9. Parliament

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indian polity study materials 09

 

  • The Parliament is the legislative organ of the Union government. It occupies a pre- eminent and central position in the Indian democratic political system due to adoption of the Parliamentary form of government, also known as ‘Westminster’ model of government.
  • Articles 79 to 122 in Part V of the Constitution deal with the organization, composition, duration, officers, procedures, privileges, powers and so on of the Parliament.
  • Under the Constitution, the Parliament of India consists of three parts viz., the President, the Council of States and the House of the People. In 1954, the Hindi names ‘Rajya Sabha’ and ‘’Lok Sabha’ were adopted by the Council of States and the House of People respectively.
  • The Rajya Sabha is the Upper House (Second Chamber or House of Elders) and the Lok Sabha is the Lower House (First Chamber or Popular House). The former represents the states and union territories of the Indian Union, while the latter represents the people of India as a whole.
  • Though the president of India is not a member of either House of Parliament and
  • does not sit in the Parliament to attend its meetings, he is an integral part of the Parliament. This is because a bill passed by both the Houses of Parliament cannot become law without the president’s assent.
  • The President of India also performs certain functions relating to the proceedings of the Parliament, for example, he summons and prorogues both the Houses, issues ordinances when they are not in session, and so on.

Parliamentary Sessions:

 Normally, three Sessions of Parliament are held in a year:

  • Budget Session (February-May);
  • Monsoon Session (July-August); and
  • Winter Session (November-December).

Opening of Parliament by the President: 

  • The Constitution provides for an Address by the President to either House or both Houses assembled together.
  • At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons.
  • In the case of the first session after each general election to the Lok Sabha, the President addresses both Houses of Parliament assembled together after the Members have made and subscribed the oath or affirmation and the Speaker has been elected. It takes generally two days to complete these preliminaries.
  • No other business is transacted till the President has addressed both Houses of Parliament assembled together and informed Parliament of the causes of its summons.
  • No separate summons for the President’s Address is issued to members. They are informed of the date, time and place fixed for the President’s Address through a Parliamentary Bulletin.
  • New members who have not already made and subscribed the oath or affirmation are admitted to the Central Hall on the occasion of the President’s Address on production of either the certificate of election granted to them by the Returning Officer or the summons for the session issued to them.
  • The President’s Address to both the Houses of Parliament assembled together is a solemn and formal act under the Constitution. Utmost dignity and decorum befitting the occasion are maintained. Any action on the part of a Member which mars the occasion or creates disturbance is punishable by the House to which that Member belongs.
  • It is a convention that no Member leaves the Central Hall while the President is addressing.
  • Half-an-hour after the conclusion of the Address, both the Houses meet separately in their respective Chambers when a copy of the President’s Address is laid on the Table and brought on the record of each House.
  • The matters referred to in the Address by the President to the Houses are discussed on a Motion of Thanks moved by a member and seconded by another member.

Composition of Rajya Sabha:

  • The maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is fixed at 250, out of which, 238 are to be the representatives of the states and union territories (Elected indirectly) and 12 are nominated by the president.
  • At present, the Rajya Sabha has 245 members. Of, these, 229 members represent the states, 4 members represent the union territories and 12 members represent the union territories and 12 members are nominated by the president.
  • The Fourth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the allocations of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the states and union territories.

Composition of Lok Sabha:

  • The maximum strength of the Lok Sabha is fixed at 552. Out of this, 530 members are to be the representatives of the states, 20 members are to be the representatives of the union territories and 2 members are to be nominated by the president form the Anglo-Indian community.
  • At present , the Lok Sabha has 545 members. Of these, 530 members represent the states, 13 members represent the union territories and 2 Anglo-Indian members are nominated by the president4.
  • The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 froze the allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to the states and the division of each state into territorial constituencies till the year 2000 at the 1971 level. This ban on readjustment was extended for another 25 years (ie. Up to year 2026) by the 84th Amendment Act of 2001, with the same objective of encouraging population limiting measures.
  • The 84th Amendment Act of 2001 also empowered the government to undertake readjustment and rationalization of territorial constituencies in the states on the basis of the population figures of 1991 census.
  • Later, the 87th Amendment Act of 2003 provided for the delimitation of
  • constituencies on the basis of 2001 census and not 1991 census. However, this can be done without altering the number of seats allotted to each state in the Lok Sabha.

