President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday called the Delhi gangrape incident shameful and said if a country could not protect women — mothers, sisters and daughters — it had no right to be called a civilised nation.
A postal stamp to mark the occasion was also released in the presence of communications minister Kapil Sibal.
“Yes, we are ashamed of what has happened recently in Delhi.... We are simply ashamed,” Mukherjee said at the concluding ceremony of the 125th year (quasquicentennial) celebrations of the state legislature at the Vidhan Sabha Hall in Lucknow.
Mukherjee said the very fundamental principle of civilisation was respect for mothers. “In all religions, in all civilisations, this is the basic fundamental but it cannot be simply done by merely making laws. This is to be inbuilt in the culture, the system, in the way of life,” he said.
Referring to his New Year’s message, Mukherjee said he had called for dedicating 2013 to improving the security and welfare of women in the country.
“This is our responsibility. We will ensure it, we will secure it and for that whatever needs to be done, we can do it,” he said. There could not be any justification even if such incidents were taking place in other parts of the world, said the President.
CONCERN OVER HOUSE DISRUPTIONS
He also expressed serious concern over the trend of causing disruptions in parliament and state legislatures and said these not only resulted in waste of time but also denied the rights of other members.
He quoted data to make his point that 1,992 hours of business was conducted by the 14th Lok Sabha in its five-year tenure. Out of this, 416 hours were wasted, he said.
The President used the occasion to convey his point about the elaborate exercise that was carried out to prepare the annual budget or enact a new law.
As finance minister, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav would know how elaborate was the exercise to prepare the budget, Mukherjee, a former union finance minister, observed. A budget of only Rs. 197 crore was presented in parliament by the then finance minister in 1948-49, he said.
“This budget had only two heads civil ( Rs. 106 crore) and military ( Rs. 97 crore) while the last budget tabled in parliament was for Rs. 12 lakh crore. The legislature would have to give a thought to the issue as no other institution could do so,” he said.
He said unless legislation is preceded by adequate discussion and scrutiny, it may not result in delivering the desired results. He said for an expeditious transaction of business, it was imperative to maintain discipline.
Mukherjee, who was the Leader of the Lok Sabha from 2004-2012, said he had became unpopular among his colleagues when he pointed out they did not turn up in parliament or did not vote as per the whip. He said such acts were dereliction of duty.
“We make rules. If the rules are antique, we can change them. Nothing prevents us from doing that. But once the rules are made they have to be followed,” he said.
A postal stamp to mark the occasion was released in the presence of communications minister Kapil Sibal.