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SC questions on delayed appointment of deputy speaker

Published: 16th Feb, 2023

SC questions on delayed appointment of deputy speaker

Context

The Supreme Court sought the Centre's response on a PIL that questioned the non-election of deputy speaker in Lok Sabha and several state assemblies, and observed that the issue is "very important".

About

How are the Speaker and Deputy Speaker elected?

  • 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, and 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 roles of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker

  • 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.
  • Continuity of the Speakers office: The Deputy Speaker ensures the continuity of the Speakers office by acting as the Speaker when the office becomes vacant. 
  • Increasing domain: Since Independence, the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker’s position has grown in importance. In addition to presiding over the House in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker chaired committees both inside and outside of Parliament. 

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