New Delhi: Expressing anguish over frequent disruptions in the Upper House, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said it was time for the House to evolve a collective conscience to enable its effective functioning.
“With a heavy heart I have to say that this short but important Budget Session of the Rajya Sabha turned out to be yet another wasted opportunity. This only reinforces the dysfunctional pattern that has been evident over the last few years which is a matter of serious concern as it poses a serious threat to parliamentary democracy,” Naidu said in his valedictory remarks before the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die.
“It is time for all sections of the House to evolve a collective conscience to enable the effective functioning of the House to prevent any further damage to the standing of this august House,” he added.
Naidu said that since June 2014, Rajya Sabha held 18 sessions and 329 sittings, passing 154 bills.
“This comes to less than a bill in two sittings. The bills passed during this period is 34 lesser than the 188 bills passed during 2009-14 and an astonishing 58 bills lesser than the 251 bills passed by this House during 2004-09. These statistics clearly show that the legislative output of this House has substantially declined since 2014,” he said.
Naidu added that since June 2014, the productivity of the Upper House in terms of the time available and the time utilised was only 60 per cent.
“While the sittings of the House per year during the last five years has been as per the trend of 60-70 days, the declining productivity and legislative output is a matter of deep concern. A large number of bills are pending consideration of the House, as you all know,” he said.
“This session and the last one witnessed heightened efforts by some sections of the House to force this august House into a kind of suspended animation,” he said.
Naidu said he made his best efforts to enable normal functioning of the House but “reason did not prevail”.
“I have been regularly talking to leaders of various parties but my anguish had no impact. This only exposed the limitations of the Chair in altering the scripts of some sections of the House. This is very unfortunate. If that be the situation, what is the way forward?” he said.