"In recent times, the idealized view of legislatures as deliberative bodies is contradicted by the induction of un-Parliamentary practices whereby, they tend to become sites for adversarial combat," he said, addressing a special sitting of the Kerala Legislative Assembly as part of the 125th anniversary of legislative bodies of the state. (Agencies)
"The hallmark of an effective legislator is now seen to be an ability to shout and disrupt proceedings, preferably from the well of the House," he said.
Ansari said that an effort should be made to appreciate that excitability, decibel intensity and verbosity did not add to the strength of the argument or the dignity of Legislature.
The annual average of sittings of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had declined over the decades. While the average of sittings of the Lok Sabha was 124.2 and Rajya Sabha 90.5 during 1952-61, it steadily declined to 70.3 and 69.6 in 2002-11, he said.
Record of many decades also showed that the notional time allocation was different from the time actually utilized for conduct of business.
"The reason for this is that uniquely Indian contribution to parliamentary practice is known as disruption. It has been a source of concern for many years now and is inviting public ire," he said.
Ansari said that the disruptions were taking place with the knowledge and at the instance of political parties and their leadership to attract public attention, force the executive to undertake the course of action proposed by them and to demonstrate their ability to logjam the functioning of the Legislature.
"The unfortunate reality today is that the rules of procedure are being violated brazenly and with impunity. Forgotten is the simple truth that rules are to be observed, not discarded or subverted," the Vice-President said.
Ansari said that democracy in India, which had taken deep roots and succeeded against considerable odds, had been described as a political miracle. "This is a tribute to the
wisdom and maturity of our people."
However, he said, the experience of 15 general elections had shed light on some systemic and procedural deficiencies in our system, relating to the `First-Past-the Post' system in the Constitution in which a successful candidate was required to obtain not a majority but a plurality of votes cast.
A multiplicity of candidates and absence of obligatory voting often results in successful candidates being electorally endorsed by no more than a quarter or a third of the electorate, he said.
"The electoral arithmetic of this system encourages candidates to focus on securing votes of a segment of the electorate and thereby accentuate or reinforce social divisions based on narrower considerations," he said.
The Venkatachaliah Commission had looked into some aspect of the matter and recommended that the option of `50+1' should be explored, which was yet to be done, he said.
Praising Kerala's impressive record of progressive legislations and achievements in the fields of education and health, Ansari said that the state could be looked upto as a model in many areas of national activity.
"In recent times, the idealized view of legislatures as deliberative bodies is contradicted by the induction of un-Parliamentary practices whereby, they tend to become sites for adversarial combat," he said, addressing a special sitting of the Kerala Legislative Assembly as part of the 125th anniversary of legislative bodies of the state.