PM Modi, LS Speaker Om Birla pitch for One Nation, One Legislative platform; All you need to know

Lok Sabha chairman Om Birla on Wednesday spoke of the idea of ​​”one nation, a uniform set of rules and legislative procedures” to make the country’s legislatures more productive and accountable to the people.

After talking about One Nation One Election – the idea of ​​simultaneous ballots for central and state governments, and One Nation One Law, the still elusive and heavily contested idea of ​​homogenizing civil laws in India – the Center has now proposed the idea of ​​One nation and one legislative platform.

The idea was first brought up by Lok Sabha Chairman Om Birla during the centenary celebrations of the All India Conference of Chairs Conference in Shimla on Wednesday.

Although no formal proposal yet exists in the public domain, the fact that the idea was espoused by the Prime Minister in his speech immediately afterwards suggests that an official project may not be too far.

Here’s what we know so far:

What is an election of a nation?

These are unspecified sets of standard legislative rules and procedures that will be applicable not only to Parliament, but also to legislative assemblies of states and Union territories.

The argument is that a fixed set of rules to regulate all legislative bodies across the country will boost productivity and accountability.

A model document should be prepared for uniformity of laws and procedures in all legislative bodies, he said.

“With a collective resolution, we should prepare a model document such that when 100 years of our independence have been completed, there should be uniformity in the rules and procedures of all legislatures, and the functioning of legislative bodies should be in accordance with the hopes. and the aspirations of the people, ”Birla said.

“There are different sets of rules in different state assemblies. In a democratic country, there should be a uniform set of rules for legislative affairs across the country. One nation, a uniform set of rules and procedures for them. legislative bodies, ”he added.

In addition to this, Prime Minister Modi suggested introducing the concept of “one nation, one legislative portal” – a technology-driven platform to enable all state assemblies and democratic entities to be connected to them. to each other. He also mentioned the fixing of a few days in the business calendar for “healthy debates” in the Chambers.

Noting that lawmakers are mainly associated with politics, Modi proposed that a few days per year be demarcated in legislatures for them to tell the country about their experiences working with society and added that it would be a learning exercise. for everyone.

Vice President Rajya Sabha Harivansh, also present on the occasion, suggested that a sunset clause should be added in laws when they are introduced into the legislature as a draft regulation so that the legislature does not lose out. no time with archaic and cumbersome regulations. that no longer seem relevant.

What is the need for this?

Much has been left in parliamentary democracy with decorum and discipline and is not specified in written rules. For example, allowing members to make an uninterrupted first speech is an unwritten rule. And no one thought about breaking it for decades until someone did. The New House swearing-in ceremony is a solemn occasion where shouting and slogans, though no rule forbidding it, was once unimaginable. Likewise, the Speaker’s chair is a neutral institution; it is customary for them to refrain from playing politics until the moment they occupy the post.

But as Himachal Pradesh opposition leader Mukesh Agnihotri pointed out, this custom was already being trampled on.

Agnihotri said there was a time when presidents of legislative assemblies stayed away from political activities and never attended party meetings to defend the dignity of their constitutional position. But now this practice is not followed in letter and spirit.

“There is no doubt that presidents or presidents are drawn from political parties. But it’s the beauty of democracy in India that presidents don’t have parties. They conduct the business of the House in accordance with parliamentary standards and practices and sometimes according to their own conscience. It is necessary to look at their roles. This is the need of the hour, “said Agnihotri, quoted by Outlook.

The anti-defection law, Agnihotri said, also has several loopholes and such cases often go to court, bringing a bad name to parliamentary democracy.

Lok Sabha President Birla pointed out that state legislatures all adhere to different sets of rules to regulate the law-making process. This means that there is usually confusion when there is a conflict. It also means that not all laws and regulations are really useful in the changing times.

Birla expressed concern about shrinking legislatures and discussions on bills and said decisive action needs to be taken in consultation with all political parties.

Calling for the revision of the rules and procedures, the vice president of Rajya Sabha Harivansh cited the case of the assurances given by the executive which had been pending for about three decades in various legislative bodies and called them empty promises. He also questioned whether such provisions are required in legislative bodies which lack a legal basis.

“No one should be bulldozed”

Introducing the changes, however, President Birla added a caveat.

He said the One Nation One Legislature would make “legislatures more productive and accountable to the people”. However, no one would have “bulldozed”, he added.

Speaking on legislative procedures, Birla said: “We are also concerned about the decreasing number of legislative assembly meetings and the lack of discussion when drafting laws. Therefore, decisive action must be taken after consulting all political parties. so that the dignity and prestige of legislative bodies can be further enhanced. “

Advocating for changes in the rules and procedures of legislative bodies, Birla said changes should be made in the functioning of legislative bodies “so that they can become the vectors of the fulfillment of the hopes and expectations of the people, and that democracy in the country is getting stronger “.

Stressing that the broader goal of legislative bodies should be to protect the rights of individuals, Birla said the role of public representatives should be strong, accountable and transparent.

With PTI entries

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