The rules for electing the Speaker are laid down in Article 93 of the Constitution. The Speaker’s post falls vacant just before the new Lok Sabha meets for the first time, which means June 24 in the present case.

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And before the Speaker is elected, the President appoints a pro-tem Speaker to administer the oath of office to the newly-elected Members of Parliament (MPs). 

Who is a pro-tem speaker?

In the Lok Sabha session beginning June 24, the first two days – June 24 and June 25 – will be dedicated to oath-taking of the newly-elected Lok MPs. June 26 has been fixed for electing the new Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The notices for motions supporting the candidates have to be submitted by members of the house before 12 noon on June 25 – a day prior to the elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will move the motion for election of the Speaker in the Lok Sabha on June 26, according to a report by news agency PTI.

Before the Speaker is elected, the pro-tem Speaker will administer the oath of office to the newly-elected MPs. 

What is the role of a pro-tem Speaker?

Article 93 of the Constitution says that the Lok Sabha shall choose two members of the House to be  the Speaker and Deputy Speaker thereof. As the office of a Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the House shall choose another member to be a Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be.

The Speaker is the Presiding Officer of Lok Sabha and thus has some key duties related the day-to-day proceedings of the House.

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And according to the Article 94 of the Constitution, whenever the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Speaker shall not vacate his office until immediately before the first meeting of the Lok Sabha after the dissolution.

Since the Speaker has to be elected by a simple majority in the House, until then, a pro-tem Speaker is chosen to perform the Speaker’s duties, including the oath-taking of MPs. The word ‘pro-tem’ means ‘for the time being’ or ‘temporarily’.

The ‘pro-tem’ post is not mentioned in the Constitution. The ‘Handbook on the Working of Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs’ however, mentions the ‘Appointment and Swearing in of Speaker pro tem.

How is pro-tem Speaker picked?

The duties of the Speaker will be performed by a Member of the House (Lok Sabha) appointed by the President as Speaker pro tem, according to the rules mentioned in the handbook. The primary duty of the Speaker is not administer oaths to the new MPs. 

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Administering oaths to the new MPs is the pro-tem Speaker’s primary duty.  As per Article 99 of the Constitution, each member of Lok Sabha has to, before taking his seat, subscribe before the President or someone appointed by the President an oath or affirmation as mentioned in the Third Schedule of the Constitution. 

The President usually appoints three other elected MPs for the other MPs to take oath before them. And the rules mentioned in the handbook say that the senior most members of the Lok Sabha in terms of number of years as MP, are chosen for the purpose. There have been exceptions though.

K Suresh, the senior most Lok Sabha MP

As of now, it appears that Congress leader Kodikunnil Suresh, the senior most member of the Lok Sabha, is expected to be appointed as pro-tem Speaker. This is Suresh’s eighth term as a Lok Sabha MP. 

Suresh was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1989 and thereafter in the 1991,1996, 1999 general elections from Adoor constituency in Kerala. In 2024 general elections, Suresh won from Mavelikkara. This was his fourth win from Mavelikkara in Kerala.

Also Read: Congress sets up fact-finding teams to review poor Lok Sabha 2024 results in THESE key states

Prime Minister’s Approval

The Legislative section of the Union government usually prepares a list of the senior most Lok Sabha members and submits it to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs or the Prime Minister for identifying an MP as pro-tem Speaker and another three members for oath-taking. After the PM’s approval, the President has to approve the names. And the President administers the oath to pro-tem speaker in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The other three members are administered oath by pro-tem Speaker in Lok Sabha.

This is followed by the formal oath-taking of Lok Sabha MPs.

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Published: 20 Jun 2024, 11:08 AM IST