SRINAGAR: The Legislative Assembly on Thursday appointed Dr Nirmal Singh as the Speaker of the House, although the method of his selection was termed unconstitutional by the principal opposition party, the National Conference (NC).
Singh, who was the former deputy chief minister, replaced Kavinder Gupta during a brief assembly session called by Governor of the state.
As soon as the House started its proceedings, Law Minister Syed Basharat Bukhari moved the motion for Singh’s election as speaker, which was seconded by Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta. Then NC legislator Mohammad Shafi Uri stood up at his seat and told the Deputy Speaker, Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, that the ruling parties had not issued any notification to elect the speaker and hence the election is unconstitutional.
“There are problems in the system and conduct of rules; elections can be deferred, which has happened in past as well,” the NC legislator said. “Under rule 9 (1), notification should have been issued 12 hours before electing the speaker. Everyone should have been informed telephonically or through telegram. Even leader of the opposition Omar Abdullah was not informed.”
According to him, it was in “violation” of the Constitution to elect a speaker without following proper procedure.
“I don’t know why government is adamant to elect the speaker hurriedly, without following the procedure. We want speaker to be elected but with proper rules,” he said. “Members have not been informed; some are even in far-off places,” he added.
Gurezi, who was on the speaker’s chair, adjourned the House for an hour. As the House resumed its proceedings, Gurezi told the House that it was not in its interest to not defer the selection of the speaker. He told the House that the present is the time of the internet, through which information about the the speaker’s election reached them all.
Abdul Majeed Larmi had also moved a motion for the election of Congress legislator Usman Majeed as speaker, which was rejected by the thumping support for Singh. As this was going on, many opposition legislators staged a walk-out, barring Mian Altaf, M Y Tarigami and Er Rashid.
After the election, Singh was taken to the speaker’s chair by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Law Minister Basharat Bukhari, Urban Development Minister Sat Pal Sharma and others.
During his address, Singh urged all the members to cooperate with him in conducting the House in an impartial manner. He said that Jammu and Kashmir is full of diversities and at the same time full of challenges as well.
“This House has a greater role to address the diversities and challenges of the state,” he said.
“I assure you that I will rise up to the expectations of the members of the House, and we will work in close coordination,” he added.