The Lok Sabha Speaker adjourned the House without taking up the motion of no-confidence for the fourth day in succession.
This and other decisions in the recent days have led to questioning the non-partisan role of the Speaker.
What is a no-confidence motion?
Motion – As per the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, any member of the house can move a no-confidence motion.
The member need not give a reason for moving a no-confidence motion.
Once the Speaker is of the opinion that the motion is proper, then s/he reads out the motion to the house.
A minimum of 50 members have to accept the motion.
If not, then the motion fails and the member who moved the motion is informed about it.
Discuss – If the motion is accepted, then the Speaker will announce a day when the motion is to be discussed.
The day cannot be more than 10 days from the day the motion is accepted.
Vote – The motion is then put to vote; it can be conducted through “Voice Vote”, “Division of Votes” or other means.
The government of the day has to resign if the government loses a ‘confidence’ motion or if the ‘no-confidence’ motion is accepted by the majority.
There is no time-limit that must be adhered to between two no-confidence motions.
What is the present concern in this regard?
No-confidence motion was recently moved by the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress that was supported by major Opposition parties.
The motion was moved by the required number of Members of Parliament (MPs).
The Speaker is delaying the no-confidence motion on grounds of disruption in the House.
Not taking it up for passage has led to concerns in the Opposition benches.
As, delaying the no-confidence motion will benefit the government.
Procedure – A no-confidence motion must be taken up immediately, and all other House business must make way for it.
This is fundamental to parliamentary functioning and to executive accountability.
In any case, the Speaker’s argument is debatable as the onus of maintaining order in the House is squarely on the Speaker.
What are the other recent concerns?
Finance Bill – Recently, guillotine provision was used for passing the Finance Bill without debate
This was also the first time in years that the Lok Sabha did not discuss and vote on even one demand for grants.
Many important decisions were thus taken without any legislative scrutiny.
Money Bills – The present Speaker’s approval of Bills that are clearly not Money Bills is another concern.
These are hence being dealt with by the Lok Sabha as such, depriving the Rajya Sabha of its right to legislate.
What does it call for?
The Speaker represents the entire House and not just the Treasury benches.
It is extremely essential for democracy that the Speaker remain non-partisan.
Decisions of the Speakers in matters as discussed above are a prime means by which impartiality is demonstrated.
The Speaker should carry out the assigned duty to ensure detailed deliberation and legislative scrutiny of important legislation.