Speakers of the Parliament of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Shahabuddin Ahmad

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The office of Speakers’ in Parliamentary System of Government is very high in the warrant of precedence unless the country is under unconstitutional system of governance. In some countries the Speaker’s position is third and in some others it is lower if there is a position of say Vice-President. In Bangladesh the Speaker has the third position, the first and second positions are held by the President and the Prime Minister. As provided in the current constitution of Bangladesh, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are elected from the Members of the Parliament. Seniority is dispensable.

In Bangladesh, the Speaker of the 10th Jatiya Sangsad (House of the Nation) of Bangladesh is Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, MP, who was elected for the first time as the Speaker of the 9th Parliament when the present President, Advocate Abdul Hamid, vacated the Speaker’s position. Dr. Chowdhury, before becoming the Speaker, she became an MP of the 9th Parliament from the exclusively reserved women’s seat on nomination by the Awami League on March 24, 2009. This time, before she became the Speaker of the 10th Parliament, she was elected as an MP from one of the two seats vacated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed. Those two seats are a part of 153 Parliamentary seats which were elected unopposed.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq (left), Chamal Jayanath Rajapaksa

Dr. Chowdhury is the daughter of a former Senior Bureaucrat, Raifiqullah Chowdhury, who was a Student Leader of the then Awami League student wing at the University of Dhaka. She has earned a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD), a commonwealth scholar and her key areas of work include Law and Sustainable Development. She was enrolled as an advocate of the Bangladesh Bar Council, the High Court Division, Bangladesh Supreme Court and is a Member of the Dhaka Bar Association and Supreme Court Bar Association. She handled cases of political detunes and conducted important constitutional and human rights violation cases. She was born on October 6, 1966. The website of the House of the Nation of Bangladesh did not provide up-to-date information about the Speaker at the time of writing this report.

Speaker of Lok Sabha, India
Smt. Meira Kumar is the Speaker of the Inidan ‘Lok Sabha’ (National Assembly) from 3rd June 2009.  She was an MP in the 11th, 12th, 14th & 15th ‘Lok Sabha’, representing various States of India. She is the daughter of late Jagjivan Ram, a leader of ‘Dalit’ Community of India and a former Deputy Prime Minister. Before joining politics Smt. Meira Kumar was working in the Indian Foreign Service and served in the Embassy of India in Spain, High Commission in UK and the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi. She led many delegations abroad and held Congress Party responsibilities and is involved in social and cultural activities. She is a Senior Cambridge Fellow, BA LLB, MA (English) and has a diploma in Spanish Language. She is proficient in English, Spanish, Hindi, Sanskrit and Bhojpuri Language. She was born in 1945.

Pakistan’s NA Speaker
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is the current Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan. He assumed the office on 3rd June 2013 and belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League (N). He was a Member of the Pakistan Assembly in 2002, 2008 and 2013. He served while an MP in various Standing Committees including Railways and Defense Production Committee, Public Accounts Committee etc. He was born in 1954.

Sri Lanka Parliament Speaker
Mr. Chamal Jayanath Rajapaksa is the current Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka. He is the eldest brother of Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa. 9-Members of the Rajapaksa family have been Members of the Sri Lankan Parliament. His father was also a Member of the Parliament. He was educated in the Sri Lanka Richmond College and entered Government Service as Police Officer where he served for 8 years. After resigning from government service he became a Member of the Parliament in 1989. Before becoming a Speaker he was a Deputy Minister serving various Ministries.
From the above information collected from the websites of the respective countries very interesting facts emerged about the Speakers, their educational qualifications, political experience and their perseverance in remaining in politics. In order to be elected as a Speaker blessing of the party in power is supreme and all other qualifications are of little consequence. The Speaker is the custodian of rules of procedures of the house and she(he) is supposed to be impartial, though elected as an MP on party ticket. But such impartiality is few and far between.

Source: Weekly Holiday

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