At Present Members of Parliament are the Most Charecterless, Mannerless, Indisciplined, Ignorant, bunch/Crowd, with No Respect to ther duties, ---are black mark to this country's Upanishadik Culture, Sanatana Dharmam otherwise known as HINDUISM :

Late Sri G.M.C. Balayogi - from  Telugu Desam party Andhra Pradesh
Lok Sabha Speaker { 24.03.1998 to 19.10.1999  and  22.10.1999  to  03.03.2002.}

Opinion

03./03/2016.

 277.

All Members,

Respected family members of this great holy Nation.

Sub : IMPERATIVE OF DISCIPLINE AND DECORUM IN PARLIAMENT*
Sri. G.M.C. BALAYOGI

Ref : At  Present  Members of Parliament are the  Most Characterless, Mannerless, Indisciplined,  Ignorant,  bunch/Crowd, with No Respect  to their duties, ---are black mark to this country's Upanishadic  Culture, Sanatana Dharmam  otherwise known as HINDUISM :

1.
It is widely accepted that parliamentary democracy is a system of governance which has to evolve and grow taking into its fold the native realities and requirements. It necessarily involves certain broad para-meters of working and envisages certain principles and policies of public ethics as its functioning base. The character and quality of parliamentary democracy depend very much on the quality and calibre of persons who man the representative bodies which are the supreme institutions in such polities. Their behaviour should be such as to enhance the dignity of Parliament and its members in general. The degree of esteem in which the people of a country hold its Parliament is a sure sign of the success and maturity of its democratic process.

2.
With its rich and varied democratic heritage spanning millennia, India has been a crucible of many cultures and civilizations as also systems of governance. After achieving Independence, we opted for a parliamentary form of Government. Though parliamentary democracy, in its modern sense, has been in operation in our country for the last fifty years only, we have earned encomiums from far and wide as the world’s largest working democracy. We have amply proved our inherent and inviolate democratic credentials by successfully conducting as many as thirteen General Elections to the Lok Sabha and many more to the State Legislatures. In spite of many trials and tribulations, democracy has struck deep roots in our country.

3.
Over the years, the face of the Indian Parliament has undergone a dramatic transformation reflecting the socio-political development of the nation as a whole. This has been so particularly in the case of the Lok Sabha, the popularly elected House, which, in effect, connotes the changing profile of the Indian electorate too. To begin with, one finds that the number of political parties represented in the Lok Sabha has been on the rise, especially in recent years. This corresponds with the proliferation of political parties and the fragmentation of mainline political parties and the emergence of regional parties. Mergers and splits of political parties have become a recurring phenomenon in India’s electoral politics. The Thirteenth Lok Sabha has representatives from as many as 38 political parties as compared to 4 or 5 in the First Lok Sabha. Another important feature of the Thirteenth Lok Sabha is the crucial role of the regional parties and single-member parties.

4.
With successive Lok Sabhas, the educational background of its members has also changed considerably. Though our Constitution does not stipulate any formal educational qualification for members of Parliament, it cannot be denied that educational accomplishments have a bearing on the behaviour of a person while conducting himself or herself in a public forum and the general trend in this regard shows that electors have favoured those who have had basic education and who could thereby articulate their problems and grievances more effectively in the supreme legislative organ of the land. In the Twelfth Lok Sabha, 77.49 per cent of the members had education of the level of graduation and above, whereas the corresponding figure for the First Lok Sabha was 58.4 per cent. The occupational background of the members has also been changing with the Lok Sabhas over the decades. In the First Lok Sabha, members with legal background outnumbered those belonging to other professions. In the Twelfth Lok Sabha, they were relegated to the third position behind political and social workers and agriculturists. This indeed is ample proof of a changing approach and attitude of the electorate in choosing their representatives. Their preference perhaps is indicative of the fact that they intend to send to Parliament representatives who are grassroot workers, fully conversant with their problems, and who could place them before the national Government for early and expeditious redressal.

