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Missing Deputy Speaker: Role, Constitutional Guidelines and Responsibilities

Relevance: GS Paper 2, Indian Polity

The post of Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha has been vacant since the 17th Lok Sabha was constituted on June 19, 2019.


The same is true for five state assemblies that have been constituted over the past four years.


A PIL filed in the Supreme Court has argued that not electing a Deputy Speaker is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Here are the key facts about the Deputy Speaker and the Constitution


What Does The Constitution Say About The Deputy Speaker?

  • Article 93 of the Constitution states that the House of the People must choose two members to be Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
  • Article 178 contains the corresponding position for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of a state.
  • Both Articles 93 and 178 use the word “shall”, indicating that the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker is mandatory under the Constitution.

Is it Mandatory To Have A Deputy Speaker?

  • Constitutional experts point out that both Articles 93 and 178 use the word “shall”, indicating that the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker is mandatory under the Constitution.

How Soon Must The Deputy Speaker Be Elected?

  • Articles 93 and 178 state that the House should choose a Speaker and Deputy Speaker “as soon as may be.”
  • The election of the Speaker usually takes place during the first session of the House, and the election of the Deputy Speaker usually takes place in the second session.
  • Rule 8 of The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha says the election of Deputy Speaker “shall be held on such date as the Speaker may fix”.
  • Once elected, the Deputy Speaker usually continues in office for the entire duration of the House.

Click Here To Read : Failure To Elect A Deputy Speaker

How Was The Post of Deputy Speaker Envisaged?

  • The Deputy Speaker was envisaged as someone who could receive the resignation of the Speaker if the Speaker were to resign.
  • The Constituent Assembly had a debate on whether a Speaker should address his resignation to the President or the Deputy Speaker. Dr B R Ambedkar argued that the resignation should be addressed to the House.
  • If the post of Deputy Speaker is vacant, the House is informed of the resignation of the Speaker by the Secretary-General who receives the letter of resignation in that House.

Do The Powers Of The Speaker Extend To The Deputy Speaker As Well?

  • Article 95(1) states that while the office of Speaker is vacant, the duties of the office shall be performed by the Deputy Speaker.
  • The Deputy Speaker has the same powers as the Speaker when presiding over a sitting of the House. All references to the Speaker in the Rules are deemed to be references to the Deputy Speaker when he presides.
  • No appeal lies to the Speaker against a ruling given by the Deputy Speaker or any person presiding over the House in the absence of the Speaker.

What Is The Position Of The Union Government On The Current Vacancy In The Post of Deputy Speaker?

  • The Treasury benches have maintained there is no “immediate requirement” for a Deputy Speaker as “bills are being passed and discussions are being held” as normal in the House.
  • A panel of nine members is available to act as chairpersons to assist the Speaker in running the House. The panel includes members from different parties.
  • It has been usual practice to offer the post of Deputy Speaker to the Opposition.

April 2024