The Constitution of India establishes a parliamentary form of government, wherein the Executive is accountable to the Parliament for its policies and actions.
Effective Mechanisms for Parliamentary Control over the Executive:
- Robust avenues for deliberation, including the Question Hour, Zero Hour, Half-an-Hour Discussion, Short Duration Discussion, Calling Attention Motion, Adjournment Motion, No-Confidence Motion, Censure Motion, and other pertinent discussions.
- Engaging in General Discussions and conducting voting on policies/laws, along with utilizing censure motions and no-confidence motions as powerful instruments.
- Exercising thorough budgetary control by appropriating grants and ensuring post-budgetary scrutiny through esteemed financial committees such as the Public Accounts Committee.
- Utilizing strategic approaches like walkouts, abstaining from voting, and employing live-streaming as effective means to exert substantial pressure on the Executive.
Challenges Hindering Parliamentary Accountability of the Executive:
1. Persistent tendencies to evade critical debates, discussions, and checks through various means:
- Utilizing the money bill route as seen in the example of the Aadhar bill.
- Resorting to the voice vote mechanism, as witnessed with the Farm bills.
- Overreliance on frequent ordinances.
2. Inadequate emphasis on parliamentary institutions:
- Insufficient number of bills referred to parliamentary committees for comprehensive examination.
- Suboptimal productivity during the Question Hour, which hampers effective scrutiny.
3. Adverse impact of the pandemic:
- The unfortunate absence of an entire session, namely the winter session, due to the prevailing circumstances.
4. Lack of discipline and decorum:
- Frequent disruptions causing significant time loss (according to PRS, the Lok Sabha lost 1/6th of its time, while the Rajya Sabha lost 1/3rd of its time to disruptions).
Proposed Strategies for Enhancing Accountability:
- Implementing a comprehensive 15-point reform charter proposed by the esteemed Vice President, aimed at elevating the overall functioning of Parliament.
- Mandating meticulous scrutiny of all bills by Parliamentary Committees to ensure thorough examination and inclusive decision-making.
- Allocating adequate time for opposition members to engage in meaningful debates on issues of public importance, fostering a vibrant democratic discourse.