State Assemblies to discuss defection, disqualification

State Assemblies to discuss defection, disqualification

A perusal of suggestions given by state legislatures shows that the legislative Assembly and council of TRS-ruled Andhra Pradesh want to discuss “Anti-Defection Law - The need to reform”, while Bihar also seeks to discuss “10th Schedule of the Constitution and the role of Speaker”.

Amid defections and poaching of MLAs making headlines in various states, the Lok Sabha secretariat will deliberate with state legislatures over the “role of Speaker” and the 10th schedule that has provisions as to disqualification on ground of defection.

A perusal of suggestions given by state legislatures shows that the legislative Assembly and council of TRS-ruled Andhra Pradesh want to discuss “Anti-Defection Law - The need to reform”, while Bihar also seeks to discuss “10th Schedule of the Constitution and the role of Speaker”.

The two-day conference of Presiding Officers of legislative bodies in India being held in Dehradun on December 18 and 19 will also take stock of the declining number of working days in various state Assemblies and the possible remedial measures. 

Lok Sabha has suggested deliberating over the “need to lay down rules for setting minimum number of sittings and sessions of legislature,” according to the documents. Bihar has listed the topic “decreasing interest of legislators in legislative assembly” while Rajasthan has made a direct suggestion “increase the number of sittings of legislatures.”

Ideally, any state Assembly should have 90 working days of a session in a year.  According to a 2014 report by PRS Legislative Research about the functioning of 31 state Assemblies, Haryana Assembly had held 10 sessions since 2009 till March 2014, meeting for a total of 54 days – an average of 11 days per year. 

Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh sat for fewer days than Haryana. The Kerala Assembly sat for an average of 50 days per year, while Tamil Nadu Assembly sat for 44 days. The Assembly in Goa sits for 26 days a year on an average. The Gujarat Assembly had during 2007- 2012 sat for a total of 157 days – an average of 31 days each year. In most state Assemblies, bills are passed without any discussion or very little discussion.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have also suggested discussing “evolving code of conduct for legislators to contain adjournments due to pandemonium inside the Chamber” and rules and responsibilities of the media including social media, the changing profile of the legislatures and challenges before the Presiding Officers.

Uttar Pradesh is keen to deliberate the issue of disorder and disturbances in the House at the time of the address of the Governor and the measures to curb them, while West Bengal has sought a discussion on ethics and accountably of members.

Earlier after a marathon meeting of Assembly Speakers of 30 states in August, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had set up four committees to deliberate on how to ensure more productivity an state legislatures and achieve a seamless unified digital presence of both Houses of Parliament and state Assemblies (National e-Vidhan Application). 

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