A Disruption-mukt Parliament


It was a four-day early finish to the Monsoon session of Parliament, which was disrupted by concerns such as rising prices, the suspension of 27 MPs, and the ED's action against some of the opposition leaders, among other things.

Since the beginning of the year, Parliament has been forced to adjourn for the seventh time this year.

An undemocratic situation like this is harmful to the country's democracy because Parliament's primary function is to offer citizens a voice, discuss policy, and enact legislation through proposed legislation.

During the monsoon session, which was set to finish on August 12 but was postponed sine die, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha passed seven and five laws, respectively.

The lower house met for 38 hours, with as many as 47 hours lost owing to interruption, while Lok Sabha witnessed 16 sittings totalling 44 hours, 29 minutes.

"Disrupt and divert attention" theatrics over much of the monsoon session is a subject of severe concern since it affects Parliament's ability to conduct business and engage in serious consideration over critical public problems.

Factors responsible

Parliamentarians' excitement wanes if disruptions occur too frequently, resulting in a popular intervention that is less effective than one that is meaningful.

It's not uncommon to see the use of things like irony and poetry in the discussion process as well as philosophical quotations.

Many members of the opposition want the bill referred to the appropriate standing committee so that it can be thoroughly scrutinised.

Sincere effort is not evident in how many members participate in these committees; how long they meet; how well their deliberations are; or how their conclusions are reached.

Despite the fact that disruptions are all too prevalent, the media never fails to cover them, giving disruptors ample opportunity to enjoy the spotlight. As a result, MPs are less likely to pay attention to good speeches that are well-argued and supported by facts, examples, or case studies.

Furthermore, the amount of space devoted to parliamentary proceedings in both print and electronic media is rapidly decreasing as people lose interest.

For example, Question Hour and Zero Hour were underrepresented compared to years prior.

      Legislative debates receive less coverage in the media.
Way forward

The presiding officers can conduct in-camera sessions in their chambers to prevent disruptions during at least Zero Hour and Question Hour.

While the House remains adjourned forcibly, presiding officers may also order in-camera hearings of MPs' questions and ministers' responses.

For limited flexibility, a calendar of sittings could be announced at the beginning of each year.

The rules should be modified to ensure that the House is convened if a sufficient minority (such as 25% or 33%) of its members submit a written notice.

Twenty days per year, the agenda of the British Parliament is determined by the opposition. A constitutional convention requires the prime minister to answer questions directly asked by members of parliament.

A parliamentary disruption index should be developed to track legislative disturbances and combat indiscipline. It would also result in additional time being available for debate and discussion of subjects now before the House.

Source: The Indian Express


Posted by V.P.Nimbalkar on 9th Aug 2022