The Parliament of India

 

INTRODUCTORY

  • New Constitution, – Federal in structure and will embody the British parliamentary system of government both at the center and in the units or states.
    • Federal Meaning : having or relating to a system of government in which several states form a unity but remain independent in internal affairs

Bicameralism is a type of legislature, one divided into two separate assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicameral legislature

federal system : Federalism is a system of government in which the same territory is controlled by two levels of government

  • India is a federal system but with more tilt towards a unitary system of government.

The National Constitution names the government as the federal executive, legislative, and judicial authority. However, the term is usually used to refer to the executive branch. The president acts as the head of state and is the highest figure of nominal executive authority, but it is the prime minister who is the head of the government.

 

Legislative : having the power to make laws, Law making, Parliamentary

Legislature : the legislative body of a country or state – Parliament of India, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha

Executive : the legislative body of a country or state – President of India, Vice President of India, Prime Minister of India

Judiciary : a system of courts of law

Union Council of Ministers : highest executive body of the Government of India. Union Council of ministers responsible to the Lok Sabha

Union Cabinet : A smaller executive body called the Union Cabinet is the supreme decision-making body in India; it is a subset of the Union Council of Ministers.


 



  • Parliament of India : Supreme Legislative body of the Republic of India
    • Legislative : Meaning is “having the power to make laws.”
      • Law making body, Judicial Body, Governmental,  Law making body

 

  • It is a bicameral legislature composed of the President of India and two houses:
    • the Rajya Sabha (Council of States)
    • the Lok Sabha (House of the People)
    • Bicameral means (of a legislative body) having two chambers

 

  • The President in his role as Head of the Legislature has full powers to summon (make an effort to produce (a particular quality or reaction) from within oneself) and prorogue (discontinue a session of (a parliament or other legislative assembly) without dissolving it) either House of Parliament or to dissolve the Lok Sabha.

 

  • The President can exercise these powers only upon the advice of the Prime minister and his Union Council of Ministers.

 

  • The Union Council of Ministers
    • Highest executive body of the Government of India
    • The council is responsible for exercising chief administrative authority over the state and advising the president of India
    • It is chaired by the prime minister and includes the heads of each of the executive government ministries

 

  • Members of Parliament (MPs)
    • Persons who are elected or nominated (by the president) to either house of Parliament are referred to as Members of Parliament (MPs).
    • MPs of the Lok Sabha are directly elected by the Indian public voting in single-member Districts
    • Members of Parliament of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the members of all state Legislative assemblies by proportional representation.

 

  • The Parliament has a sanctioned strength of
    • 543 in the Lok Sabha and
    • 245 in the Rajya Sabha
    • Including 12 nominees from the expertise of different fields of literature, art, science, and social service.
    • The Parliament meets at Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi


Composition

  • The Indian Parliament consists of two houses,
    • The Lok Sabha and The Rajya Sabha,
    • with the President of India acting as their head


President of India

  • Head of state
  • Serves for a term of five years
  • Elected by the elected members of the Parliament of India and the state legislatures
  • Responsibility
    • Ensure that laws passed by the Parliament are in accordance with the constitutional mandate and that the stipulated procedure is followed before according his or her approval to the bills
  • President of India – Important Points
    • Constitution gives power to the President the responsibility and authority to defend and protect the Constitution of India and its rule of law (Article 60 of Indian constitution)
    • any action taken by the executive or legislature entities of the constitution shall become law only after the president’s assent.
    • The foremost, most empowered and prompt defender of the constitution
    • Has pre-emptive power for ensuring constitutionality in the actions of the executive or legislature
    • The role of the judiciary in upholding the Constitution of India is the second line of defence
    • Nullifying any unconstitutional actions of the executive and legislative entities of the Indian Union
    • Powers and duties
      • As per draft constitution
        • He is the head of the state but not of the Executive.
        • He represents the Nation but does not rule the Nation.
        • He is the symbol of the Nation
    • common head of all independent constitutional entities
    • primary duty of the president is to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and the law of India
    • no bar on the actions of the president to contest in the court of law

Important Articles to remember

    • All his actions, recommendations (Article 3, Article 111, Article 274, etc.)
    • supervisory powers (Article 74(2), Article 78(C), Article 108, Article 111, etc.) over the executive and legislative entities of India shall be used in accordance to uphold the constitution

Legislative powers of President

  • Head, to facilitate the lawmaking process per the constitution (Article 78, Article 86, etc.)

