Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari, who is also the Chairman of the Upper House has voiced concern over the reduced duration of Parliament sessions. He slammed frequent disruptions of proceedings and compared it to holding the House to “ransom” for the interest of a group or an individual.
Disruptions like coming into well mean losing precious time and also amount to “impinging on the privileges of the other members”, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Hamid Ansari said on Saturday morning while addressing an orientation programme for newly-elected and nominated Rajya Sabha members.
“This is my personal opinion and I have shared it with successive Prime Ministers (that) the duration of Parliament sitting over the years has contracted…Earlier, Parliament used to sit for 100-110 days. There was sufficient time, both for discussion and debate and all other activities. Now the average is 70 days plus or minus…There is a much greater requirement for time management,” said VP Ansari.
He noted that disagreement could be conveyed by staging brief walkouts but completely disapproved of members coming into the Well of the House.
This is creating a bad impression among the people, the Vice President explained.
“If you yourself move out of the circle of what is parliamentary or unparliamentary then anybody in general public is free to do the same. Coming into well is holding the House to ransom for an interest of an individual or a group….It means an individual or a group of members are impinging upon the privileges of other members of the House…Besides, it creates a bad impression in the public and the impression is that MPs don’t work and make only noises. I don’t think it is in our interest. How fair is that?” he said.
VP Ansari also emphasised that “brevity” and “time management” during Zero and Question Hour was crucial and urged the new members to be brief. He also urged the members of parliament to give importance to the work of standing committees.
Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha P J Kurien said that the Parliamentarians have “failed” to make the government accountable in the last couple of years.
“Question Hour is the time when you really hold the government accountable. Ministers will be on their toes…But many a times we lose the Question Hour. When we look back, in those areas where Parliament functions, we have perhaps failed. We ourselves fail us and that is the unfortunate part of it,” Kurien said.
(With inputs from PTI)