Prelims & GS Paper - II
- Article 93 says “The House of the People shall, as soon as may be, choose two members…to be…Speaker and Deputy Speaker…and, so often as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the House shall choose another member…”
Article 178 contains the similar portfolio for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of a state.
- Is it Mandatory to elect a Deputy Speaker? According to Constitutional experts, both Articles 93 and 178 use the word “shall”, which indicates that the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker is compulsory or mandatory under the Constitution.
- Time frame to elect a Deputy Speaker: Article 93 contains the phrase “as soon as” but it doesn’t come with a time frame. Hence, there is no timeline defined within which the House of the People will elect its Deputy Speaker. Rule 8 of The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha says the election of Deputy Speaker “shall be held on such date as the Speaker may fix”.
- Election of Deputy Speaker: The Deputy Speaker is elected once a motion proposing his name is carried in the House.
Tenure: Once elected, the Deputy Speaker usually continues in office for the entire duration of the House. Under Article 94 (Article 179 for state legislatures), the Speaker or Deputy Speaker “shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the House…”. They may also resign to each other, or “may be removed from…office by a resolution of the House of the People passed by a majority of all the then members of the House”
Powers of Deputy Speaker:
- Article 95(1) says: “While the office of Speaker is vacant, the duties of the office shall be performed by the Deputy Speaker”.
- In general, the Deputy Speaker has the same powers as the Speaker when presiding over a sitting of the House. All references to the Speaker in the Rules are deemed to be references to the Deputy Speaker when he presides.
- It has been repeatedly held that no appeal lies to the Speaker against a ruling given by the Deputy Speaker or any person presiding over the House in the absence of the Speaker.