New Delhi: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday expressed his “unhappiness” over disruptions in Parliament and sought unity among parliamentarians of all political parties over issues of national importance.
“I am a little unhappy that our Parliament is not functioning as it should be. I have not hesitated in recording in the book just now released my disappointment over the functioning of the Rajya Sabha during the first two sessions that I have presided over,” Naidu said on the occasion of the release of his book “Moving on, Moving forward: A year in Office”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the book in the presence of former Prime Ministers H.D. Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Union Minister Arun Jaitley.
Referring to the recently concluded monsoon session, the Vice President said that new tidings were seen in the session raising hopes that the trend would continue in future.
“So, there is a hope but we need to stay on course. My earnest endeavour has been to facilitate informed and dignified debates befitting the stature of this hallowed institution. I sincerely feel that all the political parties should come together, transcending political considerations, on issues of national importance.”
Naidu said the last session was “rightly called the session for social justice”.
He advised the lawmakers to consider and pass important legislations reflecting their collective commitment to social justice, and stressed on the need to move towards ensuring proportional representation of all groups, especially those who have till now been under-represented, in order to build a more inclusive society.
He hoped political parties would consider dispassionately the issues related to women empowerment and legislate measures “through reservation in all spheres of public life including legislatures”.
In an apparent reference to the pending triple talaq bill, Naidu said: “We must move towards ending discrimination against women on the basis of religion and other factors.”
Outlining some reforms for the better functioning of Parliament and state legislatures, Naidu said: “Political parties must evolve a consensus on the code of conduct for their members both inside the legislature and out of it. Otherwise people might soon lose faith in our political processes and institutions.
“Related to this is the issue of political defections. If a member desires to change party, he must do so by resigning from the membership of the House. The anti-defection laws should be implemented in letter and spirit expeditiously, within three months.”
Similarly, the Vice President said the election petitions and criminal cases against political leaders needed to be disposed of within a reasonable time frame by constituting, if required, special benches of High Courts and the Supreme Court.
He also emphasized on the need to consider and decide upon a national policy on the Upper House in the state legislatures, and that “all efforts should be geared towards creation of a cleaner polity and transparent people centred governance”.
Describing the media as a close and invaluable partner in strengthening the democratic culture, Naidu said it would be useful if the temptation of giving more importance to disturbance and disruption than to constructive contribution made by the members in the House can be overcome.
Calling for greater focus on agriculture, he said that instead of depending on imported products people must adopt the culture of growing these in their land.