Officer of Lok Sabha

Since the Indian System of Government follows the Westminster Model, the Parliamentary proceedings of the country are headed by a presiding officer, who is called the Speaker.


Election and Tenure:

The Speaker is elected by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members (as soon as may be, after its first sitting). Whenever the office of the Speaker falls vacant, the Lok Sabha elects another member to fill the vacancy. The date of election of the Speaker is fixed by the President.

Usually, the Speaker remains in office during the life of the Lok Sabha. However, he has to vacate his office earlier in any of the following three cases:

  1. If he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha
  2. If he resigns by writing to the Deputy Speaker; and 
  3. If he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all then members of the Lok Sabha. Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.
  • When a resolution for the removal of the Speaker is under consideration of the House, he cannot preside at the sitting of the House, though he may be present. However, he can speak and take part in the proceedings of the House at such a time and vote in the first instance, though not in the case of an equality of votes.
  • It should be noted here that, whenever the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Speaker does not vacate his office and continues till the newly- elected Lok Sabha meets.

Role/Function of Speaker

Administrative Role: 

➔ The Speaker is also the head of the Lok Sabha Secretariat.

➔ It is through the Speaker that the decisions of the House are communicated to individuals and authorities outside the Parliament. 

Proceedings of the House: 

➔ The Speaker presides over the meetings in the Lower House. In other words, the Speaker conducts business in Lok Sabha by ensuring discipline and decorum among members. 

➔ The Speaker decides the agenda that must be discussed in a meeting of the Members of the Parliament. 

Admission of Motion: 

➔ S/he is given the pivotal power to decide whether any Bill is a Money Bill. His/her decision is considered final. 

➔ Except for the no-confidence motion, all other motions which come before the House come only after the Speaker permits them. 

Power of Speaker

The Speaker of the Lok Sabha derives his powers and duties from three sources, that is the Constitution of India, the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and Parliamentary Conventions. Altogether, he has the following powers and duties: 

  1. He maintains order and decorum in the House for conducting its business and primary responsibility and he has final power in this regard.
  2. He is the final interpreter of the provisions of (a) the Constitution of India, (b) the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and (c) the parliamentary precedents, within the House.
  3. He adjourns the House or suspends the meeting in absence of a quorum. The quorum to constitute a meeting of the House is one-tenth of the total strength of the House.
  4. He does not vote in the first instance. But he can exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie. In other words, only when the House is divided equally on any question, the Speaker is entitled to vote. Such vote is called casting vote, and its purpose is to resolve a deadlock.
  5. He presides over a joint setting of the two Houses of Parliament. Such a sitting is summoned by the President to settle a deadlock between the two Houses on a bill.
  6. He can allow a ‘secret’ sitting of the House at the request of the Leader of the House. When the House sits in secret, no stranger can be present in the chamber, lobby or galleries except with the per- mission of the Speaker.
  7. He decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is final. When a money bill is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for recommendation and presented to the President for assent, the Speaker endorses on the bill his certificate that it is a money bill.
  8. He decides the questions of disqualification of a member of the Lok Sabha, arising on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review.
  9. He acts as the ex-officio chairman of the Indian Parliamentary Group which is a link between the Parliament of India and the various parliaments of the world. He also acts as the ex-officio chair- man of the conference of presiding officers of legislative bodies in the country.
  10. He appoints the chairman of all the parliamentary committees of the Lok Sabha and supervises their functioning. He himself is the chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, the Rules Committee and the General Purpose Committee.

Independence and Impartiality

As the office of the Speaker is vested with great prestige, position and authority, independence and impartiality becomes its sine qua non. The following provisions ensure the independence and impartiality of the office of the Speaker:

  1. He is Provided With Security of Tenure.
  2. He can be removed only by the resolution passed by Lok Sabha by a majority of all the then members of the House. This motion of removal can be considered and discussed only when it has the support of at least 50 members.
  3. His salaries and allowances are fixed by Parliament. They are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and thus are not subject to the annual vote of Parliament.
  4. His work and conduct cannot be discussed and criticised in the Lok Sabha except on a substantive motion.
  5. His powers of regulating procedure or conducting business or maintaining order in the House are not subject to the jurisdiction of any Court.
  6. He cannot vote in the first instance. He can only exercise a casting vote in the event of a tie. This makes the position of Speaker impartial.
  7. He is given a very high position in the order of precedence. He is placed at sixth rank, along with the Chief Justice of India. This means, he has a higher rank than all cabinet ministers, except the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister.

Critical Examination of its Function:

In 2017, the role of speaker was under scanner for labelling the ordinary bills as money bills (eg. Aadhar Act). Though the case is sub-judice and the matter is pending in the Supreme Court. 

