Rickin Sanklecha, Pune
Data from the PRS Legislative Research, a Delhi-based organization indicates that the assemblies of the five poll-bound states due for assembly elections – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Chattisgarh, and Mizoram – have met for under 30 days in the year in their current terms.
With the recent announcement by the Election Commission on Monday for assembly polls to be held in these states in November, their current assembly operations were scrutinized. Sittings in each of these state assemblies have reduced over the years with an average pointing to a month per year for some states or even less.
PRS Legislative Research’s report states that the Rajasthan assembly had the most number of sittings recorded with an average of 29 days a year of seven-hour long sittings. Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana had 23 days, 18 days, 16 days, and 15 days yearly averages recorded respectively.
Several lapses in operations and the concerning attendance of MLAs in these states have also been brought to light. Data also indicates that around 48 percent of the bills proposed by these state assemblies were passed on the same day they were introduced.
When not in session, states issue ordinances that they don’t require to meet in the form of sittings. Eleven ordinances were issued by the Madhya Pradesh assembly in 2020, with meetings for only six days. In 2021, they issued fourteen ordinances in a period of 20 days. It is evident that many of these ordinances lapse and do not reach the stage of being converted to bills.
Other examples are Chhattisgarh passing fourteen bills in a single sitting in 2020 all within a period of six hours, which pointing to the practices and functioning of these state assemblies. The pattern of attendance recorded for these sittings also point to the dipping numbers of women in attendance. In light of the upcoming polls, these practices have been brought into scrutiny with more data being looked into.