New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday expressed concern over the deteriorating functioning of legislatures, saying this was eroding the credibility of representatives.
“The growing hold of legislators over the executive, dispensing favours for a consideration, criminal antecedents, spurt in assets after being elected, displaying placards and banners inside the legislatures, persistent disruptions, defections and electoral malpractices are eroding the credibility of elected representatives posing serious challenges to parliamentary democracy,” Naidu said.
He was speaking at the valedictory session of the first National Legislators Conference here organised by the Indian Parliamentary Group on the theme “We For Development”.
The Vice President stressed that both political parties and people have a responsibility in ensuring that persons with the right antecedents get elected.
“Legislatures are certainly no places for display of placard, banners. Legislators cannot claim to be agents of development if they indulge in disruptions and demonstrations inside the legislatures.
“While some efforts are being made to address this problem, more needs to be done to ensure that only persons with right antecedents make it to Parliament,” Naidu said.
He pointed out that Parliament is “no place to fight or use threatening words like ‘will see you outside'”.
“By shouting slogans, you (parliamentarians) have been chosen as a representative. But slogans should be shouted outside Parliament not inside.”
Emphasising on the need for restoring the legitimacy of legislators, Naidu said: “This requires the MPs and MLAs to focus more on their legitimate functions of lawmaking, democratic mass mobilisation and participation, effective articulation of public concerns, acting as an effective bridge between the governments and the governed and not encroaching unnecessarily into the domain of the executive.”
Naidu, who is also Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said that democracy is a forum for negotiated solutions for bettering the lives of the people and urged the elected representatives to desist from a confrontationist approach to enable effective functioning of legislatures.
He said: “Both the ruling and the opposition parties shall be guided by the spirit of accommodation in the larger public interest.”
Even as the range and the number of challenges emerging from the advent of the forces of globalisation and rapid technological advances are on the rise, the number of sittings of legislatures across the country is declining, he said.
“Informed and quality debates of yesteryears have come to be replaced by persistent disruptions as the new norm of parliamentary articulation.”
Naidu said that since Independence several far reaching legislations have been enacted by different legislatures that helped the country take several strides but much more needs to be done to tap into the prodigious untapped potential in the context of the country becoming more aspirational.
He urged the legislators to be a part of the participatory development process instead of acting as extra constitutional authorities.