Late Sir Harrilall Ranchordas Vaghjee, (Sir H.R.V), was the first Mauritian lawyer to assume the function of Speaker in the Mauritius Legislative Assembly, (M.L.A), as Parliament was then known. Up to early 1959 only English Speakers presided over the M.L.A.H.R.V, though of shy and discreet countenance, was actually a figure of high status and calibre.
Most Members of the Legislative Assembly, M.L.As were then very mature, humble and respecful of institutions, qualities acquired during the English colonial rule.
It was, as it should always be, the rule of the game, that once the Speaker of the L. A was on his feet, every other member, including even the Chief Minister, SSR, had to stop speaking and immediately resume his/her seat. The M.L.As, among whom only a few were University Graduates, showed the same respect and obedience to the imposing Sir H.R. V as they would have done towards the previous English Speakers. They were really the dignified people of that epoch.
What we witnessed during the Parliamentary Session held on the 2nd April 2013, a few days after the deluge in Port Louis was worse than any market place. Each time the Prime Minister was answering P.N.Qs duly asked by the Leader of the Opposition (L.O) his answers were met with boos and jeers, mostly from the opposition.
Invectives flinging from both sides of the House made the repeated calls for order, from the Speaker R. Peeroo, pass unnoticed.
Proper and the most elementary practice in any meeting, committee and even a « Panchayat » of the most remote village of India demands that any member who has the floor resumes his/her seat as soon as the speaker or the Chairperson is on his feet.
In spite of the frequent requests of the P. M to listen to his answers, the « rowdy mob » as we may call the M.Ps went on shouting till their own question time was up. Then followed the usual puerile walk-out. What a lost opportunity to score points and to pindown the adversary !
The Leader of the Opposition, being along-standing M. P could have noted all the flaws and lapses in the P. M answers by properly listening in dead silence. He could have even asked his fellow members to slip him a few short notes regarding the answers from Government side. Then he could have launched his attack on a point of order. Instead, contrary to his natural behaviour, he chose to quizz the Ministers by shouting. Is warranting a gentlemanly behaviour in Parliament too much for the asking ?