Duration of Rajya Sabha:

  • The Rajya Sabha (first constituted in 1952) is a continuing chamber, that is, it is a permanent body and not subject to dissolution.
  • The retiring members are eligible for re-election and renomination any number of times.
  • The Constitution has not fixed the term of office of members of the Rajya Sabha and left it to the Parliament. Accordingly, the Parliament in the Representation of the People Act (1951) provided that the term of office of a member of the Rajya Sabha shall be sis years. The act also empowered the president of India to curtail the term of members chosen in the first Rajya Sabha. In the first batch, it was decided by lottery as to who should retire. Further, the act also authorized the president to make provisions to govern the order of retirement of the members of the Rajya Sabha.

Duration Of Lok Sabha:

  • Unlike the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha is not a continuing chamber. Its normal term is five years from the date of its first meeting after the general elections, after which it automatically dissolves.

Qualifications:

  • The Constitution lays down the following qualifications for a person to be chosen a member of the Parliament.
  1. He must be a citizen of
  2. He must make and subscribe before the person authorized by the election commission an oath or affirmation according to the form prescribed in the Third Schedule.
  3. He must be not less than 30 years of age in the case of the Rajya Sabha and not less than 25 Years of age in the case of the Lok
  4. He must posses other qualifications prescribed by
  • The Parliament has laid down the following additional qualifications in the Representation of People Act (1951).
  1. He must be registered as an elector for a parliamentary constituency in the concerned state or union territory in the case of the Rajya
  2. He must be registered as an elector for some parliamentary constituency in India in the case of the Lok
  3. He must be a member of a scheduled case or scheduled tribe in any state or union territory, If he wants to contest a seat reserved for However, a member of scheduled castes or scheduled tribes can also contest a seat not reserved for them.

Disqualifications: 

  • Under the Constitutions, a person shall be disqualified for being elected as a member of parliament
  1. If he holds any office of profit under the Union or state government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by parliament ).
  2. If he is of unsound mi8nd and stands so declared by a
  3. If he is an undischarged
  4. If he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgment of allegiance to a foreign state; and
  5. If he is so disqualified under any law made by parliament

Disqualification on Ground of Defection: 

  • The Constitution also lays down that a person shall be disqualified from being a member of Parliament if he is so disqualified on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule. A member incurs disqualification under the defection law.
  1. If he voluntary gives up the membership of the political party on whose ticket he is elected to the House;
  2. If he votes or abstains from voting in the house contrary to any direction given by his political party;
  3. If any independently elected member joins any political party; and
  4. If any nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months
  • The question of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule is decided by the Chairman in the case of Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha (and not by the president of India).
  • In 1991, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the Chairman/Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review.

Vacating of Seats:

  • In the following cases, a Member of Parliament vacates his seat.

1.   Double Membership

  • A person cannot be a member of both Houses of Parliament at the same time. Thus, the Representation of People Act (1951) provides for the following:

1. If a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 10             days in which House he desires to In default of such intimation, his seat in the                   Rajya Sabha becomes vacant.

2. If a sitting member of one House is also elected to the other House, his seat in the              first House becomes

3. If a person is elected to two seats in a House, he should exercise his option for               one.  Otherwise, both seats become

  • Similarly, a person cannot be a member of both the Parliament and the state legislature at the same time. If a person is so elected, his seat in Parliament becomes vacant if he does not resign his seat in the state legislature within 14 days.

2.   Disqualification: 

  • If a Member of Parliament becomes subject to any of the disqualifications specified in the Constitution, his sent becomes vacant. Here, the list of disqualifications also include the disqualification on the grounds of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

3.   Resignation: 

  • A member may resign his seat by writing to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha or Speaker of Lok Sabha, as the case may be. The seat falls vacant when the resignation is accepted. However, the Chairman/ Speaker may not accept the resignation if he is satisfied that it is not voluntary or genuine.

