Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today stressed that the Constitution requires the country to be a democratic republic and said legislatures should be guided by dialogue and debate and not be rendered dysfunctional through disruptions.
Speaking at a Constitution Day event in Parliament, he also voiced concern over disruptions in Parliament proceedings and said the people’s mandate to the government should be respected.
The Rajya Sabha chairman said, “During the last 254th Session, the productivity further slipped to 29.60 per cent, which means that Rajya Sabha has lost about 70 per cent of functional time.”
Therefore, all concerned need to ponder over rendering legislatures so dysfunctional, Mr Naidu said.
“Clearly, we need to have more meaningful, productive use of our time in Parliament. We need to recognise the exalted place that Parliament occupies in public perception,” he said.
He stressed that all citizens and stakeholders should work with passion for the nation.
Expressing concern over disruption of proceedings, Naidu said the productivity of Rajya Sabha hit the lowest ever of 35.75 per cent during 2018, a year before the last general election, and further dipped to 29.60 per cent during the last 254th Session.
He said that while the annual productivity of Rajya Sabha was over 100 per cent for 16 years, from 1979 to 1994, it has been so only twice in 1998 and 2009 during the next 26 years.
Venkaiah Naidu said that in a democracy, people’s will is conveyed as the mandate to the government of the day and stressed on “tolerance towards the mandate of the people as the guiding spirit for legislatures”.
The vice president observed that dialogue and debates in the constituent assembly should be marked by openness to new perspectives and willingness to listen to diverse views.
Naidu said that elected representatives must choose between being a “bad lot” and a “good lot”.
He noted that disruptions result in inadequate scrutiny of Bills. “I wish and hope that in the future we will have fewer occasions like this (disruptions) because it results in inadequate scrutiny of Bills.
Parliament loses the benefit of the knowledge and wisdom of its members who have been elected to these positions by the people of this country with great expectations,” the Rajya Sabha chairman said.
Disruptions also go against the very objective of having an Upper House that was established for facilitating in-depth discussions on key issues, he said.
Venkaiah Naidu lauded the empowerment of women with the Constitution granting them the Right to Vote in one stroke while it took 144 years for the US and 100 years for the UK to do so.
He said that “inclusion” is the sole object of the Constitution and this spirit is echoed in the overarching philosophy of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that believes in “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas“.
The Constitution has worked broadly well so far, he said, referring to “certain unfortunate efforts to subvert its spirit and philosophy during the dark period of Emergency”.
These were fortunately undone, Mr Naidu said.
He called for strict adherence to the spirit and provisions of the Constitution so that the country can be taken to the next level. This will give the country its rightful place in the comity of nations as “Sushikshit Bharat, Swastha Bharat, Atmanirbhar Bharat” and ultimately “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat“, he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)