Panel on RS rules to give interim report in June: Venkaiah

New Delhi: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said the committee he set up to review and revisit the Rules of Procedure and Business of the Rajya Sabha for its smooth functioning is likely to submit its interim report next month.

He was addressing a gathering after releasing the book “Straight Talk” authored by Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

The committee, headed by former Rajya Sabha Secretary General V.K. Agnihotri, has S.R. Dhaleta, a former Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, as the member.

Referring to the suggestion made by Singhvi in the book for automatic suspension of allowances of lawmakers per day or per hour lost due to disruptions, he expressed the hope that it would be considered by the committee.

“We need to ponder if our legislatures are sending out the right message to the people who have lot of expectations from our legislatures, the temples of democracy. The ruling and opposition divide that is becoming increasingly manifest in our legislatures does not inspire confidence in the people,” he said.

Stressing that political parties have an important role to play in parliamentary democracy, Naidu said politics should not be the “be all and end all of political activities” but the vehicle for transformation of the country towards a “New and Better India”.

The Vice President asked for a new political approach based on “Less Fission (division) and more Fusion”, adding that there should be enlightened and meaningful debates in the Parliament and legislatures.

Calling for the smooth functioning of Parliament, he urged the ruling party and opposition parties to discharge their specific responsibilities.

He said political parties are at the best only rivals and not enemies, noting that rivals contend with each other based on certain norms, conventions and agreed principles while enemies seek to destroy each other, and added that he expects all the parties to be guided by this distinction.

Lawmakers should be elected based on four Cs — capacity, calibre, character and conduct — and not on the basis of the other four Cs — caste, community, cash and criminal prowess, he said.

Agreeing with another suggestion in the book for fast track courts for election-related cases, Naidu said that special tribunals or courts should be set up to dispose off election petitions within six months.