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Peering Down the Rabbit Hole: Is the Indian Parliament’s Call for Suspension of 141 Opposition MPs.

“Looking at the Three Key Bills Passed During Suspension and Awaiting the Voices of Dissent”

By: Prapti Dasgupta

In the month of December, 2023, the Indian Parliament witnessed a first in history- the suspension of  141 Members of Parliament, which created a frenzy throughout the political landscape. The suspension, when announced by the Speaker seemed to result from disruptions caused during a rather important session. The Members of Parliament (MPs) raised severe questions about the etiquette of the parliament and the nature of the country’s democracy.

The suspended MPs belong to and represent different political ideologies, but are unable to voice their opinions. They find themselves on the sidelines of the ongoing political debates, which results in a one-sided functioning of the parliament. The Speaker, who belongs to the current ruling party met with praises in trying to maintain discipline in the house as well as criticisms of trying to stifle voices of dissent. 

Photo by: Hamburg

The incident speaks to the need for elaborate debates on maintaining balance between decorum and allowing varied opinions to stay relevant. While the suspended MPs wait to see their fate, the questions arises whether the suspension of 141 MPs will lead to practical reforms within the system or will it continue to highlight the faulty legislative bodies without any heed to actual betterment.

While the nation watched this historical event unfold, the remainder of the parliament passed three Bills without the participation of any opposition. The House saw protests outside of it while the Bills were passed. The three Bills in questions are:

  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws which aims to protect unauthorized colonies from demolition for the next three or more years.

  • The GST Bill looks to bring certain sections of the Act dealing with appellate tribunals in consonance of the Tribunals Act 2021.

  • The Provisional Collection of Taxes Bill immediately effects changes in customs and excise duties announced in the Budget. It also aims  to obtain the authority from Parliament to impose levy and collect the newly imposed or increased duties of customs and excise for 75 days.

The above Bills were put to a voice vote which was followed by a discussion between MPs belonging to the ruling party and its allies. 

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, while moving a motion for the suspension of the MPs, reiterated that they had been “frustrated” over the recent Assembly election results.

“INDIA bloc MPs have been demanding a statement from Home Minister Amit Shah on the security breach in Parliament on December 13. They had agreed not to bring placards. They are frustrated with their loss, so taking such steps. These people will not come back to the House next time if this behaviour continues,” Joshi said.  

The Prime Minister before the suspension has accused the Opposition parties of providing “muted and indirect” support to the security breach in Parliament and said that the suspended members were giving a “political spin” to the incident due to their losses in the recent assembly polls. A continual political war has been made public, leaving the nation to decide if the curbing of differing opinions is really the most prudent way for the ruling party to assert its dominance or is it just another distraction from the brewing political discourses that may provide the public a deeper look into largest democracy’s actual functioning?


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