What Is The Controversy Around The Pro-Tem Speaker?

What Is The Controversy Around The Pro-Tem Speaker?

The BJP named Bhartruhari Mahtab as the Pro-Tem Speaker until the Lok Sabha Speaker elections on June 26. The opposition has opposed the BJP's decision. Let us delve into understanding the controversy.

Manasi KambleUpdated: Friday, June 21, 2024, 03:51 PM IST
article-image
Bhartruhari Mahtab | X

In the upcoming Lok Sabha session starting June 24, the initial two days are reserved for the swearing-in of newly elected MPs, followed by the election of the new Speaker on June 26. Bhartruhari Mahtab, a seven-term MP from Cuttack, has been appointed as the Pro-tem Speaker by President Droupadi Murmu, as announced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju on June 20.

Who Is Bhartruhari Mahtab?

Bhartruhari Mahtab, having represented the constituency six times with BJD previously, formerly with Biju Janata Dal (BJD), switched to the BJP on March 28. In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, he won the Cuttack seat, defeating BJD's Santrupt Misra by over 57,000 votes. This victory marks his seventh term. His total assets, as per ADR, are now Rs 19 crore, up from Rs 9 crore in 2019.

What Is A Pro-Tem Speaker?

The position of Pro-tem Speaker in India is temporary and crucial during the early stages of a parliamentary session. They oversee the oath-taking ceremony of new members and facilitate the election of the Speaker of the House. The appointment process varies slightly depending on whether it's for a state legislative assembly or the Lok Sabha. For the Lok Sabha, the President appoints the Pro-tem speaker based on recommendations usually from the Prime Minister.

Opposition's Objection

However, the choice of Bhartruhari Mahtab has stirred controversy among opposition leaders who argue that convention dictates the honor should go to the senior-most member, Kodikunnil Suresh of the Congress, an eight-term MP. This disagreement highlights the importance of perceived fairness in the appointment process, which is critical given the Pro-tem Speaker's role in the initial proceedings of the House.

The Controversy

While the appointment of Bhartruhari Mahtab as the Pro-tem Speaker for the upcoming Lok Sabha session marks a procedural step towards commencing legislative business, it has sparked dissent due to perceived deviations from established norms. The position's temporary nature and lack of explicit constitutional guidelines regarding its functions underscore the need for transparency and fairness in such appointments, ensuring that parliamentary proceedings begin on a sound and equitable footing.

What Does Constitution Say?

According to the Indian Constitution, specifically Article 180 for state assemblies and Article 93(1) for the Lok Sabha, the appointment of a Pro-tem Speaker is authorized to facilitate the commencement of legislative business until a regular Speaker is elected. The Constitution, however, does not explicitly define the functions and powers of a Pro-tem Speaker, leaving room for interpretation and occasional disputes over their role.

Role Of Pro-Tem Speaker

The role of a Pro-tem Speaker becomes particularly contentious during the initial days of a new parliamentary session when crucial tasks such as administering the oath of office and conducting the Speaker's election must be handled with strict adherence to procedural norms and fairness. The controversies often stem from the perceived influence wielded by the Pro-tem Speaker in shaping the early dynamics of the House, potentially impacting subsequent legislative activities and the overall functioning of democracy.

RECENT STORIES

Indian Army Chief General Upendra Dwivedi Apprises Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Of Ground...

Indian Army Chief General Upendra Dwivedi Apprises Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Of Ground...

‘Jungle Raj’ In Bihar: RJD On Murder Of VIP Chief Mukesh Sahani's Father In Darbhanga

‘Jungle Raj’ In Bihar: RJD On Murder Of VIP Chief Mukesh Sahani's Father In Darbhanga

'9 Terrorist Attacks Within 38 Days Of Modi 3.0 Govt': Congress Hits Out At BJP Over Recent Doda...

'9 Terrorist Attacks Within 38 Days Of Modi 3.0 Govt': Congress Hits Out At BJP Over Recent Doda...

Kerala: Negligence At Thiruvananthapuram's Govt Medical College Leaves Patient Trapped In Lift For...

Kerala: Negligence At Thiruvananthapuram's Govt Medical College Leaves Patient Trapped In Lift For...

US Asks India To 'Utilise' Its Strong Relationship With Russia To End Ukraine War

US Asks India To 'Utilise' Its Strong Relationship With Russia To End Ukraine War