 

  • Summons (an order to appear before a judge or magistrate) both the houses (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) of the parliament and postpone them

 

  • He can dissolve the Lok Sabha

 

  • The president Inaugurates (Initiate) parliament by addressing it after the general elections and also at the beginning of the first session every year per Article 87(1)

 

  • The presidential address on these occasions is generally meant to outline the new policies of the government

 

  • Article 143 gives the president the power to consult the supreme court about the constitutional validity of an issue

 

  • All bills passed by the parliament can become laws only after receiving the approval of the President per Article 111

 

  • The president can also withhold his approval to a bill when it is initially presented to him (rather than return it to parliament) thereby exercising a pocket veto (president’s decision not to sign the legislation) on the advice of the prime minister or council of ministers per Article 74 if it is inconsistent with the constitution

 

  • Responsibility of the president to withdraw the ordinance (an authoritative order) as soon as the reasons for the announce of the ordinance are no longer applicable

Executive powers

  • The President of the Indian Union has no power to do anything without Ministers advice, as long as his Ministers command a majority in Parliament

 

  • the executive power of the country is vested in the president and is exercised by the president either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the constitution

 

  • When parliament thinks fit it may accord additional executive powers to the president per Article 70 which may be further delegated (appoint) by the president to the governors of states per Article 160

 

  • Union cabinet with prime minister as its head, should aid (support) and advise the president in performing his functions

 

  • Council of ministers or prime minister are not accountable legally to the advice tendered to the president but it is the sole responsibility of the president to ensure compliance with the constitution in performing his duties

 

  • President or his subordinate officers is bound by the provisions of the constitution not withstanding any advice by the union cabinet

 

  • As per Article 142, it is the duty of the president to enforce the decrees of the supreme court

 

Limitations

    • Legislature
      • Any bill passed by parliament can either be signed, withheld or returned to parliament by the President of India.
        • If the president signs, it becomes a LAW
        • If the president returns or withholds the bill till expiry and the same bill is again introduced and passed in the parliament, it automatically becomes a law without the president’s signature
    • Executive
      • If President Declining the PM advice or withholding  it for longtime without being able to constitutionally challenge this decision is beyond the power of the president
      • Similarly, the prime minister can object to any decision taken alone by the President without consulting the cabinet
    • Judiciary – Only the judiciary has the power to convert a death sentence to life imprisonment




 


LOK SABHA

  • House of the People (constitutionally)
  • Lower house
  • Elected by an Adult Universal Suffrage
  • first-past-the-post system

SEATS

  • 543 members (maximum membership of the House allotted by the Constitution of India is 552)
  • A total of 131 seats (24.03%) are reserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes (84) and Scheduled Tribes (47)

 

  • Members are directly elected by citizens of India
  • Term of 5 years

 

  • Eligibility:
    • a person must be a citizen of India
    • must be 25 years of age or older
    • possess other such qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by the Parliament
    • should not be proclaimed criminal i.e. they should not be a convict, a confirmed debtor or otherwise disqualified by law
    • mentally sound
    • should have their name in the electoral rolls in any part of the country

 

  • Disqualification
    • If they hold the office of profit;
    • unsound mind
    • undischarged insolvent
    • voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign State
    • violating party discipline

 

  • Vacant
    • by writing to the speaker, resigns
    • absent from 60 consecutive days of proceedings of the House, without prior permission of the Speaker
    • subject to any disqualifications mentioned in the Constitution
    • stands disqualified under the ‘Anti-Defection Law’

System of elections in Lok Sabha

  • Each state is allotted several seats in the Lok Sabha
    • Ratio between that number and its population was as close to uniform as possible
    • This provision does not apply to states having a population of less than 6 million (60 lakh)

 

  • Each state is divided into territorial constituencies
    • ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it remain the same throughout the state

POWERS OF LOK SABHA

Certain powers that make it more powerful than the Rajya Sabha

  • Motions of no confidence
    • Rajya Sabha has no power over such a motion and hence has no real power over the executive
  • Money bills
    • introduced in Lok Sabha –> passed —> sent to the Rajya Sabha —> where it can be deliberated on for up to 14 days
      • If not rejected by the Rajya Sabha, or
      • 14 days lapse from the introduction of the bill in the Rajya Sabha without any action by the House, or
      • Recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha are not accepted by the Lok Sabha,
    • Then, the bill is considered passed
    • The budget is presented in the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister in the name of the President of India
  • In matters about non-financial (ordinary) bills

