It Would Be Wrong For the Speaker to Run the House sans Opposition

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The purpose of the budget session of Orissa Assembly is already impaired by adopting demands of a few departments for grants sans participation of the Opposition.

Boycott of Orissa Assembly by the Opposition could have not occurred had the Chief Minister heeded to its demands for dropping of the two ministers supposedly involved with the coal scam. He gave them a clean chit, though he has no recognized expertise in knowing whether or not they are guilty. He should have asked the vigilance to instantly verify the records and clarify as to why it has not specifically said that the said two ministers in their previous OSIC avatar were not involved with the scam and till that clarification was received from the Vigilance, he should have kept the two ministers temporarily removed. We have enough precedence of return of dropped tainted ministers to cabinet after establishment of their innocence and hence it should have been proper for Sri Navin Patnaik to follow such precedence.

So, it can be said that the recognized Opposition party has been forced to boycott the Orissa Assembly and therefore the Chief Minister is guilty not only of protecting two Ministers suspected of a scam but also of enforcing an environment for boycott of the Assembly by the Opposition.

Because perhaps of concern for running of the House, the recognized Opposition seems to have tried to dilute its own demands, which, if the CM accepts, may restore normalcy. It has now stressed upon a special audit over the coal scam by the CAG. The CM should instantly welcome this demand and pave the way for Opposition participation by stashing the two suspected Ministers away from their ministerial privileges till their innocence is establish by the CAG audit.

The Speaker should also note this new opportunity offered by the Opposition for smooth running of the House. And issue a ruling in this respect to help the House run as democracy entails.

Democracy of our patterns runs on unobstructed participation of the Opposition. If there is no Opposition, there can be no democracy and adoption of budgets in such circumstances would be blatantly undemocratic.

The Speaker is bestowed upon with the responsibility to conduct the business the rampart of democracy that has two sides dovetailed with its business: the Treasury side and the Opposition. He cannot conduct the business with the Opposition side staying away from its business. If he does, that would be nothing but killing of the spirit of democracy.

Hence, the speaker should desist from his declared action of conducting the House sans the Opposition in case it does not turn up.

Democracy would be wronged thereby and his action would earn a dubious distinction of being cited in future as a bad precedence in applied democracy.

Let Orissa not have this misfortune.

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