Parliament Session Disruption: Mockery of Democracy
By Mithilesh Kumar Sinha | EMN
A healthy parliament works on three ‘D’ i.e. debate, dissent and discussion. But the fourth ‘D’ Disruption has crept into the Indian parliament and has become a bone of contention not only for parliamentary functioning but also for the people of India. The current washout of the Parliamentary session throws open larger questions about the role and relevance of the institution. Disruptions have become an endemic feature of the functioning of the Indian Parliament Not doing debate and discussion produced a mockery of democracy. Taxes collected from the people being spent by the government in an arbitrary manner — without discussion in Parliament
The Budget session of Parliament which concluded on Friday, was a complete washout, marking the end of a session in which 127 hours of work were lost to protests over varied issues. The Rajya Sabha saw 120 working hours being wasted. As the government and opposition have continued to level charges at one other, the institution of Parliament has emerged as the biggest victim, as near-negligible business has been conducting. The second leg of the Budget Session ended in a washout on Friday as both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine dine, bringing to a close a month of pandemonium and repeated disruptions that saw a total of nearly 250 working hours wasted. In the session that began on March 5, the Lok Sabha lost 127 hours and 45 minutes while the Rajya Sabha lost more than 121 hours. Looking at the data for the overall session, Lok Sabha spent 1% of its productive time on legislative business, while Rajya Sabha spent 6%. this session witnessed the poorest performance of Question Hour in Lok Sabha since 2014. Question Hour in Lok Sabha functioned for 12% of its scheduled time and for 4% in Rajya Sabha. This has been a terrible time for our Parliament not because one or another issue could not be debated, but because depraved parliamentary practice was on view “our parliamentarians cannot be allowed to hold the nation to ransom while the nation pays 1•5 crore per hour to run the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.” There already is a dearth of time to acknowledge the needs of an 125 crore population by a handful of men and upon it there comes the burden of these flippant conversations, also known as ‘disruptions’. The citizens have paid enough to watch this tomfoolery with the future of the nation. The most populous democracy in the world has become the worst, going by the behaviour of the MPs, especially those stalling legislation on a daily basis in the Parliament. Disrupting Parliament reflects badly on these leaders, especially when it involves the non-passing of bills which benefit the poor. We live in one of the most stable democracy of the world and patience and tolerance are the pillars on which it stands. Considering stability a boon, the politicians must not swerve from their pledge to serve the nation and its people. The people have voted for the MP; that MP is supposed to respond to their needs and also to her/his conscience. Not according to her/his party boss or high commands because s/he is a people’s representative.
According to PRS Legislative Research, “this was the least productive Budget session for both Houses since 2000”. During the session on an average, Lok Sabha worked for 21 per cent of its scheduled time, while Rajya Sabha worked for 27 per cent, it said. According to data provided by Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar, the productivity of the Lok Sabha(LS) was 134 per cent, and that of the Rajya Sabha(RS) around 96 per cent during the brief first part of the session. The first part had seven LS and eight RS sittings. But the second part of the session saw productivity taking a nose dive due to daily disruptions and adjournments. The productivity of the LS was four per cent and that of the RS eight per cent, the minister said. “The productivity of the complete Budget session was 23 per cent for the LS and 28 per cent for the RS,” he said.
Frequent disruptions have been weakening Parliamentary democracy. We are all losers. This includes the opposition, the ruling party, the government and most importantly, the people and the nation”. Forgetting the notions of disagreements outside the Parliament, the parliamentarians should present a better picture of the Indian democracy.