Devnani: No conflict if Legislature, Judiciary stick to limits

Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Speaker Vasudev Devnani, in response to a question in a special interview given to The Daily Guardian said that the legislature and the judiciary have their own dignity. If both remain within their limits then there will be no conflict. The job of the legislature is to make laws, while the job […]

Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Speaker Vasudev Devnani, in response to a question in a special interview given to The Daily Guardian said that the legislature and the judiciary have their own dignity. If both remain within their limits then there will be no conflict. The job of the legislature is to make laws, while the job of the judiciary is to evaluate them as per the Constitution. At the same time, he has also made it clear that now the officials will have to answer the questions raised by the MLAs in the Assembly on time. After the elections they will hold a meeting of officials in this regard. Here are edited excerpts from the interview:

Q: The position you hold today is the Head of the House, but you have spent a considerable time, both in power as well as opposition. The ruling party expects to be given more opportunities, while the opposition wants you to defend them. The public also watches this House. In such a situation, how do you view the post of Assembly Speaker?
A: The executive, legislature and judiciary are completely explained in the Constitution of the country. If all four pillars work within limits then there will be no hindrance. It is the job of the opposition in the House to raise public issues. Whereas it is the job of the ruling party to make laws and implement them. Both get a platform like assembly to express their views. I believe that if both the ruling and the opposition are given a chance to express their views impartially, then there cannot be any kind of dispute. I have experience with both. I was a minister for 10 years and was also in the opposition for 10 years. This time, as MLA for the fifth time, I have got the responsibility of Assembly Speaker. This is a good opportunity for me. I will also contribute in strengthening a democratic system.

Q: Probably for the first time, you called an all-party meeting in the Rajasthan Assembly. It is often seen that the Assembly remains a victim of uproar. There is no debate on the bill and it is passed. What would you say on situations like this?
A: Getting the bill passed and making the law is the responsibility of both the parties. The ruling party brings its bill and it is debated. Many times during the debate, the number of MLAs is less and due to this the discussion cannot take place properly and the bill is passed. I would urge all the MLAs to sit in the House full time and participate in the proceedings. If he has any issue, I will definitely allow it. It is important to have interesting debates in the House. For the first time, an all-party meeting was called in the Assembly and its results were also good. There was full cooperation from everyone in the House and the first session concluded well. In the previous government it was seen that 9 bills were passed in a single day. I will try to discuss generally one or two bills so that there can be a complete discussion on the bills. I also say that after all the MLAs read the bill thoroughly, its merits and demerits are discussed. I will also tell the ruling party that if the opposition says something good then it should be included. If I talk about Parliament, I remember that there were only three people from Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s party, but still their views were listened to during Nehru ji’s time. Even though Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in the opposition, people from the ruling party took his words seriously. Similar practice should be followed here also. The opposition should present its views in a dignified manner and the ruling party should give it serious consideration.

Q: You hold a constitutional post. Therefore, I would not like to talk politics with you, but today in the election campaign in the country, there is a lot of discussion about democracy and the Constitution. It is being said that the Constitution is in danger, democracy is being murdered. You are also a part of this Constitution. What would you like to say?
A: The dignity of Rajasthan Assembly has been high. If you keep its rules, decorum and law in mind, there is no problem. Certainly the opposition presents its point and the ruling party presents its point. I would like to give an example that there is an examiner and many answer sheets come in front of him. In such a situation, if he gives marks on the basis of answers to the questions then there will be no bias. Those who show favoritism do so even without any connection. It depends from person to person. The Speaker of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly has been dignified, who has always followed the decorum. I will always try to do the same. No matter which party the MLAs belong to, there will be no bias if they are treated according to those traditions and rules inside the Assembly.For example, if time has to be given on a bill, time has to be given in proportion to the number of parties. In such a situation, the Speaker of the Assembly should give time in the same manner.

Q: Questions are put by the MLAs in the Assembly, but the officials do not answer. What arrangements will be made on this?
A: I am experiencing that many times there are no answers to the questions. Answers to about 5 thousand questions of the last assembly have not come till date. For this I have also talked to the Chief Secretary. I will also hold a meeting with all ACS after the elections. If the MLA gets answers to his questions, then he becomes satisfied. 2000 questions came in the first session of our 16th Assembly. Out of that, answers to 800 questions have come. There are still 1200 questions left to answer. Our secretary is also making efforts for that. If the government machinery cooperates, answers to the questions will come. If responses to attention, petitions and 295 also come, the public will also be benefited. Issues will arise and they will also be resolved. If the House runs for less days, then issues remain. If the House is run more, more issues will arise.

Q: In the last few years it has been seen that the session is not prorogued on time. The number of questions the MLA can ask is limited, so he cannot ask new questions. What will you say?
A: Look, as soon as the assembly ends, the session should be prorogued within a week. So that the MLA will get a chance to raise other questions. But, there were internal problems of various parties in the previous government. Due to that the adjournment of the session was getting delayed. However, there was no delay on the part of the Governor. There were some assumptions at that time, but now those assumptions will no longer exist. Therefore, we will adjourn the session on time so that the MLA can raise his questions. When the MLA is not able to ask questions then issues will not be raised and if issues are not raised then how will the accountability of officials be decided. One more thing I would like to say is that the government gives assurances many times. We also have an assurance committee. If the assurances are not fulfilled, then this committee can ask sternly. By doing this, not only the government but also the officials can come in the dock.

Q: What will be your roadmap for the next five years as Assembly Speaker in Rajasthan Assembly?
A: The assembly should last longer and be well organized, this is my first objective. There should be a meaningful debate. The Vidhan Sabha is also associated with social concerns, hence every month a program will be organized in the Vidhan Sabha. This will increase the dignity of the assembly. A museum has been built here for years, but people are not aware of it. I have talked to officials of the Tourism Department as well as the Education Department, after which the number of people coming there is increasing. An MoU has been signed to make the Assembly paperless. Every MLA will have a screen on his seat and he will be able to ask questions on it only. If some problem arises in the beginning, we will find a solution to it. My endeavor is to make full use of technology in the Assembly before December 31 and make it paperless. We have created a WhatsApp channel; through this channel a weekly bulletin will also be sent to the people so that the common people know what work is being done in the Assembly. A plan is also being made regarding the digital channel of the Assembly. The previous Assembly Speaker has also formed the Constitution Club with great interest, it also has to be streamlined. Facilities will be increased in the residence of MLAs.