Article 93 says: “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.”
Article 178 contains the corresponding position for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of a state.
Is it mandatory under the Constitution to have a Deputy Speaker?
Constitutional experts point out that both Articles 93 and 178 use the words “shall” and “as soon as may be” — indicating that not only is the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker mandatory, it must be held at the earliest.
What are the time-frames and rules for the election of the Deputy Speaker?
All that the Constitution says is the election must be held as soon as possible.
Generally speaking, the practice in both Lok Sabha and the state Legislative Assemblies has been to elect the Speaker during the (mostly short) first session of the new House — usually on the third day after oath-taking and affirmations take place over the first two days.
In Lok Sabha, the election of Deputy Speaker is governed by Rule 8 of 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.
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 Deputy Speaker “shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the House of the People”.
They may also resign (to each other), or “may be removed from…office by a resolution of the House of the People passed by a majority of all the then members of the House
Do the powers of the Speaker extend to the Deputy Speaker as well?
Article 95(1) says: “While the office of Speaker is vacant, the duties of the office shall be performed by the Deputy Speaker”.
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.
Does being Deputy Speaker protect an MP or MLA from the law of disqualification?
No — with one specific exemption.
Para 5 of the Tenth Schedule (commonly known as the anti-defection law) says that a person who has been elected Speaker/ Deputy Speaker shall not be disqualified if he, by reason of his election to that office, voluntarily gives up the membership of the political party to which he belonged immediately before such election — and does not, so long as he continues to hold such office thereafter, rejoin that political party or become a member of another political party.
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.
Content Credit: Indian Express