Presiding Officers of the State Legislature
Speaker of Assembly
Every Legislative Assembly of a State shall, as soon as may be, choose two members of the Assembly to be respectively Speaker and Deputy Speakers and, as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the Assembly shall choose another member to be Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be.
Election of the Speaker:
The constitution of India provides that after every general election, the Legislative Assembly in a State, at its very first session shall elect a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker, from among its members. During the absence of the Speaker from office, the Deputy Speaker takes over his office. The Speaker generally belongs to the ruling party.
The Speaker remains in office till the next Speaker is sworn in.
A vacancy in the Speaker’s office may arise:
- If he resigns
- If he is removed from office by a resolution of the Assembly,
- If he ceases to be a member of the House, and
- If he dies.
The removal of the Speaker through a resolution of the Assembly requires 14 day’s notice. When a motion for his removal is discussed in the Assembly, the Speaker does not preside over the Assembly.
Powers and Functions:
- The important function of the Speaker is to preside over the sessions of the Legislative Assembly and to maintain order and discipline within the House.
- The Speaker does not take part in the debate and usually does not vote except to break a tie.
- When the Assembly meets, the Speaker calls the House to order, maintains discipline in the House.
- He sees whether there is necessary quorum.
- He may adjourn or suspend the sitting of the House if necessary quorum is not there, or to restore discipline.
- He may even suspend or expel members of the House for unruly behaviour.
Within the House, the Speaker is the master. It is the Speaker who decides whether a bill is a money bill or not. The Speaker’s decision cannot be challenged in a Court of Law.
Money bills are sent to the Upper House with the Speaker’s certificate that it is a money bill. The salary of the Speaker is charged on the Consolidated Fund of the State.
The Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over joint sessions of the Parliament. The constitution does not provide for joint sessions of State Legislatures even where the State Legislatures are bicamera
Deputy Speaker of Assembly
Each Assembly has a Speaker, elected by its members immediately after it meets. A Deputy Speaker is also elected. The Speaker nominates a panel of Chairmen (including Chairwomen) to preside in his and the Deputy Speaker’s absence.
Both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker can be removed from office by a resolution of an absolute majority of the House in a session held fourteen days after the receipt of the notice.
The Speaker or the Deputy Speaker are not to preside at any sitting of the Assembly while any resolution for his removal is before the Assembly. He does have a right to be present in the House and participate in its proceedings. He is even entitled to vote, in the first instance on such a resolution. But he does not possess a casting vote, when he exercises vote like an ordinary member of the House.
Both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker vacate their seats when they cease to be the members of the Assembly. They may also tender their resignation, whenever they so choose. If the Speaker resigns, the letter of resignation is addressed to the Deputy Speaker and if the latter tenders his resignation, it is addressed to the former.
The Speaker does not vacate his office on the dissolution of the Assembly. He continues holding office, until immediately before the first meeting of the Assembly after dissolution. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are paid such salaries and allowances as may be fixed by the State Legislature by law. Their salaries are not votable as they are charged on the Consolidated Fund of the State.
Chairman of the Legislative Council (Presiding Officer)
The presiding officer of the Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council) is known as the Chairman, who is elected by its members. The business of Vidhan Parishad is conducted by the Chairman. He presides over the meetings and maintains discipline and order in the House. In addition to his vote as a member, he can exercise his casting vote in case of a tie. In his absence, Deputy Chairman presides over the House. He is also elected by the members of the Parishad from amongst themselves.
Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council
Like the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman is also elected by the council itself from amongst its members.
The deputy chairman vacates his office in any of the following three cases: 1. If he ceases to be a member of the council;
- If he resigns by writing to the Chairman; and
- If he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the council.
The Deputy Chairman performs the duties of the Chairman’s office when it is vacant. He also acts as the Chairman when the latter is absent from the sitting of the council. In both the cases, he has all the powers of the Chairman.
The Chairman nominates from amongst the members a panel of vice-chairmen. Any one of them can preside over the council in the absence of the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman. He has the same powers as the chairman when so presiding. He holds office until a new panel of vice-chairmen is nominated.