Introduction: In the realm of parliamentary decorum, the conduct of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) stands out for scrutiny. Despite being lawmakers, they often indulge in gross misconduct with limited consequences. This article delves into the pressing need for implementing the strictest rules to discipline MPs and MLAs, addressing recent incidents and proposing concrete measures for a more accountable political system.

We must definitely also acknowledge now most candidly in all fairness that as compared to the other fields, it is only for MPs who are the Members of Parliament either in the Lok Sabha or in the Rajya Sabha and so also the MLAs who are the Members of State Assembly as Members of Legislative Assemblies where we see the maximum display of leniency in tolerating the worst kind of indiscipline which we often many times see live in news channels even though they are the law makers and still are rarely punished  and it is they who rule over us in deciding what is in store for us even on many small petty issues! Of course, it is a no-brainer that this is what has culminated in further compounding of the problem with MPs and MLAs indulging in gross misconduct at the drop of a hat. This has been tolerated for far too long.

It is certainly a matter of deep regret that the security of Parliament was breached which agitated the MPs but that definitely does not confer an unfettered license to any MP to indulge in gross misconduct in House  and misbehave with the Presiding Officer or with anyone else. Why should we have such MPs and MLAs who don’t know how to behave in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies? When our country had got independence more than 77 years ago perhaps our Constitution makers had never thought that our MPs and MLAs would misbehave with so much of brashness that even a street goonda would be left far behind!

I have definitely just no hesitation of any kind to say that those who indulge in wanton acts of shouting, screaming and throwing papers at the Speaker or any other Presiding Chairman have no right to continue as an MP or MLA. Right from my childhood days, I have noticed people lamenting that a single day in Parliament costs many crores of rupees and yet our MPs and MLAs make the session “a scene of political one upmanship” and indulge in most brazen actions which are “totally unwarranted, undemocratic and so also are politically motivated” and yet we see no that strict rules are made for them. It is high time and now is the ripe moment to make strictest rules for MPs and MLAs so that no one can dare to misbehave in Parliament with impunity!

Most recently, we are witnessing how in an unprecedented development seldom witnessed earlier at least not in my memory that 79 MPs which includes both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members – 46 of Rajya Sabha and 33 of Lok Sabha were suspended in the Winter Session on December 18, 2023 for staging protests in demand of a statement by Union Home Minister Mr Amit Shah on the massive security breach in Parliament recently just last week only. We also had witnessed how 14 MPs had been suspended last week also over the same issue. It must be mentioned here that this quantum leap takes the total number of MPs suspended to 92.

It must be also disclosed here that we witnessed how while 34 members were suspended for the remaining part of the session, the “misconduct” of 11 others was also referred to the Privileges Committee, which has been asked to give its report in three months. They have been suspended until the report is submitted by the panel. The billion dollar question is: Why under any circumstances should MPs and MLAs be spared by giving them a long rope as we have witnessed so many times if they misconduct in the worst manner and thus lower the dignity of the elected representatives making a complete mockery of our democratic system in the eyes of the whole world?

Needless to say, it is really most refreshing to note that this time it has been made clear by the Speaker by his actions and so also the Vice President that those who disrupt the proceedings of the House in any manner would no longer be given the long rope. They would have to face the music if they dare to misbehave in the Parliament in either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. What the Speaker of Lok Sabha and Vice President of Rajya Sabha have now done should have been done a long time back so that no Member of Parliament in either House can ever dare to misbehave most ruthlessly and yet escape unscathed! If this had been done a long time back, we would not have witnessed so much of worst chaos in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha which constitute both Houses of Parliament and are the biggest shrines in our democratic country! Anyway, it is better to be late than never!

It is high time and those MPs and MLAs who have criminal cases pending against them must be banned permanently from politics just like we see in case of government services. If this is done promptly, half of the problems will be solved automatically. Why should they always be given a long rope to misbehave again and again?

