Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday said rights of presiding officers of legislatures should be limited. The statement comes a day after the Supreme Court asked Parliament to “have a rethink on whether disqualification petitions ought to be entrusted to a Speaker as a quasi-judicial authority when such Speaker continues to belong to a political party either de jure or de facto”.
Addressing a training session for MLAs of the Haryana Assembly, Birla said, “We held deliberations at Dehradun some days ago over the impartial and honest role of the Speakers of Assemblies. We held deliberations to limit our rights, which are unlimited on certain subjects. We discussed how we can be impartial and non-controversial. For this purpose, the rights of presiding officers should be limited.”
“These limited rights will continue the tradition of a good democracy so that no need for comments by any court arises,” said the Lok Sabha Speaker.
After the training session, former Haryana Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal Gujjar told The Indian Express, “Few years back, in a conference at Lucknow, many Speakers of Assemblies had stressed for more rights but I stated that Speakers already have sufficient rights. The ideal situation would be when we don’t have to use these powers. For that, the members should cooperate with the Speakers.”
A three-time MLA, Gujjar currently holds the education portfolio in the Manohar Lal Khattar cabinet. “Sometimes, the MLAs go to the Well just to draw the attention of the media. This is not right. Sometimes, they compel the Speaker to suspend them from the Vidhan Sabha for unruly behaviour. They should also introspect why they were suspended,” added Gujjar.
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