Parliament

 

COMPOSITION OF PARLIAMENT:-

 

The supreme legislature of the union of India is called Parliament. It consists of-

 

  1. The President
  2. The council of states and 
  3. The House of the people

 

RAJYA SABHA:-

 

  • Formed on 3rd April, 1952.
  • First sitting on 13th May, 1952.
  • The members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies.
  • The system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote [Art 80 (4)] is applied.
  • The council of States consists of not more than 250 members [Art 80 (1)]
    • 12 members are nominated by the president having special knowledge or special experience on Literature, Science, Art & Social Service [Art 80(3)].
    • The remainder i.e., 238 shall be representatives of the States and the union territories.
  • The Rajya Sabha at present consists of 252 members.
  • A permanent body.
  • The allocation of seats to each State or UT & numbers of seats allotted to each in Rajya Sabha are specified in the Fourth Schedule  
  • The nominated members do not participate in the election of the President of India.
  • The term of an individual member of Rajya Sabha is six years.
  • 1/3 rd. of its members retire at the expiration of every second years.
  • The Vice-President is the ex-officio chairman, elected by the members of both House of Parliament.
  • Deputy Chairman is elected by the members the Rajya Sabha.
  • The age of a member must not be less than 30 years.  
  • When the office of the chairman is vacant or he is acting as the Vice-President or discharging the function of President, his duties are performed by the deputy chairman.
  • If the office of the Deputy Chairman is also vacant, the duties are performed by such manner of the Rajya Sabha as the President may appoint for that purpose.
  • If Chairman and Deputy Chairman both are absent from the sitting of the House then such person as may be determined by the rule of procedure of the council and if no such person is present such other person as may be determined by the council may act as chairman.(Art- 91)

 

LOK SABHA:-

 

  • Maximum number of members from the States is not more than 530 [Art 8(1) (a)] There should not be more than 20 representatives of union territories.
  • There should not be more than 2 members of the Anglo-Indian community nominated by the President (Art 331)
  • The representatives of the States are directly elected by the people of States.
  • In the beginning, the maximum strength was 500.
  • It has been increased thrice from 500 to 520 in 1956, to 525 in 1962 and to 545 in 1973. At present, the maximum strength is 552, based on 1981 census.
  • There shall be no change in the number of seats in Lok Sabha until the year 2000 by 42nd amendment of 1976 [Art 81 (3)]
  • Seats are reserved for the scheduled caste & scheduled tribes state wise on the basis of population ratios from where only SC/S can contest.
  • At present, the number of seats reserved for SC and ST is 79 and 40 respectively.
  • The term of the House is 5 years, but the President may dissolve it earlier.
  • When a proclamation of emergency is in force, the term can be extended for a period not exceeding one year.
  • Not exceeding in any case a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate (Art 83)
  • The age of member must 25.
  • A member may be disqualified on grounds of defection under the tenth schedule which was added to the constitution by the 52nd amendment.
  • Presided appoints the speaker, chosen by the Lok Sabha from among its members.
  • In the absence of the speaker, the Deputy speaker discharges the functions. It has three sessions in a year-

 

  • (a) Budget Session (Feb-May)
  • (b) Monsoon Session (July-Sept.) (c) Winter Session (Nov. - Dec.)

 

  • The House may declare a seat vacant if the concerned members fails to attend the House for more than 60 days without permission

 

 Speaker:-

Functions-

  • Presides over meetings of the House.
  • Exercises a casting vote in the ease of equality of votes.
  • Maintains order within the Lok Sabha and interprets its rules of procedure.
  • In the absence of quorum, it is his duty to adjourn the House or to suspend the meeting until there is quorum.
  • Presides over a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament [Art 118(4)]. 
  • Certifies that a bill is a money bill.

 

 Removal:-

 

  • By resignation to the Deputy speaker.
  • By the resolution of the House, with 14 days’ notice, passed by a majority of all the members of the House (Art 94)

 

LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURE 

  Ordinary bills

 

  • Introduced either in the House by a minister or by a private member.
  • When a bill is passed in one House, it is transmitted to the other House.
  • The other House may reject the bill. In such a case the provision of joint sitting may be applied by the President [Art 108 (1)]
  • It may pass the bill with amendments.
  • In this case the bill is returned to the originating House.
  • If the House which originated the bill accepts the bill as amended by the other House, it is presented to the President for his assent (Art 111)
  • If the originating House does not agree to the amendments made by the other House and there is final disagreement as to the amendments between the two Houses, and six months have passed the president may summon a joint sitting to resolve the deadlock [Art 108 (1) (b)]

 

Financial bills

 

  • Related to revenue or expenditure.
  • These are of two classes

 

A. First Class:-which contains any of the matters specified in article 110 for the money bill but does not contain solely these matters. 

