The Speaker is the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha. He has been vested with several powers to maintain discipline in the House and ensure its dignity. It is his duty to see that the meeting is properly conducted and the rights and privileges of the members protected. The various functions of the Speaker are stated below.
1. Presides over Meetings:
The Speaker presides over the meetings of the Lok Sabha. He adjourns the House. He has power to suspend its meeting in the absence of quo (The quorum is one-tenth of the members of the House.)
The Speaker presides over the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. (In case of disagreement between the two Houses of the Parliament on non-Money Bills, a joint sitting of the two Houses is convened.)
2. Maintains Discipline:
It is the duty of the Speaker to maintain order and discipline in the Lok Sabha. He would not allow any member to behave with indignity or to use unparliamentarily language. He can reprimand any member for using unparliamentarily or defamatory language. He can order for expunging such language from the proceedings of the House.
If any member defies the order of the Speaker, the latter can order him to withdraw from the House. He can also suspend the indiscipline member from the remaining part of the session of the House.
3. Determines Agenda:
The order of business is prepared by the Speaker in consultation with the leader of the House. He allots time for debates and selects members to take part in debates. The members are asked to express their views within time limit, fixed by the Speaker.
It is within the power of the Speaker to admit or not to admit questions, resolutions and motions. Any question or motion can be disallowed by him.
4. Certifies a Money Bill:
He has power to certify that a bill is a Money Bill or it is not a Money Bill. This authority of the Speaker to certify a Money Bill cannot be questioned anywhere.
5. Interprets Rules:
He interprets the Rules of Procedure of the House and gives his rulings. His ruling is final.
6. Determines a Defector:
According to the 52nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1985, the Speaker will determine whether a member of the Lok Sabha is to be disqualified on the ground of defection.
7. Heads Parliamentary Committees:
The Speaker is the head of several parliamentary committees. He appoints the Chairman of several committees. He himself is also the ex-officio Chairman of several committees of Lok Sabha like the Business Advisory Committee, Rules Committee and the General Purpose Committee. He may issue instructions and directions to these committees for their guidance.
8. Protects Rights of Members:
It is the duty of the Speaker to protect the rights and privileges of the members of the House.
As the Speaker is the custodian of the rights and privileges of its members, he would punish any members of the House or outsiders for the breach of these privileges.
9. Represents the Lok Sabha:
He is the spokesman of the Lok Sabha and he represents it in all ceremonial functions.
10. Communication Link:
The Speaker is the main channel of communication between the President and the Lok Sabha.
11. Casting Vote:
Normally, the Speaker does not take part in voting in the House. But in case of a tie, he exercises his right of casting vote. His casting vote would decide the issue. In such a case his vote would normally go in favour of the party to which he belongs. Further, when a resolution for the removal of the Speaker is put to vote in the House, he has the right to cast his vote.
12. Miscellaneous Functions:
(a) The Speaker keeps control over the Secretariat the Lok Sabha. (b) It is his duty to execute the decisions of the Lok Sabha and exercise other powers which may be given to him by the House.
The Speaker is the symbol of power and dignity of the Lok Sabha. When he others must take their seats and when he speaks, others must not leave the House.