Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla called on parliamentarians and legislators to lend their voices to the deprived and disadvantaged sections of society within the framework of parliamentary dignity and conventions to strengthen the Indian democracy.
In his inaugural address at the 7th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), India Region, conference at the UP Legislative Assembly here on Thursday, Birla said, “For a robust democracy to survive, it is essential that all elected members get the right to raise issues related to the common people and the government should pay due attention to those views, and it is the responsibility of the government to redress the issues.”
The lawmakers should express their views in the House strongly and emotionally but also in a disciplined and dignified manner to “successfully stand the test” as a public representative, he added.
The Lok Sabha Speaker said India was a leading democracy that had become synonymous with development.
“Since Independence, the voting percentage has steadily gone up which indicates that the faith of the people in our democracy has also increased and with it the responsibility of the elected representatives has increased manifold,” Birla said.
Referring to the parliamentary committees, he said they had an important role in keeping the legislative control over the executive and ensuring that the budgetary provisions were utilised for the intended purpose and benefited the common people. He said it was the duty of the elected representatives to keep a watch on the utilisation of the Budget.
“The parliamentary committee’s role is very important as its members rise above the political divide to express their views and give their independent version on any issue assigned to the committee like the framing of important legislation,” Birla said. He said it had been decided to frame law and rules for ensuring disturbance-free conduct of the proceedings of the legislature.
“The meeting of the presiding officers of the legislatures recently discussed this issue in Dehradun and very soon rules are expected to be announced and they can be adopted by the state assemblies,” he said.
Birla also stressed the need to maintain decorum during the House proceedings and expressed concern on the use of unparliamentary words by the members. “Such act should be prevented as it only brings a bad name for the country and weakens our parliamentary system,” he said.
“India is the largest democracy of the world and its legislature plays an important role in the functioning of the government which caters to the people through its schemes and policies,” he said.
Talking about the CPA, Birla said that it was a group of 57 countries and it was very useful to understand the legislative system of other countries. He said the conference would discuss ways and means to strengthen the legislative system. He thanked Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dikshit for holding this conference in UP.
In his brief address, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the CPA was holding conference to strengthen the parliamentary and democratic system in the country.
“I think this conference will certainly give suggestions to make our parliamentary system more effective and powerful,” he said.
The chief minister also said that his government had held two special sessions in 2019 to strengthen the parliamentary system.
“The first one was held on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi when both the Houses of UP legislature sat for 36 hours without interruption to discuss the social charter of United Nations which is the basic essential for the people, while the second special sitting was held on the occasion of Constitution Day on November 26, 2019,“ he said.
Speaking on the occasion , Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon raised the issue of unparliamentary words used by the members of legislatures and Parliament.
“Ruling party and opposition are two sides of the legislature and they have to play a constructive role in serving the people,” Tandon said and asked the people’s representatives to maintain decorum in the House while expressing their voice against anyone.
Leader of opposition in UP Assembly and Samajwadi Party leader Ram Govind Chaudhary spoke on opposition members’ rights and how they were being ignored by the treasury bench. “If our demands are heard, then there will be no reason for disruption of the proceedings,” he said.
The delegates were welcomed by UP Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dikshit, who described the historical and cultural importance of UP and how the state held key to the Indian politics.
“Nine prime ministers of the country, including the present Narendra Modi, have been from UP and this shows the political importance of the state,” he said.
Dikshit also stressed the need for change in some rules of the proceedings for better management of the House by the presiding officers.
The conference is also being attended by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh along with secretary generals of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and Chairman of UP Legislative Council, Ramesh Yadav.