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News: There is an ongoing row in Uttar Pradesh Assembly over the election of Dy Speaker, the post which was lying vacant for two years.
Constitutional mandate for Deputy Speaker
• Article 93 talks about the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker for Lok Sabha and the case for their vacancies.Article 178 contains the corresponding position for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of a state.
• Constitutional experts point out that both Articles 93 and 178 use the words “shall” and “as soon as may be”.
• This indicates that not only is the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker mandatory, it must be held at the earliest.All that the Constitution says is the election must be held as soon as possible.
• The practice in both Lok Sabha and the state Legislative Assemblies has been to elect the Speaker during the first session of the new House.
• This usually falls on the third day after oath-taking and affirmations take place over the first two days.
• The election of the Deputy Speaker usually takes place in the second session, even though there is no bar on having this election too in the first session.However, the election of Deputy Speaker is generally not delayed beyond the second session without genuine and unavoidable constraints.
• In Lok Sabha, the election of Deputy Speaker is governed by the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.According to the Rule, the election “shall be held on such date as the Speaker may fix”, and the Deputy Speaker is elected once a motion proposing his name is carried.
• There are similar provisions in the State Legislative Assembly Rules.
• Once elected, the Deputy Speaker usually continues in office until the dissolution of the House.
• Under Article 94 (Article 179 for state legislatures), the Speaker or Dy Speaker “shall vacate his office if (S)he ceases to be a member of the House”.They may also resign (to each other), or “may be removed by a resolution of the House of the People passed by a majority of all the then members of the House”.
• Article 95(1) says: While the office of Speaker is vacant, the duties of the office shall be performed by the Deputy Speaker.
• After the first Speaker, G V Mavalankar died, M Ananth Ayyangar officiated as Acting Speaker for the remaining tenure of the House and was then elected Speaker of the second Lok Sabha.
• There is another such incident.In general, 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.
• It has been repeatedly held that no appeal lies to the Speaker against a ruling given by the Deputy Speaker or any person presiding over a sitting of the House in the absence of the Speaker.
• The Tenth Schedule says that a person who has been elected Speaker/ Deputy Speaker shall NOT be disqualified if he voluntarily gives up the membership of the political party to which he belonged.
• This exemption applies to the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, Chairman/ Deputy Chairman of a state Legislative Council, and Speaker/ Deputy Speaker of a state Legislative Assembly as well.
• In general, the courts do not intervene in the procedural conduct of Parliament.
• Article 122(1) says: The validity of any proceedings in Parliament shall not be called in question on the ground of any alleged irregularity of procedure.
• A petition before the Delhi High Court has argued that the delay in the election of the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker violates Article 93 of the Constitution.There is no precedent of a court forcing the legislature to elect the Deputy Speaker.However, the courts do have jurisdiction to at least enquire why there has been no election to the post of Deputy Speaker since the Constitution does envisage an election “as soon as maybe”.