Friday, July 15, 2011

Is parliament supreme?

·         According to constitution parliament is the supreme law making body. It is a factory of laws
·         But in recent histroy parliament has wilfully frittered away its supremacy
·         Here are some of the ways in which this has happened
o   After a bill is introduced in parliament, it is usually sent to parliament standing committee
§  the recommendations of standing committee are advisory in nature
§  government has no obligation to give reasons for rejecting the recommendations
§  it is a basic courtesy if not a right of MPs to know why their recommendations were rejected. Yet no one has bothered to ask for it so far
o   most of bills are passed with little or no discussions
o   the power to convene the parliament is in hands of government .  hence government convenes it according to its requirements.
§  For instance in 2008, when India US nuclear agreement was a hotly debated issue. Government convened parliament for only 46 days which is the lowest in independent Indian history
o   Anti defection law 1985: MPs have traded of their right to act independently
·         Despite such glaring lacunae, our ministers and MPs assert that parliament is supreme in law making
·         It is because of this lackadaisical approach of our MPs towards their duties that we are seeing a growing trend of judicial activism and civil society activism
·         It is time our parliamentarians step up to the occasion and assert their right
o   To demand reasons from government for rejecting their recommendations
o   To act independently
o   To discuss bills on important issues thoroughly
o   To ensure that enough time is provided by government to discuss all issues

with inputs from centre for policy research

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