'Rules to be followed on Jaswant continuing as PAC chairman'

Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar

"I have not received any letter from BJP as of yet...Let the issue come to me," she said at an interaction with journalists at Indian Women Press Corps here.
Kumar said the Speaker has the discretion to remove the PAC Chairman if he is unable to act but "there are definite rules".

"We follow those rules. The rule says that that if for any reason he or she is unable to act (in the post)...I will have to apply myself. Let it come to me," she said.
The post of the PAC Chairperson generally goes to the senior-most member of the Opposition party.

According to rules, Singh can voluntarily quit from the post but the party cannot seek his removal since the appointment has already been made.

The party cannot ask the Speaker to do anything after the appointment, but the Chairman has the "full freedom" to resign voluntarily.

Late Prime Minister Chandrashekhar was the Chairman of the Ethics Committee and was unwell for long but the then Speaker did not replace him.

On her experience as the first woman Speaker of the country, Kumar said she was satisfied that the Parliament had worked overtime but there was a need to ensure at least 100 sittings of Parliament in a year.

"This time I am very happy that 296 members are new and out of them a large number are young faces," she said, adding that this is also the first time that there are such a large number of women.

The speaker also rooted for increasing the number of questions being asked per day during the question hour. "The average is 3.34 per day, I would be very happy if there were more," she said.

She also refused to adhere to the view that the MPs were not serious about their work. "This perception is not right as I have seen that they work. The MPs sat extra for 30 hours in this session, I keep my fingers crossed that we can improve on this".

On the SC/ST quota and how long it should last, she said, "people keep asking me about how long the quota should go on, but nobody asks me how long the caste system would go on".

On her predecessor Somnath Chatterjee being expelled from his party for defying its whip, Kumar said, "my predecessor was a man of stature and he had the courage of conviction. What is required from a Speaker is neutrality".

On the women's reservation Bill, she said what will happen depends on how the various parties arrive at it.

Kumar said till now, she has found all the male MPs very courteous towards her. Sometimes, when they try to make a point, they do it very aggressively.

"They as well as their constituents have to understand that there are better ways to make a point".

On the constitution of Standing Committees, she said all parties had not sent their names till tuesday.

She, however, said she would have to hold consultations on the decision to make all the standing committees public.

The Speaker also informed that she would take steps to ensure that the Parliament House complex becomes more disabled friendly.

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