Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, in a letter addressed to all MPs, expressed concern over the frequent disruptions of Parliament, saying divergence of opinion and dissent should be within the established norms.
In the letter that was released to the media on Tuesday, Mahajan said the tenure of the 16th Lok Sabha has entered into its final year and only three sessions were left. The monsoon session is slated to begin on July 18.
She said people observed the performance of MPs very keenly and hoped that the members will establish high standards of parliamentary conduct, discipline and decorum.
Mahajan asked if political parties can justify their conduct by advancing the argument of improper conduct and interruption of the business of the House by other parties in the past.
“If we accept this argument, then the cycle of interruptions will continue endlessly and such tendency will never be checked,” she said.
She said that at times some members have come towards her chair and shouted slogans, shown placards and banners and interrupted the proceedings of the House, forcing its repeated adjournment.
“All of you will agree that discussion, debate, divergence of opinion and dissent are integral part of functioning of any democratic system. Constructive opposition and lively debates are the lifeline of democracy, but you will also agree that the discussion, divergence of opinion and dissent should be within the well established parameters and accepted norms of Parliamentary dignity and decorum so that people may continue to have abiding faith in democracy and democratic institutions.
“It is for this purpose that we have given ourselves the rules for conduct of business in the House which have evolved over the years. Is it not our moral responsibility to ensure that these rules are followed in letter and spirit?” she asked.
The Speaker said that during her recent foreign visits, members of Indian diaspora and other foreign dignitaries also expressed their disappointment and concern over the constant disruptions in the House.
She said it was the collective responsibility of the members to protect and keep intact the prestige and sanctity of Parliament.
“Thus, time has come for us to introspect and decide what is the way forward and ideal image for our Parliament and democracy.”
The Speaker said that conduct and quality of debate and discussion in Parliament also shapes up the level, norms and decorum of debate and discussions on social platforms.
“I hope the electoral and political battles will be fought in the constituencies and at the same time members will discharge their democratic responsibilities with decorum in the House.”