This blog is part of the series Constitution simplified
The office of the Speaker is more than merely a presiding officer of the LS. One thing you will notice is that you will not find an exhaustive list of rules and procedures for the Officers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. That’s because these are offices of trust. We take for granted that when a Member is appointed a speaker, he/she keeps his party allegiance aside and acts in an impartial manner.
Powers of the Speaker
The Office of the Speaker is a very powerful one. He derives his powers from three sources – a. The Constitution, b. The Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha and c. The Parliamentary Convention(residuary powers that are unwritten or unspecified).
- He is the sole authority to decide whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not. This decision of his cannot be challenged.
The present Parliament is the best example to demonstrate how important this power can be. The Govt. enjoys a majority in the LS but not in the RS. Hence they are unable to get a lot of Bills passed. Our FM remarked that certifying the Bills as Money Bills are the only way to get them passed.
*The Speaker has to consult Article 110 to mark a Bill as Money Bill. So it’s not entirely his discretion.
- He presides over the joint setting of the two houses. This privilege doesn’t belong to the Chairman of the RS. If the Speaker is absent, it goes to the Dy. Speaker of the LS. If the Dy. Speaker is absent, it goes to the Vice Chairman of the RS.
- The Speaker enjoys a special relationship with the Parliamentary Committees. All the Joint Parliamentary Committees are appointed by the Speaker and they report to him directly. Further, the Speaker nominates various members to these committees. If the Speaker himself is a Member, he becomes the ex-officio Chairman.
- The Office of the Speaker is retained till the 1st meeting of the next LS. All other Members cease to be in office once the LS dissolves.
- Special Role in Anti-Defection law. The Speaker has to accept the resignation of any Member of the House. This is to ensure that the resignation is voluntary. This decision is final but is open to Judicial Review. Ref: PRS India