and many more armed groups. Present situation will qualify Libya as a dystopia.

Afghanistan after Taliban came to power when US led NATO withdrew from the country without any plan of action of protecting the Afghans who were loyal to the previous regime is being run by draconian religious laws which are reminiscent of medieval times with women not having any freedom and basic human rights and ethnic minorities like Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazara and Hindus are treated as subjects rather than citizens under the shadow of elimination.

If in a country acclaimed to be a democracy, also a constitutional democracy, the traditional democratic practices are not respected like passing of laws through legislatures but through ordinances or executive decrees, no debate on bills do take place, passing of laws by mere voice votes become routine when the members of opposition are absent in the legislature, law enforcing agencies regularly act on the behest of political executive, media is fully controlled by the political executive through threats, coercion, prosecution of journalists, and even discriminatory release of advertisements, elections are influenced by booth capturing, heavy deployment of money and muscle power, election conducting agency and its personnel have not been impartial, frequent extra-judicial killings in connivance of law enforcing bodies do take place, there is glaring absence of political neutrality of civil service and judicial process is pathetically dilatory, there is virtual absence of relief from arbitrary detention what would be the description of that state?

A liberal and democratic state on paper but not so in reality. Are not those features take that state or society towards kakistocracy and eventually dystopia.

A country which has been championing democracy and liberalism for decades and intervening in the name of freedom in every nook and corner of the world and yet after a Presidential election sees an attempt to take over the highest legislative body by chaotic mobs at the behest of the defeated President, what would that country be called? If in such a country police demonstrates racial bias sparking off protests ignored by the democratically elected executive and legislators, and regular shooting in schools, malls, and public places and yet the bulk of legislators are unwilling to take gun control measures what would be the description of that society?

A discerning reader will appreciate that there is a big hiatus between what is claimed and what is real. World is replete with countries and societies who are descending to state of dystopia.

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