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    OpinionsWhy The Speaker’s Job Is Important

    Why The Speaker’s Job Is Important

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    The Speaker is the final authority to take a call on cases of defection.

    Although this may not be an immediate concern now, but its occurrence in the future cannot be ruled out considering the volatile nature of

    By RUP NARAYAN DAS

    The very fact that the election of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha has aroused considerable interest in the media and also in the political spectrum, is suggestive of the salience of the delicate position.

    In the warrant of precedent of the positions, the Speaker is bracketed along with that of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at number six.

    Once elected, the incumbent Speaker is expected to be above party politics and disassociate himself from party politics.

    Although they are not obliged to resign from the political party from which they are elected, traditionally they affirm that they belong to the whole House and not to a political party.

    It is in this regard that the while the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution dealing with the anti-defection law disqualifies a member if he or she voluntarily resigns from the political parry which fielded him or her to fight the election, the presiding officers like the Lok Sabha Speaker, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman are not obliged to resign from the political party from which they won the election.

    It is always quite a challenge for the elected Speaker or the presiding officer to cut the umbilical cord and completely insulate himself or herself from the political party.

    The discharge of the onerous duties and responsibilities of the presiding office of the House including those of the Lok Sabha Speaker is going to be stressful against the backdrop of a polarised political spectrum.

    The Opposition parties are already up the ante to hackle the government on issues such as the question paper leak of the NEET.

    The Speaker has to navigate the tide and turbulence of the House with great skill, acumen and dexterity which is easier said than done.

    There will be piquant situations which subject the Speaker's non-partisanship and neutrality to a severe test in conducting the proceedings of the House smoothly and orderly.

    There will be demands by the Opposition to suspend the Question Hour and adjourn the House.

    There will be disruptions of the House proceedings, pandemonium, and ruckus.

    It is not only the knowledge and familiarity with the rules of procedure and conduct of , but also the demeanour and ready wit and humour of the incumbent Chair which will help him to defuse a stalemate and logjam in the House.

    Outside the House the Speaker has to reach out to the Opposition in his chamber to amicably hammer out a piquant situations.

    The Speaker will be faced with the unpleasant situation of suspending an unrelenting member and thereby earning the displeasure of the Opposition.

    Our Constitution also empowers the Speaker with certain special powers. It is the Lok Sabha Speaker who has to certify a Money Bill.

    Article 110 of the Constitution provides that if the Speaker certifies a Bill as a Money Bill her or his decision is final.

    Every Money Bill is certified by him, when it is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha as also when it is presented to the President for her assent.

    In the past there have been issues relating to certain Bills having been termed as Money Bills like the Aadhar Bill.

    It was in this context that the Supreme Court of held last year that it would constitute a seven judge Bench to look into the issue.

    Yet another sensitive issue which the Speaker has to grapple with is that the Speaker is the final authority to take a call on cases of defection.

    Although this may not be an immediate concern now, but its occurrence in the future cannot be ruled out considering the volatile nature of politics.

    The government in choosing its candidature for the Speaker's post has to satisfy its confidence and also her/his win in the event of an election.

    In the light of the current government's numerical strength, getting its nominee elected is not much of a problem.

    Once elected the Speaker has to conduct himself with equanimity and objectivity and political parties cutting across the party lines have to extend their support and cooperation for optimum use of the time of the House.

    The election results have demonstrated that the people are vigilant about the performance of MPs and political parties and they are watching the functioning and performance of the House.

     

    Dr Rup Narayan Das is a former senior fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and also the Indian Council of Social Science . The views expressed are personal.

     

    Northlines
    Northlines
    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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