An open letter to the MPs who are stalling Parliament
All those concerned with due respect…
Subject: An ardent appeal to review the parliamentary rules in regard to its proceedings …..
Let the Executive rule:
The entire Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Monsoon and winter sessions are almost washed away. The sole reason was the pitiable reduced Indian National Congress was determined to wash it. The Opposition party members seem to have developed the habit and art of discovering new issues to make it an instrument of stalling the proceedings of the House. In every session, there is some new issue.
This time ‘demonetisation’ has become a good cinder i.e. an excuse to disrupt the proceedings, that too for now over two weeks .The opposition wanted the presence of the Prime Minister to reply to their query. Understandable. However, by any stretch of the imagination, it cannot be the member to stall the proceedings. The ruling party members and millions of TV viewers of the House proceedings were left stunned and helpless, former watching it from inside and the latter from all over the world. The hearts of the poorest of the poor bled.
Indian democracy was weeping. The pseudo-liberals and the intelligentsia in the country kept on advising the ruling party to arrive at an amicable compromise and settlement without bothering to search the truth in the alleged episodes. The political scientists and the sociologists in India are genuinely worried over the current affairs in the Indian parliamentary polity. Stalling the proceedings of both the Houses of the Parliament by a handful of the rejected and dejected party MPs is a matter of great concern and of course, shame.
No fortune-teller is needed to forewarn the future of the Indian polity. It is not a political matter but is a political propriety. It is not a war zone of political party affairs. It is not a matter of defeat or victory in electoral battles but it is certainly a matter of social decency. The unruly, unjustifiable inexcusable behaviour of esp. the INC party MPs who are perhaps not even aware that their behaviour is the death-nail of the hard-won Indian parliamentary culture.
Emergency-- a paralysed democratic period:
We cannot forget that only a few decades ago the same INC could not digest the fact when their Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi was unseated from her parliamentary seat by a judicial fiat for playing dirty electoral politics and following corrupt practices , the Congress Party did not hesitate to push the entire country into an unprecedented era of ‘ill-famous emergency’ during which all human and civil rights were suspended and the citizens were forced at the mercy of the Indian State for as many as 20 months.
However, one has to admit and admire that as a true Indian democrat Smt. Indira Gandhi too amended her ways and restored democracy and kept quiet till subsequent mid-term poll. Today as at present the INC party leaders, unlike Smt.Indira Gandhi, give an impression as if it is their alone inherent birthright and responsibility to rule the country. which they have been deprived of , which is something bad in law and therefore the new incumbents , nay these intruders have no business to rule!
The gauntlet of unprecedented challenges
The present new Prime Minister and his government have picked up the gauntlet of unprecedented challenges and to weed out corrupt practices in several fields of public affairs and offer an easy and comfortable life to the citizens. One has to admit with great remorse and contrition that for several decades (in fact several centuries) the society has been living a complicated and corrupt life. The new government is trying to clean up the dirt in the public administration, which requires strong and rigorous measures, and it has been adopted relentlessly.
The entire system in the society and the State for several years has become prone to status quo in the matters of the battle against corruption. Everyone talks about it without any action. Narendrabhai Modi distinguishes himself being the first Prime Minister who has taken the appropriate initiative and lead from front with the corrupt lobbies and gangster-stalwarts in the society and the Government, including the ‘babus’ . It is natural that any measure taken by the Executive which is anti-status-quo and lethal for the interests of the corrupt and interested parties is bound to invite stiff opposition and counter-offensive. We all know that ‘truth is stranger than fiction’.
There are several secrets in the affairs of several political parties which are kept or required to be kept secrets at any costs. Party leaders at several higher echelons do have accounted bank balances and unaccounted dearly kept hard cash as well which these leaders desire to protect it at all costs. The new government , in accordance with their election manifesto, have preferred many measures to unfold the closely guarded secrets and disclose the unaccounted money, irrespective of the political parties—whether from treasury benches or in opposition , have squarely rattled , the leaders , lobbies , groups and of course all seem to have been adversely affected .
The need of the hour is to ponder over the status report of the recent political facts. Nobody needs to be panic over these episodes. The making of the political society of India needs a strong, effective, rigorous, severe and tough-willed legal framework to correct the flow. The societal problems languishing at the national level are black money , corruption , corrupt mentality , secretly acquired foreign funds, fake money deployed by terrorists and spies , and penal as well as executive measures were taken are required to be looked at from above the petty party considerations . These ought to be considered as national issues.
