The following article highlights how India’s Parliament is just a rubber stamp for the ruling party. The parliamentary system requires, by definition, that a government always has majority support in the nation’s legislature. With a guaranteed majority at hand, it can pass laws without debate or discussion.
This is precisely what has been going on for years in India’s Parliament. In the 1990s, MP Arun Shourie wrote, “Bills are passed without meaningful discussion, amidst ear-splitting hulla… Even budgets are passed amidst chaos.” In one session in 1990, the Chandra Shekhar government passed 18 bills in less than two hours; in 1999, Parliament met for only 20 sittings but passed 22 bills; in 2001, 33 bills were passed in 32 hours; in a 2007 session the Lok Sabha passed three bills in 15 minutes; and so on.
Here’s the latest report from The Times of India (11 December 2017)…
At a time when a delayed schedule for this year’s winter session of Parliament is a matter of discussion in political circles, an examination of records shows that 47% of bills in the last 10 years were passed without any debate.
There has also been a steady reduction in parliamentary hours, a comparison with records of the first 20 years since 1952 show. Between 1952 and 1972, the House ran for between 128 and 132 days a year, according to parliamentary sources. In the last 10 years, it ran for 64 to 67 days a year on an average.
Parliament passing a good number of legislations without any debate is in itself an abuse of the parliamentary system. Records show that 47% bills in the last 10 years were passed with no discussion at all. Sixty-one per cent of these (24% in all) were passed in the last three hours of a session.
In the last 10 years, 31% of legislations were passed in Parliament with no scrutiny or vetting by any parliamentary standing or consultative committee. However, there is no mandatory requirement to refer bills to committees.
Interestingly, salaries of MPs were increased four times in the last five years.
This news was first published on The Times of India on 11 December 2017