4.   Absence 

  • A House can declare the seat of a member vacant if he is absent from all its meetings for a period of sixty days without its permission. In computing the period of sixty days, no account shall be taken of any period during which the House is prorogued or adjourned for more than four consecutive days.

5.   Other Cases 

  • A member has to vacate his seat in the Parliament
  1. If his election is declared void by the court;
  2. If he is expelled by the House;
  3. If he is elected to the office of president or vice-president ; and
  4. If he is appointed to the office of governor of a
  • If a disqualified person is elected to the parliament, the Constitution lays down no procedure to declare the election void.
  • This matter is dealt by the Representation of the People Act (1951), which enables the high court to declare an election void if a disqualified candidate is elected. The aggrieved party can appeal to the Supreme Court against the order of the high court in this regard.

Presiding Officers Of Parliament: 

  • Each house of Parliament has its own presiding officer. There is a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker for the Lok Sabha and a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman for the Rajya Sabha

Speaker Of Lok Sabha:

  • The Speaker is elected by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members (as soon as may be, after its first sitting).
  • Whenever the office of the Speaker falls vacant, the Lok Sabha elects another member to fill the vacancy.
  • The date of election of the Speaker is fixed by the President.
  • Usually, the Speaker remains in office during the life of the Lok Sabha. However, he has to vacate his office earlier in any of the following three cases:
  1. If he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha;
  2. If he resigns by writing to the Deputy Speaker; and
  3. If he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the members of the Lok Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.
  • It should be noted here that, whenever the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Speaker does not vacate his office and continues till the newly elected Lok Sabha meets.

Role, Powers And Functions: 

  • He adjourns the House or suspends the meeting in absence of a quorum. The quorum to constitute a meeting of the House is one-tenth of the total strength of the House.
  • He does not vote in the first instance. But he can exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie. In other words, only when the House is divided equally on any question, the Speaker is entitled to vote. Such vote is called casting vote, and its purpose is to resolve a deadlock.
  • He presides over a joint setting of the two Houses of Parliament. Such a sitting is summoned by the president to settle a deadlock between two Houses on a bill.
  • He decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is final. When a money bill is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for recommendation and presented to the president for assent, the Speaker endorses on the bill his certificate that it is a money bill.
  • He decides the questions of disqualification of a member of the Lok Sabha, arising on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the Speaker in his regard is subject to judicial review.
  • He acts as the ex-officio chairman of the Indian Parliamentary Group of the Inter- Parliamentary union.
  • He also acts as the presiding officers of legislative bodies in the Country.
  • He appoints the chairman of all parliamentary committees of the Lok Sabha and supervises their functioning. He himself is the Chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, the Rules Committee and the General Purpose Committee.
  • He is given a very high position in the order of precedence. He is placed at seventh rank, along with the Chief Justice of India.

Speaker Pro Tem:

  • The Speaker Pro Tem has all the powers of the Speaker. He presides over the first sitting of the newly elected Lok Sabha. His main duty is to administer oath to the new members. He also enables the House to elect the new Speaker.
  • When the new Speaker is elected by the house, the office of the Speaker Pro Tem ceases to exist. Hence, this office is a temporary office, existing for a few days.

Chairman Of Rajya Sabha:

  • The presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha is known as the Chairman.
  • The vice-president of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. During any period when the vice-president acts as president or discharges the functions of the president, he does not perform the duties of the office of the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
  • The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha can be removed from his office only if he is removed from the office of the vice-president.
  • The Speaker has two special powers, which are not enjoyed by the Chairman.
  1. The Speaker decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is
  2. The Speaker presides over a joint sitting of two houses of Parliament.

Leaders In Parliament:

  • Under the Rules of Lok Sabha, the ‘Leader of the House’ means the prime minister, if he is a member of the Lok Sabha, or a minister who is a member of the Lok Sabha
  • and is nominated by the prime minister to function as the Leader of the house. There is also a ‘Leader of the House’ in the Rajya Sabha. He is a minister and a member of the Rajya Sabha and is nominated by the Prime minister to function as such.

