NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s president has rapped political parties for obstructing parliament after the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi resorted to a flurry of executive decrees to push through economic reforms held up by the opposition.
In a rare rebuke from country’s largely ceremonial president, Pranab Mukherjee said the government and the opposition should put their heads together and find a workable solution to avoid frequent issuance of ordinances.
He was referring to the promulgation of 10 ordinances, including those for raising the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in the insurance sector, auctioning of coal mines and easing land acquisitions by Modi’s government.
“There is a growing tendency to resort to disruption as a means of parliamentary intervention. Dissent is a recognized democratic expression, but disruption leads to loss of time and resources, and paralyses policy formulation,” Mukherjee said in a speech on Monday.
“Under no circumstances should there be disruption of the proceedings. A noisy minority cannot be allowed to gag a patient majority.”
Mukherjee’s speech and comments that decrees were an “extraordinary legislative power” were widely commented on in Indian media on Tuesday.
Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party won the biggest mandate in 30 years in May last year, raising hopes it would have the numbers to control parliament and ensure the smooth passage of legislation.
But the BJP lacks a majority in the upper house, where Congress and regional lawmakers had combined to protest over forced religious conversions started by hardline Hindu organizations having ties with the BJP.
The purpose of ordinances is to allow government to take immediate legislative action at a time when parliament is not in session. Ordinances have immediate effect but have to be approved by lawmakers six weeks after parliament convenes.
Reporting by Rupam Jain Nair; Editing by Jeremy Laurence