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Parliament Logjam: Two Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Ultimately, it’s a revelation of the citizen’s helplessness as well as a sign of the…

Ultimately, it’s a revelation of the citizen’s helplessness as well as a sign of the hopeless state of our democracy. That’s what it is—the PIL filed by an NGO (Foundation for Restoration of National Values) pleading to the Supreme Court to frame guidelines that will prevent the future freezing of our Parliament in the manner it did in its recently concluded monsoon session.

Whether the Supreme Court has the powers to make laws for Parliament’s functioning is itself doubtful when it is the Constitution of India which created our Parliamentary architecture and the Parliamentarians themselves made the existing fat Rule Book on the subject.

And whether the new guidelines expected from the Supreme Court will be implemented at all by the timid Constitutional heads that are today expected to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament is even more doubtful considering that some crucial sections of our Parliamentarians now believe that they alone will decide whether the Parliament functions or not.

The tragic fact is that it is increasingly being believed that disrupting the Parliament is an intrinsic part of democracy.

A journalist who interviewed Pranab Mukherjee a little before he became India’s President has gone on record that Prananbda’s view was that the majority party had the mandate to rule and the Opposition had the right to disrupt, but nobody had the right to obstruct.

Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi

Today, our Members of Parliament can’t distinguish between “disruption” and “obstruction.” The English dictionary is clear that to “disrupt” is to “interrupt”, while to “obstruct” is “to deliberately impede the course of legal or legislative proceedings”.

But an Italian lady with only elementary knowledge of Cambridge English can hardly know that difference.

 

That is why Sonia Gandhi thought that asking for spotless Sushma Swaraj’s “resignation first and discussion later” was identical to what the BJP did when it asked for the resignation of UPA ministers, blamed by the nation’s Comptroller and Auditor General for looting the country with corruption in the sale of 2G Spectrum, coal allocations, and for being exposed for taking money in exchange for plum jobs in the Railway Board.

The tragedy also is the plunge in decency among our people, the erosion in “national values” for which an NGO has to be created.

A Pappu thinks nothing of saying in Parliament that the nation’s Prime Minister doesn’t have the guts to sit in his chair in the Lok Sabha, and that he has turned the proverbial story of the three monkeys into “See no truth.” Say no truth” and “Hear no truth.”

Pappu alias Rahul Gandhi thinks it’s not indecent to call the country’s External Affairs Minister a criminal before the TV cameras. We have reached the stage of seeing no wrong in flaunting placards in the temple of democracy or protesting raucously outside the home of the elderly lady Lok Sabha Speaker and threatening to burn her effigy.

Compounding this collapse of national values is the media’s hype on the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. Under these social circumstances, New Guidelines from the Supreme Court will make no difference unless those running the two Houses of Parliament are bold enough to control them all the way.

The tragedy also is the plunge in decency among our people, the erosion in “national values” for which an NGO has to be created.

That is why we must have a Constitutional provision to replace the present system of appointing the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman. From the inception of our Constitution, the Speaker is elected by Members of the Lok Sabha, while the Vice-President of India (who is the second in the nation’s protocol) gets the silly job of disciplining the misbehaving louts among the 245 Members of the Rajya Sabha, which, remember, is the “House of the Elders.”

What is needed is to constitutionally lay down that a retired Chief Justice of India will be appointed as Lok Sabha Speaker and another retired CJI as the Speaker of the Rajya Sabha.

Each of them would have a couple of retired Chief Justices of the High Courts to serve as their Deputies. Such appointees will surely be able to implement the existing Rules of Parliament with an iron hand with the additional provision that the expulsion of a Rajya Sabha member will entirely depend on the Speaker and not on the voting on a motion in the House.

It’s my belief that such a Constitutional amendment will sort out matters because, thank God, even the goons of our society fear and respect judges.

The second Constitutional amendment necessary to bring sanity back to our Parliament is to discontinue the power of the Rajya Sabha to vote down every legislative Bill excepting a Money Bill as defined in Article 110 of our Constitution.

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi

It is ludicrous that the 245-member Rajya Sabha, comprising members indirectly elected by the very limited numbers of each State Legislative Assembly, has the power to vote out a legislative Bill based on specific election manifesto promises of the political party that came to power on a majority in the 545-strong Lok Sabha where all, except two, were elected by the voters across the length and breadth of this country.

“Manifesto Bills” should have their own status of being outside the control of the Rajya Sabha whose power in the case of such Bills should be restricted to making suggestions for amendments to the Lok Sabha.

