Subordinate legislation shouldn’t be delayed: MPs

New Delhi, Nov 29: Subordinate legislation should be easy to understand, have limited scope of discretion by the executive and framed without delay and with wider involvement of people, members of parliament (MPs) from different parties said here Wednesday.

They also suggested that regulatory authorities should be subjected to parliament’s scrutiny.

Speaking at PRS Legislative Research’s first annual conference on effective legislatures, the MPs expressed concern over frequent disruptions of both houses.

Participating in a session on ‘Parliament’s Scrutiny of Executive Rule-making’, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik MP Ajay Kumar said subordinate legislations should be formulated in stipulated time.

Kumar said people should be involved in the process of finalising subordinate legislation.

Subordinate legislation deals with detailed rule-making of the law passed by legislatures. In most cases, legislature enacts a law covering the general principles and policies and leaves detailed rule-making to the government to allow for expediency and flexibility.

The government is required to frame the rules in accordance with the policy laid down by the legislature. Such rules are called subordinate legislation and may be referred as rules, regulations, bye-laws, orders and notification.

BJP MP Uday Singh said successive governments have not been keen on extending the number of days parliament meets in a year.

“Faster they get over session, the happier (they are).”

He said the question of orderly functioning of parliament “is germane to whether it is having proper oversight (of executive rule-making)”.

Congress MP Hamdullah Sayeed said there was need for giving publicity to subordinate legislation for wider participation of people.

“There should be wide consultation so that any anomaly is removed,” he said.

Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Jayant Chaudhary said the government should have flexibility in rule-making but the rules should not supersede the act.

“It is a question of balance: how much you put in the act and leave it to the executive,” he said.

M.R. Madhavan of PRS Legislative Research said ministries could give draft rules when legislations go to the standing committees for scrutiny.

Director of Public Interest Foundation Nripendra Mishra, who moderated the discussion, said guidelines for rule-making should be laid down strictly.

Both houses of parliament have standing committee on subordinate legislation.

Speaking at a session on ‘Parliamentary Oversight of Regulators’, Congress MP Shantaram Naik said ministers have to take responsibility for actions of regulators.

“Has anybody blamed a regulatory body? (A) Minister becomes responsible as he comes on TV,” Naik said.

Congress MP G. Vivekanand said parliamentary scrutiny of regulators will be healthy way to judge them.

BJP MP Piyush Goyal said people who become regulators should be good enough to occupy the post and guidelines should be framed for the purpose.

He suggested framing a charter of duties for regulators.

Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab said regulators came into existence after the government started delegating responsibilities to private sector.

He said a minister was not responsible for regulator’s decision but was answerable.

“Should there be a single oversight committee or standing committees should look into work of regulators? My opinion is there should be one oversight committee,” he said.

Senior journalist B.G. Verghese said oversight was good but there was a need to be cautious about politicisation of the committees.

Dhirendra Swarup, member-convenor, Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission, moderated the discussion.

IANS