  • First class financial bill cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Recommendation of the President is required for introduction.
  • Rajya Sabha has the same power to reject or amend it.
  • It has to be passed in the council for states through three readings like ordinary bills.
  • In case of a final disagreement between the two Houses over such bill, the provision for joint-siting (Art-108) is applied.

B. Second Class:-Which contains provisions involving expenditure from the consolidated fund [Art 117 (3)]

  • May be initiated in either House and the council of States has full power to reject or amend it.
  • The president’s recommendation is not a condition precedent to its introduction.
  • In this case it is sufficient if the President’s recommendation is received before the bill is considered.
  • Without such recommendation, the consideration of such bill cannot take place [Art 117 (3)]         There is a provision of joint sitting in case of deadlock between two Houses.

 

Money Bills

 

  • Decided by the speaker that a bill is a money Bill.
  • After passing by the House of the people, it is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for its recommendations with the speaker’s certificate that it is a money bill. 
  • The Rajya Sabha cannot reject or amend it.
  • It must, within a period of fourteen days from the date of receipt of the bill, return the bill to the House of the people which may thereupon either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the council of States.
  • If it is not returned within the said period, it shall be deemed to be passed by both Houses.
  • When a bill is sent to the Rajya Sabha or presented to the President for assent, a certificate of the speaker is endorsed on it that is a money bill. [Art 110(4)]

 

A money bill  can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha, not in the Rajya Sabha [Art 109(1)]

  • It can only be introduced with the recommendation of the President. However no recommendation of the President is necessary for the moving of an amendment making provision for the reduction or abolition of an tax [Art 117 (1), proviso]
  • A money bill contains only provisions with respect to all or any of the following matters [Art 110 (1)] 
  • The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax.
  • The regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the government of India.
  • The custody of the consolidated fund or the contingency fund, the payment or withdrawl of money from such fund.
  • The appropriation of money out of the consolidated fund of India.
  • The declaring of any expenditure to be charged on the consolidated fund of India.
  • The receipt of money on account of consolidated fund of India or the public account of India, or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the union or of a State.
  • A money bill is introduced in the Lok Sabha only on the recommendation of the President.

 

 Constitution Amendment Bill:-

 

  • Provision of amendment under article 368.
  • Introduced in either of the House.
  • It should be passed by each House of parliament with the prescribed special majority.
  • Duly passed/ratified bill is presented to the President for his assent and his assent is mandatory.
  • The President has no option to withhold his assent or return the bill to the House for reconsideration.
  • In all cases of amendments of constitution this bill is passed by the union Parliament.
  • An amendment of the constitution is initiated only by the introduction of this bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament.
  • It is presented to the President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill, the constitution stands amended accordance with the terms of the bill.
  • There is no provision for a joint session.

There are two types of Parliamentary committees in India- 

 

 Standing committee-

  • Permanent in nature
  • Elected by the House or nominated by the speaker/chairman every year or from time to time, as the case may be.
  • Categorised in terms of the nature of their functions as:-

 

    • Financial Committee 
    • House Committee
    • Enquiry committee 
    • Scrutiny committee 
    • Service Committee

 

Adhoc committee-

 Constituted by the House or by the speaker/chairman, to consider and report on specific matters and become functionless officially officio as soon as they have completed their work on these matters. 

 

Financial committees:-

 

Committee on estimates

  • Consists of thirty members of Lok Sabha
  • Acts as the “continuous economy committee” and its criticism and suggestions act as a deterrent on extravagance in public expenditure.
  • Makes detailed examination of annual budget estimates.  
  • Duty of the estimates committees to point out the defects and bring to the notice of parliament the need for change in policy.

 

The public accounts committee

  • The oldest financial committee.  
  • Consists of 22 members (15 from Lok Sabha & 7 from Rajya Sabha).
  • A member of opposition is being appointed as the chairman since 1967, as a matter of practice.
  • Described as the ‘twin-sister’ of the estimates committee.
  • Deals with the accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by the House for the expenditure of the government of India in order to ascertain whether the money has been spent as authorized by parliament and for the purpose for which it was granted.
  • It is assisted by the comptroller and Auditor-General of India who participates in its meetings.  

