There has been a two weeks delay in the winter session of Parliament, raising concerns regarding Parliamentary functioning
The Parliament sittings have reduced from 120 days/year to 65-70 days/year due to various reason including disruptions leading to adjournment.
The situation of state assemblies also paints a dire situation. Data for 20 Assemblies over the last five years indicate that they meet for 29 days a year on average.
Why is a Parliament session important?
Platform for Democratic Discussions Law-making is dependent on when Parliament meets which is also responsible for democratic debates and discussions on national issues.
Executive Accountability- The executive is responsible to the legislature through various Parliamentary tools like no-confidence motions, adjournment motion and debates on address.
Consequences of such a scenario
Compromised legislative business -
A direct consequence of shorter parliamentary session is hasty passage of bills and budgets without due diligence and debate. Over the years,the time spent on discussing the Budget has reduced from an average of 123 hours in the 1950s to 39 hours in the last decade.
Lack of avenues to express dissent - The Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislatures (2001) found that non availability of adequate time and consequent frustration of MPs in not being able to raise matters on the floor of the House was a major reason behind MPs disrupting Parliament.
Undermines legitimacy - The decrease in the number of sittings of Parliament reflects poorly on its image as the highest law making body and contributes to undermining the respect representatives ought to have in the eyes of the citizens.
Dilute the power of the government to be the sole decider of session dates. Government’s power to convene the Parliament is in conflict with the principle of the executive being accountable to the legislature.
Parliament should have more sitting dates and a clear plan of those dates. The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution has recommended the minimum number of sittings for Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha be fixed at 120 and 100 respectively.