Speaker demanded meeting on the dignity of the House
New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla wants an all-India meeting of legislative leaders and presiding officers to discuss the issue of decorum and discipline in legislative bodies due to frequent disruptions and uncontrolled scenes in the monsoon session of Parliament.
“As we celebrate 75 years of our independence, I think the time has come for a comprehensive consultation with all parties to uphold the dignity of the legislative bodies. When we call ourselves a temple of democracy, constitutional dignity must be maintained as it gives a wider message to the country and its people,” Birla said.
In 2001, the then Lok Sabha Speaker GMC Balayogi convened an All India Conference of Presiding Officers, Chief Ministers, Parliamentary Affairs Ministers, Party Leaders and Whips on “Discipline and Etiquette in Parliament and Assemblies of States and Union Territories”. The conference, held on November 25, 2001, adopted a resolution incorporating a code of conduct for the members of all legislative bodies in India. Balayogi had said that “the image of the Parliament and its credibility as a representative body largely depends on the role and functions of its members”.
To be sure, it brought little change in the disruptions in Parliament. At least three sessions have flown in the past 15 years, and several members have been suspended from the House. The last session of Parliament witnessed uncontrollable scenes with Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu contemplating action against at least 12 MPs.
Birla, on at least two occasions, stayed away from the chair in desperation, when disruptive MPs refused to listen to him.
He said on Thursday, “We have to rethink the issue of maintaining decorum and making Parliament and legislatures accountable to the people of India. Differences between parties are a healthy sign in politics, but there should be talks and discussions too,” he said.
Birla’s remarks came after Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday proposed naming and shaming disruptive MPs while he called upon 5,000 MPs from India to follow the norms of the House.
Delivering the Pranab Mukherjee Memorial Lecture, Naidu suggested that the public should launch social media campaigns, write letters to newspapers and question disruptive parliamentarians and even measure the parliamentary conduct of elected representatives as part of voting in elections. should be considered as an important factor.
When asked about Naidu’s suggestions, Birla said, “It is his opinion. He is entitled to his opinion. I think dialogue and discussion is the best way. We discussed the issue of decorum in the Presiding Officers’ Conference and agreed that we have to maintain the decorum of the House even if there are disputes, debates and differences between the Opposition and the Treasury Bench.