Saturday, 22 February 2014

Pepper spray and all that

That which I had been dreading and writing about in the last few posts - the possible passage of the regressive RPWD Bill 2014 - was not allowed to take place because of the utter chaos that exists in our parliament. All but four days of the past week (the last one for this possibly last session in the tenure of the current ruling party) were devoted to the contentious Telengana bill. Typically, the house would be convened, and immediately a motley crew of parliamentarians would run into `the well', flash slogans and generally create such a din that you could not hear anything the speaker was trying to say, until, after about 3 minutes of this theatre of the absurd, the speaker would adjourn the house for anything between a half an hour and half a day. In the last few minutes of the sitting on Thursday, the Telengana Bill was passed: this is a contentious separationist bill, which faces strong views for and against; and a state gets split into pieces in a far from unanimous fashion by our great democracy. And what had been aired was that five more bills - each important in its own right - were going to be passsed on the final day of the session. To my unadulterated glee and those in my camp (that of the Pandavas according to the analogy drawn in my last post), the RPWD Bill was referred to a parliamentary standing committee for further study while two of those five bills were passed on friday. So we still have a chance to have our legal minds draft a really inclusive version of the bill in the spirit of the UNCRPD - not because of any good sense, but because of the completely atrocious behaviour of our parliamentarians: one enthusuast even used a `pepper spray in the house' resulting in several people rushing out of the house with bleeding noses and sundry ill-effects'.

I saw the TV news channels closely on friday evening, when NDTV again ran one of its shows with several invited panelists, including the pepper spray merchant, and people were bemoaning the utter depths to which decorum in the house had descended. To me it seems the solution is simple: have some five or ten bouncers (of the kind used in bars and rock concerts, and when somebody repeats an offense after having been once warned, the speaker should just direct the bouncers to evict the offending perfson for the rest of the day, with anyone who ha been so evicted more than once should lose his/her seat in the house. Surely this kind of behaviour would not be permitted in a court of law! (When that happens, it is time retire to a hermit's life in the mountains/forests.)

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