If we go by the utterances of our ministers, opposition party members and most of the panelists on TV channels, we would really be led to believe that the Parliament as a very pure and sacred institution and that its members have the country’s interests at heart.
But is it really so? Lets look at some startling instances and then make the decision.
a. In December 2001 (almost 10 years ago), a group of terrorists attacked the Parliament. Afzal Guru who was seen as the mastermind behind this attack was convicted by the highest court of the country and sentenced to death. If we really believe that our Parliament was supreme, that sentence should have been carried out with alacrity, if not for anything else, but to show the world and the terrorists that attack on the Parliament will be dealt with utmost severity. Afzal Guru is still alive and his mercy petition is pending before our President!!
b. On 22nd July 2008, 3 BJP MPs displayed bundles of currency in the well of the house with the allegation that they were offered bribes by the ruling UPA Government to get their votes against the No Confidence motion in the wake of the Nuclear Treaty. This created a national furore but even after 3 years nothing has happened in this case. The Supreme Court had recently reprimanded the Delhi police for not acting on this event and in order to show some progress the police has chargesheeted Amar Singh just now. A case where the integrity of the Parliament was seen to be compromised and this is the progress of the investigation!!
c. We hear repeated very frequently about the need for debate and the value of parliamentary democracy in passing bills in the form of standing committees. Even after 15 years, the much-lauded Women’s Reservation Bill is yet to be passed as a law and it is a year since the Rajya Sabha passed it with 186 in favour and just one against. And we understand that the anti-corruption bill has, despite being in the Parliament since 1970 and through several standing committees, is still to be a law!!
d. Everyone talks about the prerogative of the Parliament in passing laws but how much of the time has been spent in debates and discussions vs the time lost in adjournments caused by disruption? The Parliament is supreme and sacred and the Speaker is the reigning deity but nobody in the house listens to the deity!!
I request the Parliamentarians to treat legislation as a serious business and commit themselves to healthy debates before they make claims on the legitimacy of the Parliament.