Rajya Sabha chairman suspends 12 opposition members for entire winter session

Rajya Sabha chairman suspends 12 opposition members for entire winter session

News Analysis   /   Rajya Sabha chairman suspends 12 opposition members for entire winter session

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Published on: December 02, 2021

Legislature related issues

Source: The Economic times


Twelve Opposition members of the Rajya Sabha were suspended for the entire winter session on Monday for “unprecedented acts of misconduct”, “unruly and violent behavior” and “intentional attacks on security personnel” on August 11, the last day of the previous monsoon session.

Following the decision, the Opposition was mulling several options including boycotting the entire winter session of Parliament.


An unprecedented step:

  • It is evidently an extreme step by Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu, that has turned the spotlight on the use of disruption of proceedings as a parliamentary tactic.
  • The Government and the Opposition should try and work a way out of this situation, but that may not resolve the underlying affliction of the perennial conflict between the two sides.
  • A guiding principle of parliamentary proceedings is that the majority, i.e. the Government, will have its way, and the minority, the Opposition, will have its say. This principle has been observed in its violation in India for several years now. As the principal Opposition in the years leading up to 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) so disrupted Parliament that a majority government was rendered dysfunctional for years; Tinkering with Parliamentary Procedures: Since 2014, in power, the BJP has tinkered with parliamentary processes in a way that the Opposition has been pinned down.

Bills are passed in a hurry and even amidst din;

The scrutiny of Bills by committees and debates is few and far between.

Also, the decision to suspend Members for their conduct in the previous monsoon session at the beginning of a new session seems excessively punitive.

The trend of weakening that process in the name of efficiency is not merely undermining the spirit of democracy; it is also landing the Government itself in a difficult spot as the mayhem that followed the hurried passage of three controversial farm laws last year shows


The Role of Parliament:

  • It is the platform where the executive is held accountable to the representatives of the people.
  • It is a platform for the people’s representatives to raise matters of public concern and seek the Government’s attention.
  • Parliamentary debates should not be viewed as a distraction or waste of time; they are a barometer of public mood and must be respected as such, by both the ruling side and the Opposition.
  • The absence of the Opposition will only leave the Government even more unchecked.

The Philosophy of disruption:

It was the BJP’s Arun Jaitley who theorized on the legitimacy of disruptions as a parliamentary instrument.

It is time to shun that idea: Disruption as a brief, momentary reaction to a situation that demands debate is understandable, but as a sustained strategy, it is self-defeating.


The way forward:

The Government must make amends to restore the function of Parliament by deferring to parliamentary mechanisms, and also through informal channels of communication with the Opposition.

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