Apni Pathshala

Speaker and Pro-tem Speaker

What’s in this Article?

  • Table of Contents
    • About Speaker of Lok Sabha
    • About Presiding Officers of Parliament
    • Election of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
    • Tenure of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha
    • Removal of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
    • Role of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha
    • Powers and Functions of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
    • Importance of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha
    • Provisions Ensuring the Independence and Impartiality of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
    • Factors Hindering Impartiality of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
    • Who is a Pro-tem Speaker?
    • Appointment of the Pro-tem Speaker
    • Process of Administering Oaths of Pro-tem Speaker
    • Facts about Protem Speaker
    • First pro-tem speaker of India
    • MCQ’s

 

  • About Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • The Speaker of Lok Sabha is the Presiding Officer of the Lower House of Parliament of India – the Lok Sabha.
  • The Speaker is the constitutional and ceremonial head of the Lok Sabha.
  • The Speaker is responsible for maintaining order and decorum in the house, conducting its business, and ensuring that the legislative process is carried out smoothly.
  • Additionally, the Speaker represents the Lok Sabha in its relations with the President of India, the Rajya Sabha (the Upper House), and other external bodies.

 

  • About Presiding Officers of Parliament:
  • Presiding Officers of Parliament are the officials responsible for overseeing and regulating the activities within the Houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in India).
  • Their duties include enforcing parliamentary rules, maintaining order, managing debates, and overseeing the legislative process according to the established procedures in their respective houses.
  • Essentially, their role is to ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of the legislative body.

 

  • Election of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • The Speaker of Lok Sabha is chosen by its members from among themselves.
  • This implies that only current members of the Lok Sabha are eligible for the role of Speaker.
  • The President of India sets the date for the Speaker’s election.
  • This date is scheduled as soon as possible after the first meeting of the House.

 

  • Tenure of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  • The Speaker holds office throughout the term of the Lok Sabha. However, the Speaker must leave office earlier under any of these circumstances:
    • If they cease to be a member of the Lok Sabha.
    • If they resign by submitting a written resignation to the Deputy Speaker.
    • If they are removed by a resolution passed by a majority of the current members of the Lok Sabha (an Effective Majority).
  • Upon the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, the Speaker remains in office until the newly elected Lok Sabha convenes.

Note: If the Speaker’s office becomes vacant, the Lok Sabha will elect a new member to fill the position.

  • Removal of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha can be removed by a resolution passed by the House with an Effective Majority, which is a majority of the total membership excluding any vacant seats.
  • To initiate this process, a motion for the Speaker’s removal must be submitted with a 14-day advance notice to the Speaker.
  • This motion can only be discussed if it has the support of at least 50 members.
  • During the consideration of this resolution, the Speaker cannot preside over the House sessions but may be present and participate in the proceedings.
    • The Speaker is allowed to speak, take part in discussions, and cast an initial vote, except in the case of a tie.

 

  • Role of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  • The Speaker serves as the leader and representative of the Lok Sabha.
  • They protect the rights and privileges of the members, its committees, and the House as a whole.
  • They act as the primary spokesperson for the House.
  • They hold the ultimate decision-making power in all parliamentary affairs.
  • Powers and Functions of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • The Speaker’s primary duty is to maintain order and decorum in the House, ensuring the smooth conduct of its business and regulating proceedings. The Speaker has the ultimate authority in this regard. Within the House, the Speaker serves as the final interpreter of the following:
    • The Constitution of India
    • The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha
    • Parliamentary Precedents
  • The Speaker also has the authority to adjourn the House or suspend its meeting if there is no quorum.
    • A quorum requires one-tenth of the total membership of the House.
  • The Speaker does not vote initially but can cast a vote in the event of a tie.
    • This casting vote is used to break a deadlock when the House is evenly divided on any issue.
  • Additionally, the Speaker presides over joint sittings of both Houses of Parliament.
    • These sittings are convened by the President to resolve deadlocks between the two Houses on a bill.
  • The Speaker can permit a ‘secret’ session of the House at the request of the Leader of the House.
    • During a secret session, no outsiders are allowed in the chamber, lobby, or galleries unless permitted by the Speaker.
  • The Speaker determines if a bill is a Money Bill, and this decision is final.
    • When a Money Bill is sent to the Rajya Sabha for recommendations and then to the President for assent, the Speaker certifies it as a Money Bill.
  • The Speaker also decides on the disqualification of Lok Sabha members due to defection under the Tenth Schedule, and this decision is subject to judicial review as per the Supreme Court’s ruling in the 1992 Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu case.
  • Additionally, the Speaker serves as the Ex-Officio Chairman of the Indian Parliamentary Group, linking the Indian Parliament with other parliaments worldwide, and as the Ex-Officio Chairman of the Conference of Presiding Officers of legislative bodies in India.
  • The Speaker appoints and oversees the Chairmen of all Parliamentary Committees of the Lok Sabha.
  • He/she is the Chairman of:
    • The Business Advisory Committee,
    • The Rules Committee and
    • The General Purposes Committee.
  • Note: The Speaker of the Lok Sabha derives his/her powers and duties from three sources:
  • The Constitution of India,
  • The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and
  • Parliamentary Conventions i.e. residuary powers that are unwritten or unspecified in the Rules.

