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What is the Deputy Speaker’s role, powers and how often has it been held by an Opposition MP?

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday said that the Opposition will support the government on the Lok Sabha Speaker's choice if the convention is followed and the Deputy Speaker's post is given to the Opposition bloc.
Last Updated : 26 June 2024, 07:48 IST

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The Opposition this time is hoping to get the post of the Deputy Speaker due to the increased strength of its members in the Lok Sabha.

Though M Thambi Durai of the AIADMK was the Deputy Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha from 2014 to 2019, during the 17th Lok Sabha -- from 2019 to 2024 -- there was no Deputy Speaker.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday said that the Opposition will support the government on the Lok Sabha Speaker's choice if the convention is followed and the Deputy Speaker's post is given to the Opposition bloc.

He also said that Defence Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh was yet to get back to them on the Opposition's demand for the Deputy Speaker's post.

The ruling BJP-led NDA fielded previous Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla for the crucial parliamentary position again, but its bid for a consensus was thwarted by the Opposition which forced an election by nominating Kodikunnil Suresh as its candidate.

Powers of the Deputy Speaker

According to the Article 95(1), if the position of the Speaker is vacant, the duties of the office of Speaker shall be performed by the Deputy Speaker.

All the references to the Speaker in the parliamentarian rules are deemed to same references to the Deputy Speaker as well, as the Deputy Speaker too has the same general powers as the Speaker when he or she presides over the House.

According to Article 93, The House of the People shall, as soon as may be, choose two members of the House to be respectively Speaker and Deputy Speaker thereof and, so often as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the House shall choose another member to be Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be.

According to Article 178, every legislative assembly of a state shall, as soon as may be, choose two members of the Assembly to be respectively Speaker and Deputy Speaker thereof and, so often as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the Assembly shall choose another member to be Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be.

Is it mandatory to choose a Deputy Speaker?

According to Articles 93 and 178 which have words like 'shall' and 'as soon as may be', indicate that not only the selection of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker is mandatory, but it should also be done at the earliest.

Rules for election of the Deputy Speaker

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected from the Lok Sabha members by a majority of the members present in the House and are voting.

The Speaker of the House is generally elected in the first session of the new House -- usually on the third day, after the oath taking and affirmations are completed.

The election of the Deputy Speaker is usually done in the second session. Governing the election of the Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha, Rule 8 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha says that the election shall be held on a date fixed by the Speaker. The Deputy Speaker's election is done once a motion proposing his/her name is carried out and once elected, the Deputy Speaker continues in his post till the dissolution of the House.

According to Article 94, a member holding office as Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of the People:

- shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the House of the People;

- may at any time, by writing under his hand addressed, if such member is the Speaker, to the Deputy Speaker, and if such member is the Deputy Speaker, to the Speaker, resign his office; and

- may be removed from his office by a resolution of the House of the People passed by a majority of all the then members of the House.

Has a Deputy Speaker ever filled in for the Speaker?

In 1956, the first Speaker G V Mavalankar died before his term ended, leading to Deputy Speaker M Ananthasayanam Ayyangar filling in for the remaining year from 1956 to 1957 in the Lok Sabha.

Once again, in 2002, Speaker of the 13th Lok Sabha G M C Balayogi died leaving Deputy Speaker P M Sayeed presiding over the House until Manohar Joshi was elected the Speaker.

When was a member of Opposition elected as the Deputy Speaker?

From 2004 to 2009 and 2009 to 2014 during the ruling Congress governments, the post of the Deputy Speaker was first held by SAD's Charan Singh Atwal and then by BJP's Kariya Munda.

From 1996-97, BJP's Suraj Bhan held the post and the period from 1997 to 1998 saw no Deputy Speaker in the House.

From 1998 till 2004, P M Sayeed of the Congress held the post of the Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha.

With PTI inputs...

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Published 26 June 2024, 07:48 IST

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