Parliament, in its winter session now, should have its sanctity preserved at all costs. It cannot be a theatre for unruly behaviour. Protests are one thing; unruly behaviour is quite another. Indian Parliament has increasingly been misused by political parties to fight the government on issues instead of using it as a platform for reasoned debate. This has brought shame on the institution of democracy. In this context, a firm ‘no’ to a plea for revocation of the suspension of 12 Opposition Members in the Rajya Sabha, from chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday, is both justified and appreciable. If elected ‘representatives’ do not behave in a responsible manner, this sends wrong signals to the general public. Dignity in behaviour in the august house is expected from elected representatives, and enforced first and foremost.
No parliament session in India starts without stormy scenes and disruptions – sometimes, lasting days before a modicum of normalcy is restored. A seasoned Pranab Mukherjee as President had called for an end to wayward behaviour in parliament. The present head of the nation, Ram Nath Kovind, repeated such exhortations; all without any effect of course. Elected representatives cannot be a rule unto themselves. As per a data analysis, the last (Monsoon) Session was the third least productive Lok Sabha session in the last two decades. It registered a productivity of just 21 per cent while the Rajya Sabha scored just 28 per cent, this being its eighth least productive session in a span of two years. Most of the time was wasted in “disruptions” – engaged in more by members of some parties that have only nominal presence in the country. Parliament is not the stage for such entities to show off a clout that they lack in the public sphere. As per an estimate 10 years ago, each minute of Parliament functioning costs the exchequer Rs 2.5 lakh; which could, as per rates now, be double of this – meaning a loss to the exchequer of Rs 36 crore per day.
There is less interest in discussing matters and putting the government on the defensive by citing facts and figures. This should be interpreted to mean a disinterest on the part of public representatives to study matters in-depth. Mere shouting requires no preparation, no spec of intelligence, and it needs only lung power – sadly, the main attribute of present-day politicians. By indulging in such reprehensible acts, they take the nation for a ride. Bills are passed without meeting the elementary requirement of discussions. The very purpose of having a parliament is defeated. This is unacceptable.