Unruly behaviour wastes precious parliament time: report

April 6th, 2009 - 9:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) Around 22 percent of the 14th Lok Sabha’s time was lost because of the unruly behaviour of parliamentarians and unnecessary disruptions, according to a report by civil society organisations released Monday.
The report is titled “Citizens’ Report on Governance and Development 2008-2009″ and was released by National Social Watch Coalition, a conglomerate of various civil society organisations active in 14 states.

“In the 14th Lok Sabha, which commenced in June 2004, 22 percent of its time was lost due to interruptions arising out of various political controversies. A shocking waste of time considering the fact that each minute of parliament costs the exchequer Rs.26,035,” the report said.

The report reflected that the amount of time lost due to such concerns had gradually increased since the past decade.

“The 11th Lok Sabha (1996-98) lost 5.28 percent of its time due to pandemonium. In the 12th Lok Sabha it went up to 10.66 percent in the 13th Lok Sabha it was 22.4 percent,” the report said.

The report detailed the time lost in many sessions: “The 11th session of the Fourteenth Lok Sabha, for instance, lost a huge chunk of its legislative time with 65 percent lost due to adjournments, interruptions and disorderly scenes. The 10th session lost 55 percent of its total time, 9th session lost 21 percent and the 12th session lost 22.6 percent. The time lost was somewhat less in the 13th Session of Lok Sabha with only 17.17 percent being lost due to pandemonium.”

Mentioning the shoddy state in the upper house of parliament, the report further said: “The Rajya Sabha lost 36 percent of its time in the 209th session, 22 percent in its 205th session and 12 percent in its 207th session, respectively.”

The report in a way quantified the scenes often witnessed at parliament sessions.

On many occasions, interruptions led to pandemonium on the floor of the house. Unruly members enter the well of the House, shouting slogans, even indulging in physical attacks like throwing microphones, chairs, interrupting others from speaking and totally disregarding and insulting the chair, causing forced adjournment of the scheduled business resulting in loss of the precious time of the house.

According to the report: “There was not a single session of parliament, during these two years, which did not lose valuable man-hours on account of unruly incidents.”

The report also found that absenteeism among parliamentarians was increasing.

“On examining the attendance records of the 11th and 12th Sessions of the 14th Lok Sabha, it was seen that more than 75 percent members are below the median point of 16 or more days of attendance… most of the MPs attended between 11 and 15 days in total,” the report said.

“This report is not about shining India but about whining india. This report is from the lens of the people,” said John Sammuel, one of the authors of the report adding that it was the “apt time” to release the report with the 15th Lok Sabha elections less than a fortnight away.

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