Pro-tem Speaker

The speaker of the Lok Sabha/legislative assembly vacates the office immediately before the first meeting of the newly elected house. Hence President/governor appoints the pro-tem speaker to preside over the sittings of the house.

Pro-tem Speaker: Selection and Functions

  • Usually the senior most member is elected as the pro-tem speaker.
  • The president/governor will administer the oath of the office for the pro-tem speaker.
  • The main duty of the pro-tem speaker is to administer the oath to the newly elected members.
  • Pro-tem also enables the house to elect the new speaker.
  • When the house elects the new speaker the office of the pro-tem speaker ceases to exist.

Hence the office of the pro-tem speaker is a temporary one which will be in existence for few days.

Verdict of various high courts

  • The Bombay High Court in its 1994 judgement in the Surendra Vassant Sirsat case holds that a pro-tem is Speaker of the House “for all purposes with all powers, privileges and immunities” until the Speaker is elected.
  • The Odisha High Court also agreed in the Godavaris Misra versus Nandakisore Das, Speaker, Orissa Legislative Assemblycase when it said the “powers of the Speaker pro-tem are co-extensive with the powers of elected Speaker”.

The pro-tem speaker also has same powers, privileges as that of the Speaker. Hence the experts say that there is a need to bring greater clarity with respect to the selection of the pro-tem speaker so that the credentials of the democracy are not dented. [The Hindu]

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