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Speaker of the Lok Sabha

Topics covered:

  1. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

Speaker of the Lok Sabha

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: The office of Speaker, powers, roles, appointment and functions.

 

Context: Om Birla has been named as the new Lok Sabha Speaker by the NDA. He is elected Member of Parliament from Kota, Rajasthan.

 

Speaker of the Lok Sabha:

The chairman or the Presiding Officer of Lok Sabha is called Speaker.

The speaker of the Lok Sabha is elected from all other members by simple majority.

Any member of Parliament is eligible to be nominated as a speaker but most commonly the candidate of ruling party or the party with majority wins this post.

However, there are certain cases when the elected Speaker does not belonged to the majority ruling party of Lok Sabha (G. M. C. Balyogi, Manohar Joshi, Somnath Chatterjee).

 

Functions and Powers of Lok Sabha Speakers:

  • Speaker of Lok Sabha is basically the head of the house and presides over the sittings of Parliament and controls its working.
  • The constitution has tried to ensure the independence of Speaker by charging his salary on the consolidated Fund of India and the same is not subject to vote of Parliament.
  • While debating or during general discussion on a bill, the members of the parliament have to address only to the Speaker.
  • Whenever there is a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha) the Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over this meeting.
  • The Speaker of Lok Sabha comes at sixth position in the Order of Precedence of Government of India.
  • In the normal circumstances the Speaker does not casts his vote over any matter in Lok Sabha. But when ever there is a tie on votes between the ruling party and opposition, the Speaker at that time can exercise his vote.
  • It is the Speaker who decides the agenda of various discussions.
  • The speaker has the power to adjourn or suspend the house/meetings if the quorum is not met.
  • The Speaker ensures the discipline and decorum of the house. If the speaker finds the behaviour and a member of Parliament is not good, he/she can punish the unruly members by suspending.
  • The Speaker decides weather a bill brought to the house is a money bill or not. In the case Speaker decides some bill as a money bill, this decision can not be challenged.
  • Speaker is the final and sole authority to allow different types of motions and resolutions such as No Confidence Motion, Motion of Adjournment, Censure Motion etc.
  • The Speaker of Lok Sabha does not leave the office just after dissolution of the assembly. He continues to be in the office till the newly formed assembly takes its first meeting and elects the new Speaker.

 

The Speaker of Lok Sabha automatically disqualifies from his post if:

  • he is no longer the Member of Parliament.
  • if he tenders his resignation to the Deputy Speaker.
  • if he holds the office of profit under central government or any state government.
  • if he is of unsound mind and that too declared by the court of law.
  • if he is declared undischarged insolvent.
  • if he is no longer the citizen of India or voluntarily accepts the citizenship of any other country.
  • if he is removed from the post of Speaker by passing a resolution by majority of the members of Lok Sabha. This is to note that during resolution for removal of Speaker, the Speaker is not in position to cast his vote even if there is tie.

 

Speaker and the Committees:

  • The Committees of the House function under the overall direction of the Speaker. All such Committees are constituted by her or by the House.
  • The Chairmen of all Parliamentary Committees are nominated by her.
  • Any procedural problems in the functioning of the Committees are referred to her for directions.
  • Committees like the Business Advisory Committee, the General Purposes Committee and the Rules Committee work directly under her Chairmanship.