‘Delay in poll for RS Deputy Chairman is against norms’

There is no provision in the rules to do away with the position of Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and delaying the election is against parliamentary propriety, Secretary General of Rajya Sabha Desh Deepak Verma said on Thursday.

The election of the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House has been reduced to a game of who will blink first between the Opposition and the government, with the growing speculation that the government would indefinitely want to delay the election. The position fell vacant after the retirement of P.J. Kurien on June 30.

Speaking exclusively to
The Hindu
, Mr. Verma said it is impractical to indefinitely delay the election. Asked whether the post could be done away with, he said, “No, it is provided in the rules. It will be against parliamentary propriety and also impractical to indefinitely delay it [the election]. There is a panel of Vice-Chairman [the RS has a panel of six to seven senior members as part of the Vice-President’s panel who officiate in his absence]. But the panel can’t play the role of Deputy Chairman.”

Mr. Verma did not specify when the election will be held. “That is a political question which I can’t answer. I can only talk about the provisions. Whenever a vacancy arises, the election takes place in the very next session. But again, no deadlines have been prescribed for the election,” he added.

RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar held a meeting on the provisions of Deputy Chairman’s election on June 19. But since then there has been no word from the government.

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