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Time Management in the House and code of conduct for the

Members.

The issue is, Time Management in the House and Code of


Conduct for Members.

It has further been divided into two parts;

1. Evolving of new procedural devices and frame rules to


control the behavior of Members, their entry into the
well of the House and controlling obstructions caused
by the Members in the business of the House;
2. Ensuring the improved time management.

Friends, The question of better management of the


time of the House is interlinked and interwoven with the
issue of maintenance of discipline and decorum in the
Legislatures. When discipline and Decorum in the House is
maintained and business of the House is conducted as per
the rules, the time of the House automatically will be utilized
with optimum utility for discussing and debating the issues
of people’s concern, the very purpose of the Legislatures.
Maintenance of Discipline and Decorum in the House is
the only factor which is hampering the smooth and efficient
functioning of the Legislatures which is the back bone of the
Parliamentary Democracy. Legislature is the forum for
debating and discussing the issues of the people’s concern
and appropriate policies are prepared and framed on the
basis of these discussion. The government of the day takes a
clue from these debates and acts accordingly. So to
strengthen the Parliamentary Democracy and to redress the
issues of public interest, we have to see that our
Legislatures function in a smooth, orderly and in efficient
manner.

However, if we look back, say 15/20 years back, a


dismal, disturbing and gloomy picture emerges. The
Proceedings in the Parliament/ Legislatures are frequently
disturbed by unnecessary walk outs, untenable Points of
Orders, leveling baseless charges and raising of controversial
issues without the permission of the Chair. Suspension of
Question Hour, Indecent behavior such as shouting slogans,
walk outs and parallel address by the members during
Governor’s Address, rushing and squatting into the well of
the House, utter disregard to the rules and conventions of
the House etc. are the instances which compel the Chair to
adjourn the House. Even fervent appeals from the Chair fell
on the deaf ears of the Members. It shows how uncivilized
and undemocratic we have become. How we can talk of
managing the time of the House in a proper way when no
body is cooperating. We lost precious time without doing any
worthwhile work. The concept of Executive’s accountability is
also marred as Member’s fail to question the Executive for
their acts of omission and commission. In fact, very purpose
of existence of Legislature is defeated.
There is no doubt that Members have a right to dissent
and right to put fourth their point of view on the floor of the
House, but in a disciplined way. But many a time, while
exercising this right of dissent, the Members breach the
parliamentary norms and obstruct the normal functioning of
the House. They should know that other Members have also
right to take part in the debate. While acknowledging the
rights of other, Members must behave in dignified and
disciplined way in the interests of the people.

The problem of indecent behavior and lack of decorum


has now reached beyond limits. Rules of Procedure and
Conduct of Business is looking in adequate. No body is
following healthy conventions. I would add here with pain
that no body is serious to tackle this situation. Now time has
come when the Members who are going beyond the scope of
these rules and accepted parliamentary norms ,to raise a
issue in the House, have to dealt with firmly. In this regard,
so many Conferences have been held and so many
resolutions have been passed, but sadly no concrete result
has come out. This issue was also discussed in the last
Presiding Officer’s Conference in Kerla but nothing came out
of it. Just plain speaking.

To stem the tide of indiscipline and indecorums


behaviour in the House and for better utilization of the time
of the House, I would like to recall the suggestions made the
Hon. Chairman Rajya Sabha in the last Presiding Officer’s
Conference.
1. Members who are disturbing the House, come to the
well of the House and prevents the House to function, should
not get their daily allowance;
2. Members who disturb the Question Hour should be
barred to raise Questions and Supplementaries for the rest
of the Session;
3. Automatic Suspension of Members is he continues to
disturb and obstruct the proceeding even after the light
punishment suggested as above.

Although Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of


Lok Sabha contains a Rule 374 A which deal with the
punishment of Automatic suspension of a Member who
persistently comes into the well of the House, however, it
has never been invoked, even in the severest and gravest
instances. I propose that we should seriously consider this
Rule and also include in the Rules of the State Legislatures. I
am sure, this Rule would have its deterrent value.

A few days back, Hon. Speaker Lok Sabha has


convened a Round Table Conference for strengthening the
Parliamentary Democracy in Parliament in which eminent
persons from the civil society were invited. Mr. Shanti
Bhushan, former Law Minister suggested that to bring the
normalcy in the functioning of the Legislatures, the Election
Commission at Centre and State Level should be empowered
to take action against the Members and Political Parties in
the Legislatures. He mooted this idea on the plea that
stallment of the proceedings of the Legislatures is done by
the group of Members of Political Parties by going into the
Well of the House. Secretariat of the Legislature will keep a
record of such instances of rushing and squatting into the
Well of the House, thereby forcing the Adjournments and
sent information to the Election Commission. After 5 such
violations, Election Commission should send a warning to the
concerned Political Party asking why not your recognition
should be cancelled as you have violated the Parliamentary
Democratic norms. And after third such notice in span of 5
years, the recognition of the Political Party should be
cancelled. He is of the view that after receiving 1st notice,
the message will have its impact. He also mooted the idea of
penalizing such Members.

