The 17th Lok Sabha in review

From highest number of MPs being suspended to lowest number of working days amongst full-term Lok Sabhas, 17th Lok Sabha is historic first for many reasons


As the political parties vie for power to form the new union government in Lok Sabha (LS) or the lower house of the parliament, we analyse how the current and 17th Lok Sabha has performed over the last 5 years, highlighting many firsts in its history and tumultuous political journey over the course of its tenure. In this piece we dwell into composition, performance, and politics of the existing Lok Sabha, as well as, gather interesting insights into the challenges it faced.


The 17th Lok Sabha was formed in June 2019 with the BJP as a ruling party, which currently has 287 Member of Parliament (MPs) out of total 543 seats compared to 46 MPs from the main opposition Congress Party. Notably, the 17th Lok Sabha has 267 first-term MPs. In terms of gender representation, only 14% of Lok Sabha (LS) MPs are women, making LS a significantly male dominated space. As per PRS Legislative Research report, the average age of an MP is 54, while on average women MPs are 6 years younger compared to male MPs. Furthermore, as per ADR report, 44% of current Lok Sabha MPs face criminal charges.


The present Lok Sabha had 274 sitting across 15 sessions in total, with first session hosted on June 17, 2019, and last one ended on February 10, 2024. PRS reported that 11 out of the 15 sessions held during this Lok Sabha were adjourned early (resulting in cancellation of 40 scheduled sittings), and the first and last sessions were extended by seven sittings and one sitting respectively. Significantly, this Lok Sabha is historic for being shortest in terms of number of sittings for any full-term Lok Sabha, with a total of 274 sittings and annual average of 55 sittings per year. In addition, the 17th Lok Sabha has been without a Deputy Speaker during its entire duration, which is unprecedented. Pertinently, the Article 93 of the Constitution requires that Lok Sabha elect a Deputy Speaker ‘as soon as may be’, which suggests that the Lok Sabha has failed to fulfil the constitutional mandate by keeping the post of Deputy Speaker vacant for entire 5 years.

As per the Lok Sabha data, 179 Bills (excluding Finance and Appropriation Bills) were passed during its present tenure, with 58% of Bills being passed within two weeks of its introduction. Indian Express and PRS reported that 1/3rd (35%) of all the Bills in the lower house were passed with less than an hour of discussion. Additionally, only 16% of the Bills were referred to different parliamentary Committees for detailed scrutiny compared to 14th (UPA-I), 15th (UPA-II) and 16th LS, the percentage for which stands at 60%, 71%, and 28% respectively. PRS also reported that between 2019 and 2023 about 80% of the budget was voted on without discussion and in 2023 the entire budget was passed without discussion. Furthermore, 31% of total time in LS was spend on discussions other than legislation and budgets. Moreover, in spite of disruptions, Lok Sabha reportedly functioned for 88% of its scheduled time, with Question Hour functioning for 60% of its scheduled time.

The number of statements suo moto issued by ministers in public interest has reduced in the 17th Lok Sabha with just 28 such statements, compared to 62 in the 16th, and 98 in the 15th Lok Sabha. Importantly, PM Narendra Modi has avoided to answer questions in the parliament from opposition MPs, making him visibly silent of various burning issues like ethnic violence in Manipur, land dispute at India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh, security breach in parliament, wrestler’s protests, among others. MPs from the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan were most active in asking questions in the Lok Sabha, with Maharashtra leading with 370 questions per MP, followed by 275 and 273 questions per MP from Andra Pradesh and Rajasthan respectively. Interestingly, on average relatively younger MPs (aged less than 60 years) asked more questions (226) compared to MPs aged over 60 years (180). Additionally, representatives from Kerala and Rajasthan had the highest rate of participation in the Lok Sabha debates.

Importantly, one of most ignoble moments in the history of parliament occurred during the present Lok Sabha tenure when a record number of 100 Lok Sabha MPs were suspended during the 2023 winter session of the Lok Sabha for alleged misconduct in the House, with 46 more MPs suspended from Rajya Sabha or the upper house. Pertinently, the important criminal Bills which replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were passed when hundreds of MPs were suspended, casting aspersion on the legitimacy of the executive’s conduct. In addition, during the 17th LS, MPs were suspended on 206 instances, across both Houses of Parliament. As per Hindustan Times report, 264 questions raised by suspended MPs were removed from parliamentary records as per the rule.

Political signalling through the Lok Sabha

The 17th Lok Sabha also saw a series of political moves in the form of legislative engagement and passing of important Bills, including introduction of the three new mammoth criminal laws, bill to criminalise Triple Talaq, women’s reservation Bill to potentially reserve 33% of seats in Parliament for women MPs, tinkering with Article 370 to remove special status from Jammu and Kashmir and dividing the erstwhile state into two separate Union Territories. At the same time, the executive was forced to repeal the three farm laws after facing stiff resistance and protests from farmers against alleged corporatisation of agriculture sector. The three farm laws which were introduced and later repealed by the government include (i) the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, (ii) the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and (iii) the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The BJP government further released “white paper” during the last session of the present Lok Sabha in February 2024 allegedly giving account (read comparison) of the work done by BJP government vis-à-vis the mismanagement of the previous UPA regime. While on the face of it, the white paper seems to give an account of economy and growth between the two regimes, it was markedly selective in highlighting the deficiencies of the UPA regime while hiding its own. The paper attacks UPA regime for corruption, scams, bad loans, high inflation, policy misadventures, and abandoned economic growth. The analysis of the white paper by the Indian Express found that it “…ignores all that is amiss with the economy. For instance, it does not even contain the word “unemployment”. This was when the government’s own Periodic Labour Force Survey showed that unemployment had reached a 45-year high in 2017-18.” Similarly, the news report said that the white paper does not contain any chart on GDP growth nor makes any mention about the missed decadal Census, which any government has missed for the first time since 1881.

Parliamentary infringements

The 17th Lok Sabha was particularly marred by two instances which raised serious questions over its conduct and safety. The first incident is related to the security breach that occurred on 13 December 2023, during which the intruders successfully bypassed the security and jumped inside the House Chamber and threw canisters emitting yellow smoke, leading to utter confusion among the members of the house. In the second incident, which occurred on 21 September, 2023, the MP from BJP, Ramesh Bidhuri, gave an Islamophobic hate speech against a fellow MP from BSP, Danish Ali, calling him Mullah Terrorist, pimp, and circumcised. In the history of parliament, it was for the first time that such hate speech was delivered against anyone from the floor of the house. Ironically, such incident came at a time when the present government was accused of censoring the opposition MPs for using “unparliamentary” words, even as the ruling party’s member freely engaged himself in delivering hate speech from the dais.



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