Published on: October 21, 2021



What is in news : The 17th Lok Sabha which, more than two years after it was constituted in 2019, remains without a Deputy Speaker.

What does the Constitution say:

Article 93 says:  The House of the People shall, as soon as may be, choose two members of the House to be respectively Speaker and Deputy Speaker

Article 178 contains the corresponding position for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of a state.

Is it mandatory under the Constitution to have a Deputy Speaker?

Constitutional experts point out that both Articles 93 and 178 use the words “shall” and “as soon as may be” — indicating that not only is the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker mandatory, it must be held at the earliest.

What are the time-frame and rules for the election of the Deputy Speaker:

  • All that the Constitution says is the election must be held as soon as possible.
  • Generally speaking, the practice in both Lok Sabha and the state Legislative Assemblies has been to elect the Speaker during the (mostly short) first session of the new House — usually on the third day after oath-taking and affirmations take place over the first two days.
  • The election of the Deputy Speaker usually takes place in the second session, even though there is no bar on having this election too in the first session of the new Lok Sabha/Assembly. But the election of Deputy Speaker is generally not delayed beyond the second session without genuine and unavoidable constraints.
  • In Lok Sabha, the election of Deputy Speaker is governed by Rule 8 of The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. According to the Rule, the election “shall be held on such date as the Speaker may fix”, and the Deputy Speaker is elected once a motion proposing his name is carried.
  • There are similar provisions in the State Legislative Assembly Rules.
  • Once elected, the Deputy Speaker usually continues in office until the dissolution of the House.
  • Under Article 94 (Article 179 for state legislatures), the Speaker or Deputy Speaker “shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the House of the People”.
  • They may also resign (to each other), or “may be removed from…office by a resolution of the House of the People passed by a majority of all the then members of the House”.

Can courts intervene in cases of a delay in electing the Deputy Speaker?

A petition before the Delhi High Court has argued that the delay in the election of the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker violates Article 93 of the Constitution. There is no precedent of a court forcing the legislature to elect the Deputy Speaker.