 

  • Importance of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha holds a crucial role in the Indian parliamentary system. The key aspects of the Speaker’s significance include:
  • Orderly Conduct of Proceedings: The Speaker ensures the smooth conduct of the House’s proceedings, maintaining order and upholding the established rules.
  • Impartiality: Expected to remain impartial and fair, the Speaker ensures all members have equal opportunities to present their views.
  • Decision-Making: The Speaker makes essential decisions regarding parliamentary procedures, rule interpretations, and discipline among members.
  • Committee Appointments: The Speaker appoints members to various parliamentary committees, vital for the legislative process.
  • Guardian of Parliamentary Privileges: The Speaker protects the privileges of the members and the dignity of the House, ensuring proceedings are respectful and uphold integrity.
  • Liaison between House and Government: Representing the collective voice of the Lok Sabha, the Speaker acts as a bridge between the members and the government, addressing members’ concerns.
  • Symbol of Authority: The Speaker embodies the authority of the Lok Sabha and is responsible for maintaining the sanctity of the parliamentary institution.

 

  • Provisions Ensuring the Independence and Impartiality of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • Given the significant powers and responsibilities of the Speaker of Lok Sabha, ensuring the office’s independence and impartiality is crucial. The Constitution and other regulations include the following measures:
  • The Speaker has security of tenure and can only be removed according to constitutional provisions.
  • Parliament determines the Speaker’s salary and allowances.
  • These financial provisions are charged to the Consolidated Fund of India, exempting them from Parliament’s annual vote.
  • The Speaker’s work and conduct can only be discussed or criticized in the Lok Sabha through a substantive motion.
  • The Speaker’s authority to regulate procedures, conduct business, or maintain order in the House is beyond the jurisdiction of any court.
  • The Speaker is not entitled to vote initially but can cast a vote in the event of a tie, ensuring impartiality.
  • The Speaker holds a high rank in the order of precedence, placed seventh alongside the Chief Justice of India.
  • This rank is higher than that of Cabinet Ministers, except for the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister.
  • Note: In Britain, there is a convention that the Speaker has to resign from his/her party in order to remain politically neutral. This healthy convention is not fully established in India.
    • In India, the Speaker of Lok Sabha does not resign from the membership of his/her party on his/her election as the Speaker.

 

  • Factors Hindering Impartiality of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • Several concerns and criticisms regarding the independence and neutrality of the Speaker of Lok Sabha include:
  • Party Affiliation – A primary concern is that the Speaker, typically a member of the ruling party, may show favoritism towards their own party while presiding over proceedings or making decisions in the house.
  • Perception of Bias – Even if the Speaker maintains impartiality in their actions, their party affiliation can create a perception of bias, casting doubt on the fairness of their decisions.
  • Potential for Biased Decision-Making – Critics argue that Speakers may occasionally make decisions that benefit their party or government, compromising their impartiality in parliamentary procedures and discipline matters.
  • Misuse of Casting Vote – Concerns arise over the discretionary power of the Speaker to cast a deciding vote in case of a tie, potentially leading to accusations of favoritism towards a particular side.
  • Disqualification of Members – Instances where the Speaker’s decisions on disqualifying members for breaching anti-defection laws or other regulations have been questioned for alleged bias towards or against specific political factions.
  • Allocation of Time – The allocation of time for debates, discussions, and question hours in the Lok Sabha has been contentious, with opposition parties accusing the Speaker of favoring the ruling party in scheduling and managing proceedings.
  • Biased Rulings on Motions – Opposition parties have criticized the Speaker’s rulings on various motions, such as No-Confidence Motions, Privilege Motions, and Adjournment Motions, citing perceived bias or lack of impartiality in interpreting parliamentary rules.
  • Disciplinary Actions – Actions taken by the Speaker against members, such as suspensions or expulsions, have sparked debates on the fairness and impartiality of such decisions, particularly when political considerations are involved.
  • Role in Debates – The Speaker’s role in moderating debates and ensuring equitable opportunities for all members to speak and express their views has been questioned for alleged partiality in managing the flow of discussions.
  • Handling of Protests – The Speaker’s management of disruptions, protests, and walkouts in the Lok Sabha has also faced scrutiny, with concerns raised about bias in handling such situations.

