The NEWS Syndicate
The manner in which Orissa Assembly Speaker Maheshwar Mohanty is treating the Opposition is a great danger to democracy, alleged senior Congress leader and Chief Advisor to Rajiv Gandhi Forum, Dr. Ratnakar Pandey, in a press conference at Bhubaneswar on August 21.
Democracy cannot countenance that Opposition members be punished with cash-fine just because their demand for impartial enquiry into rampant corruption and crimes like tender fixing under the umbrage of the Chief Ministers own coterie was heightened by them in matching force to Governments recalcitrant conduct in the floor of the House, he said.
Dr. Pandey stressed on this point that the Legislative Assembly is neither a Court nor the Speaker is the Judge. It is a rampart of democracy and the Speakers main function is to ensure that the prerogative of the Opposition to expose administrative misdeeds and to demand for appropriate remedy is not affected by the advantage of a majority under command of the Government. Instead of sloughing over the recalcitrant attitude of the Government the Speaker should have issued a direction for a CBI enquiry into the tender scandal specifically as the media had exposed the nexus between the mafia and ruling party MLAs. It would have been in total consonance with the prerogatives vested in the Speaker and democracy could have been saved from being offended.
He emphasized that the cash penalty imposed by the Speaker on three Congress MLAs is unprecedented and untenable. It shall have to be recalled if the democracy is to run free of whims and caprices.