HC asked Centre’s ‘feedback’ on Lok Sabha deputy speaker election

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Center on a plea that the post of Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha was lying vacant for more than two years.

“We are not issuing notices. Take instructions. We are keeping the matter after 2-3 weeks”, a division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh told Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, while adjourning the matter to September 30.

Petitioner Pawan Reley has sought a direction to hold elections for the post within a month and specify a date to the Speaker. “This petition contains questions of supreme constitutional importance with regard to the inaction of the constitutional functionaries and the Deputy Speaker to evade his constitutional duties in not holding the election to the Lok Sabha.”

Mr. Pawan Reley told the court that it was for the first time in the history of the Republic of India that the post of Vice-President remained vacant for 830 days and argued that filling the post was a mandatory constitutional obligation. “No one has been given any discretion not to elect a deputy speaker. It is submitted that the Deputy Speaker is not subordinate to the Speaker but holds an independent office and is answerable to the House alone,” the petition argued.

Reley said that Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha places the primary duty of fixing the date of the election on the Speaker. “The entire democratic structure in a democratic house rests on the shoulders of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the members of the Lok Sabha in the absence of the Speaker. There is a close relationship between the democratic structure and the fundamental rights of the people. Once this alliance is broken, it Violates the fundamental rights of the people,” argued the petition.