The article is written by Shikha Mishra, a student of Banasthali University, Jaipur. This article seeks to elucidate the effect of delays caused by the parliament on governance and law.
From the nineteenth century to the present day, the session of Parliament has been disrupted. From the very beginning, it is considered to be of vital importance for raising the issues of the society and for other purposes such as passing Bills, amending the Act, etc. But sometimes parliamentary hurdles arise and Interruptions have become an endemic feature of the functioning of the Indian Parliament. While the disruptions have been taken in the two certain aspects, first is MPs are sharing the blame of disruptions to each other and while other is criticizing the practice of disruption as a form of protest and riot in Parliament.
Hence, the role of lawmakers or representatives is to argue on the appropriateness of the law, and take on the issues regarding the welfare of the public in the Parliament. While disruptions not only hinder legislative business but also leave limited time for debate on the genuine matters. In India, disruptions are never caused by the action of the individual legislator but the few members of the parties caused obstruction in the parliament proceedings and because of that authentic issues can not be dealt with in the parliament at the time. Further unreasonable disruptions may threaten Indian democracy.
Factors obstructing the parliamentary proceedings
Reduction in the number of sittings
In the earlier time, average parliamentary proceedings were held for 90 days a year. Whereas it can be seen from the last seven years, this number has come down to an average of 68 days in a year. Hence, because of the curtailment in the number of sitting days in a house, MPs are not able to take controversial issues as well as not deal with matters regarding the welfare of the people. In the year 2007 there were 65 sittings held in the Rajya Sabha and in 2008 this sittings had reduced to 46. There was an infringement on the constitutional position of Parliament because of the decrease of sittings and curtailment in the number of days the house sits. however it made the government accountable to parliament.
Discipline and decorum
From the last few sessions, such as winter session of 2011, 2013 and 2016 and further monsoon session of 2021 it was noticed that the occurrence of disruption and interruption rapidly rises and also Sometimes there has been an increase in the condition of adjournment of the proceedings of the House.
This not only leads to wastage of the time of the Houses but also adversely distracts the Parliament from its main purpose thereby delaying the proceedings of the Houses.
Sometimes concerns are often expressed regarding the huge money spent on operating the houses which go to ruin due to disruption in the proceedings. Unfortunately, it was observed that disruption and obstruction have evolved as the regular happening of the house of Parliament.
To analyze growing events of indiscipline, Lok Sabha has included a new Rule in the Rules of Procedure for automatic suspension of a member of the House after the Speaker names a member of the House.
Disturbance during the Question Hour
Question hour is considered as a crucial time of the house because it furnishes a scope to the Houses to continuously regulate the working of various ministries and headquarters of the government as well as assure the responsibility of the government to the House. There have been many such cases from the past which suggest that various proposals to shift the Question Hour have been placed in front of the Parliament. However, it was noticed that the Question Hour is not utilized well due to the disruptions caused in the Parliament by the MPs, so far as they raise slogans and demand to raise a matter during the Question Hour, which puts their minds to a standstill was provoking and this obstruction hinders parliamentary proceedings
According to Rule 180 Members can organise special mentions regarding the matter of public importance in the Rajya Sabha. Special mention was not taken regularly. As per Rule 180D, unless the Speaker otherwise directs, no member is permitted to make more than one Special Mention in a week and the total number of Special Mentions sanctioned for a day shall, ordinarily, should not exceed seven.
When special mentions are used to take place the list consists of thirty or forty names that have come out, which makes it extremely difficult to concentrate on each aspect of special mention, so members read-only as text and no one pays attention to these special mentions. And it also hinders in the parliament who will be the first to present their special mention. Therefore all these activities create disturbance in the proceedings of the Parliament. If these special mentions are taken on a regular basis, then matters of public importance will be looked into carefully and work will be done in the interest of the public. It would be better to organize the Special Mention at an appropriate time.
Calling attention is considered a more constructive means for the members to expand the issues of public importance. In the seventies, it was customary to draw attention daily. But it has been noticed that the number of calling attention in the House has come down significantly during the last six years. So it would be better if calling attention is held regularly then the matter of immediate public importance will be discussed in the Parliament so that the members will deliberately pay attention to these matters and also express their opinion on these issues which will reduce the incidents of disruption in the Parliament.
