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19th June 2024 (10 Topics)

Pro-tem Speaker

Context

Recently, K Suresh from the Congress party has been appointed as the pro-tem Speaker in the Lok Sabha. This appointment holds significance as it precedes the formal election of the Speaker of the House.

What is a Speaker pro-tem?

  • Temporary Position: The Speaker pro-tem is appointed temporarily.
  • Appointment: Appointed by the President of India, the pro-tem Speaker is traditionally the most senior member of the House.
  • Duties: The pro-tem Speaker has several crucial responsibilities, including:
    • Presiding over the first sitting of the Lok Sabha.
    • Conducting the floor test to ascertain the government’s majority.
    • Overseeing the vote to elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
    • Administering the oath of office to newly elected MPs: It is the pro-tem Speaker’s primary duty.
      • Under Article 99 of the Constitution, “Every Member of the House shall, before taking his seat, make and subscribe before the President or some person appointed in that behalf by him, an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule of the Constitution.”
    • Duration: The pro-tem Speaker’s tenure concludes once the new Speaker of the House is elected.
    • The Constitution does not mention the post.

Fact Box: The Role of the Speaker

  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha holds a pivotal position in the functioning of the House, overseeing its proceedings and upholding parliamentary rules and decorum.
  • The Speaker of the House is decided by a simple majority.
  • Election: Elected by the members of the Lok Sabha, the Speaker serves as the custodian of the House.
  • Article 94 of the Indian Constitution states: “Whenever the House of the People is dissolved, the Speaker shall not vacate his office until immediately before the first meeting of the House of the People after the dissolution.”
  • Responsibilities:
  • Maintaining Order: Ensuring discipline during debates and discussions, with the authority to suspend proceedings if needed.
  • Decision Making: Making rulings on parliamentary procedures and disputes.
  • Critical Powers: Holds significant powers, including adjudicating on issues like disqualification of MPs and deciding on no-confidence motions.
  • Impact on Government Stability: The Speaker’s decisions are crucial in matters of proving majority and interpreting laws like the anti-defection law.

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