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Chakshu Roy
Articles by Chakshu Roy

Parliament and its discontents

The House needs to have a robust procedure to determine lawmakers’ misconduct, violations of ethical norms

Members of Parliament voting on clauses of the Women's Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on September 20, 2023. (ANI/Sansad TV)
Published on Dec 11, 2023 06:22 PM IST

A building that bore witness to the odyssey of democratic India

The need for the building was born out of the constitutional reforms of 1919 known also as the Montagu Chelmsford Reforms.

The circular Parliament House is unique. It was a late addition to the plan for the New Capital of Delhi (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Sep 19, 2023 04:45 AM IST

No confidence, no trust: A modern tale of two alliances

The NDA has a comfortable majority in Parliament, and the outcome of the no-confidence motion is a forgone conclusion. The debates will set the tone for 2024

The opposition parties will try to corner the government on the ongoing violence in Manipur, the train tragedy in Odisha and the flood situation across the country. (PTI)
Updated on Aug 03, 2023 06:25 PM IST

What the monsoon session can achieve

The upcoming session will likely be stormy. But beyond the rows, it will hold cues on Opposition unity, parliamentary strategy and the run-up to 2024

The monsoon session might mark the first time that the custodians of Indian democracy – our MPs – transact the nation’s business from their new home next door.(ANI/PIB)
Published on Jul 19, 2023 10:36 PM IST

Defections require a political response

The NCP churn is a test case for the Supreme Court’s guidelines laid down in the Shiv Sena order. It shows, once again, the weakness of the anti-defection law

 The current NCP defection petitions might also take a year and by then, elections will be so close that the entire proceeding will be infructuous, at least politically.(ANI)
Published on Jul 04, 2023 09:23 PM IST

A watershed moment for two democracies

Modi joins an elite club of leaders who addressed the US Congress more than once. This moment is ripe for our Parliament to imbibe a few good practices

The last time PM Modi addressed the US Congress was in 2016 when he noted that Indian and US legislatures shared several practices(Reuters)
Published on Jun 21, 2023 09:06 PM IST

Democracy’s new home needs a structural uplift

The new Parliament building is a state-of-the-art facility that will help the lawmaking process. But, parliamentary procedures also need a fresh look

Seating has been a problem in the legislative chambers since 1927. The decision to build a new House is based on the inadequacy of the existing building, and to create a new structure distinct from our colonial past., which is laudable. (PRS Legislative Research)
Published on May 27, 2023 08:31 PM IST

The anti-defection law is failing in its purpose

It now only helps political parties control their MLAs and cling on to power. Should it continue to be a part of our Constitution?

In the last 30 years, at least four Constitution benches have examined the anti-defection law, which still doesn’t work (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on May 15, 2023 07:40 PM IST

A strategy to resurrect our parliamentary discourse

To resolve Parliament's logjam will need structural changes in the rules of agenda setting and more dedicated time for debate.

A structural reimagination of the national legislature will help it make a sincere effort in avoiding disruptions and achieve its true deliberative potential, befitting the world’s largest democracy. (PTI)
Published on Apr 01, 2023 05:27 PM IST

Building a legislative road map for India

This year, Parliament will move from its 90-plus-year-old building to a new one. As part of that transition, it should reimagine its rules to make the institution more deliberative and one that scrutinises laws more thoroughly

In 2022, the government did not promulgate a single ordinance, a feat that was last achieved half a century ago, in 1963. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 01, 2023 08:33 PM IST

Cooperation is key to fix rows involving governors

Governors and state governments usually lock horns over the discretionary powers the former exercises. The framers of our Constitution wanted governors to act on the advice of ministers and exercise discretion only in select matters

Earlier this week, Tamil Nadu’s ruling coalition submitted a memorandum to the President seeking the removal of governor RN Ravi even as in neighbouring Kerala, the relationship between governor Arif Mohammed Khan and the Left government plumbed new lows. (PTI)
Published on Nov 10, 2022 07:36 PM IST

The priorities for the new VP in Rajya Sabha

As chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the vice-president must ensure the smooth conduct of proceedings, while also strengthening deliberations on the floor of the House. This is key

Outgoing VP M Venkaiah Naidu was working on measures to ensure that smaller parties have more of a say in House proceedings. The new VP will have to carry forward these plans and provide adequate time for debate. (ANI)
Published on Jul 17, 2022 08:36 PM IST

The anti-defection law and its effect on politics

By barring members from voting or speaking against the party on any issue, it weakened legislatures. And, as the turmoil in Maharashtra shows, it fundamentally altered the relationship between a politician and the party

Visuals of lawmakers being herded from state to state have underlined their lack of independence and the fraying relationship between a party and a lawmaker. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)
Published on Jun 23, 2022 09:56 PM IST

Governors must be fair in inviting CMs

Governors often exercise discretion in deciding who to invite to form the government, especially in the case of close elections. They must be fair and judicious, and discharge their duty without fear or favour

The post-poll decisions of the governors have invariably been challenged before the courts. So far, the courts have not interfered with the judgment exercised by the governor (Shutterstock)
Updated on Mar 09, 2022 06:46 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

How Parliament must deal with disruptions

It should look beyond the punishment model of dealing with disruptions. And while a change in procedure will help, it is the spirit of accommodation and compromise that will provide a long-term solution to interruptions

