Analysis of working of Parliament

While parliament has become more representative, it has declined in status and effectiveness. While it continues to be a ‘reactive legislature’, parliament’s role in India’s political system is more marginal than it was in the country’s early years.

Testimony that Parliament is in Decline: 

  • Decline in the number of sittings in Indian Parliament : According to the analysis of PRS Legislative Research (PRS), against the average 127 days of sitting in the 1950s, Lok Sabha met only 74 times in 2012. The 16th Lok Sabha sat for 331 days and 1,615 hours less than by 137 days and 1,074 hours of all full-term Parliaments. 
  • Decline in duration of Budget session: In the year 2012, both Houses met for only 35 days but the irony is that 92 percent of budgetary proposals were put to vote without any discussion. Although this particular Lok Sabha (16th Lok Sabha) spent 50 and 30 hours more than the 15th and 14th Lok Sabhas, question hours declined and 83 per cent of the Budget was passed without discussion. 
  • Attendance of Members: Speakers have turned their eyes away from the necessity of having the quorum for the sitting to proceed. Even in the fifteenth Lok Sabha, there were only seven out of 545 members having 100 % attendance. 
  • Decrease in the number of questions answered in Indian Parliament: In 2012 only 144 questions in Lok Sabha and 157 questions in Rajya Sabha being answered orally, However In 16th Lok Sabha, on an average, 562 MPs have asked 251 questions and attended 221 out of 312 sittings. 
  • Tabling the Bill: The manner in which the bill (j & k reorganisation bill) has been placed is a direct violation of Rules of procedure and conduct of business Rules 69 which talks about Motion before introduction of bills. 
  • Role of Parliamentary Committee: In the 16th Lok Sabha, fewer Bills (26 per cent) are being referred to Parliamentary Committees as compared to the 15th Lok Sabha (71 per cent) and the 14th Lok Sabha (60 percent). For example, RTI Amendment Act (2019), UAPA Amendment Act (2019) – which have huge implications on civil liberties, were passed without referring them to the Parliamentary committee. 
  • Tendency to take the route of Ordinance: In the past four years, over 35 ordinances have been promulgated. 

Reason for decline:

  • Extreme Majority of any single party reduces the role of opposition. 
  • Absence of Inner Party Democracy. 
  • Growth of Delegated Legislation. 
  • Criminalisation of Politics:- According to ADR, In 2004, 24% of the Members of Parliament (MPs) had criminal cases pending against them. This number has increased to 43% of MPs in 2019. 
  • Technicality of Government Business. 

Parliament is not in decline:

  • Out of 273 bills introduced in the 16th Lok Sabha, 240 were passed, 10 bills were withdrawn and 23 bills remain pending. 
  • In 16th Lok Sabha, on an average, 562 MPs have asked 251 questions and attended 221 out of 312 sittings. Data reveals that 171 MPs asked questions relating to farmers’ suicides. In addition, a majority of questions were asked on issues relating to finance, health, family welfare and the railways. 
  • The average attendance of MPs in Lok Sabha was 81%, while in Rajya Sabha it was 80%. 
  • Over the last three years, Lok Sabha MPs in the age group of 40-55 years asked 242 questions. In comparison, MPs above the age of 70 years, asked 133 questions. 


  • Legislative Impact Assessment:- Every legislative proposal must incorporate a detailed account of social, economic, environmental and administrative impact for wider awareness and subsequent legal assessment. 
  • Codification of Privileges.
  • Hybrid system of voting:- It is a mix of both first-past-the-post and proportional 
  • representation voting system. It was recommended by the Law Commission in its 170th report which suggested that 25% or 136 more seats should be added to the Lok Sabha and be filled by proportional representation. 
  • Strengthening the role of opposition:- Shadow cabinet can be thought of. In such a system each action of Cabinet Minister must be countersigned by the minister in the shadow cabinet. 
  • Setting up special courts/tribunals for time bound adjudication on criminal complaints against legislators and election related matters. 
  • India needs a parliamentary budget office, akin to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, which can be an independent and impartial institution devoted to conducting a technical and objective analysis of any Bill. It is because CAG does retrospective auditing, not questioning the policy of the Government. 
  • 15 Point Reform Charter by Vice President:
    • Parties need to ensure at least 50% of legislators attendance.
    • Review of the whip system which is “stifling reasonable dissent even on non-consequential matters”. 
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