A day after informing recalcitrant MPs that he hoped all of them would be defeated in the election since they needed to be taught a lesson,Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said that he had been frustrated and was pained that they refused to behave in a dignified manner despite his repeated appeals. Never one to mince his words,the long-suffering Somnath has always been a vociferous critic of unruly members. Some memorable reprimands:
When unruly members of several parties stormed the Well of the Lok Sabha and disrupted Question Hour: You do not deserve one paisa of public money… I think Parliament should be adjourned sine die … public money should not be spent on useless allowances for you.
Following disruption of Lok Sabha proceedings: You have finished this forum already in four-and-a-half years. Let us have a cremation of Parliament in the 14th Lok Sabha. I dont know why we have Parliament and why we have elections. You are eager to come back to Parliament but do not want to allow Parliament to function.
About the ruckus created by members of the Samajwadi Party during the joint session of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly: Wherever it is,I do not want to mention any Assembly,wherever it happens,it is extremely painful,extremely worrisome. It does not help strengthening of democracy. On the other hand,it weakens our democratic structure.
In a speech inaugurating the 73rd Conference of the Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies at the Haryana Vidhan Sabha,Somnath suggested doing away with the Zero Hour in Parliament since it has turned out to be the most unruly period of the House proceedings. The legislature has come in for public criticism because of the conduct of members inside the House,leading to frequent disruptions and the result inability of the House to transact business,wastage of time and public money… The Lok Sabha made history when it expelled 10 of its members in the cash-for-query scam in 2005. It was an attempt by the Lok Sabha to cleanse itself. We need to urgently address the issue of decline of personal integrity and probity in public life,and reinforce public faith in our democratic institutions, he said.
When a commotion broke out during Rahul Gandhis speech on the trust motion: Parliament of India is reaching its worst position… its nadir. The time has come for Parliament members to face the elections so that the country can give its verdict. He also chided members of the CPI(M) when they repeatedly interrupted P Chidambaram and said they should follow the example of the BJP as they are not disturbing. Please do not think that I am allowing all this…. You will face the consequences, he told them.
Describing Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha as torture hour,Somnath accused Samajwadi Party members of turning the House into a wrestling ring. You are not serving the people by shouting. Look at your behaviour … you are threatening.
I am not going to accept this. You should know how to behave in the House kuchh padte nahin,kuchh sunte nahin (they dont study or listen).
In a lecture on Judiciary And Legislature Under The Constitution: All of us in Parliament need to be concerned about it (disorderly behaviour in the House) and endeavour to restore true democratic culture into the functioning of these institutions. Intolerance and denial of rights of others are antithetical to democracy. Once people lose faith in the system,no force,no Army,can help save the system.