The editorial on Parliament (Feb.24) is timely. Hopefully, we will elect our representatives in the coming election in a manner that restores decorum and upholds the sanctity of Parliament. Democracy means people of various walks of life are represented with the government of the day taking a collective decision to ensure fair play and equality to all. Unfortunately, what we see in our legislatures and Houses today are proceedings that are disrupted by unruly behaviour. The main reason is that the ruling majority forces its agenda without taking the minority opposition into confidence. The President telling our lawmakers recently to “discuss, debate and decide”, made for very sound advice. But it has gone unheard.
B. Sundar Raman,
The editorial reflects the sorry state of Parliament. “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt. Obviously, the true spirit of democracy necessitates the quality of thoughts and the manner of deliberation and decision-making, coupled with dignity and decorum. India’s future is indeed imperilled if Parliament is imperilled.
Batlagundu, Tamil Nadu
The greatest problem in our legislatures and the Lok Sabha is the bias of the presiding officer toward the ruling party. The presiding officers do not make any decision that will cause discomfort to the government, however justified it may be. The solution lies in appointing professionals with no political affiliation as Speakers, preferably those chosen by the UPSC. They must be given powers to suspend unruly members.
During the 15th Lok Sabha, the nation witnessed unruly scenes, disruptions, stalling of the passage of vital bills and even the growing helplessness of the leaders of both Houses. The Speaker, the Chairman and the floor managers are responsible for the smooth conduct of sessions, but we are unable to grasp why leaders of various parties are passive and tolerant of what amounts to hooliganism. It is not the ruling party alone that is answerable to the taxpayer but also every MP sent to Parliament to debate, discuss and make laws. The rule of “no work-no pay” has to apply to our parliamentarians too.
Rameeza A. Rasheed,
Parliament and the State Assemblies are institutions for reasoned debate, and not wrestling rings. There are well-laid-out rules and procedures governing debate and discussion. But what we have been increasingly witnessing of late is the flagrant violation of parliamentary norms. How can our democracy be safe in the hands of such law-breakers?
After the incident of the pepper spray attack in Parliament, a code of conduct in Parliament/State Assemblies is a must. More power should be conferred on the Speaker to take strong action, with a provision to expel members indulging in disruptive behaviour.
Cooch Behar, West Bengal