This is precisely the situation today in the United Kingdom where its democratic history in the bicameral system was created by two statesmen in 1945.

That was when the when the British Labour Party secured an unprecedented majority in the House of Commons, but had only 16 Lords left in the House of Lords whose strength stood over 700 then.

The Labour Party of Clement Atlee was thus faced with a humongous problem. Its very real fear that it could not implement its promise of a welfare state if the much bigger strength of the House Lords was empowered to make and vote on its amendments as it would wreck the proposed legislations of the new party in power.

It was then that a milestone was embedded in the history of the world’s political democracy. And it was done by two statesmen who put peoples’ aspirations far above self interest.

Lord Addison and Lord Salisbury, the Conservative leaders in the House of Lords from 1942 to 1957, agreed that anything promised in a majority’s party’s manifesto would eventually pass; anything else would be subject to full debate.

In its modern form, the convention still permits the offering of reasoned amendments to a Government bill, provided such amendments are not designed to destroy the bill.

Despite several debates thereafter, the Salisbury Doctrine has continued, and is valid even today. In case of a coalition government formed by a set of political parties, the common points in the manifesto of those parties are treated by the UK Parliament as eligible for being treated as a “Manifesto Bill.” Only suggestions are permitted to the Lords but not the voting right.

To sum up, what our Parliament therefore needs now are:

  1. A Constitutional Amendment providing for the appointment of a retired Chief Justice of India as the Chairman of each of the two Houses of ParliamentThis would prevent the allegations of the Speaker being partial to the ruling government’s side. Another benefit would be that the Speaker, generally a senior politician, will be grafted into a ministerial position if belonging to the ruling political party, and permitting the country’s Vice President to be given more onerous responsibilities than merely trying to bring order in a chaotic Rajya Sabha besides carrying out the gamut of other Parliamentary responsibilities.
  1. A Constitutional Amendment to define a “Manifesto Bill” and permit the Rajya Sabha only to suggest amendments to it but not vote on that Bill – just as is done for a Money Bill mentioned earlier—This will prevent the frequent rift between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. A beneficial side effect of a Salisbury type of doctrine will be that the Election Manifestos of our political parties will stop being vague. Their prior approval by the Election Commission will be the kind of endorsement required of it. If needed, put a ceiling on the number of such Manifesto Bills to be introduced in the Lok Sabha. All political parties will approve this readily provided the amendment becomes effective only from the announcement of the next general elections.

Meanwhile, the existing Heads of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha should look at national values and not at the placards flaunted and the noise generated around them.

If they do that and start suspending and expelling the errant Members who violate the existing Rule Book, they will help considerably to restore some dignity to our Parliament’s functioning.

And much help can be rendered by our media if our media emphasises the difference between “disruption” and “obstruction.” The Supreme Court is already overburdened; we don’t need to add to it when the solution is with us, the people of India.

Arvind Lavakere has been a freelance writer since 1957. He has written and spoken on sports on radio and TV. He currently writes on political issues regularly. His writings include a book on Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
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  • malavika

    Actually, there should not be any sine cures for Justices, both HC and SC. In our SC there is no precedent, some people get bail over phone(Tseeta), some languish for years without a trial and a bail like Sadhvi Pragya. In other words ‘Justice’ appears arbitrary, unjust and whimsical. The pronouncements by the Court in Marans case are unfortunate and appear helpful for the corrupt people at the expense of ordinary citizens.

    In other words the SC must stick to Constitutional matters rather than entertain frivolous BCCI cases, which the Justices are unable to do. We have a backlog of cases which have been pending for nearly half a century. Do we want the same people in our Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha? NO way. Lets not forget there is rampant nepotism in the upper echelons of the Judiciary.

    How ever the Modi admin must ensure better floor management and call a joint session and push the bills through, even if it means suspending the unruly Congi MPs. there is a reason people of this country gave him 282 Lok Sabha seats.

  • Radha Rajan

    Because I consider this issue extremely serious I am using this space to make a small correction to a comment posted below where the reader has refered to Col. Purihit and Col. Upadhyay as being nationalists. Far from it. These two were co-conspirators to pin thr label Hindu terror on Hindus. I think every thinking Hindu must know the facts behind this sordid, evil plot. Pl refer to my article How Sonia Gandhi Brewed Hindu terror in her pot. This will be my last intervention on this website. Very nice to have known you all.

