The Parliamentarian Dilemma


The Speaker of Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan, took the reigns of the house in her hands, by reprimanding the conduct of and suspending 25 Congress members for a period of 5 days. (First major action of its kind in the current Lok Sabha)

The pro-speaker view inter alia asserts that the Speaker has acted under the provisions of the “Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha” as prescribed under “Chapter XXVIII General Rules of Procedure” Rule 374A and rightly suspended the members who were holding the country’s progress ransom for personal politically-fired motives.

And then there are those who condemn the act, of the Speaker, as a form of dictatorship and are primarily of the view that the suspension is an attempt to “divide and rule” the Opposition by the NDA government and have referred to the day of suspension as “Black Day in Parliament” and “Murder of Democracy” by the Opposition.

  1. Though on the face of it, a person is entitled to hold an opinion on this, which may be pro or anti speaker, or maybe at the most an ignorant and opinion less one coupled with a continued view including Parliament-bashing of not functioning efficiently.
  2. Well, this is where the dilemma arises. Take two hypothetical situations, which are both Speaker-centric:

The speaker quietly sails through the sessions, when they are being disrupted and thwarted by the Opposition which holds dissenting views or is simply obstructing the functioning for reasons best known to it alone.

The speaker proclaims that ‘Enough is Enough’ and exhibits zero-tolerance towards disorder and indiscipline in the House, conclusively suspends a handful number of Members of the House.

In the first scenario we are of the view that the Speaker is oblivious to how expensive each day of Parliament is on the Ex-Chequer and he/she comes for the session with the sole intent of enjoying the sumptuous subsidised food of the Parliament canteen. He/She does not make use of the inherent statutory powers. Conclusively the Speaker is condemned as being incapable of running the activities of the House, and we are all geared up to rally/march/protest against the lax functioning.

While in the latter scenario, we take sides, just like we have now, with some condemning the speaker of abusing her power (to the extent that it is alleged to be constitutionally infirm), and urge for reconsideration of suspension, while the others simply hand over to the protesters the rule book and justify the action of the Speaker as being in conformity with the rules.

With the lack of parity in our response and reaction, being evident, I am of a firm opinion that it is high time, we stop being hypocritical in our opinion and choose one side of the coin and learn to live with the odds of the choice made, i.e. either not demand “x” or when you get “x”, resist from cribbing about it.

Submitted By – 

Saranya Mishra,
Student of II BALLB, ILS Law College, Pune