Special Correspondent

Says attendance in House is thin during legislative business

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Parliamentary Affairs Minister of Kerala M. Vijayakumar has regretted what he termed the lack of focus and application on the part of MLAs on legislative business of the Assembly.

Presiding over the inauguration of a workshop for legislators organised by the Institute of Parliamentary Studies here on Tuesday,

Mr. Vijayakumar said the attendance in the Assembly was often the least whenever the House took up legislative business.

The Assembly was supposed to spend most of its time on legislations, but that was not happening. Most legislators were in the habit of vacating their seats the moment the House took up bills for consideration. This must change, he said.

The Minister said his own experience with the policy document on Intellectual Property Rights was one of total neglect by the legislators though the draft policy was in the possession of the members for about six months.

At a time when deliberate attempts were being made in different parts of the country to sabotage the parliamentary system of governance, the legislators had a special responsibility to protect the law-making role of the legislature, Mr. Vijayakumar said.

Inaugurating the workshop, Speaker K. Radhakrishnan said the quality of the Assembly can be enhanced only by improving the quality of participation by the legislators.

There was a time when law-making was considered to be the main job of legislators and people would ask legislators what they were doing in the constituency when they were supposed to be in the Assembly making laws.

The situation had changed and now-a-days the main job of MLAs was to attend marriages, cremations and burials, Mr. Radhakrishnan said.