CM House leader but buzz remains
WHO IS the leader of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly? Chief Minister. Shivraj Singh Chouhan dons the mantle. But by this logic Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should be the leader of the Lok Sabha. Not quite so. Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the leader of the Lok Sabha because Manmohan Singh is not its member.Updated: Mar 12, 2006 14:48 IST
WHO IS the leader of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly? Chief Minister. Shivraj Singh Chouhan dons the mantle. But by this logic Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should be the leader of the Lok Sabha. Not quite so. Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the leader of the Lok Sabha because Manmohan Singh is not its member.
The same way, Shivraj Singh is not member of the Assembly. He is still a member of the Lok Sabha from Vidisha though he has been the Chief Minister since November 29 last. He has not yet announced to contest election for his entry into the Assembly.
Speaker Ishwardas Rohani says that ‘rules framed for administering the affairs of Madhya Pradesh Assembly provide that the chief minister will be leader of the House and there is no confusion about it’.
His predecessor Srinivas Tiwari, however, doesn’t agree. “Till the chief minister is elected the leader of the House, he should nominate a minister as its leader”, he told Hindustan Times.
“Rules and traditions are the same everywhere. But in Madhya Pradesh, the chief minister is treated as leader of the House even if he is not its member because nobody has ever questioned the propriety of this tradition,” he said.
Thus, he tacitly admitted that he allowed Digvijay Singh to remain the leader of the House even before the then chief minister was elected from Raghogarh in the April 1994 by-election, because no one had questioned his decision. Till his election to the Assembly, Digvijay Singh was a Lok Sabha member from Rajgarh.
“If the question is raised, the issue of constitutional propriety and traditions of the House would arise. But since nobody raised question, Digvijay Singh continued to be leader of the House and same is the case with Shivraj Singh Chouhan”, Tiwari said.
Even Digvijay Singh said a chief minister, who is not a member of the House, cannot be its leader. “No non-member can be leader of the House. I was not the leader of the House till my election from the Raghogarh seat in 1994 ”, he said. Who was the leader then? “I don’t remember”, pat came the AICC general secretary’s reply.
The seniormost member of the Assembly and leader of opposition, Jamuna Devi, points out that the rule book says that the Chief Minister or a minister appointed by him would be leader of the House. Maybe, the clause… ‘Or a minister appointed by the Chief Minister would be leader of the House’ was relevant to the context when the Chief Minister is not member of the House, Jamuna Devi, added.
But Rohani is firm that ‘unlike the Lok Sabha and other state assemblies, Madhya Pradesh Assembly’s leader is always the chief minister, whether he/she is its member or not. I can quote the rule book in this regard”, he said.
He admitted that different assemblies have their own rules and there can be minor differences among them on certain points. Srinivas Tiwari recalled that the then prime minister P V Narasimharao had appointed Arjun Singh as leader of the Lok Sabha till he was elected to the House from Nandyal in 1991.
Former secretary of Vidhan Sabha and expert in legislative affairs, Vishvendra Mehta, however, concurred with the Speaker, saying rules framed to govern the business of the House in MP under section 108 of the Indian Constitution provide for the chief minister being leader of the House in all circumstances.
“Different assemblies and Parliament have similar rules with minor differences and in case of MP Assembly, this provision is somewhat different from most of the other legislative bodies and obviously the Lok Sabha”, he said.
Rules framed for administering the affairs of the Assembly provide that the chief minister will be leader of the House
- Speaker, Ishwardas Rohani
CM is treated as leader of the House even if he is not a member because nobody has questioned the propriety of this tradition
-Ex-speaker, Srinivas Tiwari
First Published: Mar 12, 2006 14:48 IST