Thursday, April 2, 2009

House of Commons and Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha is India's equivalent to the House of Commons - both functionally and literally. However, there is a marked difference in the way the two functions. While the House of Commons is a stickler for rules, the Lok Sabha stands for everything unruly. The difference is so stark, that at times, i am overcome with a feeling of sadness. I feel sad because i see no hope of revival.

You can enjoy watching debates in the House of Commons. It is marked by exemplary behavior on the part of members. Each speaker is given due respect. The line of argument is heard with rapt attention. How much ever objectionable the point may be, there is no disruptions whatsoever. No cacophony, no out of turn yelling, no jostling leave alone threatening and scuffles. Clapping of desks is the usual norm of approval. Members vocally express their feelings with simple ayes or nays in chorus. It leaves a pleasant impression. This is how democracy should function.

Proceedings in the Lok Sabha are a far cry from all this. Anarchy rules the roost in the house. Members compete to outdo each other in shouting, running around, shoving, mocking, and even engaging in fisticuffs. A free for all situations is always waiting to happen. A cartoon in a newspaper, many years back, showed two disobedient children making a mess of the drawing room. When confronted by their father, they reply, they were merely playing parliamentary games. True it is. Lok Sabha proceedings have become a child’s play. It pays to be disorderly and chaotic! And the song goes" It happens only in India".

When Justice Dhingra, equated the Lok Sabha with a fish market members protested in unison. This means, we do what we like, leave us to ourselves. With no one to rein our members, we need to accept this as a way of life.

Meanwhile we must prepare ourselves for electing our representative for the 15th Lok Sabha!