Delhi High Court grants time to Lok Sabha Secretariat to respond on plea over election to Deputy LS Speaker post

The Lok Sabha Secretariat on Thursday sought time to apprise the Delhi High Court on the correct proposition of law as per the Constitution as also the Parliamentary Conventions, in respect of the elections for the post of Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, was hearing a plea pointing out that the office of the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha has remained vacant since about 860 days.

Senior Counsel Rajshekhar Rao, representing the Lok Sabha Secretariat, informed the Bench that this is not the first time when the office of the Deputy Speaker has remained vacant. Arguing that this is not an aspect within which the jurisdiction of the Court lies, he urged the Bench to grant time to point out the position of law in accordance with the Constitution and the Parliamentary Conventions in this regard.

The Bench, while refusing to issue notice in the matter, granted time as prayed for. The matter is fixed for next hearing on November 29.

Petition

The petition has been filed by Advocate Pawan Reley, highlighting the inaction of the Constitutional functionaries in holding elections for the post of the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha for a substantive period. The plea alleged that the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha has not been elected since around two years. “First time in the history of Indian republic, the office of the Deputy Speaker has remained vacant… from the date of the Constitution of 17th Lok Sabha,” claimed the plea.

The petition pointed out that Article 93 of the Constitution read with Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha makes it mandatory upon the House of People to elect the Deputy Speaker after the date for holding the election of the Deputy Speaker has been fixed by the Speaker and notice in this regard has been issued by the Secretary-General.

“No discretion has been conferred on anybody not to elect the Deputy Speaker,” it added.

The plea averred that the Deputy Speaker performs certain essential Constitutional functions, which cannot be performed by any other person. It further averred that the Deputy Speaker holds an independent position, which is in no way subordinate to the Speaker.

The plea, in light of the above, prays for a direction to hold the election of the Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, within a period of one month; along with a declaration that the inaction of the Constitutional functionaries in holding the election of the Deputy Speaker for a substantive period is against the rule of law, Constitutional mandate, Constitutional trust, and Constitutional morality engrafted under Article 93 of the Constitution. 

The plea stated that any further delay in electing the Deputy Speaker will breach the collective trust in the Lok Sabha, which is founded on the bedrock of the Constitutional trust.
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