New Delhi (India): Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the legislature was responsible for encroachment in its domain by the judiciary and executive. He also said if elected representatives do not discharge their duties properly, it can have dangerous consequences for the existence of democracy.
Addressing an orientation programme for the newly-elected MPs, Shah urged them to speak fearlessly and with due preparation to enhance the prestige of parliament.
He said democracy in India was “largest and oldest” and urged the parliamentarians to be punctual in Parliament, use Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADs) scheme judicially, actively take part in proceedings of standing committees and imbibe the spirit of the words from scriptures embossed in Parliament.
“There should be ideological clarity. One should show the courage to fearlessly articulate one’s ideology. The fearless expression of ideology increases the dignity of parliament,” he said.
Shah said executive, legislature and judiciary were three pillars of democracy envisaged by the Constitution and there has been a complaint that the legislature has gone weak compared to the other two institutions.
“Sometimes judiciary is blamed for it and sometimes it is said that the executive does not listen. I agree that there has been encroachment by the legislative and the judiciary but the fault is not theirs, it is of the legislature, of all of us. If we let it fall, then the other part will encroach automatically. Our duty is to strengthen the legislature. If we do not discharge our responsibility properly, then executive and judiciary will dominate and it can have dangerous consequences for the existence of democracy,” Shah said.
Referring to Mahabharata, he said it had caused immense loss to the country’s traditions and culture and the reason for it was that the “Hastinapur assembly lost its importance”, the wise men lost their ability to speak fearlessly and clearly and an attempt was made to disrobe a helpless Draupadi.
“An assembly is formed for the honour. We also sit in an assembly which works for the country’s welfare, makes laws, thinks of defence of the country, of the poor. If we do not speak fearlessly, we cannot build a ‘shresth bharat’ (better India),” the Home Minister said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was moving towards creating ‘shresth bharat’ and making a new India, and the objectives can be achieved if MPs discharge their duties properly and effectively.
Shah, who is also BJP chief, gave the MPs several points to become effective MPs and said they should understand the importance of parliament which was the biggest panchayat in the country.
He said the members of Parliament should speak of their ideology as it was a political platform but it can be done without being bitter and it should not lose sight of the main goal of making laws.
Shah cited an example of Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik who had used a parliamentary question in 1991 to seek an half-an-hour debate which eventually led to national song Vande Mataram being played in Parliament at the end of a session.
Shah also referred to late MP and Speaker Somnath Chatterjee who used private members bill to get Nepali included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
He said first-time MPs made up nearly half of the Lok Sabha, forty-six of 78 women MPs were first-timers and it was perhaps the youngest House whose performance will be watched by the entire world.
Referring to the budget on Friday, he said it was means of taxing the rich and capable and providing resources to those who had been left behind.
The BJP leader said the two Houses were the soul of multi-party democracy. “India is the world’s oldest democracy with there was mention of democratic practices in ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts,” he added.
He said that word ‘dharma’ embossed on the Speaker’s podium did not refer to religion but was reminded the MPs of their duty towards the Parliament.
He said the MPs should try to be “tapovridh and gyanvridh (hardworking and knowledgeable)”.
“What is not the truth is not Dharma and what is foul is not Dharma,” he said.
The BJP president said the MPs had several instruments to convey their viewpoints and they cannot be effective MPs without deeply studying issues connected with Parliament.
Shah asked the members not to treat as any other place to register presence and said “undignified language or behaviour” never pays.
“The behaviour should reflect modesty and should be according to rules,” he said.
Shah, a first time Lok Sahba MP, urged his colleagues to attend district level meetings regularly, go through constituent assembly debates, spend time in research than the central hall, and their role should be in keeping with the dignity of Parliament. He said the MPs should raise only those issues in parliament where the central government has a role to play and speak relevantly to the topic being discussed.
Shah said MPs get several facilities but unless they “inculcate a habit of research, they cannot be effective MPs. Research should be part of your personality.”
He said if funds of MPLADS were not used properly, it can lead to loss of reputation.