Upper house

Disruption must be treated as an outrage at home: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu

Troubled by the recent ruckus in the House where MPs have been seen literally fighting each other and on several occasions, Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has said unequivocally that increasing disruption could amount to contempt. of the House and these troublemakers should not be entitled to any privileges.

Speaking at the second memorial conference for former Minister of Law Ram Jethmalani, Naidu, who is also the chairman of Rajya Sabha, said: “Is the disruption of parliamentary business a privilege of an MP and / or a facet of parliamentary democracy? “

Naidu also added that the repeated disruptions only disrupt the productivity of the House and undermine the rights of individual members, especially those who come to Parliament to debate and discuss issues that concern the masses.

Speaking further on the productivity of the House of Elders, the Vice President added that from 1978 to 1996, the productivity of the House increased by over one hundred percent, but since then there has been a steady decline.

He also added that between 2004 and 2014, the productivity of the Upper House dropped to 78% but after that, “I don’t need it to reach around 65% anymore”.

Of the 11 sessions chaired by Naidu, four of them recorded low productivity of 6.80%, 27.30%, 28.90% and 29.55% and in 2018, the Rajya Sabha recorded the lowest unprecedented productivity of 35.75% under the impact of disruptions, he said. .

During the last monsoon session (254th), the Rajya Sabha lost more than 70% of the scheduled time, including more than 76% of the precious question time time, the president noted.

Since the establishment of the Rajya Sabha in 1952, only 10 members have been suspended for misconduct within the House in the first 57 years, while 18 have been suspended in the past 11 years, 9 of which have been suspended during the last year.

Naidu said: “In conclusion, the disruption of debates is a certain negation of the spirit and intent behind the House rules, code of conduct, parliamentary etiquette and the regime of parliamentary privilege. , all aimed at effective performance of individual members. and the House collectively. In view of the consequences, the disruption of debates is clearly tantamount to contempt of the House, according to the logic of which the disruption cannot be claimed as a privilege by wandering Members .

Referring to a report from the Lok Sabha Privileges Committee, Naidu pointed out that “privileges allow members to present the views and express concerns of their constituents (the people who elect members) without fear. These could therefore be qualified as indirect rights of the voters of the members. It is this essence of privilege that must be understood.

Quoting the famous British constitutional theorist Erskine May, Naidu pointed out that it is only for the effective exercise of the collective functions of the House that individual privileges are granted to members.

The vice president called on political parties to take this aspect seriously and make sure they find an amicable solution to at least some self-imposed regulations to ensure that the temple of democracy does not is not reduced to a simple political battlefield.

Not only during the monsoon session that just ended, but also during the monsoon session of Parliament in 2020, ugly scenes were observed in the Upper House, resulting in the suspension of nine MPs for the remainder of the session for trying to intimidate the president and snatch papers from his hand.

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