India: For God’s sake, listen to the President: Disruption of Parliament unacceptable, says Pranab Mukherjee

India: For God’s sake, listen to the President: Disruption of Parliament unacceptable, says Pranab Mukherjee

As the Parliament logjam entered into its third week, President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday said that the continuous disruption of House proceeding was “not acceptable”. “Disruption is totally unacceptable in Parliamentary system. People send representatives to speak and not to sit on dharna and not to create any trouble on the floor,” he said. President Mukherjee was addressing a seminar on electoral reforms for a stronger democracy.

Saying that he has no intention of accusing any individual, the President said that parliamentary freedom should not be misused by causing disruptions. “I have no intention of accusing any individual but it (disrupting Parliament) has become a practice,” President Mukherjee said.  He said only a minority disrupt the House business by entering the Well and raising slogans, when the majority are ready for debate. “Disruption means you are hurt, you are gagging majority. Majority never participates in this disruption. Only minority comes to the well, shouts slogans, stops the proceedings and creates a situation in which the Chair has no option but to adjourn the House. This is totally unacceptable,” President Mukherjee said.

The President noted that Parliament is in session for only a few weeks in a year. “For demonstration, you can choose any other places. But for God’s sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business. You are meant to devote your time for exercising the authority of members, particularly Lok Sabha members over money and finance,” he said.

Mukherjee said that even if a member is levelling an allegation against someone, no court can prosecute him because he has said so on the floor of the House. “Fact remains that this (disruption) has become a practice which should not be acceptable at all. Whatever be the differences, we have the opportunity, to speak our mind, to speak freely and no court can interfere in what I say on the floor of the House. This type of freedom should not be misused by causing disruption,” he said

President Mukherjee also spoke about the Women’s Reservation Bill, that has been pending before the Parliament for a long time. “Women reservation bill is pending for a long time in Parliament and representation of women is abysmally low. It is totally unacceptable,” he added. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and MoS Defence Dr Subhash Bhamre were also present at the event.

Opposition party MPs have been demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accusing Opposition parties of supporting black money. Earlier, they have been demanding PM Modi to intervene in the House debate on demonetisation. They are also demanding that the debate on the currency recall must be conducted under a rule that entails voting. With the treasury benches in no mood to give space to the Opposition, there were signs of thaw between the two groups. The Opposition appears to be willing to allow the House to function and meet the ruling party half-way. Some key legislations related to the Goods and Services Tax are still pending before the House after it has been ratified by more than 20 states.

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