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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightA parliament session...

A parliament session merely for the sake of it

A parliament session merely for the sake of it

The monsoon session of Parliament ended two days earlier than scheduled. It is a truism that sessions of parliament are held to discuss the problems of the country's citizens and formulate laws for the nation's development. The parliament is often nicknamed the sanctum sanctorum of democracy. The sentiments of the general public must be addressed here. However, our experience shows that Parliament has no greater mission than as the ground for party politics. It has been decades since we lost the parliamentary culture. The exceptions are the few personal performances and interventions of some members of parliament. Still, the overall performance of the institution of Parliament often fails to reflect a lofty democratic culture. The monsoon session, which has now been cut short, turned out to be an illustration of how Parliament should not be.

The monsoon session came amid the controversy over the Pegasus leak. The mobile phones of the country's leading journalists, lawyers, judges and politicians have been hacked using Pegasus, an Israeli spy software. Those who know about it, including the Opposition, swear that such a thing will not happen except with the will of the government. The makers of Pegasus also say that they do not sell their software except to sovereign countries. It is the responsibility of the government to respond on the matter. However, the monsoon session was so tumultuous as the government was unwilling to discuss the issue in the house or answer any questions raised. The Opposition had also raised other issues such as the Covid wave and the farmers' struggle – all issues on which the government fingers would burn. They decided it best to let the opposition make the commotion and leave. Then they would be relieved to be able to pass 20 bills without even a discussion putting the blame on the ruckus. It's about conveniently adjourning the proceeding on the pretext the sessions were disrupted. According to a study by voluntary organisation, PRS Legislative Research, the current abridged Lok Sabha session witnessed the third-worst performance in 20 years. The Rajya Sabha will be in the eighth position in terms of poor performance. The opposition blames the ruling party for lowering the sessions to this level. Rajya Sabha Speaker and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday spoke emotionally about the Rajya Sabha stalemate. Rahul Gandhi termed the abrupt curtailment of the session as the slaughter of democracy. And the Opposition groups staged a demonstration outside the Parliament too.

The fact is that the ruling party, which is now turning so loquacious about the glory of Parliament, did not even remember it when they were in opposition. According to the PRS study, the worst parliamentary session was the 2010 winter session. At that time the productivity of the Rajya Sabha was two per cent and that of the Lok Sabha was six per cent. The BJP was in opposition then. Everyone, regardless of party or front, has played a role in disrupting Parliament and undermining its dignity. Parliament represents democracy and transparency - two things power politics fear the most.

It is not unusual for the opposition to make agitations in the parliament. Given that they were not able to speak in the streets due to the pandemic restrictions, the voice in the parliament would get stronger. However, it is the duty of the government to ensure that the parliament functions even amidst the disruptions. There's no point expecting this from a government that considers it good the longer the parliament is stalled. Bills will be passed meanwhile, and it will be too late when we realise what the bills say and how they impact the 130 crore people. The message to understand is that our democracy is deteriorating by the day. Beyond politics, it is the vigilance of the sentinels of democracy that remains as the island of resistance.

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TAGS:Parliament monsoon session sessions adjourned marshals against protesting MPS Oppn allege manhandling 
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