Biography of Somnath Chatterjee Former Speaker

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Somnath Chatterjee Speaker of Lok Sabha

General Studies Question Bank CD A Coherent and Effective Parliamentarian, Somnath Chatterjee has been a role Model for Indian Parliamentarians replying to the felicitations, Sri Somnath Chatterjee Said : “The Fourteenth Lok Sabha has got the people’s mandate to usher in a new era. This is a unique responsibility bestowed on this august House.

Our country has made progress in various fields since Independence. However, a lot more needs to be done for the benefit of the common people. We have to ensure that the creative potential and energies of our people are harnessed for fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of various sections of our society, particularly the deprived and the dispossessed, by providing a pro – people secular administration”.

The Speaker, as the Presiding Officer of unswervingly elected House of the People, the Lok Sabha, is one of the uppermost constitutional functionaries in India’s Parliamentary system.

Indian Parliament has had a galaxy of eminent Speakers, down its history, who have imparted dignity and prestige to the Chair. On 4 June 2004, Shri Somnath Chatterjee was selected without any opposition to the glorified position joined this illustrious line of Speakers.

Eminent persona Somnath Chatterjee was born in Tezpur, in Assam on 25 July 1929. Somnath Chatterjee was born to late Shri Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee, the president of the Akhil Bharati Hindu Mahasabha and late Smt. Binapani Debi. Shri Somnath Chatterjee had his education in Calcutta and the United Kingdom. In Calcutta Somnath Chatterjee was educated at Mitra Institution School ( Calcutta ) and at Presidency College.

After that Somnath Chatterjee attended Cambridge University and has been awarded an honorary fellowship of Jesus College. Somnath Chatterjee is M.A from Cantab and Barrister – at – Law from Middle Temple in U.K. Shri Chatterjee is married to Smt. Renu Chatterjee and they have one son and two daughters.

Somnath Chatterjee started his career as a lawyer. Somnath Chatterjee was a barrister at the Calcutta High Court before joining active politics. In the year 1968 when he joined as an active member to the Communist Party of India ( Marxist ), he stepped into the arena of Indian Politics. Somnath Chatterjee has been one of the party’s leading spokesmen. In 1971, following the death of his father, Somnath Chatterjee was given a ticket to contest an interregnum election from the same constituency of his father’s. Complying with the election, he became a Member of the Lok Sabha in 1971. And Subsiquently Somnath Chatterjee became the first independent candidate supported by the CPI ( M ).

Nine times Somnath Chatterjee was re – elected, except once in 1984 when in the Jadavpur constituency Mamata Banerjee defeated him.

Now Somnath Chatterjee represents the Bolpur parliamentary constituency. In the year 1996 he was coffered the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award. As the Chairman of WBIDC, Somnath Chatterjee made countless overseas trips to promote FDI in West Bengal. His preference for signing Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU ) earned him the nickname ‘Mou – Da’. Somnath Chatterjee was the Leader of the CPI ( M ) in Lok Sabha, from 1989 till 2004.

Shri Somnath Chatterjee has served as a magisterial parliamentarian for over three and a half decades, with a standing faith in parliamentary democracy. As the speaker, his addresses over the rules and regulations controlling the conduct of business in the House reveal a lawyer`s mastery. Somnath Chatterjee has set an example, all the way through his parliamentary career, in preserving the values and traditions that heighten the dignity of the House and give intensity to the institution of Parliament.

Shri Somnath Chatterjee, as the speaker of 14th Lok Sabha has taken an initiative in the Training and Orientation of newly elected Members of State Assemblies. Somnath Chatterjee has led the Indian Parliamentary Delegation to 111th, 112th, 113th and 115th Assemblies of the IPU, as Honorable Speaker, in Geneva and Manila during 2004 – 2005. Through his initiative the proceedings of the `Zero Hour` are being telecast live from 5 July 2004. Another substantial opening move yet taken by Shri Chatterjee is in respect of the functioning of the Departmentally Related Standing Committees ( DRSCs ).

Somnath Chatterjee headed IPDs to the 50th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Canada, 2004; 51st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Nadi, Fiji Islands, 1 – 10 September 2005; 52nd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Abuja, Nigeria ( 1 – 10 September, 2006 ) ; 18th Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference in Nairobi, ( January, 2006 ) ; CPA Mid-year Ex Co Meeting, Isle of Man, 2006; 100th Anniversary of the Parliamentary Reforms in Finland at Helsinki (1-4 June, 2006); CPA / Wilton Park Conference, London in June, 2006; Mid – Year CPA Executive Committee in Cyprus in April, 2007. He has presided IPDs to Japan ( November, 2004), Trinidad and Tobago ( May, 2005 ), Turkey (June, 2006) , Germany (June, 2006), the People`s Republic of China ( July, 2006 ) and Greece (  September, 2006 ), Saudi Arab ( February, 2007 ) and Vietnam ( March, 2007 ). General Studies Question Bank CD

Shri Chatterjee has ornamented several parliamentary Committees as Chairman and as Member. Somnath Chatterjee attended with preeminence as Chairman, Committee on Subordinate Legislation ( 2 terms ), Committee of Privileges, Committee on Railways, Committee on Communications ( 3 terms ), and Committee on Information Technology ( 2 terms ). Somnath Chatterjee has been a Member of the Rules Committee, General Purposes Committee, Business Advisory Committee and the Ethics Committee, to name a few.

Somnath Chatterjee was consorted as a Member of several Joint Committees and Select Committees, particularly the ones requiring expertise in law. Somnath Chatterjee has brought his legal insightfulness to the sphere of legislation, as a Barrister and as a senior lawyer, both in the House and its Committees.

A multifaceted personality with varied interests, Shri Somnath Chatterjee is a people`s man in every sense of the term. His interests ranged from education and sports to constitutional studies. With strong ideological corresponding, Somnath Chatterjee is a modern man who wedded to Liberalism. Somnath Chatterjee is a combination of an untiring commitment to the fundamental principles and values of India`s democracy with a rare noesis to surpass political divides. Somnath Chatterjee works hard for the advancement of both industrial and agricultural sector as believes in giving equal importance to both the sectors as well.

Somnath Chatterjee was the Chairman of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation for over a decade and visited many countries in promoting the State as an attractive investment destination. Shri Chatterjee is dynamically linked with a large number of socio-cultural, educational and professional institutions and trade unions. With a keen in sports, he loves watching sports events and is related with several sports organizations and clubs.

Somnath Chatterjee is serving as a member of the Executive Committee of the Mohan Bagan Athletic Club, the Cricket Association of Bengal, and the Bengal Table Tennis Association etc.