As the Monsoon session came to a close on Tuesday,Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar called upon political parties and individuals to preserve the sanctity of Parliament,which was being undermined by disruptions and forced adjournments. Rajya Sabha Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari did not sound an alarm like Kumar in his valedictory to the Upper House,but he too expressed his concern over disruptions and adjournments,resulting in the loss of question hour.
Citing the loss of 45 hours due to interruptions and forced adjournments,the Speaker said,Parliament is meant for debates and discussions; any matter permissible under the Constitution and Rules of Procedure can be discussed here. But the trend of disrupting the proceedings days on end is alarming,and,if not checked,will ultimately lead to unforeseen consequences.
Political parties and individuals, she felt,should seriously ponder over the irreparable damage being done to Parliamentary democracy by such disruptions. Let informed debates and discussions take place inside the Chamber at all time instead of slogans and mock discussions, said the Speaker,who had till now had refrained from making a direct reference to the sham proceedings spearheaded by RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav after the adjournment of House by Deputy Speaker Karia Munda on August 21.
The data given by Kumar painted a rather gloomy picture of question hour. Of the 460 starred questions listed during the session,only 46 could be answered orally. Thus,on an average,about 1.91 questions could be answered per day, she said. Worse,question hour was disrupted on 11 days and the questions listed on those days could not be answered by the ministers concerned orally.
The Upper House could not conduct any business on five days. In addition,there were disruptions and adjournments that led to loss of eight question hours. The Rajya Sabha Chairman felt that when the rules for the conduct of business were drawn up decades back,it was not visualised that perceived concerns or grievances would be articulated through disruption of proceedings. He recalled that earlier,he,after recognising the need for such articulation on matters of urgent interest sought to find a solution through Zero Hour. One option is to start the proceedings with the Zero Hour at 11 am and take up question hour later in the day.