Disrupting parliamentary proceedings is contempt of House, can’t be privilege: Venkaiah Naidu

Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday mentioned that disrupting parliamentary proceedings quantity to contempt of the House and it can’t be claimed as a privilege by errant members.

This is the primary time {that a} presiding officer of any legislature within the nation has taken a public place on the problem of disruptions within the Parliament.

Delivering the second Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture on “Is disruption of parliamentary proceedings an MP’s privilege and/or a facet of parliamentary democracy?” nearly, Naidu mentioned, “Disruption of the proceedings is a certain negation of the spirit and the intention behind the rules of the House, the code of conduct and the parliamentary etiquette and the scheme of parliamentary privileges, all aimed at enabling effective performance of individual members and the House collectively. Given the consequences, disruption of proceedings clearly amounts to contempt of the House, by the logic of which disruption cannot be claimed as a privilege by errant members.”

Naidu referred to the lately concluded Monsoon Session of Parliament, which ended two days forward of schedule. During the session, an emotional Naidu had expressed anguish over the disruptions and had mentioned that he had spent a sleepless evening resulting from incidents which had taken place inside Parliament.

Naidu’s assertion comes days after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla mentioned that unparliamentary behaviour on show by public representatives have tarnished the picture of democratic establishments, and MPs and MLAs needs to be conscious that their privileges include tasks.

According to PRS Legislative Research information, the Monsoon Session was the third least productive Lok Sabha session within the final twenty years, with productiveness of simply 21 per cent. Rajya Sabha logged a productiveness of 28 per cent, its eighth least productive Session since 1999.

In his lecture, Naidu mentioned that the productiveness of Rajya Sabha has been quantified since 1978. During the primary 19 years until 1996, the productiveness of the House has been over 100 per cent, nevertheless it has begun to say no since then.

While the House clocked an annual productiveness of over 100 per cent throughout 16 out of those 19 years, it was so solely in two years — in 1998 and 2009 — that it clocked 100 % productiveness within the previous 24 years. Rajya Sabha has not clocked 100 % productiveness even as soon as previously 12 years.

Naidu additional mentioned that the productiveness of Rajya Sabha throughout 2004-14 has been about 78 per cent, and has declined to about 65% since then. Of the 11 periods that Naidu presided over, 4 of them clocked low productiveness of 6.80%, 27.30%, 28.90% and 29.55%. In 2018, the Rajya Sabha recorded the bottom ever productiveness of 35.75% resulting from disruptions, he mentioned.

“The total productiveness of the 2 periods held throughout 2021 has additional dipped to 63.85%. During the final Monsoon Session (the 254th), the Rajya Sabha has misplaced greater than 70% of the scheduled time, together with 77% of the precious Question Hour time. Question Hour is a crucial instrument of in search of accountability of the manager for implementation of the federal government’s insurance policies and programmes and pinning down the manager on the lapses thereof. During the final six years, over 60% of the precious Question Hour time has been misplaced resulting from disruptions. This state of affairs justifies the rising concern over persistent disruptions,’’ mentioned Naidu.

Since the Rajya Sabha got here into being in 1952, solely 10 members have been suspended for misconduct contained in the House in the course of the first 57 years whereas 18 had been so suspended within the final 11 years, together with 9 within the final one 12 months, he mentioned.

Pointing to the norms of conduct for members, Naidu mentioned that Rule 235 of the Rajya Sabha clearly stipulates members shall not hinder the proceedings of the House and interrupt members whereas talking by disorderly expression or noises or in every other disorderly method, and shall preserve silence whereas not talking within the Council.

“Rule 243 requires that the Chairman each time he rises shall be heard in silence and any member who’s talking or providing to talk shall instantly sit down. But these rules are being violated too typically. The 14-point Framework of Code of Conduct beneficial by the Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha and adopted by the House on December 15, 1999, requires that members should not do something that brings disrepute to the Parliament and impacts its

credibility. The query is whether or not disruptions improve the repute of the Parliament. Certainly not,’’ he mentioned, including that the 42-point parliamentary etiquette, which the members are required to observe, are always violated.

Referring to the privileges granted to the members like the liberty of speech within the House, immunity from any motion for something mentioned or vote given within the House or its committees, and freedom from arrest and legal responsibility to court docket proceedings, the Chairman mentioned such privileges

had been out there solely in as far as they had been vital for the House to freely carry out its features, and lift “considerations of their constituents fearlessly’’.

On the implications of disruptions, Naidu mentioned that they derail the scheduled enterprise of the House, deprive different members keen and recognized to take part in varied proceedings of the day, and delay the course of law-making. The socio-economic penalties of faulty

and delayed legal guidelines ensuing from such disruptions are fairly substantial, he mentioned.

Calling disruptions a matter of significant concern, Naidu mentioned, “Both the Houses of Parliament have handed resolutions on the event of Golden Jubilee of Independence in 1997 and on the event of 60 years of the primary sitting of Parliament in 2012, which inter alia required the

members to not disrupt Question Hour; to not enter the properly of the Houses; to uphold and preserve the dignity, sanctity and supremacy of Parliament. But these solemn commitments are being adopted extra in violation resulting in widespread public concern…”

He added, “MPs have the precise to protest in opposition to the perceived omissions and commissions of the federal government of the day. But it needs to be executed in a civil method with out rendering the legislature dysfunctional. The government may be taken to activity in the course of the debates by way of efficient interventions; protesting members can both discuss it out or stroll out; reach out to the media and other people highlighting their grievances, and many others.’’

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