Most bills in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha (and even State Assemblies) are passed by “voice vote”. Hence, it is difficult to know how has each MP voted for a certain bill in the Parliament. This has many repercussions on the democratic process:
- Leads to lack of accountability of the MPs to their constituents as their votes are never revealed to the general public.
- It also leads to lack of deliberation and discussion on the bills MPs with their own constituents as they will most likely never know the voting behaviour of the MP.
- Voice votes do not promote individual research and study by MPs on taking stand on various legislations, thereby diluting the process of law making.
- In presence of anti-defection law, voice vote further decreases the deliberative, dissenting and discussion based role of MPs in the Parliament.
Pros of voice vote:
- Bills are passed quickly which helps in increasing efficiency of the Parliament and dealing with the backlog.
- Anti-defection law already requires MPs to vote as per party lines and hence there is no need to record their votes individually for all bills.
- Recorded voting of all bills be made mandatory. This is also known as “Division”. This is already practiced selectively in constitutional amendment bills and can be made mandatory for all bills.
- Only 19 bills in last 5 years have seen this out of total 179.