My ruling was not to favour anyone: Speaker

Staff Reporter

"Voting for the passage of PAC report was in accordance with the laid down rules"

NEW DELHI: Asserting that he had functioned according to the rules for running the legislature and its business, the Delhi Assembly Speaker, Chaudhary Prem Singh, on Saturday said his ruling on voting for the passage of the Public Accounts Committee was in accordance with the "laid down rules'' and not given to favour any individual, group or the government.

Addressing a press conference at the conclusion of the 12-day Delhi Assembly session, Mr. Prem Singh said he was not under any pressure to give this ruling and had done so after the matter of procedures was raised by Nationalist Congress Party MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri and Bharatiya Janata Party's Sahib Singh Chauhan. "I do not come under anybody's pressure. Everything was done in accordance with whatever is permissible under the law. The ruling was not aimed at giving any relief to any particular group in view of the whip issued by the Congress party to vote against the adoption of the report. There had been a previous precedent for voting on PAC reports but nobody had challenged that for the last almost 12 years. Now that has been challenged and we have given a ruling accordingly,'' he added.

Speaker saved the day

The PAC report on "smart card scam" had created a stir with the ruling Congress having issued a whip against its adoption. The ruling by the Speaker had saved the day for the Congress as some of the legislators were in a defiant mood and wanted to vote against the whip claiming that they could not support cover up of corruption.

Mr. Prem Singh said there was also need for those conducting floor coordination to acquaint themselves properly with the rules and procedures of the legislatures so that they are now shown in poor light in precarious situations. Mr. Prem Singh was also critical of the fact that on a number of occasions the House had been adjourned for lack of quorum and due to failure of the senior officers to be present in the officer's gallery during important debates.

"It is the duty of the Government to ensure that senior officers are present in the gallery when important debates are taking place and the MLAs are right in protesting against their absence,'' he stated.

Referring to the conduct of the BJP legislators in the House, Mr. Prem Singh said that it was unfortunate that they time and again disrupted the proceedings of the House and tried to create problems in taking up the business agenda.

"There are various methods of showing your opposition to a particular issue or the policy. But holding the entire House to ransom is something I would not allow. They could have staged walkouts from the House to lodge their protest. But they came to the well of the House and did not allow proceedings to carry on smoothly. This is the reason that strict action had been taken against the BJP MLAs. I have to conduct the business of the House and if in that process I have to come down heavily on those who try to obstruct proceedings, I do not mind that,'' he remarked.