(Last Updated on : 05-04-2014)
Shri K.S. Hegde with his professional career proved to be unique since he was a member of the Rajya Sabha
even before he entered the Judiciary. The election as the Speaker of the Sixth Lok Sabha
was also unparalleled as he was chosen to occupy the high office in his very first term as a member of the Lok Sabha.
He enabled himself to ensure smooth conduct of the proceedings of the House in a manner with his prominent judicial background, coupled with legislative experience. As a result he won panegyrics from all the sections of the Lok Sabha. True to his sincerity, the authority of the Chair was preserved and sustained by him all through his tenure.
On 11 June 1909, Kawdoor Sadananda Hegde was born at village Kawdoor of Karkala Taluk in South Kanara district of the former State of Mysore
. He received his primary education at the Kawdoor Elementary School and the Karkala Board High School. Then he went to the St. Alosius College, Mangalore, the Presidency College, Madras and subsequently to the Law College, Madras.
First and foremost he was an agriculturist, but also possessed a rich and diverse judicial experience. Beginning his legal profession in1933, he worked as Government Advocate and Public Prosecutor during the period 1947-51. As a defender of the farming community, he always tried to uphold their cause. In 1952, Hegde was nominated to the Rajya Sabha as a Congress Party candidate. With his outstanding contributions to the deliberation, Hegde served the Upper House till 1957 and was the member of the Panel of Chairmen. Later he also became a member of the Public Accounts Committee and of the Rules Committee.
In 1954, during this period, Hegde was preferred as an alternating delegate to the Ninth Session of the United Nations General Assembly and functioned on its Second Committee with distinction. He has also served as a member of the Railway Corruption Enquiry Committee and the Governing Body of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. He was appointed a Judge of the Mysore High Court in 1957, after resigning from the Rajya Sabha. He earned widespread respect and admiration for his judicial directives, as a Judge.
Till the year1966, he attended on the bench of the Mysore High Court. At that time he was constituted as the first Chief Justice of the Delhi and Himachal Pradesh High Court. Hegde had already imprinted his impression as a distinguished Judge and as the Chief Justice of the High Court. In the course he delivered many judgment that were really path breaking. In 1967, he was designated with the highest post of the judiciary, Judge of the Supreme Court by the President of India, in which he birthed many judgments of far-reaching implication.
As an erudite Judge who always gave priority to the rule of law than anything else, he was known for his honesty and authority. He was hardnosed and critical of interfering as far as the independence of the Judiciary was concerned, on the part of the Executive in the affairs of the Judiciary. Hegde was a man of matchless honesty and utmost truthfulness. According to Hegde, a corrupt society cannot build up any social order, and no amount of forfeit could build a Welfare State unless there was an efficient and honest administration. As a matter of principle, Hegde tendered his resignation on 30 April 1973, when one of his junior colleagues was appointed as the Chief Justice of India. After that, Hegde started second innings of his life by taking an active part in socio-political movements.
In 1977 on a Janata Party ticket, he was elected to the Sixth Lok Sabha from the Bangalore South constituency. He was appointed as the Chairman of the Committee of Privileges by the then Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy. Till 20 July 1977, he occupied the post.
On 21 July 1977, following the resignation of Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
, Hegde was elected to the office of the Speaker. The name of Hegde was proposed unanimously for the office of the Speaker. The fact should be noted in this regard that Hegde was elected as Speaker even though he was a first timer in the House spoke of his stature, ability and tolerability to all sections of the House.
The uppermost thing, which is present in his mind, was to maintain the supremacy of Parliament. It was his unvarying attempt to give opportunities to all members to participate in the proceedings of the House to the extent possible. To him when members maintained decorum and discipline and carefully observed the rules, the effectiveness of the House could be enhanced. He once ruled that the Speaker, under his inherent powers, could direct that the relevant proceedings be not recorded if a member continued speaking in spite of the Speaker asking him not to speak.
An uninterrupted review of procedures and practices were needed so that they were in tune with the emerging needs, which was strongly felt by Hegde. On the other hand, Hegde said that the modifications should be such that they helped in making the best consumption of the parliamentary floor time in the interest of the nation. Speaker Hegde was in favor of making appropriate institutional arrangements within the Legislatures to alleviate realization of parliamentary articulations of members. According to him keeping in mind the basic criteria of the larger public interest, the Speaker should show the progressive accommodations.
Hegde as Speaker had given many imperative rulings. On 25 July 1977, in reaction to an un-asterisked question, the concerned Minister stated that he would be placing the relevant document in the Parliament Library for consultation by members. A member under rule 377 on 1 August 1977 subsequently raised the matter. Speaker Hegde thereupon detected that the documents for the benefit of the members were to be placed on the Table of the House and not to be simply placed in the Parliament Library.
Hegde tried hard with his keen interest to improve the efficacy of the members so that they could effectively perform the diverse roles required of them. He depicted effective research and reference, which will assist new members, so that they might frame their questions and motions suitably and also could get accurate information and data for making their participation successful. Speaker Hegde addressed a letter personally to the members of the Lok Sabha, keeping this objective in mind, inviting them to make use of the Library, Reference, Research, Documentation and Information Services.
Like his predecessor, Hegde was also firmly believed in international peace and cooperation. Consequently, he accorded a great deal of significance to Inter- Parliamentary cooperation. The Indian Parliamentary Delegations to the 23rd, 24th and 25th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conferences, which were held in Ottawa (Canada) in September 1977, in Kingston (Jamaica) in September 1978 and in Willington (New Zealand) in November-December 1979, respectively was led by Hegde.
In September 1978, Hegde also led the Indian Parliamentary Delegations to the 65th hirer-Parliamentary Conference held in Bonn (former Federal Republic of Germany) and the 66th Inter-Parliamentary Conference held in Caracas (Venezuela) in September 1979. In January 1978, he also participated in the Meeting of the Sub-Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association on 'The CPA and the Future' held in London and the Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Conference of Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers at Nassau (The Bahamas), also in January 1978.
In August-September 1978, the 5th Conference of the Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers held in Canberra (Australia) Speaker were adverted by him. In May 1979, the Meetings of the Executive Committee of the CPA, which was held in Perth (Australia) he participated as regional representative for Asia. Hegde also led Indian Parliamentary Delegations to Romania, Bulgaria and Poland .
Hegde was a ravenous reader. Hegde had to his credit some highly praised publications like 'Crisis in the judiciary' and 'Directive Principles'. During the short period of his speaker ship of the Lok Sabha, K.S. Hegde made a distinctive contribution not only in perpetuation the high office of the Speaker but also in solidifying parliamentary institutions in the country. At the age of 81, Hegde passed away on 24 May 1990 at his native place in Karnataka