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The Constitutional Post of Speaker in Indian Constitution

The Constitutional Post of Speaker in Indian Constitution


The post of Speaker in the Indian Constitution is a pivotal constitutional post in the Indian parliamentary system. The Constitution of India provides for the Speaker’s role and responsibilities through various articles, ensuring the office’s significance and authority.

Relevant Articles Governing the Post of Speaker in the Indian Constitution

  1. Article 93: Mandates the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  2. Article 94: Provides for the removal or resignation of the Speaker.
  3. Article 95: Details the role and powers of the Deputy Speaker.
  4. Article 96: Specifies the procedure when the Speaker or Deputy Speaker is absent.
  5. Article 97: Discusses the salaries and allowances of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
  6. Article 100: Grants the Speaker the authority to exercise a casting vote in case of a tie.
  7. Article 122: Prohibits courts from inquiring into parliamentary procedures, thus protecting the Speaker’s actions from judicial review to an extent.

Importance of the Post of Speaker in the Indian Constitution

The Speaker holds a significant position in the Indian parliamentary system, acting as the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha. The role includes maintaining order and decorum in the house, ensuring the legislative business is conducted smoothly, and protecting the rights and privileges of the members. The Speaker’s authority is substantial, as they can interpret and apply the rules of procedure, regulate debates, and decide on points of order.

Traditions for Election of the Speaker

The election of the Speaker follows established parliamentary traditions. After the general elections, the Lok Sabha members elect the Speaker by a simple majority vote. Traditionally, the ruling party’s nominee is elected unopposed, emphasizing the non-partisan nature of the office. This practice underscores the expectation that the Speaker, once elected, will resign from their party to uphold impartiality.

Speaker Pro Tem

The Speaker Pro Tem is a temporary speaker appointed to preside over the first meeting of the newly elected Lok Sabha until the regular Speaker is elected. Typically, the senior-most member of the house is appointed as the Speaker Pro Tem. This role is crucial for administering the oath to new members and ensuring the election of the new Speaker is conducted smoothly.

Significant Past Incidents: The Role of the Speaker in 1999

The 1999 Controversy

In 1999, Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi played a crucial role during the political instability when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government faced a no-confidence motion. The Vajpayee government fell by a single vote (269 to 270), a scenario where the Speaker’s role in ensuring fair conduct of proceedings was critical. This incident highlighted the importance of the Speaker in managing floor tests and confidence motions impartially.

Recent Controversial Decisions by the Speaker

Disqualification of Rahul Gandhi

In March 2023, Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a defamation case. The decision, taken by the Speaker, sparked significant debate over the application of disqualification rules under the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The swift action raised questions about the consistency and impartiality in the disqualification process.

Removal of MPs

Several instances have occurred where the Speaker has suspended or disqualified MPs for unruly behavior or violating parliamentary norms. These decisions are often contentious and seen as tests of the Speaker’s impartiality. 

For instance, in 2020, the Speaker suspended several MPs for disrupting proceedings and violating COVID-19 protocols. These actions, while within the Speaker’s authority, often lead to accusations of bias and political maneuvering.

Decisive Powers of the Post of Speaker in the Indian Constitution

The Speaker’s decisive powers include:

  1. Deciding Anti-Defection Cases: Under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, the Speaker decides on disqualification of members on grounds of defection. This power is significant in maintaining party discipline and integrity.
  2. Casting Vote: In case of a tie, the Speaker can exercise a casting vote.
  3. Disqualification of Members: The Speaker has the authority to disqualify members for unruly behavior and maintain the decorum of the house.

The Role of the Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha assists and stands in for the Speaker in their absence. The Deputy Speaker is also elected by the members of the Lok Sabha. They have the same powers as the Speaker when presiding over the house and play a crucial role in ensuring continuity in parliamentary proceedings.

Judicial Precedents and Contemporary Issues

Judicial Precedents

  1. Kihoto Hollohan vs. Zachillhu (1992): The Supreme Court upheld the Speaker’s authority under the Tenth Schedule but also allowed judicial review of the Speaker’s decisions.
  2. Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix vs. Deputy Speaker (2016): The Supreme Court ruled that a Speaker facing a no-confidence motion cannot disqualify members under the Tenth Schedule.

Contemporary Issues: Maharashtra Case

The role of the Speaker has come under scrutiny in recent times, particularly in Maharashtra. The Speaker’s delay in deciding on disqualification petitions under the anti-defection law led to controversies and cases pending before the Supreme Court. The role of Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal in recognizing the Shiv Sena faction during the Maharashtra political crisis has also been questioned, raising concerns about impartiality and the potential for misuse of the Speaker’s powers.

Way Forward

The way forward involves:

  1. Clearer Guidelines: Establishing clearer guidelines and timelines for the Speaker’s decisions on disqualification matters to avoid delays and ensure fairness.
  2. Strengthening Non-Partisanship: Measures to further ensure the non-partisan functioning of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker to uphold the integrity of parliamentary democracy.
  3. Judicial Oversight: Balancing the Speaker’s authority with judicial oversight to prevent misuse while respecting the autonomy of the legislative branch.


The office of the Speaker in the Indian parliamentary system is of paramount importance, serving as a custodian of legislative functioning and democratic principles. The Speaker’s role, while powerful, must be exercised with utmost impartiality and fairness to maintain the trust and confidence of the members and the public. Judicial precedents and contemporary issues highlight the need for ongoing reforms and vigilant oversight to ensure the effective functioning of this crucial constitutional post.



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