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PM Modi flags concern over parties defending rule violators in State Assemblies and Parliament

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually addresses the All India Presiding Officers’ Conference, on January 27, 2024

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually addresses the All India Presiding Officers’ Conference, on January 27, 2024
| Photo Credit: ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 27 said that the perception of a legislature relies on the behaviour of its members and voiced concern about political parties supporting members violating rules of the House.

Reflecting on a bygone era, he recalled when members facing disciplinary action would receive guidance from senior counterparts to prevent the recurrence of rule violations. However, Mr. Modi expressed discontent with the contemporary scenario where certain political parties defend members’ mistakes, contributing to an unfavourable environment for legislative bodies.

“There was a time when, if any member in the House broke the rules and action was taken against that member, senior members of the House would talk to him so that in future he did not repeat the mistake and break the rules of the House. But these days some political parties, he said, stand in support of such members and defend their mistakes,” the Prime Minister said while virtually addressing the 84th All India Presiding Officers’ Conference in Mumbai.

Mr. Modi also noted a shift in societal norms, mentioning that accusations of corruption used to result in the ostracisation of a member from public life. “But now we witness public glorification of convicted corrupt individuals. This is an insult to the executive, the judiciary, and the Constitution,” he said.

He said that the young elected representatives should be given more opportunities in legislative committees so that they can participate more in policy-making.

Underling the significant role of State governments and legislative assemblies in shaping India’s progress, the Prime Minister said the country’s progress hinges on the advancement of the States. “The progress of the States, in turn, depends on the determination of their legislative and executive bodies to define their development goals collectively,” he said.

The 73-year-old BJP leader also highlighted ongoing efforts towards “One Nation, One Legislative Platform’ through e-Vidhan and Digital Sansad initiative, and underscored the significant achievement of his government in scrapping over 2,000 outdated laws over the past decade asking the presiding officers of legislatures to pay attention to unnecessary laws and their impact on the people’s lives, stressing that their removal would have a significant positive impact.

Inaugurating the conference, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla expressed concern over incidents of indiscipline, disruption of proceedings and unparliamentary conduct in the legislatures affecting their credibility.

He noted that there is enough space to give voice to dissent in the democratic system, therefore, disruption should not be used as a tool of protest and dissent. “Maintaining the prestige and dignity of the legislatures and dignified conduct in the legislatures are paramount but it is a matter of concern that despite having a consensus on these issues, we are yet to implement our commitments for smooth functioning of the House,” he said.

Stressing that the conduct of public representatives should follow parliamentary decorum, Mr. Birla urged the members to devote their time in the House to productive business. “Concrete and definite action plan, including changes in rules, if necessary, should be prepared to ensure that Legislatures function sans disruptions,” he suggested.

The good works being done by the State Legislatures in the socio-economic fields should be discussed in the House, best practices may be shared as such measures will enhance the credibility of both Legislatures and people’s representatives among the public, he said.

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