As recently as June 2020, the Speaker of Lok Sabha has been accused of not permitting the session of Lok Sabha to be conducted virtually. Parliamentary standing committees were also not allowed to hold their meetings online amid COVID-19. 

Role of speaker in Anti-Defection Law:

The absoluteness of the Speaker’s decisions is incentive for potential abuse. The determination of whether a representative has become subject to disqualification, post their defection, is made by the Speaker. 

In 16th Lok Sabha, Speaker invoked the Rules 193 to suspend members of the Main Opposition party for five days, however when the ruling party prevented any transaction of business in the second half of the session, Speaker merely adjourned the house on a daily basis. 

Supreme Court cases:

Keisham Meghachandra Singh vs Speaker (2020): SC looked into the Speaker’s inaction on the matter of disqualification in this case. SC said the disqualification petition should be cleared by the Speaker within 4 months. 

Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix vs Deputy Speaker case: SC has said that the Speaker ought not to have disqualified the defectors when the motion for his own removal was pending.


The Committee, headed by V.S. Page suggested:

  • That if the Speaker had conducted himself or herself in an impartial and efficient manner during the tenure of his or her office, he or she should be allowed to continue in the next Parliament. Anyone seeking the office of the Speaker might be asked to run for election on an independent ticket. 
  • Any Speaker should be barred from future political office, except for the post of President, while being given a pension for life. 
  • Like in the UK, the Speaker should resign from the party once elected to the post of speaker. 

The Speaker is considered as the true guardian of the Indian Parliamentary democracy, holding the complete authority of the Lok Sabha. Thus, impartiality of the office is very important to make parliamentary democracy work in true sense. 

Deputy Speaker

Election: To be fixed by Speaker of LS and notice for the election the Secretary-General shall send to every member notice of this date. The members of Lok Sabha may elect a Deputy Speaker among themselves.

Presiding over Sessions: He presides over Lok Sabha when Speaker is absent from sitting of House including Joint Sitting. Deputy Speaker shall have same powers as Speaker when he is presiding over any session of Lok Sabha. Deputy Speaker shall not preside (in case Speaker is absent) while a resolution for his removal from office is under consideration.

Removal (Article 94): He shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the House of the People; He may resign by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker: He 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. (Effective Majority which is equal to more than 50% of the effective strength of the House. It does not include vacancies.)

Vacancy: While office of Speaker is vacant, duties of office shall be performed by Deputy Speaker.

Chairperson: Whenever Deputy Speaker is appointed as Member of any Committee, he automatically becomes its Chairperson and performs necessary functions of the committee.

Casting Vote: While holding office of Speaker, deputy speaker cannot vote in the first instance and can only exercise his casting vote in case of tie.

Committee Membership: Deputy Speaker is a member of General Purposes Committee and Library Committee. Deputy Speaker is the ex-officio Chairperson of the Committee.

Panel of Chairperson:

  • Under the Rules of Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates from amongst the members a panel of not more than ten chairpersons. Any of them can preside over the House in the absence of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker. He has the same powers as the Speaker when so presiding. He holds office until a new panel of chairpersons is nominated. 
  • When a member of the panel of chairpersons is also not present, any other person as determined In House acts as the Speaker.
  • It must be emphasised here that a member of the panel of chairpersons cannot preside over the House, when the office of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker is vacant. 
  • During such time the Speaker’s duties are to be performed by such member of the House as the President may appoint for the purpose. The elections are held, as soon as possible, to fill the vacant posts.

Speaker Pro Tem:

  • As provided by the Constitution, the Speaker of the last Lok Sabha vacates his office immediately before the first meeting of the newly- elected Lok Sabha. Therefore, the President appoints a member of the Lok Sabha as the Speaker Pro Tem. Usually, the senior most member is selected for this. The President himself administers oath to the Speaker Pro Tem.
  • The Speaker Pro Tem has all the powers of the Speaker. He presides over the first sitting of the newly-elected Lok Sabha. His main duty is to administer oath to the new members. He also enables the House to elect the new Speaker.
  • When the new Speaker is elected by the House, the office of the Speaker Pro Tem ceases to exist. Hence, this office is a temporary office, existing for a few day.


  • Article 98 provides that each House of Parliament shall have a separate secretarial staff. However, there is no prohibition against the creation of posts common to both the Houses.
  • Parliament may, by law, regulate the recruitment and the conditions of service of persons appointed to the secretarial staff of either House of Parliament.” Until such a law is made, the President may, after consultation with the Speaker of Lok Sabha or Chairman of Rajya Sabha makes rules for this purpose.
  • Article 309 does not apply to the servants of Parliament. Their services are regulated under the provisions to be made under Article 98. 
  • Article 98 provides for separate secretarial staff for each House of Parliament. The provision was made for maintaining the dignity of the Presiding Officers and the independence of the Houses of Legislature.

