Coordinated, designed disruptions lowering dignity of House: Lok Sabha Speaker

Guwahati: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Sunday expressed concern over what he termed were “coordinated and designed disruptions” of the House and said registering dissent in such a manner lowers the dignity of Parliament.

He said every serious issue should be discussed in state assemblies and Parliament, and there should be no disruption as people have a lot of expectations from these “temples of democracy”.

Birla’s remarks came in the backdrop of the ongoing impasse in Parliament over the Manipur issue.

Addressing MPs, MLAs from northeastern states and other dignitaries after inaugurating the new Assam legislative assembly building here, he said agreement and disagreements on issues are a speciality of India’s democracy.

“In the temple of democracy, there should be debates, discussions, dialogue and interactions on every serious issue. But there should not be any disruption or impasse in state legislative assemblies and Lok Sabha,” Birla said. “This is my request.” “People have a lot of expectations from state assemblies and Lok Sabha. People send you here with a lot of hopes,” he told the gathering, adding extensive debates and discussions on issues including Bills in the House can bring a better outcome.

The Lok Sabha secretariat later issued a statement in which it said Birla emphasised the role of public representatives in upholding and strengthening democracy.

“He, however, expressed pain on the manner in which dissent is being manifested by disrupting the proceedings of the House, sloganeering, use of inappropriate display of placards in the House etc., instead of thorough dialogue and discussions,” the statement said.

“Expressing concern that coordinated and designed disruptions are lowering dignity of the House, Birla urged the legislators not to treat legislatures as physical buildings, but as sacred places of debates and discussions where the problems of the people are solved and the spirit of democracy is strengthened,” the statement said.

Birla suggested that all members irrespective of their political affiliations should try to preserve the dignity and decorum of legislative bodies, the statement added.

Noting that the discussions held in legislatures have a profound impact on the general populace, Birla appealed to the lawmakers to use the legislative fora for fulfilling hopes and aspirations of people, the Lok Sabha secretariat said.

“People’s representatives should use these fora for constructive debates,” The Lok Sabha speaker stressed, according to the statement.

“He observed that our legislatures should become vibrant centres of discussion so that governance is accountable and transparent,” the statement said.

He also said it is the responsibility of the members of all parties, ruling and the opposition, to run the House with dignity, the statement added.

Earlier while addressing the event, Birla called the new Assam assembly building “historic” and said it will become a powerful medium of the “new journey” of the state legislature.

Legislative assemblies are not just buildings but a sacred place for the legislators to work for social welfare and to bring change in the life of the last man in society, he said.  “We will have to fulfil people’s expectations and dreams and create new records,” he said, adding the progress India has made so far is because of its strong and vibrant democracy. “We can say today that India has progressed both in terms of democracy and demography.”  Birla said the new building stands as an embodiment of the aspirations and welfare of people.  He acknowledged the contributions of Assam’s first chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi and other leaders of the state in strengthening democracy there. “We should be grateful for their immense contribution and must draw inspiration from their life and works.”  Touching upon the history of the democratic process in Assam, Birla said the old building stood as a witness to the democratic journey of the state. In the 75 years since the country’s Independence, he said, the building has seen many transformative laws which were the outcome of discussion and dialogue.

Drawing a parallel with the new Parliament building in Delhi, Birla said the Assam Legislative building was not only a symbol of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ but also an embodiment of a self-reliant Assam.