There can thus be no gainsaying that those who misbehave in Parliament in any manner and disrupt the proceedings of the House must be dealt with most strictly and expelled for at least 10 years so that no one can dare afford to take the decorum and dignity of both Houses of Parliament for granted just like we witness in Supreme Court and High Courts and so also in other prestigious institutions. It is a very serious crime at least morally to tolerate indiscipline among MPs and MLAs in Parliament as it further encourages them to indulge in more indiscipline and so also others who come fresh which cannot be considered to be a healthy precedent and only serves to aggravate the problem further. What is worst is that it corrodes the faith of the people in elected representatives which no true democratic country can ever allow under any circumstances!

It must also be asked: How long will politicians be given long rope and allowed to contest elections from jail itself? How long will MP and MLAs be allowed to misbehave in Parliament and state Assemblies and still be given long rope by not taking any action against them? How long will politicians be allowed to become MPs and MLAs even after having not dozens but hundred to two hundred criminal cases pending against them and still allowing them to continue as MPs and MLAs on one pretext or the other even when for other services like becoming a judge or an IAS or even a police constable there is strict police verification and one case alone even if it turns out to be fake is sufficient to ruin the career of the concerned aspirant?

The most troubling question is: How long will this worst discrimination between politicians and others be justified and tolerated on one pretext or the other? How long will the tearing of rule books shamelessly be dismissed off very lightly and those indulging in it not be punished? How long will tearing of any law like the “Farm Law” be allowed to be torn of and that too right inside Parliament or State Assembly and that too by prominent members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha just like we saw in Delhi and other States?

It must be definitely asked: How long will they be even allowed to indulge in physical violence and still spared from being permanently debarred? Why are they let off by just a reprimand or suspension for a short period of a few days or sometimes even for just a day? Why are they not seriously taken to task ever?

What message is being sent by all this? Does this not send a message that if one is a politician and an MP or MLA, he can hold the law to ransom? For how long will this pathetic state of affairs be allowed to continue? How long will the “Sab Chalta Hain” approach be allowed to carry on for MPs and MLAs?

We all saw how just days after row and being brutally manhandled during a special session of the Legislative Council, the body of the Karnataka Legislative Council’s Deputy Chairman – SL Dharmegowda was found on railway tracks at Gunasagar village of Kadur Taluk in Chikmagalur district during a special session of the Council on December 29, 2020! It merits asking: Why no strict action was taken promptly against all those who manhandled him? His brother Bhojegowda while speaking to media said that, “There was no personal or financial reasons for him to take this extreme step. He was upset about what had happened [in the council], I and other party leaders had told him not to take things to heart as these are common in politics, but he seems to have taken it very seriously.”

Needless to say, it is high time and now without indulging in any more dilly dallying of any kind, steps most meaningful and concrete must be initiated to ensure that  rules that need to be enacted now at the earliest because such type of uncivilized behavior has become very common in politics as the brother of the deceased Deputy Chairman of Karnataka Legislative Council very rightly pointed out is not tolerated and those who misbehave are most promptly punished and brought to book! This cannot be delayed any further. Supreme Court must now take suo motu action if politicians themselves don’t take any action on this and we have seen how the Apex Court recently ordered also that cases against MPs and MLAs must be expedited which is certainly a positive development!

But definitely I am now also most happy to see that finally our Speaker of Lok Sabha – Mr Om Birla and so also the Chairman of Rajya Sabha – Mr Jagdeep Dhankhar both of whom have also truly risen up to the occasion by displaying true statesmanship and holding the bull by the horns cracked the whip and have also sent a very strong and unequivocal message to all the bigwig political leaders of different parties who in past have occupied very high posts and some are still occupying that those who misbehave severely will be expelled and this will not be tolerated any longer in Parliament neither in the Lok Sabha nor in the Rajya Sabha! It has also most commendably very rightly reinforced what our Apex Court keeps reiterating that, “Be you ever so high, the law is above you.” There could definitely be no better manner of sending a strong message to one and all that no one can dare afford ever to take the dignity and decorum of Parliament for granted any longer!

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March 2024