Leaders of Parliament:

  • The term “Leader of the House” is defined in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Rules of Procedure. The leader of the house in either House is an important functionary who has direct influence on how business is conducted. He can also appoint a House deputy leader.
  • The Leader of the House is in charge of scheduling government meetings and conducting business in the House.
  • In Rajya Sabha, The Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha is the majority party’s leader and parliamentary chairperson and is usually a cabinet minister or another nominated minister.
  • In Lok Sabha, Leader of the House in Lok Sabha is the Prime Minister by default if she/he is a member of the Lok Sabha. If the Prime Minister is not a Member of Parliament’s Lower House, she or he might appoint another minister to serve as Leader of the House.

Leader of Opposition:

  • The Leader of the Opposition is the leader of the largest opposition party in the parliament. It is a statutory position that is defined in the 1977 Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act. Two things are made clear by the act.
  • The leader of the party in opposition to the government which has the greatest number becomes the Leader of Opposition.
  • The Speaker needs to recognise him/her as the Leader of Opposition.


  • If the seat of LoP is vacant, It will weaken India as the Opposition will not be able to put up a unified front against the ruling party.
  • The leader of the opposition helps in bringing cohesiveness and effectiveness to the opposition’s functioning in policy and legislative work.
  • It also helps in bringing neutrality to the appointments of institutions of accountability and transparency such as CVC, CBI, Lokpal, CIC, etc.
  • The other role of the leader of the Opposition is to watch for the violation of the rights of minorities. They can also demand debates on such crucial issues, when the government is trying to slide away without parliamentary criticism.
  • The Public Accounts Committee is there whose chairmen are Leader of the Opposition to check the expenditure of the ruling party.

British Political System:

  • The shadow cabinet is made up of senior members of the main opposition party in Westminster who act as spokespeople for the opposition in specific policy areas. Shadow ministers are appointed by the leader of the opposition and generally take roles that mirror the current government. Their job is to scrutinise those they ‘shadow’ in government, and develop policies for their party.
  • The official opposition and the shadow cabinet in particular, is expected to play the role of a ‘government in waiting’. In the event of a change of governing party, members of the shadow cabinet might expect to take up the role they have been shadowing. This does not always happen however – a new prime minister may decide to allocate roles to his or her team differently once they are in government.


The colonial British government introduced the concept of whip in India. The office of ‘whip’, is mentioned neither in the Constitution of India nor in the Rules of the House nor in a Parliamentary Statute. It is based on the conventions of the parliamentary government.

A whip is an official of a political party who acts as the party’s ‘enforcer’ inside the legislative assembly or house of parliament. In India, every major political party appoints a whip who is responsible for the party’s discipline and behaviour on the floor of the House. A whip is an important office-bearer of the party in the Parliament. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips — this member is called a Chief Whip, and he/she is assisted by additional Whips. India inherited the concept of the whip from the British parliamentary system.

Types Of Whips

There are three types of whips or instructions issued by the party:

  • One-line whip: One-line whip is issued to inform members of a party about a vote. It allows a member to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.
  • Two-line whip: Two-line whip is issued to direct the members to be present in the House at the time of voting.
  • Three-line whip: Three-line whip is issued to members directing them to vote as per the party line

Penalty if whip is disobeyed:

The penalty for defying a whip varies from country to country. 

  • In the United Kingdom, an MP can lose membership of the party for defying the whip, but can keep her/ his House seat as an Independent.
  • In the US, as per a note published by PRS Legislative Research, “the party whip’s role is to gauge how many legislators are in support of a Bill and how many are opposed to it — and to the extent possible, persuade them to vote according to the party line on the issue”.
  • In India, A legislator may face disqualification proceedings if she/he disobeys the whip of the party unless the number of lawmakers defying the whip is 2/3rds of the party’s strength in the house. Disqualification is decided by the Speaker of the house.

Limitations of whip

  • There are some cases such as Presidential elections where whips cannot direct a Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) to vote in a particular fashion.
  • Two-line whip is issued to direct the members to be present in the House at the time of voting.
  • Three-line whip is issued to members directing them to vote as per the party line

The Leaders and Chief Whips of Recognised Parties and Groups in Parliament (Facilities) Act, 1998:

An Act to provide for facilities to Leaders and Chief Whips of recognised parties and groups in Parliament. Subject to any rules made in this behalf by the Central Government, each leader, deputy leader and each Chief Whip of a recognised group and a recognised party shall be entitled to telephone and secretarial facilities.

Online Counselling
Table of Contents