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Supreme Court: PIL seeks filling of vacant post of Deputy Speaker in Lok Sabha, Legislative Assemblies of several States

The Supreme Court has asked for the Central Governments response on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition that raises concerns over the failure to elect Deputy Speakers for the present Lok Sabha as well as the Legislative Assemblies of several States.

A bench comprising of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala have issued notice to the Centre while asking the Attorney General for India to assist the Court in the matter.

Appearing for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Vibha Datta Makhija  said that no election was conducted to the post of Deputy Speaker in the Parliament (Lok Sabha) as well as in the States of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand which is contrary to the mandate under Articles 73, 93 and 178 of the Constitution of India.

Advocate Sunil Kumar Verma who filed the petition flagged the concerns stating that no Deputy Speaker has been elected to the present (17th) Lok Sabha, despite its constitution over three years back in 2019.

The petitioner said that the Lok Sabha has been working continuously without its Deputy Speaker, which is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India under Articles 93 to 96.

The petitioner has also mentioned that the post of Deputy Speaker of Legislative Assemblies in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are lying vacant,even after these Legislative Assemblies were constituted long back.

The petition talked about the a Constitutional void which has been created. The petition also added that he post of Deputy Speaker is not subordinate to the Speaker and its vacancy creates a void.

Talking about the role played by the deputy speaker the petitioner highlighted the important roles as acting as the presiding officer and performing important administrative duties in the absence of the Speaker.

t was debated that the Vacancies in such posts deprive the citizens of their right to be governed as per Constitutional mandates/

The petition contended that Non-election of the Deputy Speaker goes against healthy democratic functioning.

The petitioner also pointed out that there has been a healthy tradition of electing Deputy Speakers from the opposition party, which should be continued.

The petition stated that although there is no statutory requirement, the healthy tradition has developed over time that the ruling party elects the Speaker while the Deputy Speaker post is given to the Opposition.

IT was also stated that From 11th Lok Sabha onwards, this tradition was followed till the last Lok Sabha i.e. the 16th Lok Sabha. In several legislative assemblies also this healthy tradition is followed.

Taking this into consideration, the petitioner urged for directions to hold the elections for Deputy Speakers as soon as may be possible.

The petitioner also requested the process to be completed within a month.

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