Disruptions, walkouts and pandemonium have become par for the course in our parliamentary sessions. The ongoing Winter Session is no exception. It is witnessing a bitter deadlock over the suspension of 12 Opposition MPs. The Congress and some other parties are vociferously demanding revocation of the suspensions, but Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu is in no mood to relent, saying that the erring MPs have shown no remorse for their ‘unruly’ conduct during the Monsoon Session in August. Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge has called the decision ‘unprecedented and undemocratic’, claiming that bringing forward a motion to suspend the members months after the alleged occurrence is a violation of the rules. The session had got off to a rocky start on Monday, when the Farm Laws Repeal Bill was passed without any discussion, with the government presuming unanimity on the contentious matter.
It’s lamentable that the business of the House suffers whenever both sides adopt a maximalist position. Dialogue and debate are the cornerstones of parliamentary democracy. There has to be a constructive give-and-take between the treasury and the Opposition benches to ensure that the proceedings are conducted smoothly. Political parties and members who don’t honour the mandate given to them by the people undermine the august institution of Parliament.
The taxpayers’ money spent on running a parliamentary session is humongous — over Rs 2.5 lakh per minute, and that too by a conservative estimate. Every sitting matters. The onus is on the House members to facilitate a meaningful exchange of views. Though the administrative decisions taken in Parliament are those of the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman, the overwhelming influence of the Union government is clearly visible. Both senior functionaries need to show magnanimity so as to take everyone along. The ruckus that happened in Parliament four months ago was inexcusable, but it should not be allowed to cast its shadow on the current session. Otherwise, this session too will turn out to be yet another washout.
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