Why is there no debate in Parliament?
The Monsoon Session of the Indian Parliament in 2021 saw the Lok Sabha clearing over 18 bills with about 34 minutes of discussion for each. The Essential Defence Services Bill (2021), enabling the government to prohibit strikes, lockouts and lay-offs in units in the defence industry, saw 12 minutes of debate in the Lok Sabha, while the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill (2021) had just five minutes of debate (PRS India, 2021). Not one bill was referred to a parliamentary committee.
Deliberation on legislation
- Feature of parliamentary democracy-Deliberation on legislation is a design feature of parliamentary democracy. India’s constituent assembly debates to frame the Constitution were initiated in December 1946 and went on for 166 days, wrapping up only by January 1950.
- Quality of legislation -When parliamentary proceedings have time set aside for such debates, the quality of legislation improves, while enabling consensus.
- Benefits- Ideally, parliamentary conventions would be upheld and strengthened, with free votes allowed for MPs, and the process of deliberation revived.