DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly has failed to conduct even 50 per cent of the assembly sitting required to work towards the welfare of the state.
According to 'Legislative Rules and Procedures 2005', Uttarakhand state assembly should function at least for 60 sittings which would generally translate into 60-days. However, the said rule in not binding.
Prem Chand Agarwal, speaker of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly said, "Discussions and talks on the very topic have been on top of my priority list. The more the assembly functions, the more it is good for democracy, development and welfare of people."
Senior lawmakers see no difference between any government since the formation of the state in 2000.
Govind Singh Kunjwal, former state assembly speaker and senior Congress MLA says, "Successive governments in Uttarakhand have failed to abide by the rulebook which states that there should be 60 sittings.
"However, this is not binding law but essential for the development of the state. The representatives have failed in doing what they are supposed to do which is framing laws for good and ensuring the effective implementation."
The data accessed by TNIE from Uttarakhand legislative secretariat revealed that on an average, between the years 2001-2019, only about 16 sittings were recorded every year.
The highest number of sittings was 23 in 2003 and the minimum number of sittings was 7 in 2004.
The recently announced schedule of the budget session for 5-days in Gairsain assembly of Chamoli district has irked many. Many say that at least 10-days is needed for the session to address the budget.
Qazi Nizamuddin, Indian National Congress MLA from Manglaur constituency said, "The government has allotted only 4 days for the budget session of the state assembly. The budget session is the most important session and this is murder of democracy and making joke of the whole procedure."
Kirankant Verma, a resident of Dehradun, commenting on the issue said, "State assemblies and the Parliament are like the Gangotri of our democracy. If these temples of democracy fail to do what they are supposed to do, the development, the evolution of the society and everything good in this country is bound to die a slow death. I hope our representatives realize this."
Jagdish Chandra, secretary of Uttarakhand assembly told TNIE that the matter of low number sittings of assemblies came up in 'All India conference of presiding officers of legislatures’ in Dehradun.
"The presiding officials of all state assemblies and honorable speaker of the Lok Sabha agreed that the present law on the gap between two sessions of assembly should be brought down to three months from six months. If this amendment gets passed by the Parliament, there will be four sessions of assembly in one year instead of two," added the secretary.
2001 - 2019 Assembly sitting data
In year 2001, the assembly had functioned 19 days while in year 2002 the assembly had only 17 sittings followed by 23 sittings in year 23, 7 in year 2004, 21 in year 2005, 15 in 2006, 16 in year 2007, 20 in year 2008, 18 in year 2009, 12 in year 2010, 14 in year 2011, 20 in year 2012, 8 in year 2013, 19 in year 2014, 12 in year 2015, 13 each in year 2016 and 2017, 14 in year 2018 and 17 in year 2019.