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Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

  • Amid the political turmoil in Madhya Pradesh, Assembly Speaker has served notice on 13 rebel MLAs, asking them to appear before him immediately and attest that they had resigned of their own accord as legislators.
  • The Speaker has asked the MLAs to verify in person that they had submitted their resignations independently and under no duress.

Powers of the Speaker

According to the Constitution of India, a Speaker is vested with immense administrative and discretionary powers, some of which are enumerated below:

  • The Speaker presides over the meetings in the House. In other words, the business in the House is conducted by the Speaker, ensuring discipline and decorum amongst its members. He/she guards the rights and privileges of the members of the two Houses, deciding who should speak at what time, the questions to be asked, the order of proceedings to be followed, among others.
  • A Speaker uses his/her power to vote, in order to resolve a deadlock. That is, when the House initiates a voting procedure, he does not cast a vote in the first instance. However, when the two sides receive equal number of votes, the Speaker’s vote is used to resolve the deadlock, making the his position as impartial as in the English system of democracy.
  • In the absence of a quorum in the House, it is the duty of the Speaker to adjourn the House or to suspend any meeting, until the quorum is met. The Speaker decides the agenda that must be discussed in a meeting of the Members of the Parliament.
  • The Speaker is invested with the immense powers of interpreting the Rules of Procedure. That is, since he/she is the member of the House as well as the Presiding Officer at the same time, he ensures the discipline of the House. The Speaker ensures that MPs are punished for unruly behaviour. A Speaker can also disqualify a Member of Parliament from the House on grounds of defection. It is in the power of a Speaker, to permit the various parliamentary procedures such as the motion of adjournment, the motion of no confidence, the motion of censure, among others.
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.
  • Once a Money Bill is transmitted from the Lower House to the Upper House, the Speaker is solely responsible for endorsing his or her certificate on the Bill. In other words, he/she is given the pivotal power to decide whether any Bill is a Money Bill. This decision is considered final, and all procedures henceforth, must be carried along accordingly.
  • The Speaker has under his or her jurisdiction, a number of Parliamentary Committees such as the Rules Committee, the Business Advisory Committee and the General Purposes Committee. The Speaker nominates the various Chairmen of these Committees, as well as looks into the procedural hindrances of the workings of these Committees, if any.
  • Besides heading the Lok Sabha, the Speaker is also the ‘ex-officio’ President of the Indian Parliamentary Group. He/she also acts in the capacity of Chairman of the Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies in India.
  • As part of the Speaker’s administrative role, he or she is the head of the Lok Sabha Secretariat, maintaining absolute security surveillance in the Parliament.

February 2024