Desh Ki Baat

Lok Sabha mic muted: A technical glitch or Fatal Blow to Democracy?

As the Lok Sabha mic muted the rest of the country lost touch with the noise of democracy

On Friday Lok Sabha proceedings began for the day at 11 AM. However, the Lok Sabha mic muted suddenly and the proceedings of the House were disrupted for about 20 minutes. The sound came on for a few seconds when the Speaker appealed for discipline and quiet, assuring members they would be allowed to speak if the order was maintained, and then got muted again. At 11.22 am, the House was adjourned till Monday and the sound system functioned orderly during the announcement to everyone’s disbelief.

While the Congress members clamoured the slogan of “Rahul ji ko bolne do (Let Rahul speak)”, the audio telecast from the entire House got muted, rendering the live session on Sansad TV meaningless as the audience across the country got disconnected with what was happening. 

“When you silence voices in Parliament, Mute the microphones of people’s representatives, Turn off the volume of Sansad TV, You are actually silencing the people. It’s a fatal blow to democracy, as it kills its very essence,” the Congress wrote on Twitter later.

Read more:- FATF Report Creates Trouble For Congress

The Lok Sabha secretariat later said this was not intentional and was caused by a technical glitch.

Party spokesperson Supriya Shrinate asked, “Are you listening to Dhankhar ji? Not just a mike, here the entire House has been muted.” She posed the question to Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar as he had earlier hit out at the Congress MP for saying, during his London visit, that mikes in India’s Parliament are sometimes switched off when opposition MPs have to address. 

What has the BJP announced

The BJP’s leaders have in a way declared that they would not allow Rahul to speak in Parliament until he apologizes for his derogatory comments on Indian democracy in the UK.

Responding to BJP chief J.P. Nadda’s demand for Rahul’s apology, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge retorted: “A Prime Minister who humiliates the citizens by saying nothing was done in 60 years and insults India by claiming that people lamenting what sin they committed to have been born in this country should apologize first.”

Congress’ take on the Halt

On Twitter, the Congress party wrote: “Earlier the mike used to be off, today the proceedings of the House have been muted. The house is mute for PM Modi’s friend.”

Many Congress leaders alleged on Friday that the House was muted out of fear that Rahul might start speaking amid the ruckus and put across his point of view.

Rahul Gandhi had already stated a day before the session that BJP attempts to divert attention from the real question, “What is the Prime Minister’s relationship with Adani?”

Responding to the Friday telecast mute, Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “Kathni mein democracy par karni mein tanashahi (democracy in word, autocracy in deed).”

Scope of discussion in the Parliament

Although the Speaker can fix the time there is no provision of the muting or silencing of mikes as stated in the sixteenth edition of the book By Lok Sabha Secretariat, RULES OF PROCEDURE AND CONDUCT OF BUSINESS IN LOK SABHA. 

“The Prime Minister or any other Minister shall, whether previously taken part in the discussion or not, have on behalf of the Government a general right of explaining the position of the Government at the end of the discussion and the Speaker may enquire how much time will be required for the speech so that the Speaker may fix the hour by which the discussion shall conclude”.

Under the chapter titled, ‘PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS AND MESSAGES TO THE HOUSE’, the book also mentions that:

“The Speaker shall, in consultation with the Leader of the House, allot time for the discussion of the matters referred to in the President’s Address to the Houses under article 87(1) of the Constitution,” and that

“On such days or days or part of any day, the House shall be at liberty to discuss the matters referred to in such Address on a Motion of Thanks moved by a member and seconded by another member.”

The proceedings of the Lok Sabha were put off on Friday till 11 AM Monday due to slogan shouting by the opposition and protests by the ruling party members over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “democracy under attack” remarks made in London recently.

Following the suspension of both Houses for the day, Opposition members congregated in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue with musical instruments and started singing, hailing the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani controversy.

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