Parliamentary Disruptions

Parliamentary Disruptions
A democracy allows its citizens as well as lawmakers to hold debates and deliberations over policies that deal with the welfare of the nation. Disruptions in the proceedings of the Parliament are not a recent development and in most cases, it helps the government frame better policies and make better laws. However, it can also be used as a political tool to stall the working of the Parliament in a bid to further political gains. Over 2.5 lakh rupees are spent per minute to run the Parliament, and hence every day wasted with deliberations and disruptions is a direct wastage of the taxpayers’ money. An overtly disruptive Parliament implies falling productivity which leads to wastage of time and money and stalling of important decisions. Parliamentary disruptions have been used as an effective political tool for opposition parties when they want to stop or stall the passage of an Act through the Parliament. In recent years, many media houses and surveys have said that disruptions have led to low productivity of the Indian Parliament which is a serious limitation on the powers of the government. What are the causes behind these disruptions? •Opposition parties intend to create a deadlock to stop the passage of a Bill or focus on other matters of public importance. •Parliamentary disruptions attract immediate media attention; this is effectively used by the opposition parties to criticize the party in power. •Another reason for the increasing disruptions could be the change in parliamentary culture. In older Parliaments, there would be a certain degree of homogeneity in each House. With the rise of coalition politics, this is no longer the case and thus several varied viewpoints and demands are raised at the same time which leads to disruptions in the event that they are not addressed. •The Anti-Defection law that allows parties to herd their members can also be seen as a reason behind the disruptions in the Parliament. •The number of sittings of each House has reduced drastically which gives the government even lesser time to deliberate and frame policies and this issue is effectively exploited by dissenters. •The increasing adjournments and adjournment motions in the Parliament lead to the opposition parties disrupting proceedings of the House when their demands are not met. In March 2018, the Lok Sabha was unable to function for more than two weeks due to disruptions over various issues such as the Andhra parties seeking special category status, Tamil Nadu parties wanting a Cauvery management board, and Congress opposing the apex court verdict on the SC/ST Act. Such disruptions have brought many questions to the forefront. Some activists believe that people who disrupt the proceedings of the House should not be allowed to remain as members of that House. Others say that such protests and disruptions can possibly substitute debates and proceedings in the Parliament which can lead to a tremendous loss in the taxpayer’s money. What are the measures that can be taken to tackle this? •The Opposition needs adequate time on the floor to raise its concerns, hence the Parliament can fix a certain amount of time for them to express their views. The British Parliament allocates 20 days a year when the agenda is decided by the opposition. •The Houses need to meet more frequently as adjournments cannot be foreseen, so if the number of meetings is increased, even disruptions and adjournments cannot lead to any substantial loss. •Members of the Parliament who regularly create disruptions should be dealt with seriously. Warnings can be issued to revoke their membership on grounds of discipline.
Source: https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2019/01/03/lok-sabha-19-mps-aiadmk-tdp-suspended-4-days.html

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