Parliament Impasse

Updated: Aug 27 2004, 05:30am hrs
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was entirely justified in dealing with the Oppo-sition in the manner he did. The opposition leaders had no business to raise issues pertaining to the Budget and the Finance Bill in his office instead of debating them over in Parliament. When expenditure of Rs 4,77,000 crore of public funds are involved, issues therein cannot be treated as a joke as opposition leaders seem to have treated them.

Thus, a heterogenous coalition government with an uneviably slender majority managed to get the debatable budget proposals and Finance Bill 2004 passed totally unscathed. Not a single clause in the Bill was taken up for consideration, far less a debate. This is most extra-ordinary, outrageous and singularly unprecedented! The ill-conceived Opposition strategy of ceaselessly disrupting the proceedings in the Parliament on non-issues has contributed to this situation. The Finance Bill is surely more important than law catching up with Uma Bharti!

The shameful conduct of Opposition shows total disregard and disrespect on their part to the Parliamentary norms and proceedings. Vijay Kumar Malhotra and company have touched a new low in Parliamentary irresponsibility, first by disrupting proceedings by gimmicks and histrionics and then by not participating when put in proper place by the Prime Minister! This kind of needless impasse constitutes a sheer betrayal of the electorate. Its time the Speaker took action against these recalcitrant elements. Time also seems ripe to evolve a code of conduct for parliamentarians, limiting the level of irresponsibile behaviour beyond a point.

The author is Advocate, Supreme Court of India