 

  • Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha
    • Initiating and passing any Bill for Constitutional Amendment
      • by a majority of the total membership of the House and at least 2/3 majority of the members present and voting
    • initiating and passing a motion for the impeachment of the President
      • by two-thirds of the membership of the House
    • impeachment process (initiating and passing a motion for the removal) of the judges of the Supreme Court and the state High Courts (by a majority of the membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting), who then can be removed by the President of India
    • initiating and passing a resolution declaring war or national emergency (by two-thirds majority) or constitutional emergency (by simple majority) in a state

 

  • If the Lok Sabha is dissolved before or after the declaration of a National Emergency, the Rajya Sabha becomes the sole Parliament. It cannot be dissolved. This is a limitation on the Lok Sabha. But there is a possibility that the president can exceed the term to not more than 1 year under the proclamation of emergency and the same would be lowered down to six-month if the said proclamation (announcement) ceases to operate

 

NOTE

  • Lok Sabha is more powerful than the Rajya Sabha in almost all matters.
  • Even in those matters in which the Constitution has placed both Houses on an equal footing, the Lok Sabha has more influence due to its greater numerical strength.
  • This is typical of any Parliamentary democracy, with the lower House always being more powerful than the upper

PROCEDURE

  • The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and Directions issued by the Speaker
  • three sessions of Lok Sabha are held in a year:

    Budget session: February to May.
    Monsoon session: July to September.
    Winter session: November to mid-December.

  • First hour of every sitting is called Question Hour
    • Questions are of three types—Starred, Unstarred, and Short Notice
    • Starred: a member desires an oral answer in the House and which is distinguished by an asterisk mark
    • Unstarred: An answer to such a question is given in writing. A minimum period of notice for starred/unstarred questions is 10 clear days
    • Short Notice: Taken up for answer immediately after the Question Hour, popularly known as Zero Hour
  • “Zero Hour” starts at around noon
    • raise issues of importance like discussions on important Bills, the Budget, and other issues of national importance
  • Main business
    • consideration of a bill or financial business or consideration of a resolution or a motion
  • Legislative business
    • Legislative proposals in the form of a bill can be brought forward either by a minister or by an individual member.
    • In the former case, it is known as a government bill and in the latter case, it is known as a private members’ bill.
    • Every bill passes through three stages—each called readings—before it is passed.
    • To become law it must be passed by both the houses of Parliament, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and then assented to by the president
  • Financial business
    • The presentation, discussion of, and voting on the annual general and railways budgets—followed by the passing of the appropriations Bill and the finance bill
  • Motions and resolutions
    • Resolutions and motions may be brought forward by the government or by individual members.
    • The government may move a resolution or a motion for obtaining the sanction to a scheme or opinion of the house on an important matter of policy or a grave situation.
    • Similarly, an individual member may move a resolution or motion to draw the attention of the house and the government to a particular problem.
  • Parliamentary committees
    • There are primarily two kinds of parliamentary committees based on their nature:-
      • Parliament Standing Committees (PSC) – Permanent in nature, reconstituted from time to time with every new election. a) Department based b) Others
      • Ad hoc committees – Created for a specific purpose and ceases to exist when that purpose is achieved

Officers of Lok Sabha

  • Speaker and Deputy Speaker
    • As per Article 93 of the Indian Constitution, the Lok Sabha has a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker.
    • In the Lok Sabha, both presiding officers—the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker- are elected from among its members by a simple majority of members present and voting in the House.
    • No specific qualifications are prescribed for being elected Speaker;
    • the Constitution only requires that Speaker should be a member of the House
    • The Speaker of Lok Sabha is both a member of the House and its Presiding Officer.
    • The Speaker conducts the business in the House.
    • Shri G. V. Mavalankar was the first Speaker of Lok Sabha (15 May 1952 – 27 February 1956) and Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar was the first Deputy Speaker (30 May 1952 – 7 March 1956). In the 17th Lok Sabha, Om Birla is the current Speaker

 




