Saturday, Nov 01, 2014

Speaker’s ignorance of Assembly rules irks MLAs

Speaker of the Delhi Assembly Maninder Singh Dhir was treated unlike any of his predecessors by members of the House. (Express Archive) Speaker of the Delhi Assembly Maninder Singh Dhir was treated unlike any of his predecessors by members of the House. (Express Archive)
Written by Pragya Kaushika | New Delhi | Posted: February 15, 2014 2:23 am | Updated: February 15, 2014 9:21 am

According to some MLAs, Dhir had to be told about his powers as the Speaker and MLAs from Congress and BJP offered him advice on various issues. When a session was held on Sant Ravidass Jayanti, a restricted holiday, Dhir said it was for the welfare of the people — the government’s response. Leader of Opposition replied, “Do not take this matter lightly.”

On another occasion, Dhir was told to abide by his responsibilities as Speaker and not treat official messages as private ones.

On Thursday, Congress and BJP MLAs found out that the Speaker intended to evict them. Taking advantage of the Speaker’s ignorance of Assembly rules, MLAs of both parties suspended his power to expel the legislators.

When the House sought a vote on tabling of Janlokpal Bill, the Speaker looked at CM Arvind Kejriwal for a hint on how to proceed. This irked Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, who said, “Aap unki taraf mat dekhiye (don’t look at him.”

Harsh Vardhan even told the Speaker that he would be replaced. “If you keep indulging in unconstitutional activities, we will replace you,” Harsh Vardhan said.

Lovely knew that the Speaker did not know how to go about calling for a vote on the Bill. He said, “The House is supreme. What are you doing sitting on this chair? Ask your staff if you do not know. And your permission to table the Bill does not mean the House has given approval.” At this, Dhir merely nodded.

BJP MLA Sahib Singh Chauhan advised Dhir not to attend the All Indian Speakers’ Conference. “Wahan jayenge to hamara mazak udwa ke aayenge. Request hai whan mat jana (If you go there, everyone will laugh at us. Please don’t attend,” Chauhan said.

When a BJP MLA made an objectionable remark against the CM, the Speaker’s secretary had to ask Dhir to announce that this will be expunged from the proceedings.

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