    • Radha Rajan

      This article is on Vigilonline.

  • IndiannotAmused

    Good suggestions but even better to DO AWAY with this Rajya Sabha………do we need a so called house of elders just because Anglo-Saxons have it? Our own democratic roots can be forged on our civilizational norms…….we do not need to ape them.Democracy is fine but chaos can not be tolerated. Accommodating this ” House of Elders” in the name of pandering to Westminister style democracy is a sort of post-colonial hangover.Screw the non-elected f…..ing Rajya Sabha. It is a place where Jihadi songwriters and barely literate sportsmen get sent by the political circus…….to sabotage democracy itself. Down with this corrupt and unnecessary institution.

  • Amit Prabhu

    The second amendment proposed in the article is very good and should be debated for sure. After all, Lok Sabha is the true representation of the people of the country, while Rajya Sabha is a representative of the states. I dont see much value in the first proposal. The speaker of the Lok Sabha has to be somebody chosen by the elected members and therefore the current practice seems just right. In the Rajya Sabha though, the matter is slightly tricky. One does not really benefit from having the VP as the Chairman of the house. I have never understood the rationale behind this.

    I would however like to draw attention to another matter altogether. It is to do with the composition of the Rajya Sabha. Given that the Rajya Sabha is a representation of the states, the members of this house should represent the individual state Governments. In other words, the tenure of these MPs should be in line with the tenure of the respective state assemblies and not the current system of 6 years. Look at the current composition – A state like MH which has a BJP+ Govt does not have as many BJP MPs to this house. Similarly, in KA, despire having majority in the state assembly, Congress has fewer members than there should be. In my view, once a state assembly is dissolved, the MPs representing the states should also stand terminated and it should be the onus of the fresh assembly to elect MPs to the RS. This way RS will truly reflect the view of the state assemblies.

  • Indian

    The Italian Nazi Vatican Plant SOW-NIA and Christian Boko Harami Congis tried to kill MODI thrice in addition to using the treacherous evil degenerate “Private Corporate-Family controleed” media, AND REFUSING SECURITY DESPITE BEING THE MOST TARGETED MAN
    1. Bomb Blasts in Patna, meant to create stampede (white skinned lepers, Racist degenerates do not care of Black or Brown lives) and try to kill MODI
    2. Dengue Mosquitoes being planted in vicinity of Guest House in Lucknow where MODI was staying
    3. Downing of MH17 plane in Ukraine (after elections), it is to be remembered that MODIJIs plane was supposed to pass within 4 mins of attack. However it was ‘delayed”(due to Intelligence warning) by 22 mins (intellibriefs.blogspot.com)
    they failed thrice but will try again.High time replied in the same but Magnitudes Higher manner, starting with the MAFIAS ARM THE YOUTH CONGIS.
    NATIONALISTS NEED TO BUILD AN ATLEAST 1 CRORE (JUST 1% OF POPULATION) OF ULTRARIGHT,DANGEROUSLY ARMED VOLUNTARY MILITIA, ON LINES OF “WHITE TERROR” TERROR OUTFIT OF SPAIN. ROPE IN THE RETIRED MILITARY, POLICE, CPO Officers to train in self and national defense surreptitiously, like ANAND MARG fought the savage barbaric degenrate Commie butchers to standstill in the genocidal maniac Commie Basu’s rule, despite all state power. AND FIGHT THE COMMIE-XIAN BOKO HARAM Congis a relentless, ruthless, war from streets to Parliament to Courts putting a avalanche of cases against the Dyansty media and Congi crooks. USE ALL MEANS AGAINST THIS ITALIAN PLANT.THE FEAR OF DEVASTATING AND SAVAGE RETRIBUTION SHOULD STRIKE THE FILTHY HEARTS OF COMMIE-CONGI-MEDIA ITALIAN MAFIA SHITEATERS. WHY THE BASTARDIZED, FILTHY GOON CHILDREN OF SUPPORTERS OF YAKUB BE ALLOWED A FEARLESS LIFE IN INDIA. FOR 257 KILLED THE BORN IN BROTHEL BASTARDS SHOULD LOOSE ATLEAST 2570 OF THEIR CHILDREN..TILL FEAR IS INSTALLED AS PERMANENT FIXTURE IN THEIR VILE HEARTS ..
    BY THE WAY ALL NATIONALISTS SHOULD ALSO START A PETITION AND SM CAMPAIGN TO BAN DUAL NATIONALS, FOREIGN NATIONALS AND SUSPECTS WITH FOREIGN SPOUSES FROM ALL DEFENCE, CONSTITUTIONAL, JUDICIAL AND MEDIA POSITIONS..IF PAKISTAN CAN DO IT SO SHOULD WE