Session of the Indian parliament and their role in republic India
Summons of the parliament session are compulsory and it is mentioned in Article 85 of the Indian Constitution that the President has the authority to call the session of parliament. As per the provision of the Government of India Act 1835, it described that the central assembly was to be called for a discussion at least once a year, and not 12 months could pass between two plenary. Whereas resolution is to get hold by the cabinet assembly on parliament phenomenon which consists of nine ministers comprising defence, finance and law. Ritualized assembly is confirmed by the President in which the name of the MPs is called to meet up for a session. Still, stable parliamentary calendars are not found in the Republic of India. Parliament assembles for three plenaries in a year by protocols.
These sessions are mainly named as:
- Budget session
- Monsoon session
- Winter session
This session usually begins from the last week of January and winds up by the first week of May. Basically, in this session, the cabinet assembly discusses budgetary proposals. Here, the Finance Minister presents the budget every year. After which, all the members discuss the numerous privileges in respect of budget and evaluate the circumstances related to the taxation. The president addresses both the houses within this session.
This session usually begins in July and finishes in September. In the monsoon session matters related to public litigation are evaluated.
This session may start in the mid of the year from November to December and is considered the shortest among all the sessions. It focuses on the phenomenon which could not be considered prior and compensate for the absence of legislative businesses during the second session of parliament.
Role of Parliament in India
The Parliament plays a very crucial role in sustaining the statutes and regulations in the Republic of India.
It is assessed as a legislative power to make fair and strong laws associated is taken with all the main alliance circumstances or occurrences quoted in the Union List. Members of either house introduce new Bills and plans of laws before the Parliament where members of both the houses examine the Bill after the sanction of both the houses and receiving the assent of the President, the Parliament of India approves that Bill or legislation and further that Bill becomes an Act.
Guiding the Cabinet
It is already confirmed from the above para that the Parliament of India consists of the Council of States and the representatives of the people. This member collectively forms the cabinet which helps in overseeing the power the government has to confer. The options have delegated their command to key ministries like finance, defence and other ministries. Parliament is focused on the command, control and performance of the government by that cabinet minister. Opposition parties also play an important role when members present a Bill or law before the Parliament, they discuss it and provide sound suggestions or views regarding the Bill.
The Parliament of India has the right to amend the Constitution. Nevertheless, other houses with a major or total membership are required to accept the amendment to pass a Constitutional amendment.
Another important duty of the Parliament is the judiciary system. Nevertheless, the judiciary system is governed by the President. Parliament has the exclusive power to impeach the President and eliminate judges of the Supreme and High Courts, if necessary.
All parliamentary members are accountable to determine the President and Vice-President of the Republic of India. Nevertheless, they are also superintending to implement the speaker, deputy speaker, speaker deputy chairman.
Dynamic nature of society and obsolete laws and their role in making the working of parliament even more significant.
Due to the dynamic nature of Indian society, lawmaking is considered a long procedure and takes more time to form legislation. Because of the complexity, the parliament of India is not working very productively. It is necessary to implement an effective approach and not a mechanical one for the legislative engineering and organized programming of legislation that can be recommended to be validated over some time.
This can be accomplished by:
- Simplifying the procedures of the Parliamentary and lawful phenomenon Committee of the Cabinet
- Making ultimate use of the Law Commission.
- Establishing a new Legislative Committee of Parliament to govern and cooperate legislative scheduling.
- Regulating all Bills to recently composed Departmental Standing Committees for contemplation and examination, deliberation with the apprehensive interest committees and confirming the next reading stage in a flexible environment of councils helped by specialists to diminish the responsibility of the House to curtail any kind of barrier. Enhancing the integrity of any of its liberties and recruiting and subject of legislation.
- Making better use of the parliament forum to focus on the consequences of public significance
- Raising urgent topics in the parliamentary session by the opposition parties and not focusing on certain issues.
Time taken by Lok Sabha and Rajya sabha for approving any Bill
The Data mentioned by PRS in which it was shown that the average time occupied by Lok Sabha for passing a Bill is 34 minutes while the Rajya Sabha completed it in 46 minutes. There are some Bills like Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2021. which were approved within five minutes. Whereas In both houses, only the OBC bill was argued for more than an hour. As compared to the previous time presently Lok Sabha has taken an average time of 2 hours 23 minutes for making a discussion on a Bill while Rajya Sabha has taken 2 hours for passing a Bill.
