July 15, 2013

Speaker of the Lok Sabha: Role, Function and Powers

Speaker of Parliament:
  • Each House has its own presiding officers. 
  • The Lok Sabha elects two of its members to act as Speaker and Deputy Speaker to preside over its meetings. The Speaker must be a member of the Lok Sabha. 
  • He may be from any party but once he is elected Speaker, he has to be impartial in his decisions. He can resign whenever he likes. 
  • He can also be removed by a resolution of the majority of members of the Lok Sabha giving 14 days notice stating the intention to move such a resolution.
  • The Speaker's salary and allowances are fixed by the Parliament.
  • The Speaker holds office during the term of the House but when the House is dissolved, he does not vacate his office until the newly elected House meets and elects its Speaker.
  • He occupies a position of great authority and responsibility. 
  • He has very wide powers to maintain discipline in the House.
  • With respect to the discharge of his powers and functions, he is not answerable to anyone except the House. No court of law can go into the merits of a ruling given by him.
Function or Role of the Speaker
  • The Speaker maintains discipline in the House and conducts the proceedings (debates, questions and answers and the voting) in accordance with parliamentary rules.
  • He adjourns (stops) or suspends its meetings if there are insufficient members present.
  • He can suspend a Member from the House for misconduct.
  • He makes an agenda for the House and allocates times to various items on the agenda.
  • He recognizes members on the floor of the House and allots them time to speak.
  • He can order a member to yield the floor to another member, i.e., he can ask a member of the House to stop speaking and let another speak.
  • He appoints the Chairman of the various Committees.
  • When a Money Bill is sent from the Lower House to the Upper House the Speaker has to endorse on the Bill his certificate that it is a Money Bill.
  • He has a casting vote in case of a tie over an issue.
  • He gives ruling on the controversial points of procedure. These rulings are final.
  • His decisions to admit notices of question, motions, resolutions, bills, amendments etc. is final.
  • He is the medium of communication between the Members of the Lok Sabha and the President.
  • He is the spokesman of the Lok Sabha and he represents it on all ceremonial occasions.
  • He is the guardian of the rights and privileges of the members of the House
G.V. Mavalankar was the first Speaker of Lok Sabha (15 May 1952- 27 February 1956).
M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar was the first Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha (30 May 1952-7 March 1956).

Q) Who presides over the House in the absence of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker?

According to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha- 
the Speaker shall nominate from amongst the members a Panel of not more than ten Chairmen, any one of whom may preside over the House in the absence of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
A Chairman from the Panel holds Office for one year but the same person may be renominated from time to time.

List of Speakers of  Loksabha:
  1. G.V. Mavlankar May 15, 1952 - February 27, 1956 Indian National Congress
  2. M. A. Ayyangar March 8, 1956 - April 16, 1962 Indian National Congress
  3. Sardar Hukam Singh April 17, 1962 - March 16, 1967 Indian National Congress
  4. N. Sanjiva Reddy March 17, 1967 - July 19, 1969 Indian National Congress
  5. G.S. Dhillon August 8, 1969 - December 1, 1975 Indian National Congress
  6. Bali Ram Bhagat January 15, 1976 - March 25, 1977 Indian National Congress
  7. N. Sanjiva Reddy,March 26, 1977 - July 13, 1977 Janata Party
  8. K.S. Hegde July 21, 1977 - January 21, 1980 Janata Party
  9. Balram Jakhar January 22, 1980 - December 18, 1989 Indian National Congress
  10. Rabi Ray December 19, 1989 - July 9, 1991 Janata Dal
  11. Shivraj Patil July 10, 1991 - May 22, 1996 Indian National Congress
  12. P.A. Sangma May 25, 1996 - March 23, 1998 Indian National Congress
  13. G.M.C. Balayogi March 24, 1998 - March 3, 2002 Telugu Desam Party
  14. Manohar Joshi May 10, 2002 - June 2, 2004 Shiv Sena
  15. Somnath Chatterjee June 4, 2004 - till date Communist Party of India-Marxist
Some points to note:
1)Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar (died 27 February 1956) popularly known as Dadasaheb was an independence activist and the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India.
2)Mavalankar hailed from Marathi background but lived and worked in Ahmedabad, capital of Gujarat. He was a colleague and close friend of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Mavalankar joined the Indian Independence Movement with the Non-Cooperation Movement. Although he temporarily joined the Swaraj Party in the 1920s, he returned to Mahatma Gandhi and the Salt Satyagraha in 1930.
In 1952, after the first general elections in independent India, G.V. Mavalankar was elected the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. He died in office in 1956.
3)Neelam Sanjeev Reddy --He was the only non-Congress candidate to get elected from Andhra Pradesh. He was unanimously elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha on March 26, 1977.

He was elected President by the electoral college in July 1977, and was the only person to be elected President of India unopposed.


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