Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Speaker and Dy Speaker

Mains level: Parliament and State legislatures

The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has been without a Speaker for most of this year.

Election of Speakers

  • The Constitution specifies offices like those of the President, Vice President, Chief Justice of India, and Comptroller and Auditor General of India, as well as Speakers and Deputy Speakers.
  • Article 93 for Lok Sabha and Article 178 for state Assemblies state that these Houses “shall, as soon as may be”, choose two of its members to be Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
  • In Lok Sabha and state legislatures, the President/Governor sets a date for the election of the Speaker.
  • It is the Speaker who decides the date for the election of the Deputy Speaker.
  • The legislators of the respective Houses vote to elect one among themselves to these offices.
  • The Constitution provides that the office of the Speaker should never be empty.
  • So, he/she continues in office until the beginning of the next House, except in the event of death or resignation.

Ruling party or Opposition?

  • Usually, the Speaker comes from the ruling party.
  • In the case of the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, the position has varied over the years.
  • Until the fourth Lok Sabha, the Congress held both the Speaker and Deputy Speakers positions.
  • In the fifth Lok Sabha, whose term was extended due to the Emergency, an independent member, Shri G G Swell, was elected the Deputy Speaker.
  • The tradition for the post of the Deputy Speaker going to the Opposition party started during the term of Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s government.
  • The first time the Deputy Speaker’s position went to the opposition was during the term of Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.

Their roles

  • According to the book Practice and Procedure of Parliament, published by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, the Speaker is “the principal spokesman of the House, he represents its collective voice and is its sole representative to the outside world”.
  • The Speaker presides over the House proceedings and joint sittings of the two Houses of Parliament.
  • It is the Speaker’s decision that determines whether a Bill is a Money Bill and therefore outside of the purview of the other House.
  • The Deputy Speaker is independent of the Speaker, not subordinate to him, as both are elected from among the members of the House.

Why need Dy Speaker?

  • The Deputy Speaker ensures the continuity of the Speakers office by acting as the Speaker when the office becomes vacant.
  • In addition, when a resolution for removal of the Speaker is up for discussion, the Constitution specifies that the Deputy Speaker presides over the proceedings of the House.

Issue over time limit for election

  • The Constitution neither sets a time limit nor specifies the process for these elections.
  • It leaves it to the legislatures to decide how to hold these elections.
  • Haryana and Uttar Pradesh specify a time frame for holding the election to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s offices.
  • In Haryana, the election of the Speaker has to take place as soon as possible after the election.
  • Uttar Pradesh has a 15-day limit for an election to the Speaker’s post if it falls vacant during the term of the Assembly.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Consider the following statements:

  1. The Speakers of the Legislative Assembly shall vacate his/her office if he/she ceases to be a member of the Assembly
  2. Whenever the legislative assembly is dissolved, the speaker shall vacate his/her office immediately.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (CSP 2013)

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

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