Repeated disruptions and unruly behaviour in the budget session of Parliament led both Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to express their concern in very strong terms on Friday, before Parliament adjourned sine die.
In the Upper House, Ansari said “corrective measures” had become “imperative” in view of frequent disruptions by members.
In his valedictory speech winding up the 219th session of the Rajya Sabha, Ansari told the House in the presence of PM Manmohan Singh that “Notwithstanding the work done, an overview of the session cannot avoid the impression that much time was lost in disruptions and adjournments arising out of disruptions.”
In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar was equally concerned about severe disruptions that resulted in a loss of almost 50 hours of sitting and were gradually rendering the institution “irrelevant.”
She said: “I will speak to all the parties on whether the Question Hour needs to be shifted (from its 11 am slot)… Very few questions were asked during the session. Since the government has an accountability towards Parliament, therefore it is vital that questions are asked.”
Ansari said that members sought to flout the rules for the conduct of business with disturbing frequency and that the “Question House became the principal victim.” It couldn’t be conducted on 13 of the scheduled 31 sittings, he said.
“Equally disturbing is the practice of the time taken by each starred question. We maintain the procedural fiction of admitting 20 questions for each sitting. In actual practice, only five or six of these are taken up...,” he said.
He also said that during the budget session, not even a single siting could be devoted to private members’ legislative business.
He said “These trends in the conduct of business have invited adverse comments and lowered the image of the legislature in the eyes of the public.”