Can Turbulent Parliament Be Tamed?

February 5, 2022

A chair's function is not just to provide a place to sit; it is to provide a medium for self-expression. Chairs are about status, for example. Or signalling something about oneself. That's why the words chair, seat and bench have found themselves used to describe high status professions, from academia to Parliament to the law.” - Evan Davis (b.1962), British economist and journalist.

The role of chairman, Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha and Vice President in the case of Rajya Sabha is pivotal for the success of parliamentary system of government. We have disorderly conduct in both the houses and the situation is well reflected in the following anguished statement of Vice President and Rajya Sabha presiding Officer.

RS chairman asks MPs to ensure smooth functioning of House, says disruptions disturbing

"The only way of doing so is to conduct themselves in a manner befitting the trust the citizens still have in our parliamentary democracy," M Venkaiah Naidu, Rajya Sabha Chairman, said soon after the papers to be listed were listed in the Rajya Sabha. He described the disruptions in the House during the last two sessions as highly disturbing. He asked MPs to ensure smooth functioning of the House during the ongoing Budget session and said they should conduct themselves in a manner befitting the trust citizens still have in India's parliamentary democracy. The country's 5,000 MPs, MLAs and MLCs should resolve in this historic year to return to the people the favour they do by relentlessly nurturing democracy over the last 70 years.

"The only way of doing so is to conduct themselves (the 5,000) in a manner befitting the trust the citizens still have in our parliamentary democracy". He described the disruptions in the House during the last two sessions as highly disturbing. "I refer to the same with fervent hope that we all reflect on the same and conduct in a manner befitting the historic time that we are passing through."

The chairman pointed out that Rajya Sabha had lost 52.10 per cent of the valuable sitting time due to disruptions and forced adjournments in the last winter session. During the preceding monsoon session last year, the loss of functional time of the House was as high as 70.40 per cent. (The Budget Session started on January 31.)

Naidu’s expression of anguish may be like the pot calling the kettle black. Much depends in how fairly the presiding officers’ conduct the proceedings. It is relevant to recall the statement of the late Arun Jaitley, a leading BJP parliamentarian and minister, apparently when BJP was in the Opposition.

Parliament's job is to conduct discussions. But many a time, Parliament is used to ignore issues, and in such situations, obstruction of Parliament is in the favour of democracy. Therefore, parliamentary obstruction is not undemocratic.”

The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is invited in the format given below. (Pl. stroll down a bit.


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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • Ivan Saldanha, Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 09 2022

    Taming any one is not to be desired in this regard. Rational, regulation, rules, laws n implimenting procedurally is the need here as in all matters. There should be implemented rulegulations n laws that candidates for election must have suitable education n maturity. Must not have criminal record and/or cases with police n courts... Must be upright n sober citizens... But, will our politicians n politics allow such sanitary practice? Only then will there be law n order in our parliamentary work...

  • mohan prbhu, Mangalore/Canada

    Mon, Feb 07 2022

    Yes. A "whip" from the Chair to bring the rebellious member who disturbs the orderly conduct of business of Parliament, would tame that member/ If the "whip" doesn't work, Parliament guards should be authorized to show the prankster the door. If a whole group of opposition parties disrupt, each participant should be fined on the spot, to be recovered from there pay and allowances.

  • Veer, Nagpur

    Sun, Feb 06 2022

    If both the ruling and opposition parties follow, observe and rule as per the constitution and the constitutional oath they have taken then there should not be elevated levels of unreconcilable differences of opinion and disruption although a healthy amount of difference of opinions within the frame work of the constitution is welcome and needed. But if one party is playing within the rules of the constitution and the other party is not then it’s a ground for continuous violent disruptions and chaos which is the beginning of lawless and chaotic society and the country is doomed for destruction and vulnerable to disintegrate with uncertain future. Unless a stop is put now to this untoward happenings then it will be too late. It will not be an easy task for this second independence war. All who are standing by the constitution shall make a lot of sacrifices. First independence war was to secure the country and now the second independence war will be to save its constitution.

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