Rejecting Congress’ criticism on the appointment of Lok Sabha Secretary General, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said due procedure was followed and there was no question of consultation in the absence of a recognised Leader of Opposition.
Senior Uttar Pradesh bureaucrat Anoop Mishra today took over as Lok Sabha Secretary General, amidst protest by Congress which contended that the procedure of consulting the opposition was not followed.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Naidu said the appointment of Secretary General is prerogative of the Lok Sabha Speaker, who consults the Leader of the House that is the Prime Minister and the recognised Leader of Opposition.
“In the present case, there is no recognised opposition leader. So, the question of consulting opposition leader as per the act or the rules do not arise,” Naidu said.
Dismissing Congress’ leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge’s argument regarding not finding any official of the Lok Sabha secretariat capable of taking over as the Secretary General, Naidu said there were previous instances of people from outside being appointed for the post.
He said appointments to the post from outside the Lok Sabha secretariat have been made earlier during the tenure of United Front and also a Congress Government.
“So they should not make issues out of non-issues. As they quote precedents and healthy conventions, they should also remember whether they have followed such conventions and precedents or not,” Naidu said.
“First, trying to embarrass the government and then taking up an issue about the action of the Speaker in the House is not a fair thing to do for a senior person like Kharge ji,” he added.
Naidu said Kharge should have met the Speaker to discuss on the matter or should have given the suggestions at all-party meetings.
“As far as the appointment is concerned, the Speaker is within her rights as per the conventions and the precedents to appoint a person who she thinks after consulting others is right for the post of Secretary General of the Lok Sabha,” Naidu said.
He added that even Kharge had not cast any aspersions on the appointed person but was only questioning the method.