Speaker’s continuation totally unconstitutional: Harshdev

NPP chairman Harshdev Singh addressing media persons in Jammu.
NPP chairman Harshdev Singh addressing media persons in Jammu.

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Nov 13: Questioni-ng the locus of the J&K State Assembly Speaker to continue to hold the office even after dissolution of State and its division into two Union Territories, NPP chairman and former minister Harshdev Singh today described the ‘novice proposition’ as an insult to Constitution and the prevalent laws.
Talking to media-persons here today NPP leader said that with the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35- A, the J&K Constitution had ceased to exist. And the Re-organization Act enforced on October 31 had bifurcated the existing State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, respectively. The Speaker, therefore, elected by the State Legislature couldn’t continue to hold office in the Union Territory which was a new creation under the 2019 Reorganization Act.

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“Even otherwise, the Speaker was elected under Part- VI of J&K Constitution as per the procedure laid down in Section 57 of the said Constitution which categorically described Speaker as an officer of State Legislature. And since State Legislature had been abolished by virtue of an Act of Parliament, the continuance of the Speaker in the name of the proposed Legislative Assembly of the new UT was a completely ludicrous proposition. The Speaker of a dissolved Assembly of a State can continue provided the State itself continues to exist which is not the case in the new set up”, Harsh Dev said while describing the continuance of Speaker after October 31 as void and unconstitutional.
Pointing further towards Section 19 of the J&K Reorganization Act, Harsh Dev said that it categorically pointed out that Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Legislative Assembly of UT of J&K shall be elected by the members of the said Assembly which was yet to be constituted. And Section 19(2) further states that “a member holding office as Speaker shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the Assembly”, revealed Singh.
Under such circumstances the continuance of Speaker defied all logic and rationale besides being violative of the Constitution and the provisions encapsulated in J&K Re-organization Act.  Asserting that Constitution and democratic values had been held hostage by an autocratic regime in J&K, the NPP leader sought the personal indulgence of the President of India to save democracy and rule of law in Jammu and Kashmir.