Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday brought to the notice of Duarte Pacheco, the President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the issue of interference of Parliaments of other countries in the laws passed in different countries.
“No Parliament should discuss the laws passed by other Parliaments and issues of other sovereign countries,” Birla told Pacheco.
Birla made the observation over “unwarranted and tendentious” debate in the UK Parliament that saw lawmakers criticising the Indian government’s handling of the farmers’ protest.
On March 9, India had summoned British envoy Alex Ellis to lodge a protest against the issue.
The debate was held on March 8 in response to a public petition that garnered more than 115,000 signatures, and witnessed lawmakers from Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democratic and Scottish National Party calling on the Boris Johnson government to raise their concerns over the handling of the farmers’ protest and media freedom by the Indian government.
Pacheco called on Birla at the Parliament House earlier in the day on his seven-day visit to India. He reached India on Sunday and will stay here till March 20 as the guest of the Parliament of India. He was also present during the Rajya Sabha proceedings on Monday and was welcomed by the Chairman of the Upper House, Venkiah Naidu.
Referring to the strong historical ties of India with the IPU, Birla said that India has organised the IPU conference in 1969 and 1993, while former presiding officers G.S. Dhillon and Najma Heptulla had been IPU presidents in the past.
On the role of the IPU, the Lok Sabha Speaker said that it is inspiring the world community on issues like climate change, education, health, economy, terrorism and sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Birla mentioned that both India and IPU share the same global vision of strengthening democracy, saying “our collective vision is democratisation of governance at the international level”.
Birla also appreciated the Portugal government for its support to the re-organisation of the UN Security Council and India’s permanent membership in the council.
Regarding the challenges of Covid-19, the Speaker emphasised that India has always played the role of a responsible international partner.
“India has supplied Covid related treatment materials to more than 154 countries and it has deployed rapid response teams in several nations to tackle the pandemic. India, for its capability in Covid vaccines, has emerged as the pharmacy of the world.”
Acknowledging the positive role played by the IPU in the field of international cooperation, the Speaker said that the IPU is playing a vital role for the Parliaments and for voicing their concerns at the international level.
The IPU is an international organisation of national Parliaments. Its primary purpose is to promote democratic governance, accountability and cooperation among its members and its initiatives include advancing gender parity among legislatures, empowering youth participation in politics and sustainable development.
It was established in 1889 as the Inter-Parliamentary Congress. IPU membership was reserved for individual parliamentarians, but it has since transformed to include the legislatures of sovereign states. The national Parliaments of 179 countries are members of the IPU, while 13 regional parliamentary assemblies are its associate members.