Putting The House In Order: Making Sense of Our Parliamentary Democracy


Parliament can be seen as an effective platform for political representation for marginalized
communities in the social, economic, and cultural spheres.

Parliament holds a very crucial place of eminence in a constitutional democracy that upholds a
republican value system to keep the ethos of unity in diversity in a linguistically, culturally,
religious, socially, and economically diverse society intact. Parliamentary debates and discussions
are meant to ignite and provoke rational discourse on policy matters of national concern.

Parliamentary democracy is also known for having a robust and proactive opposition that keeps
the ruling dispensation alert and cautious from becoming arbitrary. Indian parliamentary
democracy has cherished an enriching legacy of debates and discussions by the parliamentarians
representing the opposition. Speaking from the Constitution perspective, an act of dissent and protest
holds a lot of importance to assert the accountability of government on policy matters.

Government accountability and responsibility is set right by seeking answers from them on
policy concerns such as rising prices of essential commodities in recent times, growing
unemployment, poor health infrastructure, lurking threat of encroachment or infiltration at the
borders with neighboring countries, and so on. One can just go on with the list endlessly.

Also Read: A Day After IB Report, Explosives Recovered Near Highway In Haryana, 1 Arrested: Police

Parliament can be seen as an effective platform for political representation for marginalized
communities in the social, economic, and cultural spheres.
The current Monsoon session of the parliament began with a lot of disruption and suspension of
parliamentarians from opposition political parties. Ironically politics in our contemporary world
today is far different from ought reality. Our Indian Parliament unfortunately is lately becoming
a hallmark for seeking onus of accountability and responsibility from those in opposition. On
another count, it has also become an institution known for the fast-track delivery of legislation
without much discussion, debate, or referral to a standing committee. One can undertake an in-
depth study of the number of bills passed by the parliament before and after 2014. It would be
also interesting to examine the number of bills sent to the standing committee for a detailed

A study conducted in 2017 suggests that the estimated cost of holding a parliamentary session
is 2.5 lakh per minute. This comes to around 144 crores for a day’s session. In a year, 3 sessions of
parliament are conducted. These are budget sessions (From Feb-May), Monsoon sessions (From
July-September) and Winter session (From November- December).

In the last financial year, from April 2015 to March 2016, the Indian taxpayers paid about
Rs. 177 Crore as salaries and other allowances to these parliamentarians. According to the
figures provided by Lok Sabha, the Parliamentarians are given Rs. 50,000 as monthly salary,
Electorate allowance of Rs. 40,000, Rs. 15,000 as office expenses, and Rs. 30,000 as Secretarial
assistance expenses i.e. a total of Rs.1,40,000 is given to them every month. Further, the
Parliamentarians are also provided with 34 free Air journeys and unlimited rail and Road
Journeys across a year. During a year, Parliamentary sessions last for about 100 days. On each
working day, Parliament works for about six hours. According to Statistics available, during the
year 2016, about 90 hours were wasted due to disruptions in the proceedings of the
Parliament. The rationale behind doing a deep analysis of these figures of expenditure is to have a
sense of clarity for our countrymen about the productivity and total output of parliamentarians on
an annual basis. The current status quo as per the data provided by the Lok Sabha is the monthly
drawn salary of a parliamentarian is estimated at around 2.8 Lakh (inclusive of allowances). These

inquisitive deliberations have become fundamentally crucial in the present scenario. Especially in
situations where parliamentary sessions are getting disrupted with commotion between
parliamentarians without paying much heed to matters of grave concerns such as rising inflation,
growth of income disparity, and increasing unemployment. Opposition is not able to effectively
validate its role by seeking answers of accountability from the government. The government on the
other hand is unable to satisfactorily explain measures incorporated to deal with the challenging
concerns of our times.

Moreover, the opposition political parties have been unsuccessful in
cornering the government on policy matters. The other perspective here to note is also that the
global economic crisis has played in favor of the ruling dispensation for it to be used as an
excuse for all the challenging concerns at the national level. In other words, the ruling
dispensation continues to succeed in maintaining the fog of perception in the minds of the
masses that the cause of all our domestic concerns is the ongoing global crisis. This in a way has
become a strategic position for deviation as long it has the effect of fog and continues to foster
false consciousness among the masses.

Parliamentary Democracy with a functional majoritarian form of government tends to shun the
effectiveness of opposition political parties through varied means possible. Thus what we get to
see most often in a parliamentary democracy like the one in India in contemporary times is a
fragmented form of opposition political parties. This kind of situation is very detrimental to the
healthy progression of India’s parliamentary democracy. Ultimately no well-thinking citizen
would aspire for a miniature showpiece of a parliament house, A functional parliamentary
democracy creates ample scope for fair representation from different spheres of society, proactive
discussion and deliberation on the bills that are introduced, and the ability of opposition political
parties to keep government accountable on every policy decision. The time has also come to seek
accountability from every parliamentarian on an annual basis for work done in the constituency.

A mechanism can be devised to assess their work by an independent body that will be set up by
the judiciary. In case of any discrepancy, necessary action can be taken through legal procedure. It
will be essential to set the understanding of responsibility and accountability appropriately to the
house in order.

The Author is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Shoolini University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh. 

Dear Readers,
As an independent media platform, we do not take advertisements from governments and corporate houses. It is you, our readers, who have supported us on our journey to do honest and unbiased journalism. Please contribute, so that we can continue to do the same in future.

Related posts