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CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS AND CITIZENS' RIGHTSAn Omnibus Comprising Constitutional Questions in India and Citizens' Rights, Judges and State Accountability$
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A. G. Noorani

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195678291

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195678291.001.0001

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President, Prime Minister and Parliament 1

President, Prime Minister and Parliament 1

(p.202) 32 President, Prime Minister and Parliament1

A.G. Noorani

Oxford University Press

This chapter comments on Rajya Sabha Chairman R. Venkataraman and Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar's March 1987 ruling concerning the prime minister's accountability to parliament for the performance of his constitutional duties towards the president. Both rulings rely on the rule that no one shall 'use the president's name for the purpose of influencing the debate'. This rule is based on British parliamentary practice and its object is to ensure freedom of debate by protecting the independence of parliament from the intrusion of the crown. The rule can be invoked only when the prime minister has failed in his duties to the head of state. The chapter also highlights the fact that both rulings disregarded the explicit assertion of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar that the task of overseeing the performance of those duties falls squarely on parliament.

Keywords:   R. Venkataraman, Balram Jakha, prime minister, accountability to parliament, constitutional duties, president, parliamentary practice, B. R. Ambedkar

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