That’s it! Curtains on 14th Lok Sabha

February 26, 2009 news service

Curtains came down on the 14th Lok Sabha on Thursday which will long be remembered as the venue in time where falling democratic ethos in the country finally fell. The 258 legislations enacted by the House were interspersed by several controversies including the cash-for-vote scam and disqualification of 11 members.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee who recorded his dismay at the huge 24 per cent of time lost due to disruptions and “politics of intense confrontation”.

Chatterjee, known for his un-minced oratorical style, noted the highs and lows of the 14th Lok Sabha besides several new initiatives launched during the five-year term.

The 258 legislations enacted by the House include the Right to Information, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Protection for Women from Domestic Violence Act, Disaster Management Act and National Investigation Agency Act.

The 14th Lok Sabha also earned several dubious distinctions, and images of wad-waving parliamentarians during the Confidence Vote last July, will remain etched on public memory for years to come.

The 14th Lok Sabha also witnessed 11 members being disqualified for various acts of misconduct, including corruption. Some other members were disqualified under anti-defection law for cross-voting.

Four members were suspended for a certain period for irregularities in the implementation of the MPLAD scheme.

Speaker Chatterjee lamented the painful decisions he had to take “as the custodian of the rights and privileges of the House and with a view to maintaining the dignity and authority of Parliament.”

He was referring to expulsion of members in the cash-for-query scam.

He added that he had to constitute several committees to probe into “alleged misconduct of members as in the alleged bribery scam prompted by the unsightly display of wads of currency notes in the Well of the House during the debate on the Trust Vote in July 2008.”

He described these actions as “exemplary commitment” of the House to “cleanse itself of the erring members and a firm resolve to adhere to the code expected from people’s representatives.”

This process of “self-cleansing must continue whenever there arises any such occasion in the future also,” said Chatterjee, during the last sitting in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not present as he is recuperating after a bypass surgery.

Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his message to the House read out by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that he is hopeful that India will emerge as the least affected country from the global financial crises.

He said the country had seen the fastest growth rate in the last four years. He also said that Indo-US Civil Nuclear deal, another land mark achievement, ended India’s nuclear isolation.

The Prime Minister also described the enactment of RTI, NREGA and legislation for providing Social Security to the workers of the unorganized sectors as path breaking initiatives by the UPA.

He said that the government during its tenure tried to enhance the democratic process in the country. Manmohan Singh also thanked the President and the Members of the House for their best wishes for his health.

The leader of the opposition, LK  Advani said that the success of the parliamentary democracy was the biggest achievement of independent India. He also wished the Prme Minister a speedy recovery.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned sine-die.

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