Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has resolved to act in an impartial, fair and non-partisan manner during her tenure and not as a member of the Congress party. She will also ensure that the legitimacy of the Parliament is not subverted in any manner by the judiciary.
In a brief interview with Political Editor Pankaj Vohra, she answers a series of questions.
The previous Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had declined to be dictated by his party, the CPM, while he was in office but chose to uphold the dignity and honour of the Chair he held? Would you also follow suit and act independently?
I have been elected as the Speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha. I will ensure that during my tenure, I act in an impartial and non-partisan manner. There are conventions, which I will follow like my esteemed predecessors. My association with the Congress has taught me to be free and fair. But I will not be a party person while I am in the Chair and act independently in a free manner. I will uphold the constitution of India in every way.
Would you want that like in England, the Speaker in India should also be there for life. Once a person is elected Speaker, he/she should cease to be a member of any party and should be elected to Lok Sabha unopposed till he or she wants?
There is no such convention here and we have to follow our Constitution. I will do as all previous Speakers have done. England’s example does not hold good here.
There have been many points of conflict, which the legislature has had with the judiciary in the past. There have also been allegations that the judiciary has tried to overstep its limits. What is your view?
I will not like to comment on the issue off hand. One can comment only if there was a specific issue, which comes up. The judiciary has a very important role to play and so has the legislature. A MP has certain legitimacy since the people elect him or her. Overall Parliament too has legitimacy and is supreme.
Do you have a role model as a Speaker?
All my illustrious predecessors are my role models. I cannot single out anyone.
There is a view that the Congress made you the Speaker to counter Mayawati’s influence? Do you agree?
I do not wish to answer a political question since I am the Speaker. You have inherited the political legacy of your
father, Babu Jagjiwan Ram.
How will you apply his philosophy to today’s politics?
There is no legacy. It is a mission to ensure that those who have been marginalised or deprived or were discriminated against become a part of the national mainstream. This mission has to be accomplished not only by Dalits but also non-Dalits.
How will this Lok Sabha be different from earlier ones?
I expect a lot of energy to be generated in this House. It has 302 new members, many of them young I do not want this Lok Sabha to be very turbulent. There will be enthusiasm. There are also 58 women members, more than any previous Lok Sabha. Their presence will also be reflected in what transpires during the proceedings.