‘Unconstitutional’ to not have Lok Sabha Dy Speaker: Congress. What law says
Congress raised the issue of not electing a Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha after it was constituted in 2019.
The Congress has raised the issue of having no Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha for around four years after the BJP-led government was formed for the second term and termed it ‘unconstitutional'. This comes close to a month after the Supreme Court sought response from the Centre over not electing a Deputy Speaker of the Lower House which is a violation of Article 93 of the Constitution.
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“For the last 4 years there has been no Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha. This is unconstitutional,” Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet. He further compared with the time when then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru proposed the the name of an opposition leader for the post of Deputy Speaker.
“What a far cry from March 1956 when Nehru proposed the name of Sardar Hukam Singh an Opposition Akali Dal MP & a critic of Nehru for the post & he was unanimously elected,” he added.
Last month, the apex court heard a PIL alleging that the present Lok Sabha does not have a Deputy Speaker even after around four years since it was constituted. The petitioner also noted some state assemblies that haven't elected their respective deputy speakers. “Non-election of Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies goes against the healthy democratic functioning,” the petitioner said.
Why is it important?
According to advocate D Makhija, who appeared for the petitioner, a tradition to give the position of Deputy Speaker to the opposition was started since the 10th Lok Sabha.
The petitioner cited then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan who pointed out that the convention of giving the Deputy Speaker's position to the opposition started in 1991 when S Mallikarjunaiah from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was made the Deputy Speaker when Congress' Shivraj Patil was the Speaker of Lok Sabha. The tradition was carried out till the last term when Congress M Thambidurai was holding the position when Sumitra Mahajan was the Speaker of the BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance).
What does Article 93 say?
According to Article 93 of the Constitution, the Lower House of the Parliament 'shall, as soon as may be, choose two members of the House to be respectively Speaker and Deputy Speaker thereof and, so often as the office of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the House shall choose another member to be a speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be".
The position of the Deputy Speaker is lying vacant since June 23, 2019.