 

  • Who is a Pro-tem Speaker?
  • Refers: ‘Pro-tem’ essentially means ‘for the time being’ or ‘temporarily’.
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha oversees the daily operations of the House.
  • Under Article 94 of the Indian Constitution, the outgoing Speaker remains in office until the first session of the new Lok Sabha.
  • A pro-tem Speaker is appointed temporarily to fulfill specific responsibilities until the election of the new Speaker.
  • While the Constitution does not explicitly mention this position, guidelines on the appointment and duties of the pro-tem Speaker are outlined in the ‘Handbook on the Working of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs’.
  • Responsibilities: The primary role of the pro-tem Speaker is to administer oaths to new MPs, as required by Article 99 of the Constitution.

 

  • Appointment of the Pro-tem Speaker
  • When the position of the Speaker is vacant prior to the new Lok Sabha session, the President appoints a Member of the House as the Speaker pro-tem.
  • The oath for the Speaker pro-tem is administered by the President at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • Typically, three other elected members of the Lok Sabha are also appointed by the President to aid in the swearing-in ceremony.
  • The individuals selected for this task are generally the most senior members based on their years of service, though there may be exceptions.

 

  • Process of Administering Oaths of Pro-tem Speaker
  • The process of administering oaths in the Indian government’s Legislative I Section begins with compiling a list of the most senior Lok Sabha members after a new government is formed.
  • This list is then sent to either the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs or the Prime Minister, who selects the Speaker pro-tem and three other members for the oath-taking ceremony.
  • Once the Prime Minister approves, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs typically confirms the selected members over the phone.
  • Next, the Minister submits a memorandum to the President requesting approval for the appointments and specifying the date and time for the swearing-in ceremony.
  • Upon receiving the President’s approval, the Ministry notifies the Speaker pro-tem and the other selected members about their appointments.
  • Finally, the Speaker pro-tem administers the oath of office to the three members in the Lok Sabha.

 

  • Facts about Protem Speaker
  • The First Protem Speaker of Lok Sabha was G.V Mavlankar.
  • Seth Govind Das (Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth) and Shri Inderjit Gupta (Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth) have the rare distinction of serving as Protem Speaker in 4 successive Lok Sabhas. 
  • Dr Virendra Kumar was the Protem speaker for 17th Lok Sabha.

 

  • First pro-tem speaker of India
  • The pro-tem speaker is handed the position to manage the workings of houses of parliament and assist in the smooth coordination between the MLA of different parties in Loksabha.
  • He is also known as the presiding officer and serves for the highest position in the Loksabha.
  • In Indian history, the first pro-tem speaker was appointed under provisions of article 93 of the constitution of India in the year 1952.
  • The first pro-tem speaker of the Loksabha is Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar. He was appointed as the speaker of Loksabha on May 15, 1992. 
  • Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar served the position of pro-tem speaker from the year 1952 to 1956. The president of the constituent assembly of India appointed him.

 

  • MCQ’s

Q. Consider the following statements about Speaker Pro Tem.

  1. The President appoints a member of the Lok Sabha as the Speaker Pro Tem.
  2. The constitution mentions oath to the office of Speaker Pro Tem.
  3. The Speaker Pro Tem has limited powers to that of the Speaker.

Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

 

Q. Which of the following statements about the ‘pro tem’ Speaker of the House of Representatives in India is correct?

  1. The name for the post is recommended by the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives. 
  2. He is appointed by the President of India.
  3. The name for the post is recommended by the Union Cabinet. 
  4. The name for the post is recommended by the Leader of Opposition in the House of Representatives.

