House speakers should be pro-active: Somnath Chatterjee

September 21st, 2008 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Sep 21 (IANS) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee Sunday said presiding officers of legislatures should not “helplessly” watch the turmoil inside their assemblies but should take pro-active steps to restore order.Addressing presiding officers and secretaries of state legislatures and parliament after inaugurating the 73rd conference of Presiding officers of Legislative Bodies in India here, Chatterjee did some plain-speaking - telling the presiding officers to get more effective while dealing with repeated disruptions.

“To my mind, the time has come when as presiding officers, we should not look on helplessly and allow the whole system to steadily degenerate, but take a pro-active stand to tackle the issue head on. I strongly recommend that we begin with setting our houses in order, literally.

“The Lok Sabha made history when it expelled 10 of its members in the cash-for-query scam in 2005. It was an attempt by the Lok Sabha to cleanse itself,” Chatterjee pointed out.

The Lok Sabha speaker said he had made it clear to MPs that the rules of the house would be invoked in case the repeated disruptions and gross indiscipline continued to hinder the functioning of the house.

Chatterjee said that the representatives of the people should be role models both inside and outside the legislatures.

“We need to urgently address the issue of decline of personal integrity and probity in public life, and reinforce public faith in our democratic institutions,” he said.

The speaker said he felt saddened by the political atmosphere that was characterized by intolerance, divisiveness, confrontation and disrespect for dissent - all of which was corroding India’s socio-political system.

He said the individual and collective behaviour of politicians needed to change so that Indian democracy - the largest in the world - could become even stronger.

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