Under the terms of the Government of India Act of 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford Reforms), the speaker and deputy speaker institutions were first established in India in 1921.
Back then, the position was called President and Deputy President respectively. The Government of India Act of 1935 Changed the nomenclature to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker but the same nomenclature continued till 1947.
In 1921, the first appointed Deputy Speaker (Deputy President) of the Central Legislative Assembly was Sachidanand Sinha.
In 1925, the first elected Speaker of the Central Legislative Assembly was Vitthalbhai J. Patel.
Similar to how the speaker is elected, the deputy speaker is also elected by the Lok Sabha from among its members. The election for the selection is conducted after the election of the Speaker.
It is the speaker who fixes the date of the election of the Deputy Speaker unlike the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, whose date of the election is fixed by the President.
Same as the Speaker, Deputy Speaker also remains in office during the life of Lok Sabha. However, he can vacate his office in certain cases.
Like the Speaker, while presiding over the house, Deputy Speaker cannot vote in the first instance and is only allowed to a casting vote that also just in case of a tie.
When Speaker presides over the house, the Deputy speaker is just like any other ordinary member. Where he can participate in its proceedings and vote in the first instance on any question.
The salary and allowances are fixed by the Parliament and charged to the consolidated fund of India.
Term of Office of Deputy Speaker
Usually, the Deputy Speaker remains in office during the life of Lok Sabha.
In normal circumstances, it is 5 years. He has to vacate his office immediately before the meeting of the newly-elected Lok Sabha.
The term of the office is automatically extended if the life of the Lok Sabha is extended such as in case of an Emergency.
However, he vacates his office earlier in certain circumstances like removal, resignation, or in case ceased to be a member of the house.
Removal of Deputy Speaker
Deputy Speaker can vacate his office in certain circumstances i.e.,
- If he is no longer considered a member of the Lok Sabha
- Produces a resignation by writing to the Speaker
- In case of removal by a resolution
The resolution for the removal must be passed by all the then members of the Lok Sabha. Such a resolution can be moved only after presenting 14 days’ advance notice.
Duties and Responsibility
The Deputy Speaker has certain responsibilities to fulfill. The most important of them are-
- When the speaker’s office is vacant, he performs the duties of the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
- He also performs the duties of the Speaker in case of the absence of the Speaker.
- While performing the duties of the Speaker, he assumes all the powers of the Speaker.
- In absence of the Speaker, he presides over the joint sitting of the houses.
- When he presides over the house, he decides whether a bill is a money bill or not, just like the speaker.
- Maintain order and decorum in the house and have the authority to suspend a member for disruptive behavior.
Position and Privileges
The office of the Deputy Speaker is not subordinate to the speaker. He is directly responsible for the house.
Deputy Speaker has one special privilege, every time a deputy speaker is appointed as a member of a parliamentary committee, he automatically assumes the chairmanship of that committee.
Panel of Chairpersons
The panel of Chairpersons is a panel of members of Lok Sabha that consist of not more than 10 members of Lok Sabha.
In case of the absence of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, any member of the panel can preside over the house. While presiding they assume all the powers of the Speaker.
Here it’s important to mention that the panel of chairpersons cannot preside over the house when the office of the speaker and deputy speaker is vacant. During such a situation, President may appoint a member to perform the functions of the Speaker.
The panel holds office until a new panel of chairpersons is nominated.
Speaker Pro Tem
As per the constitution, the Speaker of the last Lok Sabha has to vacate his office immediately before the first meeting of the newly-elected Lok Sabha. So, the president appoints a member of Lok Sabha as a Speaker Pro Tem. Normally, the senior-most member is selected as Speaker Pro Tem and the President administers his/her oath.
He presides over the first sitting of the newly-elected Lok Sabha and has the duty to administer the oath of the new members. Along with enabling the house to elect the new Speaker.
The office of Speaker Pro Tem cease to exist right after the Speaker got elected. Hence this office is temporary in nature.
- Article 93- The Speaker and D. Speaker of the House of the People
- Article 94- Mentions vacation, resignation from the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, and removal from such positions
- Article 95- States the power of the Deputy Speaker or other person to carry out the responsibilities of the Speaker’s office or to act in that capacity
- Article 96- Clarifies that while a resolution to remove the Speaker from office is being considered, the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker shall not preside.
- Article 97- Salaries and benefits for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, as well as the Chairman and Deputy Chairman
The office of the Deputy Speaker is as important as the office of the Speaker. The constitution has created this office for the smooth functioning of the house. The main purpose of the house is to avoid irregularity in the proceedings in case of any vacancy or absence.
Article Written By: Priti Raj