  • Indian

    Its due to sheer Cowardice of the Nationalist Class of Indians, specially Hindus, that a single white italian Bardancer, of suspect loyalties and few hundred media Haramis (of suspect Paternity, can’t you see the similarities of faces between that Xian Boko Harami lout “AROON PURIE”, the name itself suspect, AROON like Haroon, and unlike Hindu sounding ARUN and PURIE Like Tomato PURIE, a Hindu Panjabi will be as ARUN PURI, of ITALIAN TOILET = INDIA TODAY Group and Thompson Press, the largest printer of BIB-LIES and that BASTARD Born in “GOA”, MEAT PIECE AREA of Portuguese and sluts, to a unknown Portuguese Father), the similarities in faces Sreenivasan Jain and that Sanjay Jha? Its a Commie-Xian Boko Harami butchers (they all are) strategy to stretch the laws to limits. SM is attacking them, but MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE AND THAT IS TO CALL A BOYCOTT OF THESE “PRIVATE CORPORATE” WHOREHOUSES with overused, oversized, rancid filthy C…TS like Bur-Khaa Datta and that Sagarika Ghosh (SUAR KAA GOST) whose paternity lies in RAPES OF DIRECT ACTION. THEY SHOULD BE RELENTLESSLY ATTACKED IN MOST VICIOUS MANNER, AND RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IS NOT ONLY FOR PERVERTED DEGENERATE MOTER F..ING COMMIES AND VATICAN LOONS but for all AND THESE ITALIAN POTLICKERS should be attacked day in and out,specially, owners like PIMP OF WORLD CHRISTIAN COUNCIL VINEET JAIN, AROON PURIE ET-AL.Lot is available on Net against these bastards. Nationalist NGOs and NATIONALISTS should go and persuade people to boycott these BASTARDS whose main FINANCERS ARE ITALIAN DRUG, ORGAN, CHILD PAEDOPHILE, BLUE FILM, PORNOGRAPHY MAFIA-ISI-ISIS-TALIBAAN-CIA…AND TO THIS ITALIAN 5TH FAIL UNCOUTH,UNCULTURED (ALL ITALIANS ARE, AS EVEN M..F IS OK IN ITALY) SOME CULTURE SPECIALLY INDIAN HAS TO BE DRILLED IN HER BRAIN WHICH WILL NOT COME WITHOUT TAKING UP ARMED STRUGGLE ON STREETS..WHEN NUDE CONGI GOONS DANCED NAKED ON STREETS OF DELHI THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN PHOTOGRAPHED AND IDENTIFIED BY NATIONALISTS AND ATTACKED IN THEIR HOMES, THEIR HEADS AND BONES BROKEN IN 210 PIECES, THEIR FAMILIES TERRORISED FOR NEXT 100 DAYS..CONGI GOONS HAVE TO BE TAKEN ON STREETS WITH LATHIS, PETROL BOMBS, ACID ATTACKS, AND ALSO FAKE POCSA TERRORIST ACTS COMPLAINTS..INDIANS SHOULD MAKE THE AREAS NO GO ZONES FOR THESE CONGI PIGS AFTER THIS, THEY ENTER AT THEIR OWN RISKS, GOONS SOMETIMES ARE ALONE..FOR A KANNUR 1000 X KANNURS FOR NEXT 100 DAYS IN EVERY DISTRICT..OTHERWISE THE XIAN BOKO HARAMI CONGIS WILL DO THIS TO ALL INDIANS WHO TRY TO SAVE THEIR MOTHERS, SISTERS, DAUGHTERS FROM COMMUNAL VIOLENCE ACT SANCTIFIED RAPE..BY THE WAY (THE MEDIA WHORES HID AROUND 70000 INDIAN CHILDREN RAPES BY WHITE CARNAL SAVAGES ON ADVISE OF ITALIAN SONIA)

  • krishnakumar

    I feel the suggestions are people specific. it visualises that by bringing in chief justices in the place of politicians to chair both the houses, there can be improvement. Prima facie, this seems to be flawed. Certain errant behaviour of uncivil politicians is the cause of obstruction. That being the case, instead of changing the people, why not the parliament makes rules / modify existing rules to define errant behaviour. And make way for automatic punishment of errant politicians on the basis of video recording of the house proceedings.

    some of the errant behaviours :-

    1. To bring in placards. Parliament is a place to discuss and debate national issues. not a political rally to carry on placards.
    2. Getting into the well and shouting slogans. Sloganeering can be resorted to in political rallies. Parliament requires meaningful and focussed debates.

