I am enraged, to say the least. The Lokpal Bill is being debated at last by the Parliament in the extended Winter session in Delhi. In Mumbai, Anna Hazare is on his third fast (for the Lokpal). All around these centres of action, is speculation, cynicism, hope and attention. Throughout the year, the MPs and many other wise men reiterated the supremacy of the Parliament in legislation. All of them said with child-like innocence, ‘The Parliament’s ‘wisdom’ will be the last word, trust the Parliament, respect it!’
Whatever Team Anna may have thought, said or done about this attitude of MPs, ordinary citizens of this country silently waited for this important debate. Here is what the hopeful citizens of this country have had to see after the wait.
Congress and BJP members fought over each other’s un-noble intentions.
Important issues like the minority reservation, CBI’s independence and autonomy, inclusion of the PM and lower bureaucracy, etc. should have been debated in a business-like manner that the gravity of the situation demanded. However, BJP and Congress MPs could only shout about what the intention behind the posturing of each party was and deliver expert comments on the past performances of each party. These are turbulent and decisive times. Such occasions demand calm, seriousness and responsible behaviour.
The Parliament’s members are very wise. Or at least that is what the Government and Government supporters kept yelling at us when they repeated that the Parliament’s wisdom is the most appropriate. So, when an MP (read Vilasrao Deshmukh) sleeps through the Government’s defence of an amendment proposal and then votes in favour of the Government, is it his own wisdom or his party boss’s wisdom that has come into action?
Towards the end of the year 2011, as the questions of this year remain unanswered even as the new year approaches, I have some serious questions to ask of the readers of this blog and to every individual that the reader will forward this message to.
Is the current Parliamentary form, truly democratic in the sense we want it? Barack Obama, President of the United States of America on his visit to India had left a note in the Parliament of India: Greetings from the Oldest Democracy of the World to the Largest Democracy of the World. But are we a democracy in the American sense at all? Yes, we elect our own representatives, but, they vote (on each and every issue), as their party bosses want them to! There is no room for individual wisdom of any member. So, what is the point of making all those 543 members sit in Parliament? We should simply have one member of each party representing all the members of his party! Therefore, even in a representative system, all the decisions rest with the party top brass and not the real representatives of the people. We need serious reforms to this system.
The Parliament is a holy House, which needs to house appropriate people. Today’s House has too many troublemakers who can only shout on top of their voices and disturb the speaker. Where is the debate that is required for a good Law to be enacted? School debates are more disciplined than Parliamentary debates! So either more cultured members need to be elected to Parliament or a Code of Conduct to discipline the MPs needs to come in place. Any member must not be disrupted while delivering his speech; each point of dissent must be conveyed in civil language only with the Speaker’s permission, not in the form of heckling! Although these issues are secondary to actual legislation of the right laws and development of the country, disciplined and cultured MPs would lead the nation by example and truly build a more mature nation.