NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday lamented that Parliament and State legislatures are becoming more intransigent places with lawmakers spending more time in showing aggression and hostility towards each other, instead of engaging in erudite, constructive and educative debates.
Noting that more often one gets to hear that the House could not complete its scheduled business as “most of the time had been spent in jeering and personal attacks (by the members) and that too at a time when India is completing 75 years of Independence," said Justice A.M.Khanwilkar, who was heading a bench comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar.
“The philosophical tenet that one must agree to disagree is becoming a seldom scene or a rarity during the debates," he observed. Justice Khanwilkar said this in the epilogue of the judgment authored by him quashing the suspension of Maharashtra's 12 BJP MLAs for one year.
Observing that people regard Parliament and State legislatures as a “sacred place” where justice is dispensed to the people by a democratic process, the court said: “Aggression during debate has no place in the setting of the country governed by Rule of Law. Even a complex issue needs to be resolved in a congenial atmosphere by observing collegiality and showing full respect and deference to each other.”
The elected representatives, the court said, are expected to show “statesmanship and not brinkmanship” and, in any case, there can be no place for “disorderly conduct in the House, much less “grossly disorderly.”
Having reminded the lawmakers both in Parliament/State legislatures to debate, discuss and decide the matters concerning people in the highest traditions of the law-making elected bodies, the court said disorderly behaviour by the members “must be dealt with sternly for ensuring orderly functioning of the House.”
However, in a caveat, the court said any action to curb disorderly behaviour must be constitutional, legal, rational and as
per the procedure established by law.
It said the Maharashtra case has thrown up an occasion for all concerned to ponder over the need to evolve and adhere to good practices befitting the legislatures and “appropriately denounce and discourage proponent of undemocratic activities in the House, particularly by the democratically elected representatives,”
The court said that for becoming world class leader as self-dependent and self-reliant, the quality of House debates, focusing on intrinsic constitutional and native issues confronting the common man, ought to be of the highest order.