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60TH ANNIVERSARY OF INDIA’S PARLIAMENT


have no understanding about the functioning the apex Legislature. The Speaker of the House of Commons has adopted a parliamentary outreach programme to bridge the gap between Parliament and people. The Chairman of Rajya Sabha can also consider adapting such a programme to reach out to our students in schools, colleges and universities. There is greater need to make the


drafted the Hindu Code Bill he wanted to empower women. That Bill could not be enacted due to determined resistance from certain quarters. Nehru had written that even


though a majority of Parliamentarians wanted to pass it, they were helpless before a small number of MPs who opposed it. Eventually the Hindu Code Bill was broken into several pieces of legislation and most of those were first introduced in the Rajya Sabha to keep the legislation alive. Being a permanent Chamber, it is not subject to dissolution and any legislation introduced there does not lapse. Again in 2010 the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill for political


empowerment, sometimes known as the Women’s Reservation Bill, to reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state Legislative Assemblies was introduced in the Rajya Sabha and passed by the House after its repeated failure in the Lok Sabha. On the sixtieth anniversary of Parliament, the cause of gender equality remains an issue.


Restoring faith in Parliament A reported decline in the faith of the people in Parliament is worrisome. It is not confined to India alone. In the United Kingdom a huge disconnect is reported between people and Parliament. Young people in particular


work of Parliament and parliamentary committees more research-oriented. Members and officials do not get enough research support. The culture of reading and writing has to be cultivated by those who are in Parliament.


Democracy of our country, of


which we all are justly proud, has to be directly beneficial to the citizens of our country. The movement for enriching democracy is all round us. Parliamentarians have to be mindful of appropriate conduct. They have to establish high standards of behaviour. The Parliament has to reclaim the faith of our people in the democratic process. The whole nation is justly


proud of its independent Election Commission. In the year 2012, the Commission is asserting its autonomy


and even appealing to the Prime Minster to preserve and protect its constitutionally guaranteed status. On 21 May 1952, Pandit Hriday Nath Kunzru said on the Floor of the Rajya Sabha: “The Election Commission should not be treated as if it were a part of the executive machinery. It should be treated in such a way as not to think that it is subordinate to the Law Ministry.” The suggestion of a Rajya Sabha Member given in 1952 sounds so contemporary today. On 3 November 1917, Mahatma


Gandhi famously said: “We ought to have Parliament this very day. We are quite fit for it. We shall, therefore, get it on demand. It rests with us to define ‘this very day’”. Thirty five years later, the day was defined and on 13 May 1952 the Parliament of India started functioning. Gandhi also wrote that when


Indians would have a Parliament they would commit blunders in the initial stage but they would soon rectify those blunders and find remedies for poverty. By completing 60 years India has passed the initial years. Let the first 60 years of Parliament inspire India to have even better parliamentary standards free from blunders.


The Parliamentarian | 2012: Issue Three | 199


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