Disruptions in Parliament – UPSC GS2

  • There is an increase in number of disruptions in the house.                     
  • Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu said that there should be a specific provision in the Rules of Business to automatically disqualify members who rush into the well of the House.
  • He added that legislatures should start displaying in public domain the names of members who violate rules and disrupt House proceedings.
Why disruptions occur?
  • Disruptions usually occurred when the opposition is against a government policy or a national issue.
  • The amount of time lost due to disruptions in Parliament had steadily risen from 5% of working time in the truncated 11th Lok Sabha (1996-97) to 39% in the 15th LS (2009-14). (#diagram Graph)
  • In 2010, the entire winter session was lost due to the uproar over the 2G scam.
  • In 2011, 30% of the time was lost due to disruptions.
  • 2016 was the least productive of the 16th Lok Sabha, when the opposition united against the government’s decision of demonetization. 73% of the time was lost during that period.
History of Disruptions:
  • Soon after the first Lok Sabha convened in 1952, an amendment to the contentious Preventive Detention Bill was brought about, which led to chaos in the house.
  • In 3rd Lok Sabha in 1963 when Official Languages Bill was introduced, there were strong protests by some Opposition members.
  • Many instances of disruptions have occurred after that and a similar trend follows to today date.
  • From the fourth Lok Sabha, the culture of parliamentary politics changed. The floor of the Lok Sabha was not the only site of protests. Members wanted permission to hold protests and even hunger strikes in the premises of parliament. For eg, The Communist MP AK Gopalan in 1964 held a one-day hunger strike in the lobby of Parliament to protest food shortage in his home state of Kerala. In 1966, Rameshwaranand led a mob protesting cow slaughter towards Parliament in an attempt to storm the complex.
What are the reasons behind the increase of disruption in the Parliament?
  • The limited efficacy of the rules and disciplinary powers of speakers.
  • More heterogeneous composition of Parliament compared to its first three decades of existence.
  • Replacement of a dominant party system with a fragmented one where coalition government was the norm.
  • The televising of parliamentary proceedings.
  • Acceptance that disruptions were part of parliamentary and India’s political culture.
What should be the way forward?
Frequent disruptions reflect the nature of Indian democracy as being dysfunctional. Thus, there is a need to strengthen the working of the Indian parliament.

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