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Letter Question's Meira Kumar's Ruling On Price Rise

The Distribution Branch of the Lok Sabha Secretariat has circulated an anonymous letter targeting none else than Speaker Meira Kumar among floor leaders of parties. An inquiry is underway to identify the author of the
PTI May 03, 2010 13:27 IST
PTI
The Distribution Branch of the Lok Sabha Secretariat has circulated an anonymous letter targeting none else than Speaker Meira Kumar among floor leaders of parties. An inquiry is underway to identify the author of the letter as well as the in-house mole, who facilitated its distribution, reports Indian Express.

“We are looking into the matter,” Lok Sabha Secretary-General P D T Achary told  the newspaper. Sources among the staff said the needle of suspicion points at a former secretary-general and a very senior official of the Lok Sabha set-up.

According to a couple of leaders, the letter was delivered at their houses as part of the bunch containing the Lok Sabha Dak on Thursday evening. Unlike the official covers, which carry the embossed image of the national insignia, the surreptitious document was sent in recycled white envelopes bearing bold printed names of private companies.

"A Questionable Ruling," read the heading of the note, with "confidential" and "not for publication" on the side, right at the top. The letter, questioning the "independence" and "impartiality" of the Speaker, said Kumar "gravely hurt the prestige and dignity of her office" by disallowing the notice of adjournment motions on rising prices of essential commodities on February 24 during the first part of the current budget session. "She has wrongly denied the opposition their privilege (nay duty) to censure the Government for its failure to check the unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities."

"The Speaker has gravely erred in interpreting the Rules and finding precedents as are relevant,” the note said, adding that she had in fact “contradicted herself the following day by agreeing to dispense Question Hour” when the House was allowed to discuss the matter under Rule 193. The writer cited some precedents when the Speaker had admitted adjournment motions to discuss price rise.

The writer also faulted the Opposition for its failure to request Kumar to reconsider her ruling. “Will Speaker Meira Kumar listen to the voice of reason if not of the Opposition in Lok Sabha?” the note asked at the end.

The distribution of the anti Speaker mail by the official machinery is not just highly improper, but also in violation of the Directives (No.125-2) of the Rules of Business and Procedure, which lay down: “The Lok Sabha Secretariat shall not undertake circulation of any paper, document, report or other material from: (a) state governments; (b) foreign missions; (c ) private bodies or individuals; and (d) members of Parliament, unless the papers received from them are connected with the business of the House.” Obviously, heads would roll if the probe uncovers the guilty.