Flagging the growing “negative” perception in the minds of a common man about the image of the Parliamentarians, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has written to all MPs appealing to them to maintain discipline and decorum of the House and refrain from rushing to the Well, shouting slogans and waving placards. Ms Mahajan had suspended 25 Congress MPs for 5 days during the Monsoon session of Parliament after they raised protest against the incumbent BJP-led NDA government over the twin issue of Lalit Modi controversy and ‘Vyapam’ scam of Madhya Pradesh.
“India is not only the largest democracy in the world but its democratic values, principles and ideals are highly respected all over the world. Our democracy also acts as a shining example of vibrant democracy and is an inspiration to people within and outside India. All over the world, people watch and follow the parliamentary proceedings,” the Speaker wrote in her letter to the MPs across the party line on September 23.
Adding that during her interactions with schoolchildren, mediapersons and foreign dignitaries, she was asked about “frequent disruptions and low productivity” of the House, Sumitra Mahajan said, “coming to the Well of the House, shouting slogans, showing of placards and banners and persistent disruptions of the proceedings of the House do not showcase our democracy in a befitting manner.”
The Lok Sabha Speaker further added that she was “pained” at the instances where the expected norms of discipline and decorum were not observed by some members.
During the Monsoon session, Ms Mahajan had, in an unprecedented move, suspended 25 Congress party MPs for five days for causing disruptions. The move led to deepening of impasse between the opposition and the treasury with Congress President Sonia Gandhi describing the suspension of her party MPs as a “black day for democracy”. Apart from the Congress party, nine other opposition parties had boycotted the Lower House for these days to express solidarity with the suspended members.
With the Opposition unrelenting on their protest demanding resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over the Lalit Modi row and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam, the Monsoon Session resulted in a washout with very little business transcated.
Further in her letter, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said while MPs in a parliamentary democracy has the right to put forth their views and they do enjoy the democratic right of protest but even that has to be done “within the well-established parameters and norms of parliamentary democracy.”
“One of the arguments given in favour of unruly behaviour and disrupting the House proceedings is that the other side had also done the same in the past. In a vibrant democracy like ours, the position regarding ruling and opposition parties depends on people’s will and role reversal is not uncommon…. As they say that two wrongs do not make one right. We have to put a stop to this practice otherwise it will continue forever,” Ms Mahajan said in alluding to the argument that the ruling BJP too had resorted to protests in the House when the Congress-led UPA was in power.
The Winter Session of the Parliament begins in November, where Narendra Modi-led government is expected to give a push to its reforms agenda, especially the GST Bill.
(With inputs from the PTI)