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How is the Pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha Appointed, and What are Their Roles and Responsibilities?


In the newly elected Lok Sabha, the Speaker is chosen by a simple majority vote. Until this selection is complete, a pro-tem Speaker is appointed to perform necessary duties temporarily. The term 'pro-tem' denotes a temporary assignment.

Article 94 of the Indian Constitution clarifies that following the dissolution of the House of the People, the sitting Speaker remains in office until just before the first session of the newly elected House. Although the Constitution does not explicitly mention the role of a pro-tem Speaker, the official ‘Handbook on the Working of Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs’ provides guidelines for the ‘Appointment and Swearing in of Speaker pro tem’.

Appointment Process of the Pro-tem Speaker

The handbook indicates that when the Speaker’s position is vacant before the establishment of a new Lok Sabha, the President appoints a Member of the House to temporarily carry out the Speaker’s duties as the pro-tem Speaker. Typically, three additional elected members are also appointed by the President to witness the oath-taking of the new MPs.

The handbook notes that usually, the most senior members, in terms of their tenure in the House, are chosen for this role, though there can be exceptions. After the new government is formed, the Legislative I Section of the Government of India prepares a list of the senior-most Lok Sabha members, which is then submitted to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs or the Prime Minister. They then appoint an MP as the pro-tem Speaker and three more members for administering oaths.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Pro-tem Speaker

The primary duty of the pro-tem Speaker is to administer the oaths to the newly elected MPs. According to Article 99 of the Constitution, each Member of the House must take an oath or affirmation before the President or an appointed representative before they can assume their seat, following the form set out in the Third Schedule of the Constitution.

The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs sends a note to the President requesting approval for the appointment of the pro-tem Speaker and the three additional members, including the date and time for the swearing-in ceremony.

At Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President administers the oath to the pro-tem Speaker, who then administers the oath to the three appointed members. With the help of these three members, the pro-tem Speaker administers the oath/affirmation to the newly elected members of the Lok Sabha


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Duties of Speaker of the Lok Sabha

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Previous Year Questions

1.Once a Speaker, Always a Speaker’! Do you think this practice should be adopted to impart objectivity to the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha? What could be its implications for the robust functioning of parliamentary business in India? (2020)

2.Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss. (2017)

20-Jun 2024