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State government yet to appoint Deputy Speaker

As per an RTI application filed by activist Anil Galgali it has been revealed that the post of Deputy Speaker of Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly has not been filled since 28 months. The post has remained vacant ever since the BJP came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014. Appointment to this post with constitutional powers and responsibilities has never been kept in abeyance ever since Legislative Assembly was formed in 1937. This is the very first time that the members of the ‘August House’ of state legislature has not elected a Deputy Speaker from amongst themselves, as directed by the Indian Constitution.

Galgali sought details about this unprecedented Constitutional vacancy from ‘Maharashtra State Legislative Secretariat’. Public Information Officer and Under Secretary of State Legislative Secretariat Subhash Nalawade revealed that the preceeding 12th Maharashtra State Assembly was dissolved on completion of its term on 8th November 2014 and the 13th Assembly came in to being on 21st October 2014. Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly does not have Deputy Speaker since that day. Article 178 of the Constitution of India says that every Assembly should appoint two of its members as Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Article 180 of the Constitution proclaims that Deputy Speaker will take over duties and responsibilities of the speaker in his absence.

Since 1937, a total of 22 persons have been elected as Deputy Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly. Narayan Guru Joshi, Shanmugappa Angadi and Shivlingappa Kanthi were the early Deputy Speakers to Bombay State Assembly. From 1956 to 1960 Sheshrao Wankhede and Deendayal Gupta shouldered this responsibility in Bi-Lingual State of Bombay. After the formation of Maharashtra state- Deendayal Gupta, Krishnarao Girme, Ramkrishna Bet, Syed Farooq Pasha, Shivraj Patil, Gajananrao Garud, Suryakant Dongre, Shankarrao Jagtap, Kamalkishore Kadam, Padmasingh Patil, Babbanrao Dhakne, Anna, Joshi, Moreshwar Tembhurde, Sharad Tasre, Pramod Shende, Madhukarrao Chavan and Prof Vasant Purke have held the post of Deputy Speakers till 2014.

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