Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who completed one year in office on Thursday, has indicated that she is not in favour of a caste census.
“I have always worked towards a casteless society. The aim of the founding fathers of the Constitution has been to establish a casteless society. Anything which leads to that, would take us further in that direction is welcome,” she told NDTV.
To a question about the talk of her going back to politics and the possibility of her becoming the Congress chief ministerial candidate in Bihar, Ms. Kumar said: “These are speculation and you are asking me to comment on a speculation which I don't think it would be proper for me to do.”
On the Women's Reservation Bill, Ms. Kumar pitched for a political consensus in the Lok Sabha. “I think it is very important for various parties, all the parties, to arrive at a consensus.” Asked whether she would allow the Bill to be pushed through the way it was done in the Rajya Sabha, where marshals had to be summoned to remove some MPs, Ms. Kumar said: “I don't like the role of any marshals for this purpose. I have great respect for my MPs.”
On the moves to push question hour to a different time in an attempt to minimise disruptions, she said she would like to arrive at consensus. “That is what everybody wants...that is how we would like to proceed.”
Question hour starts at 11 a.m. to kick-start proceedings every day. There have been suggestions to have this segment in the afternoon.
In a landmark decision, Ms. Kumar, the first woman to hold the high office, ruled that in the absence of the member concerned, the Speaker would have the authority to direct that the answer to the question be raised in the House. The decision came in the wake of a rare occurrence of 17 starred questions going unanswered in the absence of the members who raised the queries. — PTI