IndiaNearly half the term of the current Lok Sabha is about to...

Nearly half the term of the current Lok Sabha is about to pass, but the post of Deputy Speaker is still vacant.

New Delhi
It is about two and a half years for the formation of the current Lok Sabha, that is, the term of the 17th Lok Sabha is about to end for almost half, but till now the post of Deputy Speaker is vacant. Never in parliamentary history has this constitutional post remained vacant for so long. The opposition parties raised this issue many times, wrote a letter to the speaker that the election of the deputy speaker should be conducted but till now the situation remains the same. Now the matter has also gone to court. The petitioner named Pawan Reli has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court calling it a violation of Article 93 of the Constitution.

What is Article 93 and the powers of the Deputy Speaker?
The Deputy Speaker is a constitutional post. Article 93 states that the Lok Sabha shall ‘as soon as possible’ elect two members of the House as the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. The petitioner has said that the election of the Deputy Speaker has not yet been held on this basis as unconstitutional. When the Deputy Speaker conducts the House, he has all the powers of the Speaker. He is also the ex-officio chairman of some parliamentary committees. If the Speaker’s post falls vacant due to the Speaker’s absence or resignation and for any other reason, the Deputy Speaker has all the powers of the Speaker till the election of a new one. In the absence of the Speaker, the Speaker cannot overturn the decision taken by the Deputy Speaker while conducting the House.

No speaker in Maharashtra assembly for 8 months

This situation is not only for the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, in Maharashtra, the post of Speaker of the Assembly is vacant since the resignation of Nana Patole. For the last 8 months, the caretaker speaker has been performing the responsibility.

If there is no deputy speaker then how is it working?
If both the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker are not present, the proceedings of the House are conducted by a member of the ‘Panel of Chairpersons’. The members of this panel are selected by the Speaker, which includes members of the ruling party as well as the opposition. At present, the Panel of Chairpersons consists of nine members of the Lok Sabha. These include Rama Devi of BJP, Kirit P. Solanki, Rajendra Agarwal, K.K. of Congress. Suresh, DMK’s A Raj, YSR Congress’s PV M Reddy, BJD’s Bhatrihari Mahtab, Revolutionary Socialist Party’s NK Premachandran and TMC’s Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar. At present there is no deputy speaker, so in the absence of the speaker, a member of the panel of chairpersons conducts the house. However, they neither have any administrative powers nor are they ex-officio members of any committee.

Initially, the government had tried for the election of the deputy speaker.
Normally the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are elected together. After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the government had made some efforts to fill the post of Deputy Speaker. He had offered the post to YSR Congress but he turned it down.

The tradition of staying with the deputy speaker post opposition
By the way, it is not written anywhere in the constitution that the post of deputy speaker will be given to the opposition only. But this has been the parliamentary tradition for a long time. Since the independence of the country, so far 15 people have been deputy speakers. During the first 4 Lok Sabha, the post of Deputy Speaker along with Speaker was also with the ruling Congress. But in 1956, Congress elected Hukum Dev of Shiromani Akali Dal as deputy speaker. He was the deputy speaker before any opposition party. Later, the post of deputy speaker was traditionally held by the opposition. Everyone followed this tradition whether there was a Congress government or a non-Congress government.

Speaker has to choose the Deputy Speaker
If you look at the rules of Lok Sabha, then rule number 8 gives the responsibility of the election of the deputy speaker to the speaker. According to this rule, the speaker has to fix the date of the election. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has not yet fixed the date for the election of the Deputy Speaker. The matter is now in court. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether the speaker conducts elections before the court’s decision or on the orders of the court.