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the same with the help of various illustrations, both from India and other countries. The eleventh Lok Sabha had more than its share of first timers- more than half (293) members the House comprise of freshers. If the sense of responsibility to Parliament of new members is poor, if their competence, culture and commitment is appallingly low, how can we expect them to perform the far more difficult job a closely scrutinizing the work of the ministries? A large number of MPs showed little interest in attending the Lok Sabha. Mamata Banerjee, a member of the 14th Lok Sabha, was busy in street fights in Singur and Nandigram, that after 24 years as an MP and minister, her faith in Parliamentary democracy seems to be on the wane. The attendance register at the lobby of the Lok Sabha shows the MP from Kolkata south attended the House on 52 days or once every six days. Govinda, Congress MP from Mumbai North attended just for 38 days. After the historic en masses resignation by 104 opposition MPs from the Lok Sabha, the Prime Miinister Rajiv Gandhi, speaking in the house, charged them with running away from Parliament. In the same breath, he said that the opposition MPs in the Rajya Sabha was sticking to their seats like limpets instead of reigning. Prime Minister’s offensive remarks against the members of the other house-which is a separate entity and a sovereign entity, were violative of all cannons of Parliamentary propriety. The first Prime Minister JL Nehru in his time was a leader who would command the respect of the entire House even while projecting the governance point of view never missed attending the Parliament especially when important issues were being debated. But a late successor of his Rajiv Gandhi was rarely seen in the Parliament even when he was not on his frequent overseas job. He was conspicuous by his absence when the two houses decided the Bofors issue more than once. Worse, he encouraged his supporters to disturb, provoke and barricade the opposition speakers. His behavior in the Rajya Sabha when Congress (I) members repeatedly defied the Chairman, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, forcing his to tear a near resignation was a classic example of his cavalier treatment of Parliament.
74 days per statute and the higher house a startling 0. The eight Lok Sabha enacted 333 statutes including 10 constitutional amendments. And even 0. The question of proper scrutiny and public discussion simply did not arise. Impressive for sure but frightening.63 days. the Muslim bill. The facts are quite startling. In the year 2008. The Punjab (59th) Amendment was debated the very day it was introduced.74 and 0. 8 with 2 days. It means that the Lok Sabha spent an average of 0. 12 with 3 and 10 with 4 days notice. consumer and environment legislation. The famous anti-defection amendment was passed with a mere sic-days’ notice one day each by the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. Virtual monopoly of Political Power enjoyed by a single political party for about 50 years has systematically converted the Parliament into nothing but a legislative rubber stamp. This is actual number of days on which the statutes passed were debated. huge appropriations to the government. 23 were introduced with one day’s notice. Constitutional amendment.63 days means a fraction of days. Parliament was denied the power to discharge its responsibility from making the government accountable to the nation through parliament2 1 2 . This concerns a vast amount of legislation. social welfare matters. anti-terrorist and anti-drug abuse legislation. Parliaments shrinking roles in governance was eloquently demonstrated on August 26 2004 when question hour was suspended to rush the finance bill through. 14 important bills were passed in a single day in a trifling 20 minutes. Till July 1989 317 statutes were passed which had been debated for a near 232 days in the Lok Sabha and 201 days in the Rajya Sabha. Consider the serious implication of the situation. How can Parliament do justice to this volume of legislature? If the Legislative function was thwarted with such alacrity. Each of them basically flawed and passed in haste. Almost 105 statutes were passed b y the House on the very day they were introduced. changes in taxes. call attention motion. For even those days the Parliament was doing a large number f other things-the President’s Rule. a question hour and many other things.1 All in all till July 1989. at least 1084 bills were presented to the Parliament with almost 900 to the Lok Sabha.
In 2006 the Parliament sat for 77 days. In 1956 the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sat for 151 and 113 days respectively.299 crore were adopted. one for Karnataka. Lok Sabha had 613 sittings (3071 hours). The Upper House meanwhile had 565 sittings during the same tenure. Similarly there was no discussion before Demands of Grants totaling Rupees. This is not a positive trend as it also included a period of Emergency. This involves over Rupees 8 lakh crore. There were 677 sittings (3784 hours) during the first Lok Sabha. The Appropriations Bill within statutory sanction to the grants passes and the ‘charged’ accounts was passed without a discussion. Even the 2005 general budget was no exception. Experienced experts in and out of the parliament may find such affirmation of the Parliament a routine. And now it looks that the 14th Lok Sabha has met for only 332 days and ended up as the House which worked the least. But why should Parliament have this responsibility if the scrutiny is going to be so hopelessly undermined? To the trend of declining terms of the number and duration of settings of Parliament after a period of First Lok Sabha during 1952-57 the facts are startling. this trend of deterioration has not only in terms of sittings or ‘hours of labour’ but also the quality and length of the debates and the legislative outcomes. This is the highest of sittings of the Parliament till today. appalling 19 appropriations for the Railway. The fact that they were passed with no notice and virtually no debate within a fraction of day in each of the Houses is indeed a preposterous disposition on the part of the legislature. The average number of sittings of the Lok Sabha during 1950-57 was 135 days a year.417 crores was passed by the parliament without discussion. 5 votes on account plus three for Punjab and one for Tamil Nadu. This is the highest recorded counts in the number of sittings in the House of People. This is disheartening and will inevitably erode public trust in the institution of Parliament. three for Tamil Nadu. Each time and Appropriation Bill of voting on account was placed before the Parliament and crores of Rupees were sanctioned ad let there be no doubt about the vastness of the sums of money involved. There were 26 appropriation acts. The 2004-05 Railway budget for 41. Now comparing this with 1971-77 tenure (when the Parliament had its tenure extended by a year). in 2007 the number declined to a mere 66 days marking the lowest number of sittings in the Parliament with the exception of 2004 which was the election year. 39. There’s a long pending proposal that the minimum number of days of sittings . 9 for Punjab. the motion of thanks on the President’s address was passed without any discussion. 3. Recently.
There was a joint committee for the same but it transpired. Gandhi’s assanination was hidden from parliament itself until a newspaper elicited the same. Commissions of inquiry have been told that they need not place their total reports before the Parliament. Palmer commenting of working of our parliament in Nehru’s time said ‘it (Parliament) can hardly be ignored even while a person with a stature and influence of the present prime minister who unfortunately does not aspire to rule by unparliamentarily means’. Norman D. The Thakker report on Mrs.in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha should be fixed to 100 and 120 days respectively so as to ensure. The worse indictment of the entire Parliament was so totally straight-jacketed and so completely mislead that they could not investigate the single biggest act of political corruption since independence that India has known: The Bofors scam. it was not an investigative committee but a cover up committee. that the Parliament will transact its business and carry forward its responsibilities in the ideal manner. The CAG has been deprived and attacked for its attempt to work independently. The last term of the 8th Lok Sabha has witnessed disempowering of Parliament. This proposal has however not been implemented or received any consideration. His grandson had neither such a stature nor influence but he seems to be bent on ruling by unparliamentarily means thereby totally disregarding the institution of Parliament. The Public Accounts Committee has been thwarted in its attempt to independent functioning.3 3 .
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