Thumbs down for attendance system in Assembly

The Legislative Assembly secretariat’s move asking the members to sign the attendance within one hour of the commencement of the day’s proceedings, has not gone down well with a section of MLAs.

A group of MLAs across all political parties is learnt to have taken the Assembly secretariat staff to task on Thursday for introducing the new rule. They also demanded that it should be done away with immediately. Assembly Secretary S Murthy is learnt to have told the members that he would bring their demand to the Speaker’s attention.

According to the new rule that came into force from Wednesday, the MLAs have to sign the attendance twice – the morning session and the post-lunch session. The attendance has to be marked within one hour of the commencement of the session.

Later, the attendance register would be kept in the Speaker’s office. The move is aimed at ensuring the presence of the MLAs in the House.

Most of the MLAs, whom DH contacted, welcomed the move. However, almost all of them said it is not proper to impose too many such rules on them.

“I am not against the move. But I think it is not proper to impose restrictions on the MLAs on attendance. The MLAs will have number of issues to attend. If there is delay on their part in attending the session, it doesn’t mean that they are wasting time,” Congress MLA P M Narendraswamy said.

BJP MLA B N Vijayakumar said imposing attendance is a debatable issue. D N Jeevaraj of the same party said steps should be taken to change the mindset of those who do not attend the session, instead of imposing rules.

Speaker Koliwad said he would not budge from his stand. “I will not withdraw the rule. I have no plans to penalise the members if they don’t follow the rule. But the information on the attendance will be put out in public domain,” he added.

While the new rule insists on attendance, the assembly did not transact any listed business post-lunch on Thursday as the BJP members staged a dharna over Govindaraj diary issue.
DH News Service

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