Memorandum Submitted to Hon'ble President of India
September 9, 2008
Dear Respected Rashtrapathiji,
We, the undersigned leaders of political parties represented in the Parliament, register our strong protest against the decision of the government to jettison the monsoon session of the Parliament. This, we consider, is a deliberate manipulation of established traditions concerning the sessions of Parliament since independence.
For a variety of important reasons, such manipulation of Parliament sessions has serious implications. It violates the basic principle of governance established under our system. Central to India's constitutional structure is that the sovereignty rests solely with the people. "We, the people" expresses itself in the executive's accountability to the legislature, which, in turn, is accountable to the people. The absence of the Parliament session negates the legislature's right and the executive's obligation. This is a serious compromise with the concept of sovereignty as enshrined in the Constitution.
Further, this is happening when the executive's accountability is required on a variety of events that are plaguing our country and the people. A series of reports have appeared suggesting that the assurances made by the Prime Minister to the Parliament and the country on the Indo-US nuclear deal have been violated. Worse, there are reports that suggest that crucial information was concealed regarding details of the deal. These are serious matters concerning the sovereignty and security of India and its independent foreign policy. The Parliament, therefore the people, are being deprived of their fundamental right to make the government accountable and answerable on these matters.
There is this runaway inflation which the government has failed to control. Agrarian crisis remains acute continuing to claim lives of farmers through distress suicides.
Serious unrest disrupted peace and normalcy in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. As the state is under the President's rule, the Parliament is the only forum where efforts to resolve could be made.
The river Kosi has changed its course after three centuries virtually wiping out large tracts of Bihar rendering millions homeless. The breach in its embankments is the apparent cause for this havoc, at the Kosi barrage in Nepal. India has a 199 year lease to maintain this barrage. The country would, surely, like to know what went wrong where for this ravage. The people are robbed of this right with the Parliament session not being convened.
In Orissa, innocent tribal Christians are being subjected to inhuman atrocities. The protection of the life and security of the tribals is the responsibility of the Central government as much as it is the right of the state governments to maintain law and order. Where else can these issues that affect will determine the future of our country and its people be discussed, except in the Parliament?
It is only in the Parliament that the people, through their elected representatives, can exercise their sovereign right to make the government accountable and answerable on all these issues.
We, the undersigned, therefore, appeal to you as the custodian of the Indian Constitution to intervene urgently to prevent such a subversion of our Constitutional scheme. We demand that the monsoon session of the Parliament be immediately convened. The winter session must, as is the practice, convene in the second half of November.
We hope that in exercise of the authority vested in you by the Indian Constitution, you will discharge this important duty.
Basudev Acharya Sitaram Yechury
Leader, CPI(M), Lok Sabha Leader, CPI(M), Rajya Sabha
Rajesh Verma Satish Chandra Misra
Leader, BSP, Lok Sabha Leader, BSP, Rajya Sabha
Gurudas Dasgupta D. Raja
Leader, CPI, Lok Sabha Leader, CPI, Rajya Sabha
Yerran Naidu Mysoora Reddy
Leader, TDP, Lok Sabha Leader, TDP, Rajya Sabha
Joachim Baxla Debabrata Biswas
Leader, RSP, Lok Sabha Leader, AIFB, Rajya Sabha
Daanish Ali Abani Roy
General Secretary, Janata Dal (Secular) Leader, RSP, Rajya Sabha
Statement by the CPI(M)
On Parliament Session
The manner in which the Manmohan Singh government is treating parliament is shocking. First it refused to convene the Monsoon Session. It then announced that a "continued session" of the July 21-22 special trust vote session would be held from October 17 to November 21. Now, barely a week after the convening of parliament it is being adjourned again on October 24. This exposes the narrow partisan interests which dictated the indefinite postponement of the Monsoon Session and the doing away of the Winter Session.
This year parliament has been in session for less than forty days. This gross contempt for parliament is compounded by the refusal of the Prime Minister to honour his own commitment to seek parliamentary approval for the nuclear deal after the IAEA and NSG stages were completed.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that the next session to be called in December should be a full-fledged Winter Session and not another farcical continuation of the July 21-22 session. Parliament will have to be adjourned sine die so that the Winter Session can be convened in December. The presiding officers have the duty to see that this travesty of parliamentary democracy is not perpetuated.
In case the government does not convene a fresh session of parliament, the CPI(M) will consult with all other likeminded opposition parties to decide the course of action.