Ranabir Ray Choudhury
New Delhi

If one goes to the Association for Democratic Reforms site on the Internet, one will find a goldmine of credible information on various aspects of Indian Parliament and State Assemblies. The information does not speak well of the Parliamentary system in this country. On the occasion of 60 years since the first sitting of Indian Parliament, it is time to reflect on why the content of our Houses has deteriorated.

The Prime Minister, who addressed members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, said that "the daily routine of disruptions, adjournments and shouting in the House is leading many outside to question the efficacy of the institution and faith in public affairs". He said that if the slide was to be checked, "if we have to restore the prestige of the institution, then each one of us needs to lead by example".


The Finance Minister, who is leader of the House in the Lok Sabha, is reported to have said that a handful of MPs were "throttling" the "silent majority". He called for a "mechanism that would eliminate disruptions", adding that disruptions had always been the exception rather than the rule.

Who is to blame for this worsening situation? The answer is two-fold: In the first place, the political parties who select the candidates for House membership are primarily responsible. Second, it is the Indian citizen who will have to shoulder the final responsibility for the decline in standards in the performance of Parliament.


Therefore, since the electorate itself is a party to the decline in Parliamentary standards, does it follow that, on the premise that the people's voice is supreme in our Republic, one has got to accept the situation as it is? Certainly not, because such a state of affairs cannot be condoned by the people. Clearly, it is the responsibility of the political parties concerned to stem the rot by applying better screening standards when selecting candidates. The question is, can they do this?

If political parties reflect prevailing social standards and mores then, frankly speaking, there is little hope for the nation. We have got the MPs and MLAs we deserve. Why complain?

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