NEW DELHI: At a time when Parliament is facing repeated disruptions in the Budget session, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari today said that passage of any bill in the din is "failure of Parliament" and trooping into the well of the House is an expression of anger, not dissent.
Addressing an orientation programme for the new members of the Upper House, Ansari exhorted them to discharge their duties with due seriousness and raise the level of their performance to global standards. He also recalled some of the quality debates held in the Rajya Sabha in the past, especially on the impeachment of a High Court Judge.
"In a democracy, freedom to agitate and to debate is important but the two must not be confused. Privileges and responsibilities of a member go together....If a Bill is passed in the din, then it is a failure of Parliament," the Rajya Sabha Chairman said.
While lauding the success of India's electoral democracy as a model for other democracies, he emphasised the need to make the country a functional democracy for which Parliament's performance is paramount.
He also chose the occassion to emphasise the sanctity of Question Hour. Referring to dissent as a form of protest, he mentioned that walkout is the real form of dissent.
"Walking into the well of the House and slogan-shouting is an expression of anger but not dissent," he said.
He said that time management in the House is very important and advised the Members to adhere to the time allotted while speaking in the House.
Ansari also advised the members to come fully prepared before speaking in the House and avoid reading from written texts saying this would enable them to become good parliamentarians.
Secretary-General of the Rajya Sabha Shumsher K. Sheriff presented a copy of a book to Ansari and Deputy Chairman P J Kurien on statistical information regarding works done by the Rajya Sabha from 1952 to 2013, published for the first time by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.
The Secretary-General also gave an overview of the functioning of the Secretariat. CPI-M member P Rajeeve apprised the new MPs regarding raising matters of public importance through questions and other devices, while BJP MP Balbir Punj spoke about the issue of Parliamentary privileges.
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar deliberated upon the role and contribution of Rajya Sabha in Indian polity.
The two-day orientation programme being held in Parliament House Annexe will conclude tomorrow.
The programme inaugurated by Ansari today has lectures on various topics like 'Rajya Sabha: Its Role and Contribution to Indian Polity'.
The other topics are lawmaking process, parliamentary privileges, committee system, raising of matters of public importance through questions and other devices, role of the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition, ethics in politics and Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).