Speaker promises ‘minimum discipline’ in house


New Delhi : Expressing “great sorrow” over the “unbecoming conduct” of some MPs while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was making a statement on the India-US civilian nuclear deal in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has said that “minimum discipline” would be enforced in the house in future.

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“I wish to refer with great sorrow and concern to what happened yesterday in this chamber, which we call the Temple of Democracy,” Chatterjee said in a statement he read out before the commencement of business Tuesday.

“Some members indulged in such unbecoming conduct that questions are being rightly asked whether we are doing justice to our role of representing the people,” he added.

“It is a matter of deep anguish that such doubts are raised on the eve of celebrating the 60th anniversary of our independence, for which thousands and thousands of our countrymen made supreme sacrifices.

“Are we showing any respect to them and to our freedom fighters by what happened yesterday and on other occasions? As such I am extremely sorry that we witnessed extremely uproarious scenes when the country’s PM was speaking and that can never be condoned,” the speaker maintained.

Slogan shouting MPs of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party all but drowned out Manmohan Singh’s 28-minute statement on the nuclear deal Monday, ignoring repeated admonitions from the speaker to return to their seats.

Noting that he had repeatedly asserted that subject to the constraint of the rules and the available time, the house would certainly discuss all the important issues MPs wished to raise, Chatterjee added.

“The members are certainly entitled to express their strong views in any matter they wish but such expression of views has to be in a manner as permitted by the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the house and of course in a dignified manner in course of structured debates and discussions as are permitted.

“There can be no hindrance in debating all permissible issues and expression of one’s views in any matter. But, unfortunately, there is continuous violation of the rules and defiance of the chair which cannot be permitted for ever.”

Reminding MPs that “the people are closely watching us and they will no doubt give their verdict at the appropriate time”, Chatterjee added: “But till then, I wish to inform the members that in future all methods as are provided in our rules will be applied to enforce minimum discipline in the house, however painful that may be.

“We cannot further allow the prestige of this great institution to be lowered in the eyes of its citizens’ by our own people, due to the totally inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour which is displayed in the house, from time to time, including today.”