Outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee seemed to be filled with nostalgia while delivering his farewell speech in the Parliament on Sunday. He is set to demit office on Monday, with the conclusion of his five-year tenure. He would be replaced by Ram Nath Kovind, who won the Presidential Poll against joint Opposition candidate Meira Kumar.
In his speech, Mr. Mukherjee recollected the vibrant atmosphere of both Houses of the Parliament, at the time when he served as a member. “…in those days, both the Houses of the Parliament used to reverberate with animated discussions and illuminative and exhaustive debates on social and financial legislations. Listening to the stalwarts for hours and days in Parliament sitting in the Treasury or Opposition Benches, I felt one with the soul of this living institution. I understood the real value of debate, discussion and dissent,” he said.
He then lamented the disruptions that the sessions are plagued with these days, opining that it hurts the opposition more than the government as it denies them the opportunity to raise the concerns of the people.
“It is unfortunate that the parliamentary time devoted to legislation has been declining. With the heightened complexity of administration, legislation must be preceded by scrutiny and adequate discussion. Scrutiny in committees is no substitute to open discussion on the floor of the House. When the Parliament fails to discharge its law-making role or enacts laws without discussion, I feel it breaches the trust reposed in it by the people of this great country,” he further said.
Besides, Mr. Mukherjee also warned against the misuse of the Ordinance route, saying, “I am firm in the opinion that the Ordinance route should be used only in compelling circumstances and there should be no recourse to Ordinances on monetary matters. Ordinance route should not be taken on matters which are being considered or have been introduced in the House or a committee of the House. If a matter is deemed urgent, the concerned committee should be made aware of the situation and should be mandated to present its report within the stipulated time.”