Some time ago, a Code of Conduct for the Members


was prepared which exhaustively deal with the conduct of
the Members inside as well outside of the House. It gives the
guidelines how a Member should behave inside the House
but the code lacks power of law. No body has made it the
part of its Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business as
promised. In accordance of this code, Lok Sabha has also
constituted Ethics Committee like Rajya Sabha to deal with
the ethical standards of the Members besides checking their
behaviour inside the House. The Ministry of Parliamentary
Affairs, Government of India has also asked the State
Legislatures to form Ethics Committees in their respective
Legislatures. Such cases of gross misconduct, indiscipline
and indecorous behavior inside the House and outside the
House will be referred to this Committee. We are actively
considering this proposal to form the Committee. At least,
there will be a forum, under the rules, where we can took to
task such members who indulge in sheer wastage of time by
resorting to undemocratic behaviour inside the House. We
should also see that Code of Conduct for Members must be
made part of our respective Rules.

Media and should also refrain from publidhing


senationsl news of Dharnas, slogan shoutings and walk outs.
Rather they should report the debates which also happended
in the Houses. Politicial Parties should also ask their
Members to behave responsibly inside the House. After all,
maintenance of discipline and decorum in the House is not
depends upon one, rather every one Presiding Officer, the
Government, the Leader of the House and the Leader of
Opposition, the Whips and the Members all have to shoulder
the responsibility.

I would like to stress on the point that some concrete


guidelines which should have some force of Law. Stringent
measures are required to be introduced in the Rules of the
State Legislatures on the lines of Rule 374-A which contains
in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok
Sabha to bring order in the Legislatures and to ensure the
optimum utility of valuable time which belongs to our
electorate.
PRESIDING OFFICER’S CONFERENCE
CHANDIGARH: 2008
TOPIC: 4
Dated: 21st & 22nd September, 2008.

Democratic Institutions

Need to strengthen Public Faith in Democratic


Institution.

After the adoption of the Republic


Constitution, parliamentary democracy has
evolved itself into a vibrant institution
satisfying the aspirations and hopes of the
people. Parliamentary democracy has
withstood varied trails and turbulations in the
life of the country and the people has time and
again reposed their trust and confidence in the
system. They feel that in spite of countless
problems, parliamentary democracy and
democratic institutions would still be the best
bet as the governing mechanism.

Democratic institutions, under the


patronage of parliamentary democracy have
made a tremendous contribution in the
development of the country in all its spheres,
economic, political, social etc. The Legislature,
Executive and Judiciary, the main democratic
institutions of our polity, have shown their
potential to function successfully as the people
aspired and hoped. For a country, having such
magnitude of population, having different
castes, creeds, religions, languages and
regional diversity, democratic institutions have
shown that they have capability to bring
revolutionary changes in the lives of the
people. The most remarkable thing about these
institutions is that they have been successful in
holding that country united and together in
spite of so much diversity and differences.
Since independence, India has faced
many challenges, but it has made phenomenal
progress under the democratic institutions.
After independence, the country suffered
chronic food shortage and devastating famine
that troubled the land year after year affecting
a large population. Now, the situation has
changed drastically because land reforms,
expansion of irrigational facilities and other
related measurers have increased the food
production many times. Both general and
technical education has greatly expanded and
we have one of the largest concentration of
scientific and technical manpower in the world.
This assets of manpower has increased GDP
rate resulting in unaccountable jobs for our
youth and a booming economy.
In the Legislative field, the Parliament,
being the supreme representative institution in
the country, has come to play a major role in
the socio-economic transformation. Parliament
has never lagged behind whenever a need
arose for socio economic reforms. It has been
able to transform the existing social institutions
to meet the changing needs of time. Since
independence, various enactments to improve
the lives of the people been enacted, which has
reposed the faith of people in it. Latestly , the
right to information act, the National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act, Anti Defection Act,
Reducing of voting age from 21 to 18, various
legislations for welfare of women, are the
legislations which shows that this democratic
institution has acted in consonance with the
will of the people.

So, we have every reason to feel proud of that


our democratic institutions has worked well.