The Speaker of the Lok Sabha plays a very important role in the Indian Parliamentary system. He enjoys a lot of powers in the Parliament. It is important to remember/by-heart the functions of the speaker and other points related to him. Here, I have sorted the list of functions of the Speaker just to make it easy for you guys. So, here we go.
The Speaker is the head of the Lok Sabha and its representative. He is the guardian of powers and privileges of the members, the House as a whole and its committees. He is the principal spokesman of the House, and his decision in all Parliamentary matters is final. He enjoys great honour, high dignity and supreme authority within the house.
Election of the Speaker
The presiding officer of the Lok Sabha (Speaker) is elected by from among its members. It is the duty of Speaker Pro Tem to help House to elect its presiding officer (Speaker Pro Tem).
Generally, the Speaker of the house is from the majority party and the Deputy Speaker is from the opposition party. It is a parliamentary convention developed over years. It is written neither in the constitution nor in Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha.
He is the chief officer of the house, and the proceedings of the house cannot be run without him. Whenever the Lok Sabha dissolves, the Speaker does not vacate his office and continues till the newly elected Lok Sabha. And whenever the office of Speaker falls vacant, the Lok Sabha elects another member to fill the vacancy. The date of the election of the Speaker is fixed by the President.
Removal of the Speaker
There are three cases under which speaker vacates his office:
- if he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha
- if he resignes by writing to the Deputy Speaker
- if he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the Lok Sabha. Such resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice. The motion of removal can be considered and discussed only when it has the support of at least 50 members.
When the removal of the Speaker is under consideration of the House, he cannot preside at the sitting of the House, though he may be present. However, he can speak and take part in the proceedings of the House at such a time and vote in the first instance, though not in the case of an equality of votes (the Presiding officer only votes in the case of a tie).
Functions of the Speaker
- He maintains order and decorum in the House for conducting its business and regulating its proceedings. This is his primary responsibility and he has final power in this regard.
- He is the final interpreter of the provisions of (a) the Constitution of India, (b) the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and (c) the parliamentary precedents/conventions, within the house.
The above two points shows that the proceedings of the house cannot be run without him.
- He adjourns the House or suspends the meeting in absence of a quorum. The quorum to constitute a meeting of the House is one-tenth of the total strength of the House.
When a meeting is called, he can suspend the meeting in the above case.
- He presides of over a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament. Such a sitting is summoned by the President to settle a deadlock between the two Houses on a bill.
- He can allow a ‘secret’ sitting of the House at the request of the Leader of the House. When the House sits in secret, not stranger can be present in the chamber, lobby or galleries except with the pemission fo the Speaker.
- He acts as the ex-officio chairman of the Indian Parliamentary Group which acts as a link between the Parliament of India and the various parliaments of the world. He also acts as the ex-officio chairman of the conference of presiding officer of legislative bodies in the country.
- He is the chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, the Rules Committee and the General Purpose Committee.
The above points are only regarding meetings and his chairmanship.
- He appoints the chariman of all the parliamentary committees of the Lok Sabha and supervises their functioning.
It is regarding appointment power of the Speaker.
- He decides the questions of disqualification of a member of the Lok Sabha, arising on the ground of defection under the provisions of the 10th Schedule. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review.
- He decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is final. When a money bill is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for recommendation (Rajya Sabha has very less power with regard to a money bill) and presented to the President for assent, the Speaker endorses on the bill his certificate that it is a money bill. (The President generally gives his assent to a money bill, because it has been introduced in House with his prior permission)
The above points talks of decision taking power of the Speaker.
- He does not vote in the first instance. But he can exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie.
Voting power of the Speaker.