5.
To play a meaningful role as members, it is necessary for them to have a proper perspective of the place of Parliament in our polity. As is said, Parliament is not a talking shop. It is visualized by the Constitution as an important instrument of socio-economic change. As such, it has to closely watch the functioning of the Government and influence its performance for social good. How do members articulate their views? In our Parliament, there are a number of devices available for members to raise matters of concern and they should make full use of it. While doing so, they should bear in mind that Parliament is not the forum to raise issues that are basically the concerns of State Governments for which the Legislative Assemblies are the proper fora. The issues raised in Parliament should have a wider significance to the society and the nation at large. Members must make full use of all the available opportunities and participate actively in the legislative, financial and other business of the House, bringing to bear their special knowledge, experience and insights in the shaping of public policy and contributing their share in the oversight and scrutiny of performance of the Government and redressal of public grievances.

6.
The Question Hour has a sanctity of its own as a primary device to call upon the Government to explain its actions and stand on a variety of subjects. This is a time when Government is put to a thorough scrutiny by Parliament. Members should, therefore, resist the temptation to demand the suspension of Question Hour to discuss matters of political interest.

7.
An analysis of the time spent on various kind of business during the First to the Twelfth Lok Sabhas reveals that the Fifth Lok Sabha recorded an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes per sitting followed by the Seventh Lok Sabha which devoted 7 hours and 9 minutes of average sitting. However, of late, there is a decline in the trend and the average sitting of the Twelfth Lok Sabha was 6 hours and 32 minutes. A recent development in the functioning of the Lok Sabha which deserves the attention of all those concerned with the working of parliamentary system is the frequent adjournments of the House as a result of disorderly scenes and interruptions. Such disruptions have led to a loss of about 10.66 per cent of the time of the House during the Twelfth Lok Sabha and 68 hours and 37 minutes of the business of the House were spent where nothing could be recorded and nobody could hear the members of Parliament.

8.
The image of the Parliament and its credibility as a representative institution largely depend on the role and functions of its members. The functioning of Parliament is a serious business and it ought to be conducted with a degree of dignity, decorum, and sincerity. Maintenance of order in the House is the fundamental duty of the Speaker. He is not only the moderator and facilitator of the sittings of the House, but is also the authority invested with the responsibility to help frame sound rules, practices, customs and conventions and thereby to evolve a healthy parliamentary culture. The Speaker derives his disciplinary powers from the Rules. He may, in his discretion, intervene when a member makes an unwarranted or defamatory remark by asking him to withdraw that remark or order the expunction of any defamatory or indecent words used in the debate. The Speaker may also order a member guilty of disorderly conduct to withdraw from the House, and name a member for suspension if the member disregards the authority of the Chair and persists in obstructing the proceedings of the House in case of grave disorder.

9.
The proceedings, at times, become noisy leading to pandemonium and turmoil. This projects Parliament in a poor light, especially in view of the fact that the proceedings are now-a-days shown live on the television. Members should refrain from the tendency to rush to the well of the House, raise slogans and create unruly scenes. As mentioned earlier, a lot of precious time of the House is wasted this way. It is equally important that members must imbibe the etiquette of Parliament. In the heat of the moment when passions run high, members sometimes tend to use unparliamentary language. There is, of course, a practice to expunge such remarks from records but it has to be borne in mind that with live telecasting, such expunction becomes infructuous as people would have already heard it. Pandit Nehru, an epitome of parliamentary decorum, once observed :

10.
            “Democracy does not mean simply shouting loudly and persistently, though that might have occasionally some value. Freedom and democracy require responsibility and certain standards of behaviour and self-discipline.”

