Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Disruption of Parliament

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Code of conduct for Lok Sabha Members

Mains level : Paper 2- Disruption of legislatures and ways to deal with it

Context

Last week, a newspaper reported that the government is considering curtailing the monsoon session of Parliament on account of disruptions.

Reasons for disruptions

  • In 2001, a day-long conference was held in the Central Hall of Parliament to discuss discipline and decorum in legislatures.
  • The inputs of participants of conference helped identify four reasons behind the disorderly conduct by MPs.
  • Inadequate time: The first was dissatisfaction in MPs because of inadequate time for airing their grievances.
  • Unresponsive attitude: The second was an unresponsive attitude of the government and the retaliatory posture of the treasury benches.
  • Adherence to norm: The third was political parties not adhering to parliamentary norms and disciplining their members.
  • Lack of action: The absence of prompt action against disrupting MPs under the legislature’s rules.

Suggestions

  • Enforcement of a code of conduct for MPs and MLAs: The Lok Sabha has had a simple code of conduct for its MPs since 1952.
  • Newer forms of protest led to the updating of these rules in 1989.
  • Accordingly, members should not shout slogans, display placards, tear away documents in protest, play cassettes or tape recorders in the House.
  • A new rule empowers the Lok Sabha Speaker to suspend MPs obstructing the Houses’ business automatically.
  • But these suggestions have not been enforced so far.
  • Increase in working days: As recommended by the 2001 conference, there should be an increase in the working days of Parliament.
  • The conference had also resolved that Parliament should meet for 110 days every year and larger state legislative assemblies for 90 days.
  • Successive governments have shied away from increasing the working days of Parliament.
  • Our legislature should meet throughout the year, like parliaments of most developed democracies.
  • The concept of opposition days: In the United Kingdom, where Parliament meets over 100 days a year, opposition parties get 20 days on which they decide the agenda for discussion in Parliament.
  • The main opposition party gets 17 days and the remaining three days are given to the second-largest opposition party.
  • Canada also has a similar concept of opposition days.
  • This can also be done in India.

Conclusion

More strengthening of our Parliament is the solution to prevent disruption of its proceedings. It is the only mechanism to ensure that disrupting its proceedings or allowing them to be disrupted ceases to be a viable option.

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