In recent times, the Indian Parliament has witnessed a concerning escalation in both the duration of disruptions and the associated costs of running its sessions.
Historical data reveals an escalating trend: 5% time lost in disruptions during the 11th Lok Sabha, surging to over 10% in the 12th Lok Sabha, and a staggering 22.40% in the 13th Lok Sabha. The 14th and 15th Lok Sabhas experienced at least 30% of session time lost to disruptions.
Critical Role of Parliament in Democracy:
Parliament is the cornerstone of a representative parliamentary democracy.
Debating Function: Debates in Parliament facilitate thorough examination of national issues, forming the core of democratic decision-making.
Legislative Function: Parliament enacts laws, guided by constitutional procedures.
Executive Accountability: It ensures the executive remains accountable and within its defined jurisdiction.
Financial Function: Parliament allocates resources through budgetary processes, exerting fiscal control over the government.
Representation: It represents diverse perspectives from varied regions, backgrounds, and groups within the nation.
Reasons for Disruptions:
Protest Over Debate: Opposition’s constructive criticism and alternative governance responsibility are often overshadowed by disruptive protests.
Fragmented Polity: The rise of regional parties due to electoral fragmentation brings regional issues into the parliamentary discourse, contributing to disruptions.
Quality of Representatives: The presence of MPs with criminal cases impacts adherence to democratic norms, as indicated by reports from the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch.
Consequences of Disruptions:
Government Accountability Erosion: Disruptions hinder proper scrutiny of government actions.
Diminished Debates: Reduced parliamentary functions lead to fewer discussions on public issues, suppressing diverse viewpoints.
Credibility Erosion: Disruptions diminish the respect citizens have for their representatives.
Financial Loss: Frequent disruptions result in substantial financial losses for the public exchequer.
Ordinance Resort: Disruptions can lead to the increased use of ordinances, bypassing proper legislative procedures.
It is imperative to heighten political awareness among citizens regarding the significance of Parliament and the detrimental impact of disruptions on public interest.
A well-informed citizenry can actively engage in encouraging responsible and effective parliamentary proceedings, reducing the recurrence of disruptions.