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State legislatures had fewer sittings than Parliament in 2021

Both the Parliament and the State Assemblies cited restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the primary reason for cutting back on scheduled sittings. File

Both the Parliament and the State Assemblies cited restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the primary reason for cutting back on scheduled sittings. File

After a low of 33 days in 2020, the Parliament saw only a small improvement in 2021 by functioning for 58 days, keeping the Opposition outcry alive on the reduced number of working days.

In this backdrop, an analysis by The Hindu on the functioning of nine State Assemblies, revealed that the situation was not very different from the working of Parliament.

In 2021, the State Assemblies of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, worked for 11 to 43 days with Punjab lowest in the tally and Odisha at the top. These States have been randomly picked to have a judicious mix of States ruled by the BJP and various Opposition parties.

Both the Parliament and the State Assemblies cited restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the primary reason for cutting back on scheduled sittings.

The Constitution does not prescribe a minimum number of sittings, said Chakshu Roy, head of outreach, PRS Legislative Research. Article 174 of the Constitution only says that the State legislature has to meet within six months of the last session. Within this period, it is up to the State governments to call for the session.

“One would expect that with the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislature would sit for longer providing guidance and proposing solutions. But in fact, the very opposite happened. It was used as an excuse to further shorten the legislative sessions,” Mr. Roy told The Hindu .

Fewerwork daysThe table shows the number of days nine State Assemblies sat in 2021 and 2020. While Punjab had the lowest tally of 11, Odisha fared better with 43 sittings