In democracies, the will of the people is supposed to be supreme. The forum for expression of the will of the people is the parliament. All laws and policies are enacted by the parliament and you need a majority of the elected representatives to pass any bill. Issues are debated and a majority vote determines the outcome. So goes the theory. Ha Ha .
India’s parliament has become a joke. It has descended into a complete farce, where regular business is impossible to conduct because every party disrupts roceedings by protesting and shouting. Witness the current session of the Lok Sabha. The TDP is protesting against non grant of special status for their state. The AIADMK is protesting against the non formation of the Cauvery Board. The Congress, Trinamool, et al are protesting against the PNB scam. The Shiv Sena , which is actually a part of the government is agitating for, of all things, inclusion of Marathi as a “classical language” . Each one has disrupted the Lok Sabha such that it has been stalled every day with nothing being discussed or transacted. This has been the way for at least 10 years now, but it has worsened over the last two years with not even one day of sane, sensible proceedings. Every party is guilty of this appalling behaviour. The ruling BJP did exactly the same thing when they were in opposition.
The trigger for this post is the Finance Bill. In India, economic policy is often manifested in the form of the annual Finance Bill (Budget, as it is called in common parlance). This is supposed to be debated and then passed in Parliament by a certain date, else the government will be shut down (similar to the position in the US).
But how do you discuss and pass anything when all the worthies are shouting and agitating. In true Ramamritham fashion, we have invented a process called the “guillotine”. When the deadline for passing the Finance Bill comes, it is just “passed” with no discussion or debate. Not even a minute of debate and discussion has happened on major fiscal, monetary and economic legislation. Its just considered adopted by parliament !! What a joke.
The passing of the Finance Bill is one of the most important, if not THE most important job of parliament every year. Yet for many years now, there has been no debate and it just gets guillotined as a matter of routine. Begs the question, why do we need a parliament at all ? Have elections every five years and instead of actual representatives, put a wax dummy coloured with the party colours in a seat in a room. Each party represented in the parliament simply indicates which way it decides to vote . That can be tallied by a computer (actually even an abacus will do). Much simpler. In any case, every member of parliament votes according to a party whip. Nobody even reads the damned bill. If you are an opposition party, vote against any bill saying it is the greatest blot on humankind. If you are in the government vote for saying that it is the long awaited final avatar of Lord Vishnu. So why bother with a parliament at all ?
Let this be the first instance where “artificial intelligence” replaces human beings entirely. Replacing our esteemed members of parliament is a simple task as they perform no function at all bar shouting . We don’t even need artificial intelligence. Wax dummies are enough to be a major improvement – at least they will be silent.
If that is considered way too extreme, then perhaps taping the mouths, tying the hands and gluing the seat of the pants (dhothi) to the chair can be resorted to. For abundant caution, you can also shackle their legs. That would be an improvement over the current situation.