In 1992, former President KR Narayanan described indiscipline and disorder in the legislative bodies as “Infantile disorders or the measles of the middle-age” which “...are bound to pass, but pass they must, otherwise the system will be in mortal danger”. (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Dec 25, 2021 07:26 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

Rethink the functioning of India’s Parliament

To do justice to the vision of the Constitution’s drafters, and encourage greater deliberation, Parliament needs a set of structural changes

Parliamentary disruptions are a symptom of the critical problems afflicting our legislatures. An effective Parliament requires rethinking of two fundamental areas of our legislative functioning. One — who should convene Parliament and what should it discuss? Two — what changes are required to encourage deliberation and ensure scrutiny in Parliament? (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Nov 27, 2021 09:45 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

Monsoon session: India’s parliamentary democracy is in crisis

Parliament can change its rules to give MPs more teeth in questioning the government and empower its committees to become critical stakeholders in the law-making process. This will increase the stake that MPs have in the effective functioning of the institution, and disincentivise them from disrupting it. But this alone will not stop parliamentary disruptions.

The two Houses went through the motions while passing 15 other laws. Amid continuing disruptions, Lok Sabha, on an average, took less than 10 minutes to pass a law, and Rajya Sabha passed each law in less than half an hour. The passage of these laws was more in form than in substance. In Lok Sabha, there were 13 bills in which no Member of Parliament (MP) spoke other than the minister in charge of the bill. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Aug 12, 2021 10:27 AM IST
ByChakshu Roy

Why the monsoon session matters

Both to scrutinise legislative proposals, and hold the government accountable, the political class must ensure a working Parliament

The monsoon session is also the time for Parliament to create a business continuity plan for its committees. Such a plan will come in handy if physical meetings are not feasible because of a third wave (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jul 25, 2021 06:37 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

How the budget session let down the spirit of parliamentary democracy

The session saw Parliament doing a lot of work. But effective legislatures are measured by their outcomes and not by their output. It is time for the government and Opposition parties to prioritise their legislative responsibilities.

The other worrying aspect of the session was the lack of scrutiny of government legislation in Parliament (Mohd Zakir/HT Archive)
Updated on Mar 28, 2021 10:28 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

In India, the weakening of the institution of grand inquest

Last week, protests by the Opposition, demanding a discussion on rising fuel prices, led to disruptions in Parliament. The two Houses were barely able to work for three hours each over the first three days

Media reports suggest that parties now want the budget session cut short for campaigning in assembly polls (PTI)
Published on Mar 14, 2021 08:05 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

The anti-defection law continues to damage Indian democracy

With assembly elections three months away, the confidence motion’s outcome will be unimportant in Puducherry’s history. But the event will highlight the failure of the anti-defection law and raise an important question. How long will a law which continues to stifle debate in our legislatures continue to be a part of our Constitution?

The anti-defection law has been singularly responsible for stifling debate in our Parliament and state legislatures. For example, approximately 250 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Lok Sabha have declared their profession as farmers. They are from different political parties and represent people across the country. During the debate on the three farm bills, they could not support or oppose these bills based on their knowledge and experience of the agricultural sector. (Mohd Zakir/HT Archive)
Updated on Feb 22, 2021 06:36 AM IST
ByChakshu Roy

The evolution of India’s Parliament building

The need for the upkeep, repurposing and enhancements in the building had become evident early on

At the dawn of Independence, the logistical challenges of accommodating the 300-plus members of the Constituent Assembly would resurface(HT ARCHIVE)
Updated on Dec 09, 2020 08:30 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

For a meaningful monsoon session

The spirit in which the government engages in parliamentary debate will be key

While legislative business will be a priority, other items on the agenda will be to discuss the government’s handling of Covid-19, the border dispute with China, the plight of migrant labour and the economic situation(HT Photos)
Updated on Sep 14, 2020 12:57 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

The anti-defection law has failed. It is time to scrap it | Opinion

It doesn’t prevent legislators from shifting loyalties when they wish, but stifles their voice on policy issues

Over the last 35 years, the anti-defection law has had zero success. But it has been successful in severely damaging the legislative framework of our country, with a chilling effect on deliberations in the House(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jul 26, 2020 05:47 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

A three-fold test for new legislations | Analysis

Has it been subject to scrutiny? How will it be implemented? Is it appropriate for the issue?

With Parliament and assemblies not in session, the executive has been pushing new legislations. But for laws to be effective, they have to be carefully made, regularly sharpened, and judiciously used(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jun 09, 2020 07:20 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

Time for Parliament to meet, virtually

It is an institution of public trust and needs to scrutinise executive actions, especially in a crisis

The workings of legislatures in India and around the world are marked by ceremony and rigid rules of functioning. But they also have an advantage. They can effect institutional changes quickly(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)
Published on Apr 13, 2020 08:13 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy and Abhijit Banare

Parliamentary committees matter | Opinion

They can serve as the intellectual compass for governance. MPs must take them more seriously

Committees do not suffer from any of the infirmities of debates on the floor(REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 11, 2019 07:49 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy

Decoding the winter session so far | Opinion

Ten days remain. The government has 30 bills to pass, including the citizenship amendment bill

The government has brought in two bills not on its stated legislative agenda - on the SPG and merger of UTs(Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Nov 28, 2019 07:47 PM IST
ByChakshu Roy
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