Assembly Celebrations: ‘Unfortunate to see legislators not devoting time to discuss Bills’
President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said he was “disturbed” to see the wastage of precious time in Parliament and legislative Assemblies due to frequent disruption by the members, and asked the legislators to introspect and devote more time for discussion of important issues in the House.
“Disruption is the total negation of the parliamentary system. It not only disturbs the proceedings of the House, but it is also the denial of the right to other members and to the citizens,” the President said, adding that he “can never accept disruption as an effective parliamentary intervention.”
The President was addressing the UP legislators and other dignitaries at a function to mark the 125th anniversary of the state legislature.
“After the Independence, India’s first budget, which was of mere Rs 197 crore, was simple. There was no excise duty, no customs duty, no gift tax and no sales tax. Comparatively, last year’s budget was nearly Rs 12 lakh crore and was much more complicated. But what are we doing? How much time are we devoting to the budget, for complicated administration matters, for discussion of these issues?” he said, adding that “these are the questions the legislators of today should ask themselves.”
“It is a great privilege to be elected by the people and an equally great responsibility to protect their interests and that of the nation,” he said.
“In the 14th Lok Sabha (2004-2009), when I was the leader of the house, an ‘actual’ time of nearly 1,992 hours was spread over 15 sessions. But, according to my calculation, more than 416 of those hours were wasted in disruption,” Mukherjee said. He also quoted rules from Kautilya’s Arthashastra for smooth working of an Assembly.
“Each and every rule has been made by ourselves. If we find that a rule has become antique, nothing prevents us from changing it. But when we have made the rules, we must follow them,” he said as “millions upon millions of rupees are spent in the business of the House.”
He also said that he became unpopular with his colleagues when he pointed out their absence from Parliament or when they did not cast their votes. “I used to tell them that such acts are dereliction of duty because no other work can be more important than the work in Parliament, the legislative Assemblies or the councils,” he said.
The president released