RAJYA SABHA

  • Council of States
  • the upper house
  • Permanent body not subject to dissolution
  • 1/3 rd of the members retire every second year, and are replaced by newly elected members.
  • Each member is elected for a term of 6 years
  • Indirectly elected by members of legislative bodies of the states
  • Currently has a sanctioned strength of 245 members,
    • 233 are elected from states and Union Territories
    • 12 are nominated by the President
  • No. of Members from a state depends on its Population
  • Minimum age 30 years
  • Rajya Sabha is not subjected to dissolution
  • the Rajya Sabha, like the Lok Sabha, can be prorogued by the president
  • The vice president of India (currently, Venkaiah Naidu) is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who presides over its sessions.
  • The deputy chairman, who is elected from amongst the house’s members, takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the chairman.
  • The Rajya Sabha held its first sitting on 13 May 1952

Qualifications

  • Article 84
  • Be a citizen of India.
  • Make and subscribe before some person authorized in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule to the Constitution.
  • Be at least 30 years old. (article 84 constitution of India)
  • Be elected by the Legislative Assembly of States and Union territories by means of single transferable vote through proportional representation
  • Not be a proclaimed criminal.
  • Not be a subject of insolvency, i.e. he/she should not be in debt that he/she is not capable of repaying in a current manner and should have the ability to meet his/her financial expenses.
  • Not hold any other office of profit under the Government of India.
  • Not be of unsound mind.
  • Possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament.

NOTE: twelve members are nominated by the president of India ,are not entitled to vote in presidential elections as per Article 55 of the Constitution

Limitations

  • Money bills
    • the Rajya Sabha can only give recommendations for a money bill, but the Rajya Sabha cannot amend a money bill.
    • This is to ensure that the Rajya Sabha must not add any non-money matters to the money bill. There is no joint sitting of both the houses for money bills, because all final decisions are taken by the Lok Sabha

Joint Sitting of the Parliament

  • Article 108
  • Convened by the president of India when one house has either rejected a bill passed by the other house, has not taken any action on a bill transmitted to it by the other house for six months, or has disagreed with the amendments proposed by the Lok Sabha on a bill passed by it.
  • Considering that the numerical strength of the Lok Sabha is more than twice that of the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha tends to have a greater influence in a joint sitting of Parliament.
  • A joint session is chaired by the speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • Also, because the joint session is convened by the president on the advice of the government, which already has a majority in the Lok Sabha, the joint session is usually convened to get bills passed through a Rajya Sabha in which the government has a minority

“Unlike the Lok Sabha, a member of the Rajya Sabha cannot bring to the house a no-confidence motion against the government”

Powers

  • In the Indian federal structure, the Rajya Sabha is a representative of the states in the union legislature (hence the name, Council of States).
  • For this reason, the Rajya Sabha has powers that protect the rights of states against the union government.
  • Union-state relations
    • To make laws on the matters reserved for states, can only be done if the Rajya Sabha first passes a resolution by a two-third majority granting such a power to the union parliament.
    • The union government cannot make a law on a matter reserved for states without any authorisation from the Rajya Sabha
    • The union government reserves the power to make laws directly affecting the citizens across all the states whereas, a single state in itself reserves the power to make rules and governing laws of their region.
    • If any bill passes through the Rajya Sabha, that means, majority of states of the union want that to happen. The Rajya Sabha, therefore, plays a vital role in protecting the states’ culture and interests.
  • Creation of all-India services
    • The Rajya Sabha, by a two-thirds supermajority, can pass a resolution empowering the Indian government to create more all-India services common to both the union and the states.

Composition

  • Seats are allotted in degressive proportion to the population of each state or union territory, meaning that smaller states have a slight advantage over more populous states.
  • Certain states even have more representatives than states more populous than them, because in past they too had high population.
    • For example, Tamil Nadu has 18 representatives for 72 million inhabitants (in 2011)
    • Bihar (104 million) and West Bengal (91 million) only have 16.
  • As the members are elected by the state legislature, some small union territories, those without legislatures, cannot have representation.
  • Hence, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Ladakh and Lakshadweep do not send any representatives.
  • Twelve members are nominated by the president
  • As per the 4th Schedule to the Constitution of India on 26 January 1950, the Rajya Sabha was to consist of 216 members, of which 12 members were to be nominated by the president and the remaining 204 elected to represent the states.
  • The present sanctioned strength of the Rajya Sabha in the Constitution of India is 250, which can be increased by constitutional amendment.
  • However, the present strength is 245 members according to the Representation of People Act, 1951, which can be increased up to 250 by amending the act itself, of whom 233 are representatives of the states and union territories and 12 are nominated by the president.
  • The 12 nominated members of the Rajya Sabha are persons who are eminent in particular fields and are well-known contributors in the particular field

