Frequent disruptions will render house irrelevant: Speaker

May 7th, 2010 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Meira Kumar New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Voicing her disappointment over frequent disruptions of the house, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Friday warned MPs that such kind of behaviour would gradually render the institution irrelevant.
In her valedictory address on the conclusion of the budget session of the Lok Sabha, the speaker said: “It is a matter of great concern that the house did not function on many days due to frequent disruptions.”

The house was later adjourned sine die.

She said: “A sense is growing in the country that members of parliament prefer to highlight public issues by disrupting the house and not through discussions and debates. Thus in a fundamental sense, the house is facing a serious dilemma.”

“In this session, while we lost over 69 hours 51 minutes of time due to interruptions and forced adjournments, the house sat late for 19 hours and 38 minutes to compensate the time lost,” the speaker said.

“The other day a large number of differently abled children came here to watch the proceedings of the house at my invitation. I could see the disappointment on those innocent faces because they could not watch the proceedings due to abrupt adjournment of the house.”

“Disruption of the house will gradually render this institution irrelevant,” the speaker warned.

According to the speaker, the house could discuss questions only on nine days in the second phase of the budget session.

The first part of the budget session commenced Feb 22 with the address by President Pratibha Patil to the joint sitting of both houses of parliament. The house adjourned March 16. The second part of the budget session began April 15, after the recess.

“During the session, 620 starred questions were listed, out of which 76 questions could be answered orally. Thus, on an average, only about 2.37 questions could be answered per day,” the speaker noted.

She said questions are central to ensuring executive accountability, and added that “parliamentary democracy can survive only if honourable members allow the house to function”.

Meira Kumar said the time has come “when all of us should seriously think as to where things are going wrong”.

“This house is the symbol and inheritor of the great Indian civilisation and it represents the collective wisdom of the people. This house has to function and it should be allowed to function,” she said and appealed to members to allow the house to function smoothly and find solutions to problems through democratic means.

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