No speaker has the power to suspend MLAs on his own and directives by governors to record assembly proceedings are “illegal”, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said.
He was speaking about recent developments in the Meghalaya and Orissa assemblies. The Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa won a controversial voice vote to survive, which the governor has reportedly objected to.
In Meghalaya, the NCP-led coalition government needed the help of Speaker B.M. Lanong to survive the trust vote. Lanong first invalidated the votes of five rebel members and then exercised his casting vote to break a tie. That joy was shortlived as the Centre imposed President’s rule in the state following the governor’s report.
On Lanong’s act of suspending five MLAs, Chatterjee said: “I don’t see any power under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution where a Speaker can suspend any member before coming to a finding after having followed a proper procedure.”
“What has happened… is unexplainable. I find the Speaker has done something he had no authority to do,” he added.
Chatterjee was also critical of the roles played by Meghalaya Governor R.S. Mooshahary and his Orissa counterpart M.C. Bhandare during the recent trust votes.
He termed as “illegal” the trend among governors to direct video recording of assembly proceedings at critical junctures, such as trust votes. “The decision by governors to direct the Speakers to get photographs clicked and video recordings of proceedings is illegal and beyond their limit,” he said.