- Indian constitution is older than its Russian counterpart as current constitution of Russia was enforced in 1993. Highlighting major differences between both constitutions, also mention few similarities. (10 marks)
- Deputy speaker is an important constitutional post both at centre and state level. Explaining powers and privileges of deputy speaker, enumerate the challenges involved regarding this office. (15 marks)
Q1. Indian constitution is older than its Russian counterpart as current constitution of Russia was enforced in 1993. Highlighting major differences between both constitutions, also mention few similarities. (10 marks)
- The Constitution of 1993 defines Russia as democratic republic with separation of powers between legislative, executive, and judiciary. It confers democratic rights and freedoms along with various socio-economic rights like right to work, education, healthcare etc.
- Main points of differences include-
- India follows parliamentary democracy while Russia follows the presidential system.
- Though separation of powers is mentioned in part IV of Indian constitution, it is not water tight in actual practice. But the Russian constitution has strong separation of powers between three branches viz legislature, executive and judiciary.
- Indian Constitution is a detailed document defining the purpose of various organs and also governs its functions and duties. In the case of Russia, the country's purpose is only briefly mentioned and it doesn’t govern its roles, obligations, and responsibilities.
- De facto head in India i.e the Prime Minister is chosen by majority vote whereas in Russia, Federation Council appoints the President.
- The Indian constitution is useful in administering the country owing to its federal laws but in Russia, the constitution has references to international acts which is useful in administering the country.
- The Indian constitution is written in ordinary and understandable language while the Russian constitution is written in legal language.
- Some similarities include-
- In both countries the President appoints the PM, but in case of the President's death or resignation, his duty in Russia is performed by the PM while in case of India it is Vice President.
- Lower house is Duma in Russia which is more powerful just like Lok Sabha in case of India. Both houses have power to pass no confidence motion.
- The Constitution of any country is its identity card and reflects the aspiration of forefathers of that country. There should be minimal attempt to alter the basic structure, which in the case of Russia is being done by the current president.
Q2. Deputy speaker is an important constitutional post both at centre and state level. Explaining powers and privileges of deputy speaker, enumerate the challenges involved regarding this office. (15 marks)
- Deputy speaker is the second highest ranked post in Lok Sabha provided by constitution under article 93, elected by simple majority from amongst its members. Since 11th Lok Sabha, a convention is established to have deputy speaker from opposition party.
- Being the second highest ranking post, deputy speaker has many powers and privileges like-
- All legislative and administrative powers are assumed by the deputy speaker when the post of speaker falls vacant due to any reason.
- A deputy speaker is not a subordinate office to the speaker. It functions as an independent office.
- Continuity of the office of speaker is ensured when the post falls vacant due to any reason.
- Even when the speaker is present, the deputy speaker presides over a session in cases like when removal of the speaker is taken up.
- If he/she becomes a member of any parliamentary committee, he/she automatically becomes its chairman as a special privilege.
- He/She presides over the joint sitting if the speaker is absent and also has the casting vote in case of a tie.
- Though it is a low profile office, it has remained in limelight recently due to-
- Violation of article 93 as the position of deputy speaker is vacant since 2019.
- A constitutional post being vacant is not good for the institution and in this case, for parliamentary democracy.
- In absence of a deputy speaker, it is hard to believe the speaker will fulfill the role as non partisan house member.
- Issue in text of article 93 and 179 which doesn’t specify any time frame for filling vacancy. It only says “as soon as may be”, which is vague.
- Need for deputy speaker is more felt due to decreasing sittings and discussions and passing of laws by voice votes.
- Falling productivity and no bill sent to parliamentary committee for better formulation of policies.
- With more than 3 years without the position getting filled, it is time to introduce changes in the article itself and provide a time frame for timely appointment. This will foster collective trust in the Lok Sabha and ensure smooth operation of Parliament.