October 24, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: The vice-chief of the Punjab unit of the Aam Adami Party (AAP) and MLA from Sunam Aman Arora on Tuesday demanded minimum 40 sitting of Punjab Vidhan Sabha in a financial year to be made compulsory as per the constitution of India. In a letter written to the speaker of Vidhan Sabha Arora also demanded live telecast of the proceedings of Vidhan Sabha to be telecasted live on TV.
While interacting with the mediapersons Aman Arora stated that that the Vidhan Sabha is the most effective platform where issues concerning the State electorate can be raised. For this purpose, the Speaker of the Punjab State Legislature, empowered by Article 208 (2) of the Constitution of India, modified and adopted the ‘Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha’ which were then published under Notification No. 2, dated the 2nd May, 1952, in the Punjab Government Gazette. Under Rule 14-A, Chapter-IV of these rules, it has been laid down that in a financial year, there shall be 3 sessions, namely; Budget Session, Summer/Monsoon Session and Winter Session.
“It has been further laid down that the total number of sittings in all the Sessions put together ‘shall’ not be less than 40. The use of the word ‘shall’ in this rule shows the unflinching intention to compulsorily have minimum of 40 sittings. This is clear from the fact that before the year 1969, almost every year more than 40 sittings of the Vidhan Sabha took place. But the afterwards trend is very demoralizing; in-fact, in the year 2015 the Punjab Legislature held as low as 12 sittings only exception being 11 sittings in the year 1971 owing to Indo-Pak war”, he said.
But it is beyond understanding as to what held back the successive Legislatures after the year 1997 from holding not more than 20 sittings in any of the financial years. The track record of previous Captain Amrinder Singh Government from 2002-2007 is also quite disappointing wherein a maximum of 18 sitting in the year 2005 and minimum of 14 sittings in the year 2003 were held, Aman Arora adds.
AAP MLA from Sunam said that in this regard it is pertinent to mention herein that in January 2016, S. Charanjit Singh Channi, presently Cabinet Minister and the then Leader of Opposition, along-with other Congress MLAs held a press conference highlighting the significance of Vidhan Sabha sittings and had at that time urged the then Speaker to follow the mandate of law by having at-least 40 sittings of Vidhan Sabha in a year. But it seems that when it comes to walking the talk, the present Congress Government has forgotten its demand that it raised when it was in opposition.
Furthermore, he stated that another issue that can improve the functioning of Vidhan Sabha & its members is by ‘Live Telecasting’ its proceedings. ‘Live’ telecast of Vidhan Sabha proceedings will ensure accountability of its elected members leading to a more vibrant and strengthened democracy, which unfortunately has been denied to the electorate of Punjab all these years.
“This is beyond my understanding that if Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and State Assemblies like Delhi, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh can ‘Live Telecast’ their proceedings then why the electorate of Punjab are being brazenly denied of their right to evaluate the performance of their elected representatives.
Had there been Live telecast of Vidhan Sabha proceedings, unfortunate and unparliamentary episodes like exchange of verbal expletives between Bikram Majithia and Rana Gurjit Singh during the 14th Vidhan Sabha, brutal manhandling of AAP MLAs’ raising public issues and expulsion of S. Sukhpal Singh Khaira for doing live telecast of the adjourned house in the previous session, could all have been easily avoided,” reads the statement of party’s Vice-Chief Aman Arora.