Behind Suspension of 143 MPs, A Political Immorality


12:22 PM

1 min read
Behind Suspension of 143 MPs, A Political Immorality Blog Image

Why in News?

  • Recently, during the winter session of parliament a large numbers of opposition members were suspended from both houses for disruptions during proceedings.
  • The suspension of numerous opposition MPs highlights the institutional weakening of India's political system.
  • Parliament has transformed into a conflict zone, sidelining established norms of discussion and deliberation.

Reasons Behind the Suspension of Opposition MPs

  • The Absence of Procedural Mechanisms
    • The absence of procedural mechanisms for deliberating on contentious issues is at the heart of parliamentary dysfunction.
    • It has led to the current impasse between the government and the Opposition and the resulting unprecedented situation.
    • Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha suspended 141 Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) for disrupting its proceedings in the ongoing winter session of Parliament.
  • Insistence of Opposition MPs to Debate on a Particular Subject
    • The Opposition parties have insisted that the Home Minister make a statement addressing the parliament security breach.
    • The government’s stand is that the security of Parliament is a sensitive matter. It comes within the purview of the Lok Sabha secretariat, and the government will follow the directions of the Speaker in this regard.
    • The Speaker has informed the House that a high-level committee is investigating the matter.

Evolution of Disruptions During Parliamentary Proceedings

  • Standoff is Not New
    • The standoff in Parliament is not new. Irrespective of a political party/ alliance’s role in our national legislature, a familiar story has played out over the years.
    • The Opposition demands a debate on a pressing issue, and the government shies away.
    • The disruptions and the disciplinary responses that are visible today result from years of procedural stagnation in our parliamentary system.
  • Regular Disruptions During 1960s Proceedings
    • The regular disruption of our parliamentary proceedings by MPs started in the 1960s.
    • These were by individual MPs who felt that the presiding officer was not giving them adequate opportunity to highlight matters they considered important.
    • MPs like Ram Sewak Yadav and Mani Ram Bagri, members of the third Lok Sabha (1962-67), were routinely warned by the Speaker to adhere to parliamentary norms.
    • On different occasions, their repeated disruptions led the House to suspend them for seven days. They were, perhaps, the first parliamentarians that the Lok Sabha excluded from its proceedings.
    • Towards the end of its term, the third Lok Sabha suspended eight MPs together, indicating that disruptions were going to become the norm in our parliamentary discourse.
  • Disruption Has Slowly Turned into Political Tools with Time
    • Since then, there have been numerous occasions when MPs have disrupted the national legislature and have been disciplined for it.
    • But with time, parliamentary disruptions slowly transitioned into a political tool.

Identifiable Facets of the Political Crisis

  • Loss of Significance in Legislative Discussion
    • Legislative discussions have lost political significance, with MPs adhering strictly to party lines.
    • Also, failure to evolve a culture of healthy discussions weakens Parliament's democratic capability.
    • There has been a common trend in parliamentary discussions, where political speeches, often devoid of substance, fail to influence legislative outcomes.
    • The parliamentary setting is filled with irrelevant speeches, disruptions, and slogans, with most lawmakers making little meaningful contribution.
    • Only a few MPs engage in research or ask pertinent questions. The overall lack of a culture of healthy discussions and deliberations impedes the development of a robust democratic capability in Parliament, diminishing its role as the supreme legislative body.
  • Lack of Professionalisation of Politics
    • Post-colonial Indian politics, once rooted in values and commitments, has transformed into a profession for power and mobility.
    • Political leaders prioritise electoral strategies based on factors like caste, religion, and regional identity, compromising the initial ideals of social service.
    • Politics is now being seen rather differently and it is clearly recognised as a profession to gain power and achieve upward mobility.
    • The practical obligations are boldly followed by political leaders, especially newcomers, to attract the attention of party bosses and the media and they prefer to speak the language which can give them greater visibility. 
  • Intellectual Aspect
    • Politics is being seen as a competition between firms; parties compete for voters as consumers in the electoral marketplace.
    • Opposition parties appear to be reluctant to pose an intellectual challenge to the ideological thinking of the ruling dispensation, contributing to the post-ideological political world.
    • Political parties do not need to shine their ideological superiority; instead, there is an enthusiasm to embrace the dominant political narrative for electoral viability.
  • Decline of Political Morality
    • Over the years with time there have been serious decline in political morality, compromising the values of dignity, respect, and accountability of Parliament.
    • Invocation of Rules without aligning them with larger democratic principles is morally problematic.
    • The Constitution expects legislators to evolve a political value-system so as to make themselves collectively accountable and responsible.
    • The way the Rules to conduct legislative business have been invoked this time is deeply problematic. These Rules are based on constitutional principles.
    • They ought to be applied in such a way that they correspond to these principles.
    • Their imposition without any reference to larger democratic principles makes them politically inappropriate and logically unsustainable. 
    • Political class’s failure to adhere to evolved norms transforms the Constitution into a sacred text, restricting its transformative capability.

Suggestions on Parliament to Work Effectively: A Change in Parliamentary Procedures

  • For Parliament to work effectively, penalising MPs will not be enough.
  • It will require a change in its procedures so that the Opposition can also set the agenda for debate in the Houses.
  • Currently, only private members get two-and-a-half hours every Friday to discuss important legislative and policy issues.
  • However, there is no mechanism where a group of MPs can require that a specific discussion take place in Parliament.
  • The only mechanism available to them to force a debate is through a no-confidence motion.
  • It is time for the Parliament to think about incorporating specific days for the Opposition in its calendar of sittings.
  • Like the House of Commons, these days could be reserved for deliberating on issues that the Opposition considers important.


  • CSDS-Lokniti Surveys indicate that common Indians view Parliament as one of the most trusted institutions.
  • Despite the political crisis, enthusiastic voter participation in general elections signifies a belief that Parliament should protect and nurture democratic values.
  • The political class should reflect on this popular sentiment, recognising the need for a strengthened commitment to democratic principles.

Q1) What is the private member bill?

A bill introduced by the Member of Parliament (MP) who is not a Minister, i.e., a non-government member is known as the Private Members’ bill. Members of Parliament (MPs) other than ministers are private members. Private Members can also move legislative proposals or bills which he/she thinks is appropriate to be present in the Statute Book. However, it must be noted that a private member can give a maximum of three notices for the introduction of Private Members Bills during a Session. 

Q2) What is zero hour in Indian parliamentary proceedings?

It is a period during which Members of Parliament can raise important issues. These are the issues that require immediate attention from the government. It is a concept unique to the Indian Parliament and is an essential tool for MPs to highlight pressing matters and initiate discussions on them. Zero Hour was coined by British MP Julian Amery. The time immediately following the morning prayers in the House of Commons is Zero Hour. In the Indian context, the concept of Zero Hour was introduced in the Parliament in 1962 by the then Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Hukam Singh. The idea was to provide an opportunity for MPs to raise matters of urgent public importance that were not listed in the day's agenda.

Source: The Indian Express