The winter session of the Parliament culminated as a debacle. The sessions that commenced on November 16 saw the passage of only the Rights of Persons with Disability Bill by both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Just like Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari said in a statement, ‘peace prevailed only when obituaries were read out’. President Pranab Mukherjee recently had hinted at the Parliament logjam expressing his concern over the continuous disruption of the House proceedings. Senior BJP leader L K Advani had also voiced his anguish even by going to the extent of saying that he felt like resigning. The purpose of deliberating in depth and with gravity, the issues faced by the country as well as its citizens for which the Parliament sessions are conducted at a huge expense, went unmet. Both the Houses lost over ninety per cent of their time due to disruptions of the proceedings, conflicting arguments and shouting slogans. And that too amidst the latest demonetisation crisis that is badly afflicting the nation. All, except the rich and the affluent are the worst hit. Economy has toppled and unemployment has surged up. Areas like the service, construction, agricultural, small scale and trade sectors have spiralled into stagnation. The troubles the demonetisation has brought along are worth convening even a special session of the Parliament. However, our representatives have been so irresponsible that they betrayed the parliamentary-democratic system of the country by letting the just-concluded session pass without taking any legislative actions.
The Opposition too, just like the ruling party, had equal role in creating a mess out of the system. Uproar and protests are justifiable only if it is for carrying out the prime responsibility of raising the issues concerning the people. It could be successfully accomplished by utilising the legal loopholes and using parliamentary tactics as well as doing the necessary homework and not by stalling the parliament. Unfortunately, the skills of those in the Opposition also went futile. At the same time, the ruling party certainly has more responsibility in the matter. If the Opposition created a furore demanding the presence of Prime Minister Modi at the beginning of the session, it’s the government who is solely accountable. No major discussions took place in the Parliament over the note-ban, one of the colossal economic processes witnessed by the nation in recent history. The present government is therefore, evidently causing the dysfunction of the Parliament. The representatives didn’t even initiate the discussion over the crisis that is directly affecting the entire population. Isn’t this negligence of the Parliament more severe than its interruption? The Opposition was comparatively ready for compromise in the House. They first raised a demand for adjournment motion; then agreed for discussion, even willing for a discussion without voting. However, the ruling alliance continuously evaded a discussion on the matter. The adamant stand of the Prime Minister that he would not participate in the discussion was not a good precedence.
Where should such discussions for the people be held? And by whom? The ruling party might be able to gain benefits by stalling the Parliament. But it’s the vital part of the democratic system that freezes. Here, the system of some countries is a model to be followed. There the Opposition gets prominence in some days of the total sessions-days. In Britain, the Opposition decides the proceedings for twenty days in every session. Same goes in the case of Canada where the Opposition decides the parliament agenda for 22 days every calendar year. In a parliamentary system, it’s the duty of the ruling alliance to respect the Opposition. The parliament that has failed to execute its goals has once again made the Indian democracy a butt of jokes.