After Mukherjee, Meira to guide Himachal's legislators

Shimla, Oct 18 (IANS) After President Pranab Mukherjee, it's now the turn of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to lecture Himachal Pradesh legislators on their legislative and democratic duties.

Meira Kumar will address the legislative assembly on Monday as part of its golden jubilee year celebrations, Speaker B.B. Butail told IANS.

He said 160 former legislators have also been invited to hear the speaker. "President Pranab Mukherjee's address (May 24) was a historic one. Likewise, Meira Kumar will guide the legislators about their responsibilities for which they are answerable," Butail said.

The Vidhan Sabha building, earlier called the Council Chamber, was inaugurated by Lord Reading Aug 27, 1925, where the Central Legislative Assembly used to hold its summer sessions during the days of the Raj.

"The Burma teak chair for the president of the Central Legislative Assembly was presented by the Burmese government in 1920 and since then it has been preserved and used as speaker's chair in the house," Butail said.

"Our great national leaders and freedom fighters like Motilal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malviya, Lala Lajpat Rai and Satya Murthy were the worthy members of this august house. Mohammad Ali Jinah was also member of this assembly. These great leaders have contributed a lot in the central assembly in Shimla," Butail said.

He said it was in this house that Motilal Nehru moved a resolution, seconded by Lala Lajpat Rai, in 1925 to provide Indian women the vote. The resolution was adopted unanimously.

"After independence, under the leadership of Y.S. Parmar, the first chief minister of Himachal, many important, progressive and socio-economic laws such as Himachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj Act of 1951 and Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act of 1953 were enacted. Till last April, 1,117 legislative measures have been passed by the assembly," he said.

Mukherjee, during his address to the assembly, expressed concern over repeated disruptions in parliament and state legislatures and called upon the leaders of political parties to find a solution to the problem.

"The three Ds - debate, dissent and decision - are the essence of parliamentary functioning, but of late, a fourth D - disruption - has become dominant, obstructing transaction of business and undermining the importance of the august house.

"The fourth 'D' should be strictly avoided," he added.

Reminding the members about their increased responsibilities, he said: "When the first chief minister Parmar presented his first budget at that time it was of Rs.89 crore. This time it was of Rs.27,000 crore. If money increases so do the responsibilities."

Butail said a number of functions have been lined up as part of the golden jubilee celebrations.

"We are also planning to hold a national convention of the assembly speakers in Shimla," he added.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

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