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No consensus on limiting the Speaker’s powers

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    23rd Nov, 2021

Context

The All-India Presiding Officers’ Conference (AIPOC) ended recently with the delegates failing to reach a consensus on whether the Speaker’s powers under the Anti-Defection Law should be limited.

  • The All-India Presiding Officers’ Conference (AIPOC) is being held in Shimla.

About

Key-highlights

  • Amid increasing instances of disruptions of the house proceedings, a resolution stating that there should be no disruptions during Question Hour and the President’s and Governor’s address to the House was adopted during the meeting.
  • The Speaker also called for drastic changes to the functioning of Standing Committees, including changes to their rules. He suggested that the presiding officers should hold annual evaluations of the committee working to make them more accountable.
  • The Lok Sabha Speaker also suggested that the tradition of Zero Hour should be started in all State legislatures to give members the chance to raise urgent matters about their constituencies.
  • Though the report on reviewing the anti-defection law was placed before the delegates, they failed to reach a consensus on whether the Speaker’s powers under the anti-defection law should be limited.
    • The report was prepared by the committee formed in 2019 to examine the role of the Speaker in cases of disqualification on grounds of defection.

Anti-defection law

  • In 1985 the Tenth Schedule, popularly known as the anti-defection law, was added to the Constitution by the 52nd Amendment Act.
  • Any question regarding disqualification arising out of defection is to be decided by the presiding officer of the House.
  • The purpose of the Amendment was to bring stability to governments by deterring MPs and MLAs from changing their political parties on whose ticket they were elected.
  • The penalty for shifting political loyalties is the loss of parliamentary membership and a bar on becoming a minister.

 The Office of the Speaker

  • The Office of the Speaker occupies a pivotal position in our parliamentary democracy.
  • He/She is looked upon as the true guardian of the traditions of parliamentary democracy.
  • He/She symbolizes the dignity and power of the House over which he/she is presiding.
  • Speaker holds Office from the date of his/her election till immediately before the first meeting of the Lok Sabha after the dissolution of the one to which he/she was elected.
  • He/She is eligible for re-election.
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