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Unparliamentary words: Squandering time on a non-issue ?

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Dr. Veda Pratap Vaidik

To me any debate on unparliamentary words- the words which are not acceptable in the Parliament during any debate or discussion- is worthless, unwarranted and a waste of our precious time. Since 1954 the Lok Sabha Secretariat has been publishing the list of objectionable words many times. According to the Congress leaders the recently published list of unparliamentary words are just those words used by the Opposition against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.

As per the new list words such as rhetoric, arrogant, dictatorial are termed unparliamentary. In  real sense Parliament belongs to the  people of India, but now it is being treated as the private property of  the BJP and Modi, the Opposition alleges. The charges may sound a bit exaggerated, but seem genuine to some extent.  However, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has categorically declared that there will not be any restriction on words spoken in the Lok Sabha. You may use any word in the House but the Speaker has his discretionary power to decide whether a particular word or sentence has to go on record or not. If so, there is no point in publishing such a list of unparliamentary words, because meaning of any particular word is clear depending on the context it is used and the decision of the Chairman of the House is final regarding unpaliamentary usages.

Whether a word is derogatory or objectionable is not decided by any committee or is decided by voting in the House. Words can have multiple meanings according to the context. For instance, the words in the works of the great poet Bhushan who lived in the 17th century  derive multiple meanings as per the context.  Meanings of the words used during a speech need to be understood as per the context and intent of the speaker. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has reiterated this point. So I find listing of so-called unparliamentary words is  unwarranted and if the use of such words are banned in Parliament then the debates and discussions in the House will turn ineffective and monotonous.  

However, it is advisable to issue a strict directive to all MPs to maintain decorum and discipline in the House while making a speech or participating in discussions and debates. There should be strict warning to the Members against use of derogatory and insulting remarks or use vulgar language against anyone. The words listed as unparliamentary are regularly used by political leaders in their speeches, statements, TV debates, newspaper reports and even in literary articles. If you consider this does not amount to any violation of Parliamentary decorum, then what was the urgency of bringing out such a list of “unparliamentary words”? Don’t you think such unwarranted hasty steps could help only to bring disrepute to our esteemed Parliament?  

India does not need to imitate Britain or America. If these nations issue a list of objectionable words, does that mean we also  have to copy them? I strongly believe, instead of discussing seriously relevant issues of national importance, those in the government and the Opposition are squandering valuable time vigorously debating such non-issues.  

India does not need to imitate Britain or America. If these nations issue a list of objectionable words, does that mean we also  have to copy them? I strongly believe, instead of discussing seriously relevant issues of national importance, those in the government and the Opposition are squandering valuable time vigorously debating such non-issues.  

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