Parliament shames Indian democracy

The last session of the 15th Lok Sabha ended on Friday with a reconciliatory note among leaders but it has shamed the biggest democracy in the world.

The conduct members of Parliament in the last few years has showed that decency and decorum are no more the essence of the temple of democracy – Parliament.

Violence, breaking mikes, heckling other members, shouting at top of their voices and violating rules have become the hallmark of Indian parliamentary system.

In the week gone-by, a member used pepper spray in Lok Sabha, another snatched papers from the hands of Rajya Sabha secretary general and a member slapped a marshal in Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly.

These were just a few of the numerous instances of members flexing muscle in the floor of the house and showing how intolerant they have become.

This happens when the government of the day fails to prevent criminals from entering the legislative bodies by pushing for electoral reforms and emboldens them by trying to twist the law to safeguard them. The government had tried to bring an Ordinance to nullify the Supreme Court order implying automatic disqualification of the members convicted in series of criminal cases.

The latest data on functioning of the 15th Lok Sabha shows that the last one year had been the worst in the India’s parliamentary history in terms of performance. The resumed winter session in February transacted business only for 21% of the allocated time. The winter session in December 2013 recorded the lowest for entire present Lok Sabha with just 8%.

Overall, the 15th Lok Sabha worked for only 61% of the allocated time, earning the dubious distinction of being the worst ever. As many as 70 bills lapsed and just 10% of the starred questions were answered orally by ministers because of disruptions in the entire tenure of the current lower house. The remaining answers got tabled meaning denial of an MP’s right to seek answer from a minister, an important aspect of Parliamentary democracy.

What really hurts is that while perks and allowances of members of Parliament have doubled in the last decade, the time spend on constructive work on the floors of house have dramatically fallen.

The MPs have failed to bring in a positive change in the country and have, rather, contributed to overall fall of values in our society. Their image is rock bottom.

The record of the 15th Lok Sabha should be an eye opener for 814 million voters for the 2014 summer elections and should lead to use of their franchise for better and more productive 16th Lok Sabha.

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