    Leader of the Opposition:

  • In each House of Parliament, there is the ‘Leader of the Opposition’ . The leader of the largest Opposition party having not less than one-tenth seats of the total strength of the house is recognized as the leader of the Opposition in that
  • The leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were accorded statutory recognition in 1977. They are also entitled to the salary, allowances and other facilities equivalent to that of a cabinet minister.
  • It was in 1969 that an official leader of the opposition was recognized for the first time. The same functionary in USA is known as the ‘minority leader’.
  • The British political system has an unique institution called the ‘Shadow Cabinet’. It is formed by the Opposition party to balance the ruling ministerial offices.

WHIP: 

  • Every political party, whether ruling or Opposition has its own whip in the Parliament. He is appointed by the political party to serve as an assistant floor leader. He is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the attendance of his party members in large numbers and securing their support in favour of or against a particular issue.
  • He regulates and monitors their beha-viour in the Parliament.
  • The members are supposed to follow the directives given by the whip. Otherwise, disciplinary action can be taken.

 

Legislative Procedure In Parliament:

  • The legislative procedure is identical in both the Houses of Parliament. Every bill has to pass through the same stages in each house. A bill is a proposal for legislation and it becomes an act or law when duly enacted.
  • Bills introduced in the Parliament are of two kinds; public bills and private bills (also known as government bills and private members ‘ bills respectively.
  • The bills introduced in the Parliament can also be classified into four categories.
  1. Ordinary Which are concerned with any matter other than financial subjects.
  2. Money bills, which are concerned with the financial matters like taxation, public expenditure,
  3. Financial bills, which are also concerned with the financial matters (but are different from money bills).
  4. Constitution amendment bills, which are concerned with the amendment of the provisions of the Constitution.

BILLS

  • ORDINARY BILL                                 
  • MONEY BILL                                    
  • CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL

ORDINARY BILL:

  • Different stages in the legislative procedure in Parliament relating to Bills.
  1. Motions after
  2. Report by Select
  3. Passing of the Bill in the House where it was
  4. Passage in the other
  5. President’s

MONEY BILL: 

  • A Bill is deemed to be a ‘Money Bill’ if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters (Article 110):
  • The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax: The regulation of the borrowing of money by the Government;
  • The custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such fund;
  • The appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
  • The declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;
  • The receipt of money on account of the 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; or
  • Any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f) of Art 110

The following is the procedure for the passing of Money Bills in Parliament:

  • A Money Bill shall not be introduced in the Council of States.
  • After a Money Bill has been passed by the House of the People, it shall be transmitted (with the Speaker’s certificate that is a Money Bill) to the Council of States for its recommendations.
  • The Council of States cannot reject a Money Bill nor amend it by virtue of its own powers. 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.

Joint Sitting: 

  • The machinery provided by the Constitution for resolving a disagreement between the two Houses of Parliament is a joint sitting of the two Houses (Art. 108).
  • The President may notify to the Houses his intention to summon them for a joint sitting in case of disagreement arising between the two Houses in any of the following ways:
  • If after a Bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other Houses.
  • The Bill is rejected by the other House; or
  • The Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the Bill; or
  • More than six months have elapsed from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it.
  • Once the President has notified his intention to hold a joint sitting, the subsequent dissolution of the House of the People cannot stand in the way of the Joint sitting being held

Procedure: 

  • The Speaker will preside at the joint sitting;
  • In the absence of the Speaker, such person is determined by the Rules of procedure made by the President (in consultation with the Chairman of Council of States and the Speaker of the House of People) shall preside.
  • There are restrictions on the amendments to the Bill which may be proposed at the joint sitting:
  • If, after its passage in one House, the Bill has been rejected or has not been returned by the other House, only such amendments any be proposed at the joint sitting as are made necessary by the delay in the passage of the Bill.
  • If the deadlock has been caused because the other House has proposed amendments to which the originating House cannot agree, then
  • Amendments necessary owing to the delay in the passage of the Bill, as well as Other amendments as are relevant to the matters, with respect to which the House has disagreed, may be proposed at the joint sitting.
  • If at the joint sitting of the two Houses the Bill, with such amendments, if any, as are agreed to in joint sitting, is passed by a majority of the total number of members of both Houses present and voting, it shall be deemed for the purposes of this Constitution to have been passed by both the Houses.

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