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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

All India Presiding Officers’ Conference: Have to stop increasing indiscipline, disruption in House: Speaker

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla's remarks came even as the Opposition has hinted that it will continue to strongly raise the contentious farm laws and Pegasus spyware issues during the Winter Session, which will begin on November 29.

Written by Liz Mathew | Shimla |
Updated: November 19, 2021 6:20:21 am
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla (Express file photo by Amit Mehra)

With the Winter Session of Parliament days away, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday called for urgent action to check the rising tendency of disruption and indiscipline on the House floor.

“We will have to stop the increasing tendency of indiscipline, disruption, uproar in the House. We will discuss this with the leaders of all political parties if necessary, and expect that the proceedings of the House will pass off smoothly,” said Birla, while addressing the concluding session of the 82nd All India Presiding Officers’ Conference (AIPOC) here.

The Speaker’s remarks came even as the Opposition has hinted that it will continue to strongly raise the contentious farm laws and Pegasus spyware issues during the Winter Session, which will begin on November 29. The pandemonium over the Pegasus issue had led to the washout of the Monsoon Session.

On the concluding day of the conference, the presiding officers resolved to hold discussions with all political parties at the national as well as state levels to bring in more discipline and decorum in lawmaking bodies, make a “definite action plan” to increase the number of sittings of legislatures and review the functioning of the parliamentary standing committees to make them more accountable to the people.

The conclave also decided to hold discussions with all parties to ensure that both Motion of Thanks debate and Question Hour are run without any disruption in Parliament as well as state legislatures.

It also suggested that every state legislature should start with Zero Hour to provide maximum opportunities to all members. However, the presiding officers could not come to a consensus over changes in the anti-defection law despite discussions over a report that proposed amendments.

In his address, Speaker Birla said there should be wider discussions on the functioning of the parliamentary committees, which according to the presiding officers, need to be “drastically changed according to the present times”.

“We have to develop such a practice that the presiding officers evaluate the works done by the parliamentary committees once in a year and make the parliamentary committees more accountable to the public. The presiding officer should give necessary suggestions to the committee, if necessary, so that the committees work with accountability and dispose of pending matters in a time-bound manner,” Birla said.

He said the House panels, which have an “excellent tradition of working above the partisan spirit”, should be strengthened to ensure the accountability of the executive through constructive suggestions.

The Speaker suggested uniformity in the rules and procedures of all legislatures in the country. In the changing context, there is a need to equip the proceedings of legislatures with modern technology with the help of information technology, he said.

“We will definitely prepare ‘One Nation One Legislative Platform’ in due course so that all legislatures can make available their current and old debates and other resources at one place with collective efforts,” he said, adding that this will be done by 2022.

Inaugurating the conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for a single digital platform for all legislative bodies.

Speaking on the occasion, Union minister Anurag Singh Thakur suggested that legislative bodies should put more focus on research so that the debates could be more qualitative.

He said the presiding officers can pick 75 topics on which there should be legislation to prepare the country for the future.

Stating that a law is as good or bad as its implementation, Thakur lamented that it took years to frame rules for some laws.

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