Speaker of Lok Sabha

In the previous article, we discussed about the composition, duration, functions of Lok Sabha (for details click Lok Sabha ). In this article we shall learn about the important parts of the house without which the house won’t be able to function smoothly, such as speaker of Lok Sabha, Deputy speaker of Lok Sabha, other presiding officers of Lok Sabha.

Who is the Speaker of Lok Sabha ?

Speaker acts as the Chief presiding officer / head of Lok Sabha and its representatives. He remains in office during the entire life of the House (generally 5 yrs). His salaries and allowances are fixed by the Parliament and are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

The speaker of Lok Sabha, continues to hold office even after dissolution of Lok Sabha. He holds office till the new Lok Sabha is constituted.

How is the speaker is elected ?

Speaker is elected by the Lok Sabha , amongst its members. The date of election is decided upon by the President.

When the speaker of Lok Sabha has to vacate his office ?

1- He ceases to be member of Lok Sabha

2- He resigns in writing to the deputy Speaker

3- He is removed by a resolution passed by the Lok Sabha

How Speaker of Lok Sabha can be removed ?

Speaker can be removed from the office by passing a resolution in Lok sabha with an absolute majority. By absolute majority we mean that majority of votes of the total members in the house. However, an advance 14 days notice must be given before passing such resolution.

What are his powers ?

1- He maintains decorum in the house.

2- Whether a bill is a money bill or not, is certified only by the speaker whose decision stands final.

3- He presides over the joint sitting of both the houses of parliament, in order to resolve deadlock over a bill. Such joint sitting is summoned by President. In absence of speaker, deputy speaker acts as the presiding officer.

4- If a speaker is a member of any committee, constituted by the Parliament, he act as the ex-officio chairmen of the committee.

5- Chairman of Paliamentary committee is appointed/ nominated by the speaker of Lok sabha.

6- Whether a member of Lok sabha is disqualified or not on the ground of defection under the provisions of Tenth Schedule, is decided upon by the Speaker. However, this decision is subject to judicial review i.e can be questioned in court.

7- He adjourns or suspends the house during the absence of decorum in the house.

8- To maintain impartiality, speaker on first instance does not participate in voting.  But he can cast his vote in case of tie. Such vote is termed as Casting Vote.

 Who is the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha ?

The deputy speaker performs the duties of the speaker, when it’s office falls vacant or speaker is absent from sitting of the house. He is elected after the election of the speaker. The date of his election is fixed by the Speaker of Lok sabha. His salaries and allowances are fixed by the Parliament and are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. Deputy speaker may vacate his office during following circumstances :

1- He ceases to be the member of Lok Sabha

2- He resigns by writing to the Speaker

3- He is removed by the resolution passed by the house by absolute majority. However, 14 days prior notice must be given in advance before such resolution.

While acting as presiding officer (due to vacancy of speaker’s office/ absence of speaker ), deputy speaker does not cast his vote except in case of tie. However, when deputy speaker is not acting as the presiding officer, he is like any ordinary member of the house and hence can cast his vote during voting.

Who are chairpersons of Lok Sabha ?

The speaker nominates a panel of chairpersons(not more than 10 ) amongst the members of house. Any of them can act as presiding officer of Lok Sabha , in case of absence of Speaker or deputy speaker. He has the same powers as that of speaker when acting as the presiding officer of Lok Sabha. When none of the chairpersons appointed by the speaker are present, then any person as determined by the house acts as the speaker.

It must be noted that, chairpersons can act as presiding officer only during the absence of speaker and deputy speaker, not in case of the vacancy in the office of speaker and deputy speaker. In case of vacancy in the office of speaker and deputy speaker of Lok sabha, speaker’s duties are performed by a member of the house appointed by the President. The elections are held ASAP to fill the vacancies.

Who is Pro Tem Speaker ?

When new Lok Sabha is constituted after the elections, President appoints a member as Speaker Pro Tem. He is normally the senior most member of the House. The Speaker Pro Tem has all the powers that a speaker has. He presides over the first sitting of newly elected Lok sabha. The main function of the Pro Tem speaker is to administer oath to the newly elected members of Lok Sabha.

He also presides over the session in which new speaker is elected. Once new speaker is elected, the office of Pro Tem sinks.

 

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