Parliamentary etiquette is a must, says Hamid Ansari

    By IANS,

    Thiruvananthapuram : At a function to mark the 125th anniversary of the Kerala legislative assembly here Wednesday, Vice President Hamid Ansari said that rules for the observance of parliamentary etiquette and norms of civility must be stricter.

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    The vice-president was addressing a special sitting of the Kerala legislative assembly to mark the occasion when he pointed out that an effort needs to be made to appreciate that excitability, decibel intensity and verbosity do not add to the strength of the argument or the dignity of the legislature.

    “A legislator’s oath of office, to faithfully discharge (his or her) duty, could perhaps be amplified to include observance of rules of procedure of the legislative body concerned,” Ansari said.

    He also spoke of the need for marking sufficient time for scrutiny of legislative proposals, discussion of issues of public concern raised by members, and overall accountability of the executive.

    “The decision of November 2001 of increasing the number of working days to 110, 90 and 50 for parliament, larger and smaller states respectively, is highly desirable,” the vice president said.

    He added that the present practice of exempting ministers from appearance before the committees should be reviewed.

    “As in other parliamentary democracies, the examination of witnesses (but not the finalisation of reports) should be open to the public. This would make the public better aware of this important aspect of the work of legislatures,” Ansari said.

    Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan also addressed the assembly on the occasion.