Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee can get huge public support for his suggestions to make the country’s legislators accountable to the citizens who elect them to their, so far perceptibly unassailable, positions of power. It makes sense, therefore, to use his recent proposal for empowering the electorate to recall members of Parliament, as a trigger for a wide public debate. Media needs to play a role. Else, this may simply be scuttled as we saw in the case of the ‘no work, no pay’ proposal in Parliament a few weeks ago—all parties unanimously (for once!) rejected it. The few letters from citizens supporting it reported to have reached his office went largely unnoticed, but they reflect the growing public unhappiness with legislators’ frequent misbehaviour in Parliament and malpractices outside.
Other countries such as the US allow voters to recall elected officials. Lessons can be drawn from their experience. The issue of our legislators’ accountability to voters merits more attention.