Yechury answer to ruckus: Make 100 sittings mandatory

With disruptions becoming the norm rather than the exception in both Houses of Parliament,leading to very little legislative work and quality debates

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:May 14, 2012 3:15 am

With disruptions becoming the norm rather than the exception in both Houses of Parliament,leading to very little legislative work and quality debates,senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury on Sunday sought a constitutional amendment to make it mandatory for Parliament to hold at least 100 sittings every year. This,he said,was required if Parliament wanted to maintain effective vigilance over the government.

Speaking at the special sitting to mark 60 years of Parliament,Yechury,while pointing out that the British Parliament sits for at least 160 days a year,said that in the last two decades the Indian Parliament has never sat for more than 100 days in a year.

“We should seriously consider,through a constitutional amendment,if necessary,making it mandatory for 100 sittings a year. I think,that is necessary as a corrective step for the future,” he said. Yechury said that the last time Parliament sat for over 90 days was in 1992,when it met 98 times.

Citing figures,the CPM leader said that the previous 14th Lok Sabha would go down in history as the one which sat for the least time,with just 332 sittings — 66 per year. “Worst,24 per cent of this time was lost due to disruptions and adjournments,” he said.

“Thus,the executive’s accountability to the legislature becomes the casualty. This seriously undermines our constitutional scheme of things and endanger authoritarian tendency. This needs to be corrected. And,I would suggest that we seriously consider,through a constitutional amendment,if necessary,making it mandatory for 100 sittings a year,” he said.

Referring to the growing activism by the higher judiciary,Yechury said,“Recent experience of judicial activism has blurred the delineation between the three organs of democracy. The judiciary interprets the law. But,I think,respectfully,we have to say that it cannot make laws; the legislature alone can do that. The constitutional mandate is for a judicial review,not for judicial activism. So,this needs to be corrected.”

He also talked of the need to fine-tuning the functioning of the media but without “encroaching and,most respectfully,upholding the right to expression,the fundamental right to expression,which is necessary”.

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