Officers

  • Leader of the House
    • Besides the chairman (vice-president of India) and the deputy chairman, there is also a position called leader of the House. This is a cabinet minister – the prime minister if he is a member of the House or another nominated minister. The leader has a seat next to the chairman, in the front row
  • Leader of the Opposition
    • Besides the leader of the House, who is the government’s chief representative in the House, there is also a leader of the opposition (LOP) – leading the opposition parties.
    • The function was only recognized in the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of the Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.
    • This is commonly the leader of the largest non-government party and is recognized as such by the chairman.

Secretariat

  • Article 98 of the Constitution.
  • The said Article, which provides for a separate secretarial staff for each house of Parliament, reads as follows:- 98. Secretariat of Parliament – Each House of Parliament shall have a separate secretarial staff: Provided that nothing in this clause shall be construed as preventing the creation of posts common to both Houses of Parliament. (2) Parliament may by law regulate the recruitment and the conditions of service of persons appointed to the secretarial staff of either House of Parliament

    The Rajya Sabha Secretariat functions under the overall guidance and control of the chairman. The main activities of the Secretariat inter alia include the following :

    (i) providing secretarial assistance and support to the effective functioning of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha); (ii) providing amenities as admissible to Members of Rajya Sabha; (iii) servicing the various Parliamentary Committees; (iv) preparing research and reference material and bringing out various publications; (v) recruitment of manpower in the Sabha Secretariat and attending to personnel matters; and (vi) preparing and publishing a record of the day-to-day proceedings of the Rajya Sabha and bringing out such other publications, as may be required concerning the functioning of the Rajya Sabha and its Committees.

  • In the discharge of his constitutional and statutory responsibilities, the chairman of the Rajya Sabha is assisted by the secretary-general, who holds the rank equivalent to the cabinet secretary to the government of India.
  • The secretary-general, in turn, is assisted by senior functionaries at the level of secretary, additional secretary, joint secretary and other officers and staff of the secretariat.
  • The present secretary-general is Pramod Chandra Mody
  • In the winter 2019 session, uniforms of Rajya Sabha marshals were restyled from traditional Indian attire comprising turbans to dark navy blue and olive green military-style outfits with caps

 

 


Session of Parliament

  • Period during which the House meets to conduct its business is called a session.
  • Constitution empowers the president to summon each house at such intervals that there should not be more than a six-month gap between the two sessions
  • Parliament must meet at least twice a year
  • Conducts 3 sessions each year

Budget session: January/February to May
Monsoon session: July to August/September
Winter session: November to December


Lawmaking procedures:

  • Legislative proposals are brought before either house of the Parliament in the form of a bill.
  • A bill is the draft of a legislative proposal, which, when passed by both houses of Parliament and assented to by the president, becomes an act of Parliament
  • Money bills must originate in the Lok Sabha.
  • The Council of States can only make recommendations over the bills to the House, within a period of fourteen days.

Parliamentary committees

  • Formed to deliberate specific matters at length
  • Two kinds of committees
    • Standing committees
      • Permanent committees constituted from time to time in pursuance of the provisions of an act of Parliament or rules of procedure
      • Conduct of business in Parliament.
      • Work of these committees is of a continuing nature
    • Ad hoc committees
      • appointed for a specific purpose
      • they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them
      • submit a report

 


Joint Sessions and debates

  • On 16 November 2016,
    • the winter session of Indian Parliament,
    • the sittings in both Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament observed strong opposition and uproar by political parties on demonetisation (note ban) initiative by the Narendra Modi Government.

Incidents

  • On 13 December 2001, Indian Parliament was attacked by an Islamic terrorist group.
    • The perpetrators were Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists.
    • The attack led to the deaths of five terrorists, six Delhi Police personnel, two Parliament Security Services personnel, and a gardener, which totalled 14 fatalities.
    • The incident led to increased tensions between India and Pakistan, resulting in the India–Pakistan standoff





UNO

 

By DWS

Learn & Apply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!