 Committee on Public undertakings:-

  • Consisting of 22 members (15 elected from Lok Sabha & 7 from Rajya Sabha)

The chairman is appointed by the speaker from among the members of the committee drawn from Lok Sabha.

  • Examines the reports and accounts of the public undertakings specified in the rules of procedure in the reports of the comptroller and Auditor-Genera.
  • Examines the content of the autonomy an efficiency of the public undertakings, whether the affairs of the public undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.  

 

 House Committees:-

 

Business advisory committee

  • In each House, there is a business advisory committee.  
  • In Lok Sabha, the committee consists of 15 members including the speaker who is the ex officio chairman.
  • In Rajya Sabha it consists of 11 members, including the deputy chairman who is the ex officio chairman.
  • The speaker/ chairman, nominates the committee.
  • The function of the committee is to recommend the time that should be allocated for the transaction of such legislative and other business as initiated by the government.  
  • In Rajya Sabha, the committee also recommends the time that should be allocated for the discussion of private members bills and resolutions.
  • It may recommend to the government to bring forward particular subject for discussion in the House and recommend allocation of time for such discussion.

 

Committee on private members’ bills and resolutions:-

 

  • Consists of 15 members of Lok Sabha with the Deputy speaker as its chairman.
  • The function of the committee is to allot time to time private members bills and resolutions.
  • It examines private members’ bills seeking to amend the constitution before their introduction in Lok Sabha.
  • There is no such committee in Rajya Sabha.

 

Committee on absence of members from the sittings of the House:-

 

  • Consisting 15 members of Lok Sabha.
  • Considers all applications from members for cause of absence from the sittings of the House.
  • Examines every case where a member has been absent for a period of sixty days or more, without permission from the sittings of the House.

 

Rules committee

  • In Lok Sabha, it consists of 15 members, including the speaker who is the ex officio chairman of the committee.
  • In Rajya Sabha consists of 16 members including the chairman and the deputy chairman.
  • Considers matters of procedure and conducts of business in the House.
  • Recommends any amendments or additions to the rules that may be deemed necessary  
  • Suggestion for amendments or additions to the rules can be made member of the House, minister or the committee itself.

  

Enquiry Committees

  • Both in Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha.
  • In Lok Sabha, it consists of 15 members.
  • Examines every petition which, after presentation to the House, stands referred o the committee.
  • Reports to the House on specific complaints made in the petitions after taking such evidence as it deems fit.
  • Suggests remedial measures, either on specific case under review or in a general way to prevent such cases in future.
  • Considers representations, including letters and telegrams received from various individuals and associations which are not covered by the rules relating to petitions & gives directions for their per disposal.

 

Committee on privileges

 

  • In Lok Sabha it consist 15 members.
  • In Rajya Sabha, it has 10 members.
  • The function of this committee is of a semi-judicial nature and it is vested with wide powers.
  • Performs a vital role in safeguarding the power and prestige of parliament and its members.

 

 Scrutiny committees

 

Committee on Govt. Assurances

 

  • Committee of Lok Sabha consists of 15 members.
  • Committee of Rajya Sabha has 10 members.
  • Scrutinises the assurances so given by Ministers on the floor of the House and to report to the House, the extent to which such assurances have been implemented.

 

Committee on subordinate legislation

 

  • The committee of each House consists of 15 members nominated by the speaker/chairman.
  • Scrutinizes and reports to the House whether the powers to make rules, sub-rules, regulations, by parliament by status have been properly exercised within such conferment or delegation, as the case may be.

 

Committee on welfare of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes

 

  • Consisting 30 members (20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha) elected by the respective House of parliament from amongst their members.
  • Considers the report of the commissioner for SC and ST and report to parliament as to the measures taken or required to be taken by the government thereon.
  • Examines and reports on all matters pertaining to the welfare of the SC & ST including their representation in the different services, working of their welfare programmes, etc.
  • Ensures the effective implementation of the constitutional safeguard for these backward committees.  

 

 Service committees

 

General purposed committee

 

In each House there is a general purpose committee.

  • The presiding officer of the concerned House in the ex officio chairman of the committee.
  • Consists of deputy speaker or deputy chairman.
  • Constituted to advise on such ad hoc matters concerning the affairs of the House & its members as do not & appropriately fall within the preview of any other parliamentary committee.