Importance of Legislative Scrutiny – UPSC GS2

  • Recent turmoil and farmers protests which can be attributed to hasty passage of farmers bills without following due legislative process.
  • Legislative scrutiny of bills through committees results in more comprehensive, representative and acceptable laws and lack of it results in dissatisfaction and non-acceptance as happening in case of farm laws.
  • Only 10% of the Bills have been referred to a committee in 17th LS.
Parliamentary committees: 
  • Historical background:
    • British Parliament: following it since the 16th
    • Colonial period: Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms introduced it, and the Central Legislative Assembly had set up three committees.
  • Post-independence: Prior to the formation of Standing Committees, the Parliament used to appoint select committees and joint select committees for detailed scrutiny of important legislations.
  • Process followed now:
    • Rules of the Houses provides that speaker/chairman has the discretion to whether send a bill to a standing committee or not.
    • If sent, the committee does detailed scrutiny of the concerning bill and sends their recommendations on improvements to be made in the Bills to the Houses.
    • While undertaking such scrutiny, the committees invite various stakeholders to place their views before them, resulting in more representative laws.
  • A tool of consensus making: resulting in deepening of parliamentary democracy and helps in getting expert views on the matter as parliamentarians are considered layman.
  • Improves the pieces of legislation: through detailed scrutiny by various committees.
    • E.g. the Goods and Services Tax Bill, The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill.
  • Capacity to harmonise contradictions: Members work in non-party fashion in these committees, hence less prone to vested political interests.
  • Misuse of discretionary powers by presiding authority by not sending important bills to committees for detailed scrutiny.
  • Adversarial politics: has resisted the government from introducing the critical bills to the committees.

Conclusion: Systems of Parliament are inclusive, and these parliamentary committees provide a platform to members to rise above party line and work towards formulating sound laws.

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