Mumbai, July 27 : Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said stalling of functioning of Parliament and Legislatures was "tantamount to subverting democracy and betraying people" and expressed anguish over the behaviour of some sections of elected representatives.
He said he was deeply distressed by the behaviour of some sections in the Rajya Sabha in the past two years, and pained when members disregard rules and conventions, leading to pandemonium in the House.
Naidu said the Rajya Sabha members have a special responsibility to lead by example and if MPs or MLAs resort to slogan shouting and disrupting the proceedings, they would be rendering a "disservice to parliamentary democracy".
In his address after presenting the First Democracy Awards instituted by the Maharashtra State Election Commission, he also expressed anguish over the objectionable comments by a Lok Sabha member about a woman presiding officer, saying that "it is not in our culture to disrespect women".
Urging the ruling and opposition parties "not to treat each other as enemies or adversaries", Naidu said that respecting the mandate of the people and allowing the governments of the day to deliver must be an essential principle of functioning of legislatures.
In this regard, he urged both the ruling and opposition to adopt a spirit of mutual respect and accommodation as they have a shared responsibility to ensure effective functioning of the parliament and legislatures.
He stressed that democracy is all about debate, discussion and decision and these cannot be replaced by disorder, disruptions or delays in legislation, "which is nothing but a negation of the spirit of democracy".
The basic functions of parliament and legislatures are to legislate, deliberate, and ensure accountability of the executive and the Opposition can and should take the governments to task if they deviate from what has been offered to the people, he said.
"The ruling and Opposition parties should function as joint stakeholders in the well-being of the people and socio-economic transformation of the country. Our nation needs both effective and responsible governments and opposition. The country's interests are not well served if either of them is found wanting," Naidu said.
Present on the occasion were Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Station Election Commissioner J. S. Saharia, SEC Secretary Kiran Kurundkar, as Naidu presented the Democracy Awards to 15 recipients in different categories for strengthening democracy and the democratic process in the state.
They awardees include the Association for Democratic Reforms, the Matheran Hotel Association, the Mahindra Group, the Mumbai District Cooperative Housing Federation, the University of Mumbai, the Resource & Sport Centre for Development, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, and the Maharashtra Government's IT Department.
Among officials who bagged the awards are Sandeep B. Jadhav (Solapur), Gadchiroli Collector A. S. R. Nayak and Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh, Daya A. Doiphode (Policewoman, Karad), and Keshav V. Netke (Election Department officer, Paithan).