The sole reformer

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Every week from Tuesday to Saturday, newspaper headlines are dominated by decisions of the Supreme Court. The pace and scale of its activities are more hectic than any time in the decades since Independence. Just this year, same-sex relationships have been decriminalised. Adultery is no longer a crime. Gender-based restrictions have been removed for temple entry (women catching up with Dalits). Sexual harassment, especially rape, is to be punished severely and by death penalty if the victim is a minor. Triple talaq is against the Constitution.
It is as if the only branch of government functioning to change society for better is the Judiciary. The Legislature at the Centre and state levels is frequently disrupted and barren of any new decisions. The Executive at the Centre, especially the Prime Minister, is consumed by electioneering and, after the torrent of activity in the first half of its tenure, is now bogged down in firefighting. Even in something as vital as triple talaq, despite the invitation of the Judiciary, the best the Executive has been able to do in face of a fractious Parliament is to resort to an ordinance.
What has happened? There is a long history and a short one on this. The short history is simply that no government dares enact reform which may upset any vote bank. As election nears, new vote banks crystallise themselves and it is best to do nothing than to initiate reform. The SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is a recent example.