The 15th Lok Sabha will go down in the history as the most disrupted in independent India so far, including the pepper spray incident which marked a new low in parliamentary conduct.
Disruptions were the order of the day, so much so that the Lok Sabha witnessed almost a full session being washed away on the issue of JPC in the 2G spectrum scam. This was unprecedented.
There was also a huge uproar on the demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the coal block allocation scam.
The political storm over Telangana led to several unprecedented developments in the last session of the House which had 13 sittings. Even though Speaker Meira Kumar wanted a “grand finale” to the Lok Sabha it is for everyone to infer if it was so.
As many as 16 members from Seemandhra region were suspended ahead of the passage of Telangana bill.
The bill to divide Andhra Pradesh tested the patience of the House, unlike any other issue in recent times. Supporters and opponents of separate Telangana were at loggerheads on the bill at the drop of a hat.
The historic bill creating the 29th state of India was passed in the last week of the last session of the Lok Sabha but after much controversy, confusion and commotion.
Almost the entire speech of Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, while presenting the interim railway budget, was tabled in the Lok Sabha due to the Telangana turmoil, while the interim budget 2014-15 containing the Vote-on-account for four months was passed without a discussion.
The House witnessed four ministers trooping into the Well of the House and disrupting presentation of the interim railway budget.
The four ministers including one of Cabinet rank — K S Rao, D Purandeshwari, K Suryaprakash Reddy and Chiranjeevi — were protesting against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Some of them held placards. Two other ministers silently supported the four by standing on their seats. Six members of the Lok Sabha belonging to the ruling party have been expelled but the protests have refused to die down.
While protests had become routine, a new tactic was adopted in the last session — holding of big placards in front of the Chair, be it the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
The table in the Well, which is an extension of the Chair, where the Secretary General and other officials are seated, also came under increasing attack with papers being virtually snatched from them. It happened in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. It prompted the ruling party members to form a security cordon around the top leaders inside the two Houses.
The 15th Lok Sabha also saw immediate disqualification of Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Jagdish Sharma (JD-U) after their conviction in the fodder scam.
Theirs was the first disqualification from the Lok Sabha after the Supreme Court struck down a provision that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts.
While Prasad stands disqualified for a total of 11 years — five years of jail term and six years subsequent to his release — Sharma stands disqualified for ten years, as per electoral laws.
The 15th Lok Sabha also witnessed three women adorning top posts. The head of the ruling dispensation Sonia Gandhi, Speaker Meira Kumar and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj.
Against the backdrop of the Delhi gangrape case of December 16, 2012, Parliament also passed the Criminal Law Amendment Bill making punishment for crimes against women more stringent.
At the start of the session, Speaker Meira Kumar had struck an optimistic note about the parliamentary democracy in India, the biggest in the world. She had dismissed suggestions that the 15th Lok Sabha was the least productive in independent India, and parliamentary democracy has failed.
“I will never say that our parliamentary democracy has failed. There are many places in the world which started off with parliamentary democracy but unfortunately they were not able to sustain it, and they failed. Whereas, inspite of having manyfold difficulties, complexities and odds against our own parliamentary Democracy, we have succeeded,” said Speaker Meira Kumar.
Even though scams and scandals, including the Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Housing, led to disruptions, the House also created history by legislating landmark laws.
The Food Security bill, which seeks to provide cheap food grains to 67 per cent of the poor people of the country, was cleared during the tenure of this Lok Sabha.
The Land Acquisition bill, which will give a better price to the farmer for his land and also a say in the matter, was also adopted by the House.
Amid a campaign against corruption, the House also adopted the Lokpal bill, an issue which had been pending for the last four decades.
The Women’s Reservation bill, however, could not pass muster of the House despite being through the Rajya Sabha by use of marshals.
The much-talked about communal violence bill could not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha at the last minute due to opposition by the BJP.
For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App nowFirst Published on: February 21, 2014 6:22 pm