Uncertainty remains over Babul Supriyo’s oath-taking as TMC MLA
Kolkata, May 01: There was no end to the uncertainty over the oath-taking of newly elected TMC MLA Babul Supriyo, with the singer-turned-politician Sunday urging West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to allow Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee to preside over the ceremony, and the Raj Bhavan occupant turning down the request.
The oath-taking of Supriyo, who was elected on a Trinamool Congress ticket from the Ballygunge constituency in Kolkata in a by-poll held earlier this month, ran into troubled waters as Dhankhar and Banerjee crossed swords over the procedure that needs to be followed regarding the programme.
Supriyo, in a tweet on Sunday morning, said: "For the sake of the people of Ballygunge, who did not hv a MLA for several months since the demise of Subroto Mukherjee, I would request your excellency @jdhankhar1 ji to reverse the decision & allow Honble Speaker to preside over my oath taking allowing me to start my work (sic)." The governor, however, in a prompt response, said it was not possible to accept Supriyo's request, citing constitutional limitations.
"Public domain request of Shri Babul Supriyo, elected to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly from 161-Ballygunge Assembly constituency seeking Governor for administration of oath by Hon'ble Speaker is not acceptable as not being in consonance with the Constitution," Dhankhar tweeted.
"April 27 communication @SuPriyoBabul, eleven days after issuance of Certificate of Election, to Hon'ble Speaker for his oath as MLA is jurisdictionally flawed and unwholesome optics as Speaker has no role or constitutional competency in the matter, unless so assigned by Governor," he said.
The governor also made it clear that appointment of Deputy Speaker Dr Asish Banerjee as the person to administer oath to Supriyo is in conformity with Article 188 of the Constitution.
"... Article 188 of Constitution prescribes that member of the Legislative Assembly shall, before taking his seat, make and subscribe oath before the Governor, or some person appointed in that behalf by him," Dhankhar added.
The deputy speaker had earlier said he was not ready to administer the oath of Supriyo, a former Union minister, "in presence of the Hon'ble Speaker (Biman Banerjee)".
The speaker had regretted the delay in the oath-taking, which he said was "harming the interest of people in Ballygunge", but Dhankhar maintained that Biman Banerjee had no role or constitutional competence in the matter of administering oath, unless assigned by the governor.
If the governor does not conduct the oath-taking ceremony, "he will assign the responsibility to someone else. The oath should be read as early as possible after winning the election. Otherwise, the MLA is deprived of many of his constitutional rights, and the people of the constituency will suffer because of this," Banerjee had said.