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Competing objectives gov't tries to achieve with Elected Presidency will weaken the checks in our system, MARUAH

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MARUAH, a local human rights organisation has made a submission to the Constitutional Commission to Review Specific Aspects of the Elected Presidency headed by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.
In its submission MARUAH said that the government appears to be trying to achieve multiple competing objectives in its policy towards the elected President; which are:

  1. A President who is able to restrain a “rogue government” – This requires the President to be directly elected so as to have his own mandate from the voters and the moral authority to stand up to a popularly elected government.
  2. A President aligned with the existing establishment – Thus the various qualifying criteria and the proposal to further tighten the criteria on private sector candidates.
  3. A system for ensuring periodic minority Presidents.

“Unfortunately the second and third objectives will inevitably weaken the first by narrowing the pool of eligible candidates to the extent that a weak President may be elected for lack of any other candidates,” the human rights organisation said.
“This would be an extremely undesirable outcome and would weaken the checks in our system that protect against a corrupt government,” MARUAH added.

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