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Working days of legislatures can be increased: President

Posted on Nov 30, 10:54PM | IANS

Frowning upon the increasing incidences of members disrupting the functioning of parliament and the state legislatures, President Pranab Mukherjee Friday said the legislatures can increase the number of days they meet and transact business on.

He also said reissuing of the ordinances on the same subject for which the government did not earlier get the legislature's nod should be avoided.

Speaking at the Diamond Jubliee celebrations of the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly, Mukherjee stressed that the cardinal principle of parliamentary democracy is that the majority rules while the minority would oppose and expose.

He said the three 'D's - debate, dissent and decide - should be the driving force of democracy and the fourth 'D' disruption should be avoided.

Referring to the reduced time being spent by legislatures on discussing major issues like budget and plan proposals, Mukherjee said nothing prevents parliament or the state assembly from functioning for six months a year.

Mukhejee said the total size of India's first budget was just Rs.293 crore and the size of the budget he as the country's finance minister last presented was around Rs.12 trillion.

He said the time devoted in parliament to discuss the budget has gone down.

Agreeing that the constitution has provided for promulgating an ordinance by the government, Mukherjee said promulgation of the same ordinance again after failing to get the legislature's nod to the earlier one should be avoided.

He said state legislatures are the cradles of great leaders. Tamil Nadu legislature is an example of giving such great leaders like C.Rajagopalachari, K.Kamaraj, C.N. Annadurai and others, he added.

Annadurai, the first non-Congress chief minister of Tamil Nadu, was instrumental in getting the state's name changed to Tamil Nadu from the earlier name Madras.

Mukherjee recalled that the Tamil Nadu assembly has many firsts to its credit like the introduction of sales tax by Rajagopalachari; protection of ryots; land reforms; 33 percent reservation for women in panchayats; 69 percent reservation for backward people; and mid-day meals scheme for poor school students and others.

Mukherjee later laid the foundation stone for the construction of a new hostel complex for former legislators.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor K.Rosaiah said the Indian Constitution has clearly defined and demarcated the role to the legislature, the judiciary and the executive.

"These have to work in total harmony in order to achieve the dream envisioned by our forefathers who gave us the Constitution," he said.

Rosaiah said tolerance of opposite views and countering arguments through cultured debate has been the hallmark of the Tamil Nadu assembly.

Tracing the history of the state legislature from pre-independence period, Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa said the first legislature of the erstwhile Madras State under the Indian Constitution was constituted on March 1, 1952, after the first general elections held that year.

Jayalalithaa said the Speaker's chair was presented by Lord Willingdon, the governor of Madras Presidency and his wife Lady Willingdon, as a personal gift in 1922.

"Interestingly Lord Willingdon was the grandson of a speaker of the House of Commons," she said.

Leader of Opposition A.Vijayakant, judges of the Madras High Court and other dignitaries attended the function while the DMK boycotted it.