    The commentators may please list other errant behaviours also.

    And it is on the basis of existing rules that speaker of lok sabha suspended 25 congress MPs. It has also been reported in the newspapers that the rules of Rajya Sabha are different from that of lok sabha. During UPA II itself, Mr.Ansari tried to modify the rules of Rajya Sabha for making way for punishment of bad behaviour of politicians but could not succeed.

    Establishment of rules to pave way for smooth conduct of business in both houses is the way and need of the hour. Target should be the defined bad behaviiour of the MPs and the way should be Automatic suspension for a defined period.

  • suru

    Thank you for the nice article Mr.Arvind ji.

    I am not sure if the your proposed constitutional amendment will work out or not.

    However my suggestion is that any unruly member of Parliament/assembly going to or standing in the well of the house or attacking other members of the house , should be disqualified immediately for 5 years. He loses MP’s post immediately/

  • DiXit Jain

    Awesome amendments proposed by you Sir ! I’m sure if they get implemented (while I don’t see this happening in near future keeping in mind the class of majority of our politician) they will imbibe quality and discipline in our political class, we will get to see quality debates rather than shouting slogans chest thumping and other dramatics and petty quarrels among the elected ones.

    • Radha Rajan

      What if you get a pulpit thumping verbose judge like Justice Markandey Katju who wont let anyone else speak or a corrupt judge like several former chief justices of India? From bad to worse to worst.

      • JagatguruDas

        And one has to listen to fudged puranic and itihasic stories which would make Vyasa to scratch his head why he wasted his time in all these puranas and mahabharata

  • Jishnu

    LS speaker should simply revoke “main opposition” status of congress and things will fall in line. Just make the 2 villains + 42 idiots irrelevant. Cong is already alone among opposition.

  • #MIMAAP

    Judiciary umpire inside Executive untenable, more so when Judiciary rattled at prospect of sharing a part of its power with Executive thru NJAC.

    Having said it, are the following changes possible
    1. Link RS tenure with LS tenure
    2. Let RS be entrusted with deliberate, suggest changes alone and never to reject/Vote against a bill passed by LS ?

    • Indian

      The Italian mafia money and Brothel culture is also percolated the Judiciary. That SOBBOAR MARKANDAY KATJU whose daughter slept with Congi thugs to get him the CJI Position, when he is known ISI pimp and an ITALIAN Dogshit eater.This slut corrupted the Judiciary to rotting extent.No doubt a TEESTA gets Bail for ANTINATIONALISM over the Phone, HC Thug judge lecturing on “tolerating dissent”, so many so called Judges barking for Yakub, in exchange for Dawood’s money, SC Opened for a terrorist at 2 AM in the Night, while nationalists like Col Purohit, Col Upadhyaya, and Sadhavi Pragya continue to languish without any chargesheet for last 7 years. SONIA is still OUT , thanks to Vatican pimp ” Justice JOSEPH” and alive shows that India has been reduced of MAFIA ITALY of 80s. KATJU WHO ALSO MADE PRESS COUNCIL OF INDIA = PIMPS COUNCIL OF ITALIAN..JUDGES, MEDIA, SO CALLED SECULARS ARE ALL IN SAME LEAGUE..WITHOUT BLOODBATH BY NATIONALISTS NOTHING WILL CHANGE..PRASHANT BHUSHAN, MAHESH BHATT, INDIRA JAISINGH, SUAR-DESAIS & THEIR FAMILIES R STILL ALIVE – SHAME ON INDIANS

  • Radha Rajan

    “A Constitutional Amendment providing for the appointment of a retired Chief Justice of India as the Chairman of each of the two Houses of Parliament”. Perish the thought Arvindji. Considering the crisis of character of judges of our courts, we cannot afford to have some corrupt judge in parliament as well. There are enough post-retirement sinecures for supreme court judges – NHRC and the Press council of india. No more judges and certainly not in parliament until they clean up their stables. Can you imagine how obstructionist they can be if ever an impeachment motion against some judge were to come up in parliament? Looking fwd to your response and wonderful really wonderful to hear from you again.

  • Radha Rajan