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CJI Laments Over Poor Quality of Debate in Parliament

India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI—Lamenting about the “sorry state of affairs” of parliamentary debate and lawmaking, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana has said that this has resulted in a “lot of ambiguity in laws” that is “causing a lot of litigation and inconvenience to the people and courts.”

CJI commented while speaking at a function organized on Sunday by the Supreme Court Bar Association to celebrate the 75th Independence Day.

His comments came within days of the end of the Monsoon Session of Parliament in which discussions on Pegasus spyware controversy and contentious farm laws were not allowed, and the government pushed through 20 Bills in Lok Sabha and 19 in Rajya Sabha, without any discussion on most of them.

In his speech, CJI said, “We don’t know the laws are made for what purpose. They are causing a lot of litigation and inconvenience to the people, courts.”

Exhorting that the lawyers should take part in the country’s politics and try to become parliamentarians and legislators, he dwelt in details on the lawyers’ role during the Independence movement struggle and were also among the first legislators. He said that the first Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and others houses were filled with legal community members.

“If you see, the debates, which used to take places in the House in those days, were very, very wise, constructive, and they used to debate any legislation which they were making”, he said, adding, “Now, it is a sorry state of affairs. We see the legislations, a lot of gaps, a lot of ambiguity in making the laws, there is no clarity in laws. We don’t know what purpose the laws are made for, which is creating a lot of litigation, inconvenience, and loss to the Government as well as inconvenience to the public.”

He said that this happened because intellectuals and lawyers were not there in the Houses. “It is time…legal community, lawyers, have to lead, participate actively in social life, public life. Don’t confine yourself to your profession, earning money and living comfortably. We must also actively participate in public life, do some good service,” the CJI said.

In 2018, V Veeresha of the Institute of Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru, in a research article titled “Decline in Parliament,” had observed that the quality of debates and discussions in Parliament to enact had declined. The author gave several reasons for the decline of the debate from the number of days in a year the Parliament met to the knowledge and wisdom of MPs, their political consciousness, research support to the MPs, commercialization, and criminalization of politics, erosion of ethics in politics, lack of professionalism in politics, the influence of caste in candidate selection, and individual integrity.

Quoting the Association of Democratic Reforms(ADR) data, Veeresha said that out of 186 Lok Sabha MPs out of 543 were facing criminal charges in 2018. That meant that one in every three of our MPs is charged with criminal cases. Out of 282 BJP MPs, 98 are facing criminal charges. “How can we expect accountable and transparent governance from such political representatives?”, Veeresha said, adding, “We, as a society, have collectively failed to elect honest candidates who are committed to clean politics and governance.”

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