The “cycle of interruptions” in Parliament will continue endlessly if MPs justify disruptions by citing the conduct of other parties in the past, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has said in an emotional letter to parliamentarians ahead of the Monsoon session next week.
Reminding MPs of their “moral responsibility”, Mahajan urged them to ensure smooth functioning of the House and said “time has come for us to introspect and decide what is the way forward and ideal image for our Parliament and democracy”.
The task of protecting and keeping intact the prestige and sanctity of Parliament, the “sacred temple of democracy”, is a collective responsibility, she said in the two-page letter.
“On the basis of my experience, I can say that people observe the performance of their representatives very keenly and media also presents to the people the detailed report of their performance in Parliament and Parliamentary constituency,” Mahajan, who is serving her eighth term as a MP, said.
It was a privilege being a member of the “august House”, she added, and told MPs that people had great expectations from them and had reposed their faith in them.
“In return you may also wish to not only meet the expectations of your constituents and the nation but also make contribution to the progress of the country and strengthening of democracy.”
Discussing frequent adjournments in the last sessions due to members coming to the well of the house — shouting slogans and showing placards Mahajan said divergence of opinion and dissent should be within the parameters and norms of Parliamentary dignity so that people may continue to have abiding faith in democracy and democratic institutions.
“It is for this purpose that we have given ourselves the rules for conduct of business in the House which have evolved over the years. Thus, is it not our moral responsibility to ensure that these rules are followed in letter and spirit?” she asked.
“Can we justify our own conduct by advancing the argument of improper conduct and interruption of the business of the House by other parties in the past?” she added.
If this argument is accepted then the cycle of interruptions will continue endlessly and such tendencies will never be checked, the speaker asserted.
According to her, MPs must also keep in mind that their conduct in Parliament and the quality of debate and discussion have a profound impact on the views and opinions of the youth regarding democracy.
Mahajan cited a ‘shloka’ from the Shrimadbhagwat Gita to say that whatever a noble man does, other men also do, whatever standard he sets, the world follows it.
The speaker said she is hopeful that political battles will be fought in the constituencies, but MPs will discharge their democratic responsibilities in the house.
The Monsoon session of Parliament begins July 18 and continues till August 10.