Assemblies struggle to meet minimum sittings prescription

LIKE SEVERAL OTHER LEGISLATURES, BENGAL ASSEMBLY TOO FAILING TO HOLD SESSION FOR 70 DAYS A YEAR
West Bengal Assembly
West Bengal Assembly

By bappaditya paul  

WEST BENGAL ASSEMBLY, like several of its counterparts, is failing to hold the minimum number of sittings in a year as had been recommended by a parliamentary panel.

According to the West Bengal Assembly secretariat, the House sat for 48 days in 2014 as against the 70 days sitting recommended for state legislatures having more than 40 MLAs by the 16th All India Whips’ Conference. The Bengal Assembly has 294 MLAs.

The scene is not looking any better this year either: while the House

was in session for 11 days in February-March; in case of the on-going extended Budget Session that is scheduled to last until 18 June, the actual days of business would be 26 days.

Prior to this, in 2011 the West Bengal Assembly was in session for 42 days, in 2012 for 41 days and in 2013 the figure came down to 30 days. But it is not that the Bengal Assembly alone is lagging behind when it comes to holding number of sittings in accordance with the recommendation.

HOUSE IN BUSINESS

“Gujarat Assembly sat for 32 days in 2011, for 30 days in 2012 and 33 days in 2013. In case of Tamil Nadu Assembly it was 33, 42 and 47 days; while the Bihar Assembly was in session for 34, 38 and 39 days, respectively,” said the Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee.

The Trinamul Congress ruled Bengal could probably take solace in the fact that the Left ruled Tripura Assembly too is failing to hold sittings for 70 days a year.

“Tripura Assembly sat for 13 days each in 2011 and 2012, and for 11 days in 2013,” Mr Banerjee said. Tripura Assembly has 60 MLAs.

The Bengal Assembly Speaker said that they had been working on to adhere to the parliamentary panel’s recommendation and the 48 days session in 2014 as compared to the 30 days held in 2013 was a testimony to that end.

(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 09 June 2015.)

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