A.Surya Prakash

A.Surya Prakash is an author and journalist and a leading commentator on Indian politics and constitutional and parliamentary issues. He began his tryst with journalism when he joined the Indian Express as a Corespondent at Bangalore in 1971. This multi-edition newspaper owned by the fiery Ramnath Goenka, who was ever ready to do battle with anti-democratic forces, was the best available platform for gutsy journalists like A.Surya Prakash with an anti-establishment bent of mind. After honing his skills in investigative journalism in Bangalore and winning many laurels from professional bodies, Surya Prakash moved to New Delhi in 1981.The shift to the national capital instantly took his journalism onto a larger canvass and gave him a ring side seat to parliament and other national institutions.

He was appointed Chief of Bureau of the Indian Express in New Delhi in 1988.Disappionted by the virtual dysfunctionality of parliament, Surya Prakash, supported by a K.K.Birla Fellowship, took a sabbatical to study the working of India’s apex legislative body. The result was `What Ails Indian Parliament’, published in 1995 by Indus, an imprint of HarperCollins, which is hailed as the most authoritative text on the working of India’s parliament after W.H.Morris-Jones ` Parliament in India’, published in 1957.

Since then, A.Surya Prakash has several more publications on the working of India’s Parliament including chapters in many books. Among them are: “Need to Regulate the Working of Political Parties” in G.C.Malhotra (Ed.), “Fifty Years of Indian Parliament”, published by Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi, 2002 ; “Parliamentary Questions as Instruments of Accountability” in Mehra and Kueck, (Ed.),” The Indian Parliament- A comparative Perspective”, Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd, Delhi, 2003; `Seeking Accountability – Parliament Watch’ in Social Watch India’s `Citizen’s Report on Governance and Development’, Ed by John Samuels and Jagadananda, published by Centre for Youth and Development, Bhubaneshwar and National Centre for Advocacy Studies, Pune, 2003 `Parliament and the Media – Joint Venture Partners in Democracy’ in `Working of Press Laws and Right to Information’, India Chapter, South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), 2004; Parliament, Courts and Media, Dialogue Quarterly, October –December, 2005, Astha Bharati, New Delhi; `Votes, Elections, Governments – The Indian Experience’, EU –India Media Handbook, European Journalists Association and National Union of Journalists, India, 2006.

Apart from his pioneering work on Parliament, A. Surya Prakash is known for his well-researched interventions on national political issues. In the Indian Express he first raised the issue of granting weightage to the Southern States in the event of an upward revision of the strength of the Lok Sabha, the lower House of Indian Parliament. He argued that since the southern states had popularized the Union Government’s Family Planning Programme and brought down the birth rates in that region, revision in the strength of parliament based only on the population of states would amount to penalizing states which had conscientiously implemented an important national programme. Several Chief Ministers from the South and prominent political parties in that region soon joined the campaign. The result is that the strength of the Lok Sabha, which has 543 elected seats, stands frozen till the year 2026. Demographers hope that the most of the Indian States will have brought down the Net Reproductive Rate by then.