16 May, 2021

‘MPs Must Be Able To Vote Across Party Lines’

Photograph by Jitender Gupta
‘MPs Must Be Able To Vote Across Party Lines’
outlookindia.com
2019-12-13T11:15:23+05:30

Congress MP and author Shashi Tharoor talks to Preetha Nair about the importance of private member’s bills, how it’s undermined, yet can still play a significant role.

Parliament has passed the transgender bill, a private member’s bill tabled by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva. However, it’s after 45 years that the Upper House had passed a private member’s bill. Though it’s believed that the concept of PMB is central to dem­ocracy, why do we have such a dismal record?

I think the demise of PMBs as a potent tool for policy contributions and filling gaps which the executive branch of government have missed is, in many ways, a reflection of a malaise within Parliament. Today, the role of Parliament has changed from the original intention of it being a deliberative body to a tool to rubber-stamp the government’s agenda. Particularly in the last six years, we have seen a pattern of blatant disregard for constructive criticism and collaborative policymaking,...

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