With the Modi government opting for ordinances eight times in as many months, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday cautioned against the “ordinance route” being taken for normal legislations.
Ordinances are meant for specific purpose “to meet an extraordinary situation under extraordinary circumstances”, the President said citing the Constitution.
Amidst talk that the government may convene a joint session of Parliament to pass legislations in view of the deadlock in the Rajya Sabha where it does not have a majority, Mukherjee said passage of legislations in that manner “is not practicable because I have seen from 1952 till today only four times laws were passed by joint session”.
“Ordinance route cannot be taken, should not be taken for normal legislation,” he said replying to a question whether frequent resort to ordinance follows the spirit of Constitution.
The remarks of the President, who was answering questions during an address to Central varsities and research institutions, come against the backdrop of the Modi government having issued eight ordinances including those for raising the FDI limit in the insurance sector and e-auctioning of coal mines.
The President had recently called three senior ministers including Arun Jaitley and raised questions over the urgency of the ordinance relating to acquisition of land. However, he later gave assent to it.
Explaining the ordinance-making powers under the Constitution, he said when the government issues ordinances, it is also taking the risk of getting them lapsed if they cannot get them approved by the Houses, both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, within a maximum period of six months.
He said Constitution had all the safeguards to ensure that such a provision is meant only for “an extraordinary situation under extraordinary circumstances.”
Referring to the supremacy of regional parties in states affecting the strength of national parties in Rajya Sabha, the President said “Therefore, their (Rajya Sabha) consent is required to avert extreme cases through the joint session, which is a constitutional provision but it is not practicable because I have seen from 1952 till today, only four times laws were passed by Joint Session.”
Replying to another question, Mukherjee disapproved of the frequent disruptions in Parliament and legislative Assemblies.
“It is incumbent on the ruling party and opposition to sit together and find a workable solution to avoid disruptions. A disruption is not the way to Parliamentary intervention. Disruptions will only showcase energy but does not allow others to make their voice heard.
“The ruling party has a major role in running of Parliament and should take initiative and the opposition should cooperate because only informed discussion and dialogue in the spirit of accommodation should allow enactment of law for betterment of people.
“I request both ruling and opposition parties to share their concerns to see that disruptions be avoided and Parliament should start functioning,” he said.