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President Appoints Bhartruhari Mahtab, 7-Time Member of Parliament, as Pro-Tem Speaker of Lok Sabha

In a significant development, Bhartruhari Mahtab, a seven-term Lok Sabha member, has been appointed as the pro tem Speaker of the Lower House. The announcement was made by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju on June 20.

About Bhartruhari Mahtab

Bhartruhari Mahtab is the son of Odisha’s former Chief Minister, Harekrushna Mahtab. Bhartruhari Mahtab was associated with Naveen Patnaik-led BJD before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. However, citing reduced activity within the party, he announced his resignation in March and subsequently joined the BJP. With a political career spanning seven terms, Mahtab has represented the Cuttack Lok Sabha seat since 1998.

Who is a pro tem speaker?

In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker of the House is typically elected by a simple majority. However, in situations where there is a vacancy for the Speaker before a new Lok Sabha is formed, a pro- tem Speaker is appointed to carry out essential duties temporarily.

How does a pro-tem speaker appointed?

  • The Constitution does not explicitly mention the position of the pro tem Speaker.
  • The ‘Handbook on the Working of Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs’ outlines the process for the ‘Appointment and Swearing in of Speaker pro tem’.
  • The senior-most members of the Lok Sabha, in terms of their years of membership, are typically chosen to assist the pro tem Speaker.
  • The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs or the Prime Minister identifies the Speaker pro tem and three other members for this purpose.
  • The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs seeks the approval of the selected members for their appointment by the President.
  • Once the President approves, the Speaker pro tem and the three appointed members are informed of their roles.

Swearing-in Ceremony of a pro-tem speaker

The President administers the oath to the Speaker pro tem at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Subsequently, the Speaker pro tem administers the oath to the newly elected members in the Lok Sabha.

What are the duties of pro tem speaker?

According to Article 99 of the Constitution, every Member of the House must take an oath or affirmation before taking their seat. The pro tem Speaker is supposed to perform duties such as administering oaths to new Members of Parliament.

President Appoints Bhartruhari Mahtab, 7-times Member of Parliament, as Pro-Tem Speaker of Lok Sabha_4.1