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Kerala’s Woman Legislature Secretary Retires with Rare Record


P. Jayalekshmi, the only woman secretary of Kerala Legislature, set to retire from the floors of Kerala assembly with a rare unique record with no other female bureaucrats can never boast of….reports Asian Lite News

Jayalekshmi considered herself to be fortunate when she had to call out the names of former Chief Ministers V.S. Achuthanandan and Oommen Chandy and then the present CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

She recalls with pride how she did that task in the state Assembly last year as ‘secretary in charge’ of the Legislature.

Jayalekshmi, who retires on May 31, takes pride in the fact that she was the only woman in the history of the six decades of the legislature to have sworn in legislators on the first day of the sitting of a new assembly.

She is special secretary in the Kerala Legislature, and retires after 33 years of service in the Assembly.

In the Legislature, it is the Secretary who swears in the legislators.

On June 2 last year, Jayalekshmi read out the names of the 139 legislators, one by one in alphabetical order, for the swearing in — the only woman in the state assembly to have done so.

The Kerala Assembly had convened for the first time last year after fresh state elections, and it was the job of the secretary to read out the proceedings – to announce the convening of the assembly and the details of the swearing in.

“I was very tense as I had to read the names of legislators in alphabetical order. My tension increased when I had to call the names of two former Chief Ministers – V.S. Achuthanandan, Oommen Chandy — and the present one Pinarayi Vijayan. It was a tough task for me, but I think I did it well,” said Jayalekshmi, adding that it was the “most glorious moment” for her in her 33-year official career.

She says that despite having such a lengthy career, it was only the second time on June 2 that she entered the floor of the assembly, while it was in session.

“The only other occasion when I entered the house was when I had to get the signature of the secretary, who was seated in the floor of the assembly,” added Jayalekshmi, 56.

Deciding on the post of legislature secretary vests with the state government. In Kerala since 1984, except on two occasions, the post has always gone to a person holding the post of a district judge.

Jayalekshmi, who has authored six books, said her next book, a travelogue, is being released on Tuesday. She is to write about her service story in a vernacular magazine where she is expected to come out with interesting anecdotes of the events from the Kerala assembly.