In Speech On Dissent, President Had A Message For Lawmakers Too: Behave

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In Speech On Dissent, President Had A Message For Lawmakers Too: Behave

President Pranab Mukherjee delivered a lecture on 'India at 70' in Kochi, Kerala.


New Delhi:  President Pranab Mukherjee had some advice for lawmakers, in Parliament and state assemblies: People did not invite lawmakers but got elected after they pleaded before people for their votes. Now, don't betray their trust in the political system. The presidential nudge to lawmakers to behave themselves comes a week before lawmakers return to a packed agenda in parliament during the second half of the Budget Session. Mr Mukherjee - who was delivering a lecture on 'India at 70' in Kochi in which he weighed in on the debate on free speech - reeled out statistics of the time Lok Sabha had lost due to disruptions 1991 onwards.

In the current session, disruptions had cost 16 per cent time, a "shocking" 41.6 per cent in the previous one, and 18.95 per cent in the Lok Sabha that was voted in 2004.

"Legislation is the first and foremost responsibility of a Parliamentarian," he said, reminding lawmakers that nobody had thrust the job on them.

"No one who holds any elected office has been invited by the voters to occupy that office. Each one has gone to the voters and pleaded for their votes and support. The trust placed by the people in the political system and those elected should not be betrayed," he said.

The president reminded them that if parliament became dysfunctional, it would not just paralyse the institution but create an adverse impact across the system.

"When they (legislatures) cease to function effectively, issues spill out onto the streets. The very basis of our democracy gets undermined," he cautioned.

In an apparent reference to DMK and AIADMK legislators coming to blows during Chief Minister E Palaniswami's trust vote in the Tamil Nadu assembly last month, President Mukherjee continued: "Our Legislatures and Parliament must not turn into arenas for combat. Floor tests are not meant to be muscle tests".

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