The Budget Session of Parliament concluded on Friday amid growing concerns by Presiding Officers over “disturbing frequency” of disruptions and Speaker Meira Kumar lamenting that the House was being rendered “irrelevant.”

The two-and-a-half month long session saw 70 hours of Lok Sabha and 45 hours of Rajya Sabha being wasted due to disruptions over various issues including women’s bill, nuclear liability bill and price rise.

“An overview of the session cannot avoid the impression that much time was lost in disruptions and adjournments arising out of disruptions,” Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari said.

He expressed anguish over the lowering of the “image of the legislature” in the eyes of public.

“Rules for the conduct of business were sought to be flouted with disturbing frequency. The Question Hour became its principal victim and could not be conducted on 13 of the 31 scheduled sittings,” he observed.

Expressing “great concern” over the disruptions, Ms. Kumar said, “It is a matter of great concern that the House did not function on many days.

“Parliamentary democracy can survive only if members allow the House to function. Disruption of the House will gradually render this institution irrelevant.”

Ms. Kumar later told reporters that she will speak to all parties on whether the Question Hour needs to be shifted (from its 11 a.m. slot). “Very few questions were asked. Since the government is accountable to Parliament, it is vital that questions are asked,” she said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal disapproved of the adjournments by the members of the ruling party saying they should not behave like Opposition members.

The landmark Women’s Reservation Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha but could not be introduced in Lok Sabha due to strong opposition from the Yadav trio — SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD(U) President Sharad Yadav.

The Budget session had begun on February 22 with the President’s Address to both Houses and there were 32 sittings.

Keywords: Budget session

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