As per Article 178 and Article 182 of Indian Constitution, the Speaker of State Legislative Assembly and Chairman of Legislative Council serve as the presiding officer of their respective houses. Empowered by the Constitution and rules of procedure of the respective legislature they fulfil key-roles.
Role of Presiding Officers of State Legislatures in Maintaining Order & Impartiality in Conducting Legislative Work
- PO can intervene when members speak out of turn, use unparliamentary language, or engage in personal attacks.
- PO has authority to penalise members who repeatedly disrupt proceedings or violate Rules of Procedure, including naming, suspension, or expulsion. E.g., member disqualification by Maharashtra legislative assembly speaker.
- PO may disqualify members defecting under 10th schedule to uphold political stability.
- Constitution grants Speaker the final says in Money Bills, emphasising their impartiality in legislative business.
Role of PO in facilitating best democratic practices
- Safeguards minority party rights in the legislature, ensuring fair committee representation and active participation in debates and votes. E.g., Kerala Speaker fair representation initiative.
- Builds consensus and compromise among members.
- Works to promote transparency and accountability in the legislature.
Thus, best practices such as the principle of once a speaker always a speaker from UK, mandating speakers to give their party membership, removing adjudicatory power under 10th schedule from the speaker to Election Commission etc. should be done to make the office of presiding officer of state legislature more effective.