The government’s war of words with the opposition over the stalling of the House is indicative of a deeper malaise that is plaguing the system. The general tactics of the members of Parliament has become one of loudmouthed protestations, with uncouth demonstrations of dissent. In fact, members across the board have registered their displeasure in most unbecoming manner, by behaving like unruly children involved in a tug of war. Several sessions have been jammed and precious time has been lost in open bickering, particularly shameful in the age of twenty-seven television presence. Despite repeated admonition and criticism from the Speaker, as well as from all quarters of the media, the house members have considered it unnecessary to pay heed. In fact, improper behaviour in Parliament could set a terrible precedent for our youth to emulate, especially when they watch elected representatives of a democracy engage in muckraking in public. While it is certainly crucial to register justified dissent and disapproval of the activities and bills tabled in the House, one must never set bad examples by displaying unparliamentary conduct and waste the time and energy of fellow House members. Both the government and the opposition are responsible for frequent disruptions of Parliament, particularly during the past one week, although both keep shifting the blame on each other.
Although the parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath has been trying to forge peace between the belligerent opposition and a corruption allegation-ridden government, so far all that has been salvaged so far is the tiny window to pass the crucial Finance Bill. In fact, if the opposition resorts to its logjam strategies to clog the House once the Finance Bill is passed, the government should bring in deterrent measures to check the frequency of such occurrences. The state should work out penalty factors to implement in case of such impasse, particularly measures to curtail the brazen audacity of members to create ruckus instead of holding peaceful and worthwhile debates. Deterrents such as cancelling of daily allowances, proportional decrease in other government-sponsored facilities such as free travel tickets, residential perks etc should be implemented with immediate effect. Upon further incitement, the House could also think about debarring the member from contesting elections. In addition, these deterrents should be applied without exception so as not to create an impression that one could get away with doing anything. It is deplorable that watching the proceedings at a session of the Indian Parliament leaves such a sour taste in one’s mind, particularly in comparison with the gentle and refined manner in which senators and congressmen deal with each other in every other country. While constructive criticism and justified opposition are the touchstones of Parliament, what happens in the name of parliamentary debates in India is downright shameful.