Explained | The powers of Lok Sabha Speaker

Lok Sabha
The Speaker represents the collective voice of the House. The Speaker enjoys vast authority and powers, under the Constitution and the Rules. Photo: PIB

The 18th Lok Sabha will meet for the first time on June 24 and the session will conclude on July 3.

The Lok Sabha will elect its new Speaker on June 26 for which notices for motions supporting candidates can be submitted by members by 12 noon a day prior.

While the first two days will be devoted for oath taking of newly-elected members, June 26 has been fixed for the election of the speaker.

On June 27, President Droupadi Murmu will address a joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

What is the role of Pro-tem Speaker?

• As per the second proviso to Article 94 of the Constitution, the office of the Speaker becomes vacant immediately before the first meeting of the new Lok Sabha. 

• In that case, the duties of the Speaker are to be performed by a Member of the House appointed for this purpose by the President as Pro-tem Speaker.

• Normally, the seniormost members (in terms of number of years of membership of the House) are generally chosen for the purpose, even though there have been exceptions to this practice.

• As soon as the new government is formed, a list of the seniormost Lok Sabha members is prepared.

The list will indicate their seniority in terms of their tenure in the Lok Sabha as well as in the Rajya Sabha. The list is then submitted to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs/Prime Minister for identifying a member as Pro-Tem Speaker.

• After the approval of the Prime Minister, the minister submits a note to the President seeking his/her approval to the appointment of the Pro-tem Speaker.

• The President administers the oath to the Pro-tem Speaker in the Rashtrapati Bhawan. 

• Three other members are also appointed by the President to assist Pro-tem Speaker in administering the oath/affirmation. They are administered the oath/affirmation by the Pro-tem Speaker in the Lok Sabha. 

• The Pro-tem Speaker then administers the oath/affirmation to the newly elected members with the help of the three persons so appointed by the President.

• The Pro-tem Speaker continues in office till the Speaker is elected.

Election of the Speaker

• Once the date for the election of the Speaker has been approved by the President and notified by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, any member may give notice in writing, addressed to the Secretary-General, of a motion that another Member be chosen as the Speaker of the House. 

• This has to be seconded by a third Member and has to be submitted before noon on the day preceding the date of election.

• Also, it has to be accompanied by a statement by the candidate contesting the poll that he or she is willing to serve as Speaker if elected.

• A member cannot propose one’s own name, or second a motion, the secretariat pointed out, citing rules.

• A member in whose name a motion stands on the list of business will, unless make a statement conveying unwillingness to move it, will move the motion when called upon to do so.

• The motions which have been moved and duly seconded will be put one by one in the order in which they have been moved, and decided, if necessary, by a division. 

• If any motion is carried (adopted), the person presiding the proceedings (a Pro-tem Speaker) will declare that the member proposed in the motion which has been carried has been chosen as the Speaker of the House.

Powers of the Speaker

• The Speaker is the Principal Presiding Officer of the Lok Sabha. 

• He/she is chosen by the House from among its members by a simple majority of members present and voting.

• Within the walls of the House his/her authority is supreme, which is based on his absolute and unvarying impartiality.

• The Speaker represents the collective voice of the House. The Speaker enjoys vast authority and powers, under the Constitution and the Rules, as well as inherently. The Speaker is the guardian of the rights and privileges of the House, its Committees and the members. 

• The Speaker is also the ultimate arbiter and interpreter of all those provisions which relate to the functioning of the House. For this, the Speaker is invested with wide disciplinary powers under the Rules. 

• The Speaker’s conduct cannot be discussed except on a substantive motion.

• The Speaker decides on the admissibility of notices of questions, motions, resolutions, Bills, amendments, etc and no business may be brought up before the House without Speaker’s consent. 

• The Speaker regulates the debates and proceedings of the House and is charged with the maintenance of order in the House. 

• The Speaker enforces the observance of rules by the members and may direct any member guilty of disorderly conduct to withdraw from the House and name him for wilful disregard of the authority of the Chair or obstruction of the proceedings. 

• The Speaker may also adjourn or suspend the business of the House in case of grave disorder. 

• The Speaker also determines the question as to whether the members of the House have become subject to disqualification on ground of defection in terms of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution.

• All the Committees of the House function under the overall control and direction of the Speaker. 

• The Speaker nominates their Chairmen and issues such directions as may be considered necessary pertaining to the procedure to be followed in the Committees. 

• The Business Advisory Committee, the General Purposes Committee and the Rules Committee work directly under the Speaker’s Chairmanship.

• The Speaker enjoys a special position insofar as the relations between the two Houses of Parliament in certain matters are concerned. 

• The Speaker certifies the Money Bills and has the final say on money matters. 

• The Speaker presides over the joint sitting called in the event of a disagreement between the two Houses on a legislative measure. 

• Though a member of the Lok Sabha, the Speaker does not vote in the House except on those rare occasions when there is a tie at the end of a decision.

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker

• The members of the Lok Sabha elect the Deputy Speaker from amongst themselves who presides over the deliberations of the House during the absence of the Speaker. 

• The Deputy Speaker is vested with the same powers as the Speaker when presiding over a sitting of the House. 

• The Deputy Speaker, on being the member of a Parliamentary Committee, is appointed as the Chairman of that Committee. 

• He, unlike the Speaker, can speak in the House, take part in its deliberations and vote as a member on any question before the House, but he can do so only when the Speaker is presiding.

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