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Vice President says representing people in legislatures can’t be part-time

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New Delhi: Elaborating on the importance of legislatures, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has asserted that the legitimacy of legislators and lawmaking bodies is critical for the effective functioning of parliamentary democracy backed by the much-needed trust and confidence of the people. Noting that legislatures are the instruments of according legitimacy for the decisions of both the executive and the judiciary, he raised the prospect of the very legitimacy of legislatures coming into question if they are dysfunctional and lawmakers do not enjoy the respect of the people they represent.

Speaking to the present and former legislators of Goa on the occasion of the ‘Legislators Day’ in Panaji Saturday, Naidu urged the lawmakers to ensure the legitimacy of the law-making bodies through ideal behaviour and effective functioning both within and outside the Houses. He suggested to the lawmakers to do so by equipping them with six attributes that would make a significant difference.

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The Vice President said: “It is the functioning of legislatures and law-making bodies that can either make or mar any democracy. Their effective functioning forms the basis of people’s trust and confidence in parliamentary institutions. Unfortunately, there is a certain trust deficit with people’s perceptions about the legislators and legislatures being in the negative based on what they get to see and hear. This deficit needs to be addressed at the earliest.”

Urging the law makers to accord priority for the good and welfare of the people instead of being preoccupied with personal vocations and interests and empowerment of self, Naidu stressed that “Representing people is not a part-time activity and it shall be the prime responsibility if not fulltime. Proper commitment to the cause of the people flows from getting priorities right. Those who have no time for people better not enter the legislatures.”

Outlining the other positive attributes expected of lawmakers, Naidu urged them to develop strong connections with the people they represent to properly assess and understand their difficulties and aspirations; right conduct both in public and inside the legislatures; character based on moral integrity; capacity to understand the emerging complexities and deliver and communication skills for effective communication with the people and all other stakeholders.

The Vice President said; “Any legislature is as good as its members. The legitimacy of both of them is interdependent as each of them draw sustenance from the other.” He further noted that any legislator modelled on these six positive attributes would most certainly like the House to ‘Discuss, Debate and Decide’ so that she/he can make a useful contribution rather than being disrupted and that is the difference that able legislators can make to the functioning of legislatures.

Naidu observed; “Any legislator has the option of either supporting the government or opposing it. Informed opposition to the government’s proposals in fact does a certain good but opposing for the sake of doing it does harm.”

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