By Lalit Garg
The antagonistic atmosphere in which the winter session of Parliament has started cannot be appreciated and conducive for democracy in any way. The suspension of 12 MPs in the Rajya Sabha for indecent conduct, violence, and misbehaviour in the last monsoon session of Parliament is a meaningful and commendable step in the direction of conserving the deteriorating credibility of democracy. The way the opposition parties are defending this suspension, they are not only doing their own harm but are also weakening the democracy. With the kind of hollow arguments the opposition parties are making in defense of the suspended MPs, the deceptiveness with which they are trying to justify the wrong, they have also started advocating for indecency.
This episode has also raised the question that why does the action on indiscipline; violence and anarchy seem so bitter in the Parliament, which disciplines the country and binds it to the rules? Why is the Parliament, which is the place of making rules and regulations for running the country, constantly being disrupted?
It is worth mentioning that the Rajya Sabha has informed through a notice that on the last day of the Monsoon Session, twelve MPs from various parties not only created a ruckus but also deliberately tried to incite violence against the security personnel. In the Rajya Sabha, there was a riot which was also done by climbing on the tables in front of the chair of the Chairman.
After this, according to Rule 256 in this session, this action was taken against the MPs concerned. Parliament debates are the basis of democracy. But the kind of obstacles that are being created in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha continuously for some time and the business of the House is not being conducted smoothly, it is not only posing a challenge to the dignity and utility of the Parliament, but also its far-reaching The impact is coming out in the form of weakening of democratic traditions.
Presently India is the largest democratic country in the world. Democracy is a living system, in which everyone has equal freedom to walk in dignity, decency according to their beliefs, but if the ideals of democracy are forgotten by the people sitting at the top of power and politics, then democracy becomes at its lowest level. It is also a clear fact that even after the evidence of this objectionable and indecent conduct that brought down the dignity of Parliament in the monsoon session is available; the opposition is trying to prove that it was their right to do so on behalf of the suspended MPs. This is nothing but theft and piracy. This question of the opposition is also false and misleading to the people of the country. Why is action being taken now regarding the matter of the last session?
The opposition, which has termed the current suspension as wrong, is deliberately hiding the fact that it was the last day of the monsoon session when the Rajya Sabha witnessed indecent conduct. Does the opposition want to say that a special session would have been called to suspend the riotous MPs or would the same be extended? It is certain that even if such a thing had been done, the opposition parties would have been creating ruckus in the same way as they are doing now.
Those who are at the top in political and public life define the ideals and give instructions to follow that path. But when such persons come out from the margins of democratic values due to difference of words and deeds themselves, then they should cry or laugh. The one who could not sit up is more authentic today in that he has the vision to see right as right and wrong as wrong. But the question is, how and when will the consciousness of protecting democracy arise in the advisor of democracy? The entire opposition, which has questioned the suspension of 12 MPs, is now talking of boycotting the entire winter session.
If the government also sticks to its insistence and situations arise for the House to remain disrupted or run unilaterally, then it can be estimated how much democracy will be left in the functioning of Parliament! After all, how will the people’s representatives who repeatedly disrupt the Parliament keep democracy alive? Whereas the day-to-day expenditure on the working of the House sits a lot and ultimately its burden falls on the general public. But more importantly, where there should be adequate discussion and debate between the MPs and public representatives of all parties in the Parliament on every issue, the continuous creation of situations like ruckus, disputes, obstruction, is a matter of serious concern. Democratic values are the top of the head in the political field and their abuses are becoming synonymous with tragedy and irony.
Whether there is a tendency to target opponents for political purposes or to obstruct the work of the ruling governments by unfair and undemocratic means – it has become common now; everywhere the governments taking oath of the constitution are seen misusing Articles. If it goes, the opposition parties create obstruction in the proceedings of the House, make abusive and indecent displays. What an ironic situation is being created that the courts have to take cognizance of these tragic incidents or are forced to take action like suspension. This is the philosophy of public opinion and the mandate of public opinion is that the elected representatives, irrespective of the party, should give preference to the feelings and values of democracy. Until this happens, the form of democracy in the true sense will not be formed and dissatisfaction will prevail at one level or the other.
Today in a democracy, the freedom of speech is being used in abusing and exaggerated accusations; the freedom of writing is being used by one’s revelations, personal sniping and rain of accusations. Freedom of thought and conduct has pushed the people’s representatives away from their democratic values, their culture, civilization and moral values. The vicious circle of pain, sorrow and worry is that most of the leaders and public representatives are neither aware nor even cared about this situation.
The sanctity and vibrancy of the temple of democracy lies in taking the people along with them in such a way that the rule of the people is for the people, in which there is no need of misuse of laws while in power nor breaking the laws while in opposition. It is necessary that in the field of politics, when we are the people’s face, then the badge of democratic values should be on our head. There is nothing more disgraceful than this that the opposition members first do indecent acts in the House and then try to justify it. This is an attitude that brings down the dignity of Parliament. It should be opposed. Wherever there is anarchy, action must be taken against it – whether it is inside or outside Parliament. It is good that the Rajya Sabha Chairman rejected the opposition’s unreasonable demand for reinstatement of suspended MPs.
How democracy will be strong and organized in the country when the leaders do not have even the usual practice of operating democracy and giving it vibrancy. Politics can happen in a decent manner and governments can also work in civilized-sensitive ways. Protest and its limits are clear in the Constitution. Then why democratic values and constitution are being violated not once but again and again by the people’s representatives. There is a need that leaders of various political parties including ministers, MPs, MLAs should get training in democracy. If necessary space is created for consideration, debate and dissent, it will be in the interest of not only the democratic dignity of the House, but also of the wider public.
(Lalit Garg is a Journalist, columnist, writer and member of Rajbhasa samiti, Ministry of Home Affairs. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at email@example.com)