Presiding officers favour suspension of lawmakers who storm into well of House

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The presiding officers of various state assemblies have said that they favour an amendment in rules to automatically suspend lawmakers who charge towards the well of the House. They have, however, expressed divergent views on a proposal to curb the power of a speaker when it comes to anti-defection cases.

At the all-India conference of presiding officers in Shimla on Wednesday, several speakers said a provision – to automatically suspend lawmakers who storm into the well of the House and disturb proceedings – already exists in the Chhattisgarh assembly, while the Lok Sabha also has a similar rule, although it is used sparingly.

Any amendment to the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution – the anti-defection laws – will take a longer time as legislative presiding officers have expressed contrasting opinions on a report that suggests major changes.

The report, prepared by Rajasthan assembly speaker CP Joshi, suggests curtailing the speaker’s power to decide on anti-defection cases.

Also Read: Lack of discussion during passage of bills a concern: Om Birla

A top official said, “In the wake of the differences, we will have to review some parts of the report.”

Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla also indicated that there were some “differences” and said more discussions were required.

The report suggests that while political parties give nominations or poll tickets to candidates, they should also declare if the lawmakers could lose membership in the House.

At least three other speakers in the presiding officers’ conference, officials said, “raised an objection and want more power to decide on such cases”.

The presiding officers’ summit also saw a decision for model rules and procedures to be prepared by the Lok Sabha to ensure universal legislative rules and processes across the country.

The issue of defection has been a major bone of contention in recent years after such cases in Uttarakhand, Karnataka and some other states required the Supreme Court’s intervention.

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