Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu stressed the need for parliamentary reforms while addressing The First Arun Jaitley Memorial Lecture organised by Delhi University on Tuesday.
“There is a need for reorientation on the part of MPs and more so a pressing need for parliamentary reforms to restore the trust of the people in parliamentary institutions,” he said.
Points out problems
Mr. Naidu, also the Rajya Sabha Chairman, said the problems in the parliamentary system include the declining number of sittings of legislatures, persistent disruptions, declining quality of debates, growing number of legislatures with criminal records, high degree of absenteeism, inadequate representation of women, increase in money and muscle power in elections, lack of inner democracy in functioning of the political parties among others.
He said with a higher number of literate people and those with advanced qualifications it was ironical that such concerns had become even more pronounced compared to earlier leading to an erosion of trust of the people in these law-making bodies.
Mr. Naidu also laid out a 16-point agenda for the way forward for parliamentary reforms, which includes the need to review anti-defection law to address “grey areas” that led to the expulsion of legislators and a review of the “Whip System which was stifling reasonable dissent within parties even over non-consequential matters”.
He also mentioned that there is a need to fix longer tenures for Standing Committees to ensure their effective functioning and said he would take up the issue with the Lok Sabha Speaker.
He said there is a need to improve the representation of women, stronger rules with regard to attendance, regular reports on the performance of legislators, the need to make effective interventions with regard to criminality and unethical conduct among legislators, the need for simultaneous elections and more. He added that the government needs to be responsive to the views and concerns of Opposition while among other interventions.