Roles and Responsibilities of the Speaker

Polity

The leader of the House of the People is the Speaker – who is elected by the Lok Sabha, from among its members. The Speaker’s duties are to conduct, facilitate the debates and discussions as well as the answers to questions, regulating the conduct of Members of the House and taking care of their privileges and rights. The Speaker of Lok Sabha is the administrative head of the parliamentary secretariat. T h e Speaker also ensures that the members adhere to the appropriate procedures, and to allow the members to raise question, allotting time to speak and withdraw the objectionable remarks from record and moving a motion of thanks to the President’s speech. Th e Speaker has the power to expel the members if they fl out or violate the norms and rules of the house. T h e permission of the Speaker is required to move amendments to a bill. It is up to the Speaker to decide whether the bill has to be moved or not. Th e Speaker plays the role of guardian of the rights and privileges of the house, its various Committees such as consultative, select, advisory and of members of that Committees. Another important power of the Speaker is to refer any question of privilege to the Committee of privileges for examining, investigating and reporting. Th e questions raised by the members and answers, explanations and reports are addressed to the Speaker.

Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the chief architects of India and a driving force behind its democratic principles of the Constitution, placed the office of the Speaker in India in the proper context when he said: “The Speaker represents the House. He/she represents the dignity of the House, the freedom of the House and because the House represents the nation, in a particular way, the Speaker becomes a symbol of nation’s freedom and liberty. Therefore that should be an honoured position, a free position and should be occupied always by persons of outstanding ability and impartiality”.

The Speaker is the final authority to decide on the question of point of order. Under the constitution, the Speaker enjoys special provisions and certifies money bills. The Speaker of the House of the People presides the joint sessions of the parliament in case a special occasions or in the event of disagreement between the two houses on certain legislative measures. The Speaker decides whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not and his decision on this question is final. It is the Speaker who decides on granting recognition to the Leader of Opposition in the House of People. Under 52ⁿd Constitution Amendment, the Speaker has the disciplinary power to disqualify a member of the house on the grounds of defection. Even though, the Speaker also one of the members of the House and holds neutral, does not vote in the house except rare occasions when there is a tie at the end of the decision.

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