Why Lok Sabha must have a Deputy Speaker

Source: This post is created based on the article “Why Lok Sabha must have a Deputy Speaker”, published in Indian Express on 22nd Feb.

Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2, Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business.

News: The Deputy Speaker has not been elected even after more than 3 years of this term of Lok Sabha. This matter has now reached the Supreme Court, which has reportedly sent notice to the Union government.

Significance of Deputy Speaker in the Lak Sabha

The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are described in the Constitution as officers of Parliament, which signifies their importance in the parliamentary system. As per article 93, Lok Sabha members elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, after the election.

The Deputy Speaker is equally significant as the House Speaker, based on history. The Deputy Speaker was designated Deputy President under the Government of India Act of 1919 since the Speaker was the president of the central legislative assembly.

Since the constitution has been enacted, every Lok Sabha had a Deputy Speaker who would be elected after a few days of the election of the Speaker.

Possible reason behind non-election of Deputy Speaker?

Constitutionally, as per Rule 8 of the Rules and Procedure of Lok Sabha, the Speaker fix the date of the election of the Deputy Speaker and government has no role in it. But in reality, government initiates the political process of the consultation with other parties and works out a consensus.

In the absence of speaker, Deputy Speaker has the same power as the Speaker. no appeal lies to the Speaker against a ruling given by the Deputy Speaker. He can also determine the petitions relating to disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution. Therefore, a person from the opposition on this post also comes with risks to ruling party.

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