India, May 22 -- In the past decade, Parliament met, on an average, for little over two months per year to transact legislative business and debate key issues. That obviously is too short a period for members of either House to come to grips, in any meaningful manner, with legislations and other matters of import.

What couldn't be realised in open sessions of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha was made possible through the department related standing committees (DRSCs) that were Parliament's microcosm. Their in-camera proceedings provided members the requisite relief from public glare to rise above partisan political/party interests for reaching consensus or broad agreements, on the stickiest of issues. Democracy indeed worked better in these...