Venkaiah Naidu bats for code of conduct for members of legislatures, national policy for Upper House in state Assemblies

New Delhi: Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu Sunday called for deciding a national policy on the need for Upper House in state legislatures. He also urged political parties to evolve a consensus on the code of conduct for their members both inside and outside legislatures.

He made the remarks during the launch of the book ‘Moving on…Moving forward: A year in office’ on his first year as vice president and Rajya Sabha chairman. The event was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Rajya Sabha Deputy Leader of Opposition Anand Sharma. Naidu broadly suggested five reforms to improve the functioning of Parliament and state legislatures.

In my view, political parties must evolve a consensus on the code of conduct for their members both inside the legislature and out of it. Otherwise, people might soon lose faith in our political processes and institutions,” he said. Talking about political defections, he said the anti-defection laws should be implemented in letter and spirit expeditiously, within three months. “I know that this is absolutely feasible, since I could dispose off the petitions that I received within this time frame,” Naidu asserted.

The election petitions and criminal cases against political leaders need to be disposed off within a reasonable timeframe by constituting, if required, special benches of high courts and the Supreme court, he said. “It is time that we consider and decide upon a national policy on the need for Upper House in state legislatures,” Naidu said. Some Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar have bicameral legislatures, while other states have unicameral legislative set up. All efforts should be geared towards creation of a cleaner polity and a transparent people-centred governance, the vice president said.

Noting that the last session was called the “Session for Social Justice”, Naidu said it was important to consider and pass legislations that reflect collective commitment to social justice. “In order to build a more inclusive society, there is a need to move towards ensuring proportional representation of all groups, especially those which have till now been under represented,” he said.

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