Power without responsibility is the death recipe for the democracy. Isn’t it? Simply, men in power should be in the men in checks and balances; otherwise, everyone would be in the anarchy and chaos. This is the reason why we value power with responsibility in the modern day politics for just rule. However, there is no dearth of incidents of misuse of power even in the age of so called liberal democracies.
Relations between power and responsibility
First of all let’s understand the true meaning of power.
1. Meaning of power
Though power is a political term, but it is a symbol of strength and might in the eyes of people.
As a definition, power is a type of thing used to influence the will of others. So, it may be anything, including money, post, knowledge etc. Here, I am going to use in the context of democracy – democratic power.
2. Meaning and definition of authority
When the power is sourced by the constitution of land of origin, then it becomes legitimate. Such legitimate power is called authority. Compare to authority, power is more common term.
Importance of constitution
The supremacy of constitution means, the decisions taken by representatives should not be inconsistent to the constitution. Otherwise, the interests of minorities might be compromised. Moreover, the chances of corruption and nepotism can not be ruled out in the absence of such measure. Nowadays, most of the notable democracies have theirs own supreme constitutions.
“In short, constitution effectively ensures that the power of people shouldn’t be the power of majority”.
Types of power in democracy
In democracy, there is no single source of power.
Citizens have voting power
Politicians have legislating and implementing power
Media have power to reveal reality
Then, why do we only discuss about the power of politicians and not real source — citizens of the nations. This is the reason Why there is so incosistanscies between power and responsibility.
Role of responsibility in modern politics
Not only does it play the role to limit the misuses of power by greed autocratic elements; but it also act as a facilitator to use for common good.
So, the elements of checks and balances should not be encroached by the people in power at any cost. Today, people are more concerned about the power instead of elements protecting responsibility.
Sources of checks and balances
Constitution, elections, independent judiciary, and freedom of press are highly essential elements for the proper functioning of democratic regime.
Freedom of press
Constitution provides both power and protection for ruled minorities and rulers in case of any threat. On the other hand, in the time of elections, people have all the power to elect responsible government to serve in return.
Independent judiciary act as a protective wall among the power, people and institutions.
Most importantly, it is the guardian as well as highest interpretator of the constitution of the nation.
And, free press works all the time to act as a interface between government and public to understand actions and problems of ruled and ruler.
Therefore, scholars often say that the least ruled state is always the best one as there is no extreme use of power by the elements of system.
That’s why we need right combination of power and responsibility in modern politics.