11.
Ironically, protests seem to attract greater media attention. At times, sensational news-noisy scenes, pandemonium, walk-outs in the Houses of Parliament, etc.—are given front page coverage in the national dailies and important issues like legislative and financial business tend to get sidelined or are ignored. Media, being one of the pillars of democracy, has an educative role as well. If media writes forcefully and accurately and gives importance to the real issues and significant matters and debates and deliberations in the Legislatures, it can become more effective and meaningful in its purpose.

12.
Apart from the Committee of Privileges, which is there to inquire into cases of breaches of privilege of the House and its members, ad hoc committees of the House have also been constituted from time to time to consider and investigate the conduct of members.

13.
On 18 February 1963, five members of Parliament created disorder at the time of the President’s Address to members of both the Houses of Parliament assembled together. The next day, a Committee was appointed by the Speaker to report to the House of the disorderly conduct of the members. The Committee, in their report, recommended that for any disorderly conduct by a member during the President’s Address, he may be suspended from the service of the House for a period which may extend upto one year. Replying to the discussion on the report of the Committee, Pandit Nehru remarked:

14.
            “The sole question before us is–it is a highly important one and vital one-what rules and conventions we should establish for carrying on the work of this Parliament with dignity and effectiveness... Parliament is supposed not only to act correctly but lay down certain principles and conventions of decorous behaviour.”

15.
In 1971, when the President started reading his Address to both the Houses of Parliament, a member of Lok Sabha interrupted him and created disorder. The Committee constituted to look into the matter held the member’s conduct improper and inconsistent with the dignity of the occasion. The Committee formulated certain guidelines for the conduct of members and maintenance of order, dignity and decorum on the occasion of the President’s Address. Over the years, on the basis of well-established parliamentary practices, certain rules of conduct, norms of behaviour and conventions have developed for legislators in their functioning in the House, in Parliamentary Committees, during President’s Address, their functioning outside the House, etc.

16.
The imperative for maintaining discipline and decorum in the Parliament can hardly be over-emphasized. Incidents of pandemonium and unruly scenes have been a matter of concern to all those connected with the working of parliamentary institutions–be it the Presiding Officers, the Leader of the House, the Leader of Opposition, Leaders of Political Parties, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Whips or members. In 1992, a two-day All-India Conference of Presiding Officers, Leaders of Parties, Ministers of Parliamentary Affairs, Whips, Parliamentarians, Legislators and Senior Officers of Parliament and State Legislatures was held in New Delhi to dwell on many related aspects of the functioning of parliamentary institutions such as disorders and disturbances during the President’s and Governor’s Address, suspension of Question Hour, the so-called ‘Zero-Hour’, number of sittings, training of legislators, code of conduct for members, etc. The basic and unequivocal concern of the participants was effective use of the time of the House, orderly conduct of the business of the House and ways and means to make the Executive more responsive to the grievances of the people. The Conference unanimously adopted a Resolution reflecting the consensus. The resolution inter-alia stressed that with a view to preserving the democratic and secular fabric and strengthening the parliamentary institutions, it was necessary for the members to maintain decorum and dignity at the time of the President’s/Governor’s Address; to utilise fully and effectively the Question time as a well-established device to ensure accountability of the Executive; and to observe the Rules of Procedure in order to maintain order and decorum in the House. The Resolution also emphasised that the political parties should evolve a code of conduct for their legislators and ensure its observance by them.

17.
The Special Session of Parliament to mark the Golden Jubilee of India’s Independence, held from 26 August to 1 September 1997, unanimously adopted a Resolution which inter alia emphasizes:

18.
            That the prestige of the Parliament be preserved and enhanced, also by conscious and dignified conformity to the entire regime of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Houses and Directions of the Presiding Officers relating to orderly conduct of business, more especially by,

            –  maintaining the inviolability of the Question Hour,

            –  refraining from transgressing into the official areas of the House, or from any shouting of slogans, and

            –  invariably desisting from any efforts at interruption or interferences with the Address of the President of the Republic.

