“Baith Jaiye, Baith Jaiye”
This phrase was famous during the tenure of the UPA government and belonged to the then Speaker of Lok Sabha, Mrs. Meira Kumar.
The ‘sweetness’ (if only it were strictness) with which she ran the proceedings and handled the lower house of the Parliament which contained 543 members elected by the citizens of India through a democratic electoral process, left the observers of the proceedings with surprise.
The role of the Chair in any house of the Parliament may be compared with the monitor of a class of a school or perhaps the class teacher, who is supposed to keep the class disciplined and move the discussion in a fruitful way, solving any conflicts or complaints and read the chapters of the book (in the house, the document of the bill) and discuss it with the class.
When Meira Kumar handled the Lok Sabha and its 543 MPs (including herself) it seemed as if it were 4th or 5th standard kids and not grown up, responsible Parliamentarians. A kid would not make a sexist remark, after all, only the Pradhan Sevak and his colleagues do (irrespective of their party affiliations).
After the 2014 general elections, the baton passed onto Sumitra Mahajan, when she was appointed as the speaker of the house. Mahajan has been an eight-time Parliamentarian (also, the longest-serving Woman MP) for the BJP from Indore constituency. So when she took charge as a speaker of the lower house, it was believed that she would be better and be able to control the MPs and run the Lok Sabha with much more productive results but she has not delivered to the expectations of the people and has only disappointed those who actually believe in the Lok Sabha and its importance.
The Parliament in the last 10 days
“Parliament worked between 1952-1972 an average of 135 days a year, in the last 15 years Parliament has worked an average of 62 days a year,” said Feroze Varun Gandhi, Member of Parliament from Sultanpur, in his lecture at NALSAR University of law.
This First two weeks of the session have been almost a washout due to protest over PNB fraud and other issues raised by the opposition.
All the more, when 16 MPs of TDP broke out of the NDA (which had the number of 334 in the Lok Sabha in 2014, 284 of which belong to the BJP and 52 the allies) it demanded, along with YSR Congress, for a no-confidence motion, the Parliament again saw disruptions. Losing 8 seats in the by-polls since the general elections, the BJP currently has 274 members of Parliament including the speaker. 5 seats are vacant 3 of which belong to the BJP now.
The opposition contends that this motion would be a challenge to the morality of the government which is being led by the BJP. Though the BJP would save the government easily, having a simple majority on its own, it will be the test of coalition put together by the BJP.
However, the last 3-4 days in the Parliament has been nothing but a ruckus, a series of unprofessional behavior by the netas in both the houses. The motion of no confidence has only been delayed day after day. The speaker just seems unable to run the Parliament and has only adjourned the proceedings of the Lok Sabha after 1 and 2 minutes of functioning on Monday and Tuesday, respectively and a few minutes on Wednesday till noon only to meet again and adjourn it till the next working day and this happened every day of this week.
MPs of AIADMK and TRS created a ruckus in the Parliament ’s lower house and with the inability to handle and run the house by the honourable speaker it raises concerns on the functioning of democracy in the country, especially after the house passed the Finance Bill, 2018 in less than half an hour without any discussion on the subject. Hon’ble Speaker did not even look up to count the votes as the MPs protested but reasoned not being able to count the votes when similar protests continued during the vote on a no-confidence motion against the NDA government (at least what is left of the NDA).
Madam speaker’s inability to run the house has not only suppressed the voices of various opposition parties but also has rendered herself unable to handle the house, thereby, delaying (or probably skipping through) the no-confidence motion. Observers of the Parliament have begun to wonder if she is serving the post under some bias.
Whatsoever be the case, the no-confidence motion represents the voice of the nation who did not vote for the BJP through their elected representatives (at least on paper) and this attitude of the Parliament on a daily basis costs the nation both, money as well as resources.
Author: Toshan Chandrakar
Author is a law student at Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (Chhattisgarh).