Monsoon Session 2021 A Breakdown of Parliamentary Democracy?
The Monsoon Session came to a dramatic end two days before its scheduled conclusion.
The Monsoon session came to a dramatic end with both houses of the Parliament getting adjourned two days before its scheduled conclusion, amid accusations against the Opposition of stalling the functioning of the Parliament.
Undoubtedly, the Pegasus snooping scandal took a centre stage, as the Opposition accused the Centre of diluting discussions on pertinent questions. But even as they demanded answers, the government made it clear that they were unwilling to discuss this, with Union minister Prahlad Joshi even calling Pegasus a 'non-issue'.
A few other matters such as those around Covid-19 management in the second wave, fuel price and hikes and demands to roll back farm laws also led to political deadlocks in the parliament.
But despite numerous disruptions, the Rajya Sabha passed 19 bills. While it is important to look at what bills were passed, it is also important to note how the bills were passed, as many of them such as The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill or the Tribunals Reforms Bill, were passed without adequate discussions.
In fact, the GIC bill touted to be an “anti-people” bill by the Opposition, which aims to allow privatisation of state-run general insurance companies, was passed by a voice vote in the Rajya Sabha amid shocking scenes as Opposition MPs climbed tables and tussled with Marshals who formed a human chain around the well.
And, as the tempestuous session came to an abrupt ending, Vice President Venkaiah Nadu broke down while delivering a speech, lamenting that the 'sacrilege of the temple of democracy' by the Opposition gave him a 'sleepless night'.
But the Opposition parties are taking a united front and have decided to take out a march to protest against 'the stifling of their voices in Parliament'.
Political disagreements, debating and walkouts have always been a part of India's parliamentary democracy, but lately are we seeing a breakdown of the ethos of that democracy? In this episode we speak to Chakshu Roy, the head of legislative and civic engagement, at PRS Legislative Research.
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