19.
Maintenance of discipline and decorum, therefore, is a prerequisite for the smooth functioning of our parliamentary democracy. It is in this context that the concept of ethics and standards for parliamentarians assumes relevance and significance. In March 1997, the Rajya Sabha constituted an Ethics Committee to oversee the moral and ethical conduct of the members and to examine the cases referred to it. During the life of the Eleventh Lok Sabha, a Study Group of the Committee of Privileges undertook a study of parliamentary privileges, ethics and related matters. The Report of the Study Group on Ethics, Standards in Public Life, Privileges, Facilities to Members and Other Related Matters, as adopted by the Committee of Privileges and presented to the Twelfth Lok Sabha, recommended broad parameters to be incorporated in the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha for dealing with complaints relating to the unbecoming conduct of a member or his unethical behaviour. As an elected representative of the people, a member’s status is an exalted one. While privileges are given to members to enable them to perform their parliamentary duties unfettered, these privileges also entail certain obligations. A dignified conduct is one of the primary obligations of a member of Parliament.

20.
As briefly mentioned earlier, ever since independence, the overall political scenario of the country has undergone a major change. Consequently, the party system and the nature of Government have also changed. We have been witnessing for the last few years a gradual decline of the dominance of a single political party and the emergence of regional parties on the horizon of Indian politics. Today, we have various political parties advocating the interests of different sections of our society. The last four General Elections returned Parliaments with no party on its own managing a working majority. As a result, we have seen several Coalition Governments.

21.
What is the role of the Speaker in such a political scenario? Basically, his role and functions remain the same whether it is a Parliament with no party in absolute majority or a Parliament where a single party has absolute majority. The Speaker’s role is to conduct the business of the House according to the Rules of Procedure. His principal role remains unchanged, i.e. to regulate the proceedings of the House and to enable it to deliberate on and decide the various matters coming up before it. Nonetheless, the Speaker operates in a different environment, especially when there is a hung Parliament or when a Coalition Government is in office. The situation becomes more tenuous when the ruling coalition is supported by parties from outside without actually joining the coalition. Differing perceptions of political parties always find their echo in the Parliament, making the task of the Presiding Officer very demanding.

22.
In this age of hung Parliaments, management of the time of the House is very crucial and is of utmost importance. With razor-thin majorities and ever-changing political formulations, orderly conduct of the business of the House in these trying situations is a tough task, especially when the whole nation is watching the unfolding drama.

23.
There is little doubt, therefore, that the time has come when all the political parties should find ways to improve the quality of member’s participation in parliamentary proceedings and to ensure that members conduct themselves in a dignified and decorous manner. As elsewhere, training is necessary for them to understand the subtleties and nuances of parliamentary democracy. There is an urgent need for imparting political education to new members, either by the political parties themselves or through some other mechanism as may be evolved on the basis of consensus. As far as procedural training is concerned, the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training of the Lok Sabha Secretariat organises Orientation Programmes in Parliamentary Practices and Procedures for new members.

24.
In a parliamentary system of government, parliamentarians play a vital role. The image of democracy as a form of Government depends upon the Parliament and the image of Parliament, in turn, depends upon the image of its parliamentarians. In fact, the future of the democratic set-up itself depends upon the way the parliamentarians discharge their duties and responsibilities. Once elected, they are representatives not only of their constituency but of the State and the nation as a whole. Hence, their behaviour and actions inside the House as well as outside have a great bearing and impact on the national situation. The members of the Thirteenth Lok Sabha have the solemn responsibility of launching our country into the new millennium. They have to realise the ideals and goals enshrined in the Golden Jubilee Resolution and to collectively endeavour to set new standards and reach higher levels of parliamentary conduct. It is said that any institution is as good as its members choose to make it. It is thus that the members have to live up to the people’s expectations in heralding a new era in our parliamentary polity.

NOTE -

Present MPs should read this, to get awakened, as true parliamentarians.

END.

Thank you for reading

 JAIHIND.

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