While the Lok Sabha lounged for 21 hours 14 minutes against the stipulated time of 96 hours in the monsoon session, disrupting 74 hours and 46 minutes where 13 Bills were introduced and 20 Bills were approved. Some of the foremost Bills are the (One Hundred and Twenty Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021, General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill.
Delays caused by protests and ruckus bucks of opposition
Delay has been caused in the Parliamentary session from the last decade As per the research data of PRS legislative from the last two decades, the monsoon session of the Lok Sabha 2021 was considered the third least productive session within 21 Percent whereas The Rajya Sabha recorded a productivity of 28 per cent, its eighth least productive session since 1999.
- According to the research of the PRS legislative assembly since 1991, the winter session of 2010 was considered the worst session of Lok Sabha and Rajya sabha. At that time BJP was not a ruling party and the party did not allow any work to be done, demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) inquiry into the allocation of 2G spectrum licenses in the light of the CAG report. In that session, the productivity of the Rajya Sabha dropped to just 2 per cent according to PRS data, and Lok Sabha conducted marginally better with 6 per cent.
- In 2013 the last 15th session of Parliament was interrupted by the creation of a separate Telangana state, while some MPs supported and opposed the approval of the former Andhra Pradesh and conducted the House for payment.
- In November 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization of high denomination currency notes and caused disruptions in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, and the productivity of both houses remained at 15 per cent in both 2013 and 2016.
- The opposition party has stalled Parliament proceedings on issues ranging from the Rafale fighter jet deal to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the 2019 budget session, which is considered to be the worst ever and the productivity also dropped to 7 per cent.
- In 2015 the productivity of the Rajya Sabha was getting lower around 9 per cent during the monsoon session because issues like the Vyapam scam and the Lalit Modi controversy rocked the House. Lok Sabha was also disrupted, but it tended to achieve a productivity of 48 per cent. In terms of numbers, the opposition then had the upper hand in the Rajya Sabha.
- Heavy disruption was seen in the Upper House during the first session of the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004 (17 per cent), the 2016 winter session (18 per cent), the 2013 winter session (25 percent), the budget session of the Upper House 2018 (27%) and the monsoon season of 2012 (28%).
The Monsoon session of the Lok Sabha 2021 started on Monday where the opposition parties were getting violent and restricting Prime Minister Narendra Modi from illustrating his recently established Union administrators in the parliament. The parliament was suspended after about 40 minutes till 2 pm as the disturbance proceeded despite Speaker Om Birla’s recited requests to retain decorum. After that, the proceedings started at 2 pm and Rajender Agarwal requested the members to go to their seats and permit the parliament to begin the proceedings. However, opposition parties continued the protest, which resulted in the proceedings being stopped again. However, the Prime Minister said that he believed that the members of the Parliament should have expressed their enthusiasm by placing their hand on the furniture. Further, the Prime Minister said that many members of the parliament did not like the ministers because they belonged to lower backgrounds, and therefore, they displayed such conduct.
The Lok Sabha proceedings came to a standstill yet again after the opposition MPs put up slogans while the government attempted to get back to work in the House. Still, the government pulled up the opposition for repeatedly creating ruckus in the House. Hence, the opposition party agreed to work together and raised stipulations on the Pegasus issue. After that, Congress and DMK affiliated with Trinamool leaders later on “khela hobe” slogans were shouted in the parliament. Concurrently, after rearing slogans for about an hour, some opponent fellows ripped placards and documents and threw them in the air. Some of them arrived at the Speaker’s furniture. A placard flowed on the guest’s balcony. However, the parliament session was dismissed for a short period after that opponent party affiliated together to inveigh against the snooping matter
Meanwhile, the TMC raised its voice very loudly and said that ‘Parliament se khela hobe’, and also that they were associated with Congress and DMK MPs. Union Information and Broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur took rigorous objection against the opponent’s hostility and asserted that opposition MPs, especially those of Congress and TMC, did not run the house function smoothly. Further, Anurag Thakur asked why the opposition ran away from the discussion. Still, they should maintain specific boundaries and not spoil the environment of Parliament so that we can raise the issues of the people in Parliament and work on their welfare. From the above para, it was clear that the opposition parties created a ruckus in the parliament and because of that, there was a delay in passing any pending Bill or law.
How would regulating the conduct of MPs in Parliament help improve the efficiency of the houses
Members in parliament
MPs have a variety of tools accessible to them when debating in Parliament, they are also instructed to observe specific standards of parliamentary decency.