 

Q. Who administers the oath of affirmation of the speaker of Lok Sabha?

  1. President of India
  2. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  3. Senior most member of the Lok Sabha
  4. None of these

Ans. d

Explanation: Lok Sabha Speaker is one of the members of Parliament. He/she takes the oath along with other members by the pro-tem Speaker. No separate oath of affirmation is administered to him separately. Technically speaking speaker does not take any oath alone like President and Prime Minister of the country.

Q. Which of the following statement is/are NOT correct about the Lok Sabha speaker?

  1. Lok Sabha speaker is elected by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members.
  2. The date of election of Lok Sabha speaker is fixed by the President of India.
  3. M. A. Ayyangar was the first Lok Sabha speaker
  1. Only i & ii
  2. Only ii & iii
  3. Only i & iii
  4. All i, ii, and iii

Ans. a

Explanation:  It is true that Lok Sabha speaker is elected by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members and the date of election of Lok Sabha speaker is fixed by the President of India. The very first Lok Sabha speaker was Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar.

 

Q. Which of the following statement is not correct about the Lok Sabha Speaker?

  1. Meira Kumar and Sumtra Mahajan are the only two women Lok Sabha Speaker so far.
  2. The tenure of the Lok Sabha Speaker is 5
  3. In total 17 persons have served as the Lok Sabha Speaker
  4. Whenever Lok Sabha dissolves the speaker resigns from the post

Ans. d

Explanation: Whenever Lok Sabha dissolves the speaker does not resign from the post and continues till the newly elected Lok Sabha meets.

 

Q. Who call the joint session of the Parliament?

  1. The President of India
  2. Lok Sabha speaker itself
  3. Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha
  4. Prime Minister of India

Ans. a

Explanation: The President of India is entitled to call the joint session of the Parliament. Although meeting of joint session is chaired by the Lok Sabha speaker.

 

Q. Which of the following is not the power of the Lok Sabha speaker?

  1. He can speak and take part in the proceedings of the Lok Sabha on the matter related to his removal from the post.
  2. To give decision on any dispute related to election of any Lok Sabha member
  3. To act as the ex officio chairman of the conference of presiding officer of the legislative bodies in the country.
  4. To decide that which bill is money bill or not

Ans. b

Explanation: The dispute related to the election of any Lok Sabha member is dealt by the election commission of India not by the Lok Sabha speaker. Lok Sabha speaker decides on the matter of disqualification of nay member on the ground of defection.

 

Q. Who fixes the salaries and allowances of the Lok Sabha Speaker?

  1. President of India
  2. Parliament
  3. Lok Sabha alone
  4. Supreme Court of India

Ans. b

Explanation: Salaries and allowances of the Lok Sabha Speaker are decided by the Parliament of India.

 

Q. Who of the following was never chosen Lok Sabha Speaker?

  1. A. Sangma
  2. M. C. Balayogi
  3. Shivraj Patil
  4. Jagjivan Ram

Ans. d

Explanation: Jagjivan Ram popularly known as Babuji, was an Indian independence activist and politician from Bihar. He was 4th Deputy Prime Minister of India. He is the father of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. He was never chosen the speaker of the Lok Sabha.

 

Q. In terms of order of precedence, the rank of Lok Sabha speaker is……

  1. 9th rank
  2. 6th rank
  3. 7th rank
  4. 4th rank

Ans. c

Explanation: Lok Sabha speaker is ranked higher than the all Cabinet Ministers except the Prime Minister or Deputy PrimeMinister of India. Lok Sabha speaker is ranked at 7th placed along with the Chief Justice of India.

 

Q. Lok Sabha speaker submits his resignation to…

  1. The President of India
  2. The Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  3. Chief Justice of India
  4. Prime Minister of India

Ans. b

Explanation: Lok Sabha speaker submits his resignation to the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha and deputy speaker also submits his/her resignation to the Lok Sabha Speaker.

 

Q. Salary and allowances of the Lok Sabha Speaker is charged on the…

  1. Contingency fund of India
  2. Consolidated fund of India
  3. a & c both
  4. None of the above

Ans. b

Explanation: Salary and allowances of the Lok Sabha Speaker is charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. These salary and allowances are not subject to the annual vote of Parliament.

 

Disclaimer: The article may contain information pertaining to prior academic years; for further information, visit the exam’s official or concerned website.

 

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