What is a Protem Speaker? Understanding the Role and Powers of Protem Speakers

President Draupadi Murmu appointed seven-time MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as the Protem Speaker of the Lok Sabha on Thursday, as per the information shared by Social Media Platform X by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju. Rijiju wrote, “The President is pleased to appoint Bhartruhari Mahtab as Protem Speaker under Article 95 (1) of the Constitution to perform the Speaker’s duties until the Speaker’s election.”

President Murmu has also appointed 18th Lok Sabha members Suresh Kodikunnil, Thalikottai Rajuchevaram Balu, Radha Mohan Singh, Faggan Singh Kulaste, and Sudip Bandyopadhyay to assist the Protem Speaker.

Who is Mahtab?

Born on September 8, 1957, Mahtab is the son of Odisha’s first Chief Minister Harekrushna Mahtab. He has been elected seven times as a Member of Parliament from the Cuttack Lok Sabha seat in Odisha. Mahtab has won this seat on the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) ticket since 1998. However, he resigned from the party before this year’s elections and joined the BJP. He has now been elected as the Cuttack MP on the BJP ticket for the seventh time.

Mahtab was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2017 for his excellent performance in debates. He has also been honoured with the ‘Sansad Ratna Award’ for his outstanding performance in debates.

What is a Protem Speaker?

The term “Protem” is derived from the Latin language, meaning “for the time being” or “temporary.” The Constitution does not mention the post of Protem Speaker. However, the official “Handbook on Parliamentary Procedures” discusses the appointment and oath-taking of the Protem Speaker. The Handbook states that when the position of the Speaker is vacant before the new Lok Sabha is convened, “one of the members of the House, as nominated by the President for this purpose, takes over the duties of the Speaker under the Protem Speaker.”

The first task of the Protem Speaker is to administer the oath to newly elected Members of Parliament. According to Article 99 of the Constitution, “every member of the House shall, before taking his seat, make and subscribe before the President, or some person appointed in that behalf by him, an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.”

Usually, the President appoints three other elected members of the Lok Sabha for this purpose. The most senior members are usually chosen for this purpose. This time, Suresh Kodikunnil, Thalikottai Rajuchevaram Balu, Radha Mohan Singh, Faggan Singh Kulaste, and Sudip Bandyopadhyay have been selected for this task.

How are new Members administered the oath?

After the Prime Minister’s approval, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister usually receives the consent of these members over the phone. After that, the Minister submits a note to the President requesting approval for the appointment of the Protem Speaker and other members. They also decide on the date and time of the oath-taking ceremony.

After receiving the President’s approval, the Ministry informs the Protem Speaker and other members of their appointments. Finally, the President administers the oath to the Protem Speaker at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. After this, the Protem Speaker administers the oath to the newly elected members in the Lok Sabha with the help of the chosen members.

Conclusion

The Protem Speaker plays a crucial role in the functioning of the Lok Sabha before a Speaker is elected. This temporary position ensures the smooth commencement of parliamentary proceedings and the administration of oaths to newly elected members. Mahtab’s appointment as Protem Speaker is significant, given his vast experience and contribution to parliamentary debates and proceedings.

Shubhendra Gohil

Content Writer

CATEGORIES Business Agriculture Technology Environment Health Education

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