There are various provisions in the regulations of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha which summarize such etiquette.
- There is no need to intervene in any member while speaking, with troubled expressions or noise in any other disorderly behaviour.
- No need to pass between the Chairperson and any member while he is Communicating in the parliament
- It is mandatory to present in the House when the Speaker is addressing the House
- It is necessary to maintain silence when no one speaking in the House;
- When another member is speaking, do not interrupt or obstruct the proceedings and avoid making ongoing comments
- There is no need to shout slogans in the house.
- No need to display flags, emblems or any exhibit in the House.
- It is not necessary to tear papers in the House in protest.
- It is strictly prohibited to sit or stand with your back to the chair
- Do not bring the Chair personally in the House but, if necessary, send chits to the administrators on the Table.
The Speaker of the proceedings of each House of Parliament, such as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Speaker of the HouseRajya Sabha has allocated instructions to all MPs to assure their beneficial participation respectively during parliamentary deliberations.
The guidance which is furnished by the Speaker of both houses are mentioned below:
- Ways of taking part in debates
- Mistakes or inaccuracy in the declarations prepared in the House.
- It is necessary to give a personal explanation to a party-affiliated member.
- It is necessary to manage questions, discussions, actions and other such mechanisms during proceedings.
It is foremost to improve the quality of members for making the working environment in the parliament better. As the parliament what will be what builds its members? It is the initial obligation of each party to sustain and represent a virtuous image of parliament by his behaviour inside and outside of the house of parliament despite his party affiliation. If each member of the Parliament becomes responsible for his/her work, the corporate image of parliament would be improved. At the same time, each member who is sitting at the last bench in the parliament would be entitled to feel pertinent and matter in whatever happens in Parliament. It is required that members of a parliamentary committee set a strict code of conduct for themselves.
It is compulsory to furnish as much vocational training and orientation to every newly selected individual as possible, despite his idealistic or party association. Still, the curriculum should also require sufficient knowledge of political science, legislation, the statutes, methods and precedents of procedure and behaviour of occupation, the tool and modalities of the functioning of the Houses and Parliamentary Councils. And basically, focus on raising practical knowledge, technical and operational realities and adequate conditions, rather than book knowledge. Therefore, the interpretation of legislators and bureaucracy has been adversely affected by the complex administrative tools of parliamentary politics and the lack of education practice in the way contemporary parliamentary organizations operate. At last seminars and orientation are conducted for the newly elected members and it is considered as custom for both participants and the organisers and it becomes monotonous.
Further, it was mentioned that the Speaker of the lower house and the chairman of the upper house have been granted specific disciplinary power beneath the lower house and upper house rules and regulations respectively which prevents the disturbance and deters the MPs from involving in disruptive conduct.
While powers are allotted to the Speaker and the chairman to impose either minor punishments such as naming MPs within official records, or major penalties that compel members to engage in disorderly conduct, to be immediately passed to the House for the remainder of the day’s sitting. Apart from these, Rule 374A of the Lok Sabha Rules enables the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to automatically suspend particular members of the Lok Sabha who enter in the House, cause serious disorder and also repeatedly abuse Lok Sabha Rules, or obstruct the business of the House by raising slogans.
Improving the efficiency of Parliament
The following are the ways for improving the efficiency of Parliament:
- It needs to prohibit the entry of offenders in parliament regions.
- It is also essential to diminish deterioration at the highest phase through effective anti-corruption regulations and developing the administrator accountable
- It seems to be compulsory to provide training to the members of the house for conducting the occupation of parliament
- It is necessary to punish the unruly members by authorizing the Presiding Officers of the Parliament with additional authorities.
- It is essential to make political parties more accountable for their behaviour within Parliament.
- It is compulsory to form coordination councils with the members of the governing party and the opponent for the sharp functioning of the parliament.
From the above discussion, It is concluded that for 5 decades the Parliament is not running very smoothly and there are many cases that show how the proceedings of the Parliament are disrupted. If the ruling government wants to amend any act or pass any law or bill, then as we all know there is no proper debate held between the members of parliament and this ruckus creates a delay in the proceedings. Parliament still needs political and economic reforms and Members of Parliament need to uphold the honour and dignity of Parliament and try to focus on legitimate issues with respect to the welfare of the people rather than creating disturbances.
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