The decorum of the house should be maintained at any costs: Om Birla

New Delhi: In the last three years, the Lok Sabha has maintained an average of 100% productivity, Speaker Om Birla said, adding that the MPs have helped him run the House and achieve the target. In an interview with Saubhadra Chatterjee, he said that debate and accusations are part of all democratic tradition but the dignity of Parliament should be maintained at all times. Edited excerpt:

You have completed three years as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. How has been your experience so far?

In the 17th Lok Sabha, a large section of MPs have become MPs for the first time. I have ensured that they get maximum opportunities to raise the issues, problems and aspirations of their constituencies in the Parliament. I am regularly discussing with all the MPs what changes are needed to keep pace with the times. I have made many improvements and many more improvements will be made in the coming years.

The House has maintained 100% productivity in the last three years. However, some members have claimed that they were not allowed to speak on many issues.

All the members should be congratulated for this record. The House belongs to the members and they have helped me to run the House and achieve this goal. As far as the topics of discussion are concerned, in the Business Advisory Committee both the Government and the Opposition discuss and then a decision is taken. The House runs on the basis of that discussion.

On some occasions, members have also commented on the Speaker or the Presiding Officer.

Generally, it is expected that a member should maintain the dignity of the Chair and the House. It is for the parties to guide their members and caution them against making any remarks against the Speaker. Debates, debates, allegations and counter allegations, all these are part of our democratic tradition. But the decorum of the House should be maintained at all costs.

Some Congress members have alleged police excesses against him and an MP has also sent privilege notices against two Delhi policemen.

Yes, I have been apprised of the developments. Any notice for privilege shall be examined by the Committee of Privileges and if found fit the notice shall be admissible. A breach of privilege usually occurs when an MP is prevented from conducting his parliamentary business. But I want to add one thing here: the law is the same for all. In the eyes of the law, no one has any additional advantage.

Facebook whistleblower Sophie Zhang has alleged that she wants to appear before the IT panel but you did not allow her.

Look, here’s a system. It is not that anyone who wants to come and testify before the panel will be allowed. No one can pressurize him to be allowed to appear before the panel.

When will the new Parliament building be operational?

We hope that this year’s winter session will be held in the new Parliament building. The new building will showcase Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) India, the history of India and a glimpse of a new India.