TODAY -

Petitions and representations to the State Assembly to ventitlate public grievances

Prof (Dr) Nimai Chand Luwang *



In a democracy, the general public have an inherent right to present petitions to the legislature of the land with a view to ventilate grievances and offer constructive suggestions on matters of public importance.

The Rules of Procedure for presentation of petitions by the people and their consideration by the House is a legislative provision. A petition is a written instrument directed to an individual, official, legislative body, or Court in order to redress a grievance or to request the granting of a favour.

In a general sense, a petition is a document addressed to an official and signed by numerous individuals, we presented a petition to the legislature to change the law; the organization petitioned the Government to investigate the issue;
a request for something desired, made with humility and respect;
a formal request, often bearing the names of the individuals making the request,
that is addressed to a person or a group of persons in authority or power,
soliciting some favour, right, mercy, or other benefit.

A petition makes a direct request to the Parliament or the State legislature. It is a right whereby citizens can have their grievances brought to the notice of the Parliament or a State legis-lature by a member on their behalf asking that it take some type of action.

For example, a petition might request that the House change legislation relating to a particular issue or support changes to a system of roads. The subject of a petition must be a matter on which the House has the power to act - that is, it must be a State matter and one involving legislation or Government administration.

Petitions may be pre-sented or submitted to the Lok Sabha or the State legislature with the consent of the Speaker on a Bill which has been published or which has been introduced in the House, or on any matter connected with the business pending before the House, or on any matter of general public interest,
provided that it is not one which falls within the cognizance of a Court of law having jurisdiction in any part of India
or a Court of enquiry or statutory tribunal or authority
or a quasijudicial body, or a commission,
or which should ordinarily be raised in the State legislature
or which can be raised on a substantive motion or resolution,
or for which remedy is available under the law, including subordinate legislation.

If a petition relates to fmancial matters or involves expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, it cannot be presented to the House unless recommended by the President/Govemor. Petitions serve two principal objects.

Firstly, it states the merits of a public matter to which the peti-tioner wishes to invite the attention of the legislature. Secondly, it demonstrates and stresses the degree of importance of the matter to the public.

The object of the petitions relating to the second category is to intensify and focus opinion so that the Government may be moved to take quick action in cases of genuine grievances. A petition helps raise awareness of an issue in the community and apprises the members of the legislature regarding the action that the community wants the legislature to take, but doesn't compel it to take action.

How can a person peti-tion the Legislative Assembly There are two ways to petition the Legislative As-sembly: online ePetitions and paper petitions. The processes for creating them are slightly different, although common principles apply to both.

All petitions must be addressed to the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly;
set out the facts and grievances which the petitioners are bringing to the attention of the Legislative Assembly;
have a clear request that the Assembly do something (also called the 'prayer');
be respectful, decorous and temperate in language;
be presented by a Member of the Legislative Assembly on behalf of the petitioner.

The member does not have to agree with or support the petition to present it. We recommend asking your local Member to present your petition.

However, if your local member does not agree on presenting your petition, it can be presented by any member of the Legislature. Petitions must not make reference to any debate in Parliament; have letters, affidavits or other documents attached.

Any individual or a group of individuals can utilize the opportunity of approaching the State legis-lature to redress any grievance mostly of public importance through the in-strument known as Petition.

This is a valuable instrument and a medium for expressing opinion and seeking redressal measures on subjects of public importance through the Assembly.

Petitions can be presented and submitted to the Manipur Legislative Assembly by using Rule(s), 192 - 200 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business published by the Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretariat, Imphal.


* Prof (Dr) Nimai Chand Luwang wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is former member of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Manipur Legislative Assembly and four times Minister of Manipur
This article was webcasted on July 31 2022 .



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