GS 2 INDIAN POLITY : Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
The post of Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha has been one of the bones of contention between the government and the opposition. This is the first time that the Lok Sabha has functioned for over a year without having a Deputy Speaker.Now, Harivansh Narayan Singh re-elected as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman.
- The institutions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker originated in India in 1921 under the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford Reforms).
- Before 1921, the Governor-General of India used to preside over Central Legislative Council.
- Frederick Whyte and Sachidanand Sinha were appointed as the first Speaker and the first Deputy Speaker (respectively) of the central legislative assembly.
- 1925, Vithalbhai J. Patel became the first Indian and the first elected Speaker.
- Government of India Act of 1935 changed the nomenclatures of President and Deputy President to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
- V. Mavalankar and Ananthasayanam Ayyangar being the first Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Election of Deputy Speaker:
- Article 93 provides for the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
- by the Lok Sabha itself from amongst its members.
- elected after the election of the Speaker has taken place.
- Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha:- “The election of a Deputy Speaker shall be held on such date as the Speaker may fix.”
- It is by convention that the position of Deputy Speaker is offered to the opposition party in India.
Office of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker:
- while the members of Parliament represent the individual constituencies, the Speaker represents the full authority of the House itself.
- has extensive functions to perform in matters
- enjoys vast authority under the Constitution and the Rules.
- represents its collective voice.
- is the ultimate arbiter and interpreter which relates to the functioning of the House.
- decisions are:
- final and binding
- ordinarily cannot be questioned
- Cannot be challenged or criticised.
- more symbolic of parliamentary democracy than some real authority.
- no need to resign from their original party though as a Deputy Speaker(have to remain impartial)
Power & Roles of Deputy Speaker:
- performs the duties of the Speaker’s office when it is vacant.
- acts as the Speaker when the latter is absent from the sitting of the House.(both cases-assumes all the powers of the Speaker.)
- presides over the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament, in case the Speaker is absent from such a sitting.
- is not subordinate to the Speaker.
- has one special privilege(whenever he is appointed as a member of a parliamentary committee, he automatically becomes its chairman.)
- decides whether a bill is a money bill or a non-money bill.
- maintains discipline and decorum.(can punish a member for unruly behaviour by suspending him/her.)
- permits the moving of various kinds of motions and resolutions
- motion of no confidence
- motion of adjournment
- motion of censure
- calling attention notice.
- while presiding over the House, cannot vote in the first instance; he can only cast vote in the case of a tie.
Tenure and removal:
- hold office until
- cease to be a member of the Lok Sabha or
- they resign.
- can be removed from office by a resolution passed in the Lok Sabha by an effective majority of its members.
The Office of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker occupies a pivotal position in our parliamentary democracy,symbolises the dignity and power of the House.
With the televising of proceedings of Parliament, the small screen brings to millions of households in the country the day-to-day developments in the House, making the Speaker’s task all the more important.