Why are the House business rules?
The House is not for Party wars, certainly not to settle scores against each other. The TV viewers would remember that at times some members have almost come blows reaching a flash point. The floor of the House is for debate and resolve, insist upon ideological differences, appreciate positive decisions while pointing out fallacies and suggesting corrective measures in the national interests. It must be remembered that irrespective of majority or minority or the ideological differences the Rules must be followed most obediently because obedience to the Rules is the precondition of the success of the hard earned parliamentary democracy.
Homework on the Rules:
As we all of us are very much aware of the rules of the business and the procedures to be followed in the House as prescribed are as follows:
The questions asked by the MPs in the House/ raised in the House are governed by Rules numbers 32 to 54. The Speaker is the final authority on whether to allow a question to be raised by the member or not. Did the Speaker who chooses a member to raise a question in the House, the size or the length of the question is also decided by the Speaker. Moreover, if the Speaker is satisfied that the question raised is not worth, he can disallow the member to speak further.
Under Rule 55, the Speaker may allow and allot time up to half an hour discussion on a subject referred to by the member is of urgency. The Speaker’s decision is final. Adjournment motions and Rules in this behalf are governed fewer than 56 to 63. The Speaker is the final authority on whether an adjournment motions whether to be allowed or not. The Speaker prescribes a time limit for speeches. Motions to be moved by a member are governed by Rules 184 to 192. Short duration’s discussions could be held under Rules 193 to 196. Calling attention debates are caused by any member under Rule 197 on any matter of urgent public importance.
The sanctity of the House is protected under a set of Rules from 222 to 233. Any member with the consent of the Speaker may raise a question of breach of privilege in the House. General Rules of procedure which are required to be followed meticulously are prescribed by Rule 332 to 374A. It can be construed that the behavioural pattern of the members on the floor of the House is governed by these Rules. Rule 373 and 374 empowers the Speaker to order a member to leave the House as well as a motion of suspension from the service of the House under Rule 374 if the Speaker is satisfied that the behaviour of the member is offensive enough to attract admonition or suspension.
This seems to be the over-all structure of the Rules of the proceedings of the House.
Veteran leaders in the opposition must behave properly:
A few veteran Party leaders seem to have ceased to be veterans when looked at their behaviour and performance. These veterans are deposits of the decency of the House. In fact, where is the opposition? There are in fact a few splinter groups of erstwhile ‘ancestral’ united party without any sort of consistent ideological continuity. Yet what do we watch on the TV screen? The actual scene depicts that most of the members (at times, in retaliation the treasury benches too) blatantly flout the rules of the procedure of the business of the House. In fact, the present Hon'ble Speaker of the Lok Sabah is extremely decent, cultured, courteous and in fact lenient towards the misbehaviour of the members. Undue decency shown towards the persistently deliberate rowdy party leaders in the House may not yield fruits of discipline or decorum. Strict implementation of the existing rules may perhaps suffice the purpose. The present Hon’ble Speaker conducts the proceedings of the House without Marshalls cannot be forgotten and ignored .The spirit of the law, as well as the letter of the law too, is required to be strictly adhered to in order to maintain the order in the House.
United voice of the House is a rare, occasional celebration:
It is not that the parliamentary history of India is bad, but it is once in a blue moon. What is necessary is that every day of the duly convened session of the House has to be fruitful and business like. It is the legitimate right of the citizens to witness free and fair learned debates in the proceedings of the House. Individuals with no personal discipline whatsoever can think of such a situation. Legislative business including various Bills which are in the national interests needs to be cleared regularly with full deliberations. One has to remember that every legislation is a measure of welfare act, and the electorate has elected the representatives for their good being.
In view of the above , this is an appeal to your Excellencies to kindly consider to take a considerate review of the situation and to protect the sanctity of the Institutions of our Parliament which is the citadel of our ancient polity , culture and democracy.
The fear: Let us not be forced to amend the Constitution of India to avoid obnoxious ochlocracy. Can we do?
In the views expressed as above, in no way do we intend to commit any contempt of the House? This is a pure academic expression for which, your Excellencies, we need your protection.