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Day 23 – Q. 2 The disruption of parliamentary proceedings has a huge socio-political cost. How? Explain with the help of suitable examples. What measures would you suggest to enforce accountability for frequent disruptions?

  • IASbaba
  • December 20, 2022
  • 0
GS 2, Indian Polity, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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The disruption of parliamentary proceedings has a huge socio-political cost. How? Explain with the help of suitable examples. What measures would you suggest to enforce accountability for frequent disruptions?

 संसदीय कार्यवाही में बाधा डालने की भारी सामाजिक-राजनीतिक कीमत चुकानी पड़ती है। कैसे? उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से व्याख्या कीजिए। बार-बार व्यवधानों के लिए उत्तरदायित्व लागू करने के लिए आप क्या उपाय सुझाएंगे?


Approach-

In this question candidates need to write about how the disruption in parliamentary proceedings has huge socio-political cost.explain with help of some examples and and suggest some measures to enforce accountability .

Introduction-

Disruption is replacing discussion as the foundation of our legislative functioning.In a representative democracy like ours, Parliament is supposed to be the voice of the people and people’s disenchantment with the Parliamentary system would risk the relevance of this 75 year old institution of our society.

Body –

A decline in the productivity of Parliament impairs its ability to effectively perform the duties that have been entrusted to it by the Constitution,

  • Opposition protests and ruling party vindictiveness have resulted in the fall of parliamentary standards.
  • Parliamentary discussion is a manifestation of a representative kind of democracy in operation, in the sense that representation of the people directly questions the government on matters of governance.
  • Reduced working hours of Parliament: The Parliament working hours are getting reduced day by day due to frequent disruptions.
  • Erosion of faith in Parliament and Fall of parliamentary standards.

Socio-economic cost of disruptions –

  • Disruptions and ineffective functioning lead to a reduction in the trust of people in Parliament.
  • Wastage of taxpayers’ money-Parliament not functioning to its fullest potential is the blatant wastage of taxpayers’ money.
  • The disruptions have led to a loss of more than Rs 133 crore to the exchequer,
  • With Parliament being disrupted routinely, Members of Parliament (MPs) are not able to ask ministers tough questions during question hour to assess the work that their ministries are doing.
  • According to government’s estimates, each minute of the Parliament costs Rs 2.5 lakh.
  • With disruptions eating into the time available for Parliamentary business, adequate time is not available for debating legislation.
  • As a result, Bills either get passed without effective debate or remain pending in Parliament.
  • With Parliament meeting for a fewer number of days and with its productivity falling on account of disruptions, MPs are not able to raise matters of urgent public importance and bring it to the attention of the government.
  • It is easy to identify political controversies which lead to Parliamentary disruption. However these political controversies are only the symptoms and not the cause of disruption.
  • In every democracy there would be contentious issues and the strength of a democracy would be demonstrated by the quality of debate and deliberation on such issues.
  • For debate and deliberation to happen, Parliamentary procedure would have to evolve to enable political parties on different sides of the issue to set the agenda for debate and discuss the issue in detail on the floor of the house.
  • In any Parliamentary democracy, Parliament influences and is influenced by public opinion. It is an institution where ideas are discussed and political and ideological differences ironed out through debate and consensus building.
  • If disruptions in Parliament continue then slowly but surely it would lead to people slowly disengaging with the institution of Parliament.

Measures to enforce accountability for frequent disruptions –

  • Code of Conduct: To curb disorder in Parliament there is a need for strict enforcement of code of conduct for MPs and MLAs.
  • These ideas are not new. For example, the Lok Sabha has had a simple code of conduct for its MPs since 1952. Newer forms of protest led to the updating of these rules in 1989.
  • The Lok Sabha Speaker should suspend MPs not following such codes and obstructing the Houses’ business.
  • Increasing Number of Working Days: Recommended by the 2001 conference, there should be an increase in the working days of Parliament. It resolved that Parliament should meet for 110 days every year and state legislative assemblies for 90 days.
  • This would also require Parliament to meet for more number of days in a year and sit for longer hours. This would ensure that even if the proceedings are disrupted there is still enough time for deliberations.
  • In the United Kingdom, where Parliament meets over 100 days a year, opposition parties get 20 days on which they decide the agenda for discussion in Parliament. Canada also has a similar concept of opposition days.
  • Democratic Participation: Not all disruptions in the Parliament are necessarily counter-productive. Thus, the government of the day needs to be more democratic and allow the opposition to put their ideas in free manner.
  • Proposals in Individual Capacity:
  • In 2019, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson mooted an idea of evolving a ‘Parliament Disruption Index’ to monitor disruptions in Parliament and state legislature.
  • In the Lok Sabha, some members proposed automatic suspension of members who cause disruption and rush to the Well of the House.But the proposals are still in a nascent stage.
  • Productivity Meter: The overall productivity of the session also can be studied and disseminated to the public on a weekly basis.
  • For this, a “Productivity Meter” could be created which would take into consideration the number of hours that were wasted on disruptions and adjournments, and monitor the productivity of the day-to-day working of both Houses of Parliament.

Way ahead-

  • An attempt must be made by parliamentarians to tamp down on this hostility with the onus on doing so being more on the ruling party and its representatives.
  • There are enough tools, mechanisms, structures and precedents in India’s parliamentary history that can be relied upon by the current set of legislators to bring back useful deliberation.

Conclusion

Democracy is judged by the debate it encourages and sustains. More strengthening of the Parliament is the solution to prevent disruption of its proceedings. There should be a deepening of its role as the forum for deliberation on critical national issues.

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