‘Government could not even prove its legitimacy’

New Delhi, Feb 22: Not just was the 15th Lok Sabha the worst performing in India’s democratic history, its last session saw the house of the people failing to even take up trust motions, crucial for testing the government’s strength.

During the winter session of December 2013, and its second half that concluded Friday, several members, including those from Congress submitted notices seeking a trust vote.

However the motion could not be taken up as the house was not in order.

As per rules, trust vote cannot take place in din.

“This Lok Sabha saw highest number of disruptions, lowest amount on time on discussing the budget, several bills passed without discussion… but something that happened never before is that a no confidence motion demanded by a number of MPs could not be taken up as the house was not in order,” M.R. Madhavan, president of PRS Legislative Research, told IANS.

“One of the primary functions of the lower house is to give legitimacy to the government of the day. If we can’t even test that, there is something fundamentally problematic,” he added.

The 15th Lok Sabha will go down in history as the worst performing so far, with members and experts fearing it may set a bad precedence for upcoming Lok Sabhas.

Over its five-year term, the 15th Lok Sabha was frequently disrupted and could engage in productive work for only 61 percent – only 25 percent of the last session – of its working time.

Some of the key issues that caused disruption were the allocation of 2G spectrum, coal blocks, FDI in retail, various corruption allegations and demand and opposition over Telengana.

The lower house even saw an MP using peper spray choking members, the speaker, the leader of opposition, Lok Sabha staff and journalists, while the Telangana bill was being introduced.

“This has been the worst performance of the lower house in more than fifty years,” said PRS Legislative research.

In comparison, the 13th and 14th Lok Sabhas worked for 91 percent and 87 percent of the scheduled time.

Madhavan also expressed hope the next Lok Sabha “does not follow the precedences set by this Lok Sabha”.

A Lok Sabha MP, who did not want to be named, said the conduct of members “is getting worse every day.

“This is not the way the house functions. I am afraid next Lok Sabha just may be worse,” he rued.

Samajadi Party MP from Chail in Uttar Pradesh, Shailendra Kumar, known as the MP who recorded the maximum participation in debates legislative business in 14th Lok Sabha, expressed deep regret over the situation.

“Parliament is for debate, to raise the issues of importance for the people of our constituencies, and to raise issues of national and global importance. It is not just for creating din,” Kumar told IANS.

“It is government’s weakness, they should talk to all parties and pacify them, address their concern. But the government failed in keeping all on the same page,” he said.

“I hope the next Lok Sabha is better,” he added.

The 15th Lok Sabha passed 177 Bills of the 326 to be considered and passed during its five-year tenure. This is the least number of bills passed by a full-term Lok Sabha.

The 13th Lok Sabha had passed 297 bills, and 14th Lok Sabha passed 248 bills.

Just 13 percent of the time of the 15th Lok Sabha was spent on legislative business and up to 20 bills passed with less than five minutes of discussion.

From 1952 to 1967, each of the three Lok Sabhas sat for an average of 600 days and more than 3,700 hours. In comparison, the 15th Lok Sabha – from 2009 till 2013 – met for 357 days and 1,338 hours

IANS