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Friday, September 17, 2021

Legislators’ unparliamentary behaviour tarnished image of democratic institutions: Om Birla

Om Birla, while addressing the 81st All India Presiding Officers Conference, also said that MPs and MLAs should be aware that their privileges come with responsibilities.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
Updated: September 16, 2021 6:02:58 am
Om BirlaLok Sabha Speaker Om Birla (file photo)

Cautioning that increased instances of unparliamentary behaviour on display by public representatives have tarnished the image of democratic institutions, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday said that MPs and MLAs should be aware that their privileges come with responsibilities.

Birla, while addressing the 81st All India Presiding Officers Conference, said that the credibility of legislatures is defined by the conduct and behaviour of their members. Therefore, MPs and MLAs are expected to observe the highest standards of discipline and decorum, both inside and outside the Houses, he said.

Incidents of unparliamentary behaviour by public representatives have increased in recent years, Birla said, adding, “This has tarnished the image of the democratic institutions. Privileges which public representatives enjoy come with responsibilities of performing their duties as parliamentarians in an effective manner and without any hindrance.”

Birla also called for public representatives to introspect, both individually and collectively, about their conduct, discipline and decorum.

Birla’s statement comes after the Monsoon Session of Parliament had witnessed pandemonium and acrimonious scenes in both the Houses. Many Bills were passed without discussion and both Houses were adjourned sine die two days ahead of schedule.

Presiding officers of both the Houses had expressed anguish over the stalemate during the month-long session, with the Opposition seeking discussion on the Pegasus issue and the controversial farm laws, which the treasury benches did not agree to.

The Lok Sabha functioned for only 21 hours and 14 minutes during the Monsoon Session against the stipulated time of 96 hours. However, the House passed 20 Bills and introduced 13. The Rajya Sabha functioned for 17 hours out of roughly 97 hours scheduled for it, and passed 19 Bills.

Birla said that the smooth functioning of legislatures, with rules and regulations being followed, is in the public interest. It also helps in strengthening democracy, he added.

The Speaker suggested that the agenda for the next conference in 2022 should be “discipline and decorum in democratic institutions and ensuring transparency and accountability in these institutions”.

He also said that a mega-conference of MPs and MLAs should be organised in the country on completion of 75 years of Independence. A programme on the “role of women and young MPs and MLAs strengthening democratic institutions” should also be held to mark the occasion, he said.

The conference was also attended by Inter-Parliamentary Union President Duarte Pacheco, National Council of Austria President Wolfgang Sobotka,  and presiding officers of Guyana, Maldives, Mongolia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, among others.

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