The Parliament of India includes three organs. They are:
The President though not the member of either House of the Parliament, is a significant part of the Parliament. The President has the power to summon both the Houses of the Parliament, dissolve the Lok Sabha and give assent on bills. The President is an integral part of the legislative process and without his assent no bill can be passed by the Parliament (Article 111). He may give or withhold his assent and when it is a bill other than a money bill, he may return it to the House for reconsideration.
The Lok Sabha
The members of the Lok Sabha are directly elected by the people. The total number of members of the Lok Sabha is 550[i]. Out of them not more than 530 are elected by the votes in the State and not more than 20 to represent the Union Territories. It is subject to the provision that the President may nominate not more than 2 members of the Anglo Indian Community if he feels that the community has not been adequately represented[ii]. The representatives of the State are elected directly by the people by the procedure of Adult Franchise and the representatives of the Union Territories are elected by the procedure provided by the Parliament by Law.
According to Article 81(2) there must be uniformity of representation in between different States and in between constituencies in the same State. In order to secure this, each State is divided into territorial constituencies in a way that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it remains the same throughout the State. Also each State is allotted a number of seats in the Lok Sabha in a way that the ratio between the number and its population remains the same for all States.
Tenure of Lok Sabha
The tenure of Lok Sabha is 5 years. However, it can be dissolved by the President before the completion of 5 years. Its life can be extended for 1 year at a time while proclamation of an emergency. According to Article 83(2) if such extension has been made, the Lok Sabha cannot continue beyond 6 months after the proclamation of emergency has ceased to operate.
Speaker and Deputy Speaker
The Speaker presides and controls the sittings of the Lok Sabha. The Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected from the members of the Lok Sabha. According to Article 93 in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker executes his functions. Article 95(1) says that if the office of the Deputy Speaker is also vacant the duties shall be performed by a member of the House who is appointed by the President. The Speaker and Deputy Speaker shall remain in office till they are members of the House. They may resign or be removed by a resolution of the House passed by a majority and such resolution cannot be moved unless at least 14 days’ notice has been given. If the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Speaker continues his office till newly elected Lok Sabha meets.
The Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha is the upper House of the Parliament. It has 250 members, 12 nominated by the President among people who have special knowledge or experience in the field of Literature, Art and Social Service [Article 80(3)] and the rest 238 shall be representatives of the States and Union Territories[iii]. The State representatives are elected by the members of the Legislative Assemblies by the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the representatives of the Union Territories are chosen in the manner the Parliament determines.
The Rajya Sabha cannot be dissolved as it is a permanent House. The tenure of the members is 6 years. However, 1/3 of the members retire after every 2 years.
Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha
The Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. A Deputy Chairman is elected by the Rajya Sabha from among its members[iv]. The Vice-President presides over the sittings of Rajya Sabha and in his absence the Deputy Chairman presides. In case of the offices of both the Vice-President and Deputy Chairman being vacated or in the absence of both such member as appointed by the President shall preside over the sittings.
If the Deputy Chairman ceases to be a member of the House, he shall vacate his office. He can resign by writing to the Chairman and according to Article 90 he can be removed by a resolution passed by majority members in the House who are present. However, such resolution can be moved by giving 14 days’ notice.
Qualifications of Member of Parliament
The following are the qualifications required to be the Member of Parliament:
- He should a citizen of India
- He should not be less than 30 years of age for being the member of Rajya Sabha. He should not be less than 25 years of age for being the member of Lok Sabha.
- He should possess other qualifications as the Parliament prescribes.
- He should have taken oath before the authorised person.
- He should be registered as a Voter in any Parliamentary Constituency[v].
Disqualifications of Member of Parliament
According to Article 102 the following conditions disqualifies one from being a Member of Parliament:
- If he holds any office of profit under the Central or State Government other than an office which does not disqualify its holder as declared by the Parliament.
- If a competent Court has declared him as a person with unsound mind.
- If he is an undischarged insolvent
- If he is not a citizen of India or has acquired the citizenship of any foreign State.
- If any law made by the Parliament disqualifies him
Sessions of the Parliament
The President summons each House of the Parliament at such time and place which is fit. However, 6 months should not intervene the last sitting and the date fixed for the sitting in the next session.
The President has the power of Prorogation. Prorogation refers to the end of a session. It does not end the life of the House. Dissolution refers to end of life of the House. The Lok Sabha can be dissolved by the President but the Rajya Sabha is a permanent House and cannot be dissolved.
Functions of the Parliament
The following are the functions of the Parliament:
The Parliament has the power to make Laws. The Union has the power to make laws on the subjects included in the Union List and the Concurrent List. The State has power to make laws on the subjects mentioned in the State List. The Union has been given more powers than the States. In case of a conflict between the Union and the State, the Union law prevails. The Union has the power to make laws over the subjects mentioned in the State List under the following conditions:
- During the Proclamation of an emergency (Article 356) President’s rule is declared and the Parliament can make laws regarding the subjects mentioned in the State List. (Article 250)
- When a resolution is passed by 2/3rd majority of members of Rajya Sabha who are present and voting that a matter in the State List is of national importance and the Parliament should make law in respect of it. (Article 249)
- When legislation is necessary to make implementation of international treaties or agreements with foreign state. (Article 253)
- When 2 or more states pass a resolution that it is necessary to have a parliamentary law in any matter mentioned in the State List (Article 252)
The Parliament has effective control in financial matters. Money Bills are originated and passed by the Lok Sabha to the Rajya Sabha for approval within 14 days. The Annual budget is presented to and passed by the Parliament. The Parliament passes the Appropriation Bill and Financial Bill also. The Public Accounts Committee and the Estimate Committee also exercise control over financial matters.
Elective Powers –
The Parliament participates in the election of the President and the Vice-President. The members of the Lok Sabha elect their Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The members of the Rajya Sabha elect their Deputy Chairman.
Control over the Cabinet
The Parliament exercises control over the Cabinet. The executive is responsible to the Government for all its acts. The Parliament has the power to impeach the President, Vice-President, Judges of Supreme Court and High Court, Auditor General and member of Public Service Commission. If any person breaks the privilege of the house, the Parliament has the power to punish them.
The Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution. Some provisions require amendment by a simple majority; some require amendment by special majority and in some cases ratification by States is also required.
An organ of information
The Parliament keeps an eye on the working of all the organs. It is mandatory for all ministers to provide information on the matters of administration whenever it is required by the members.
Deorao vs. Keshav Laxman Borkar[vi] – This case throws light about the provision that a member of the Parliament should not hold an office of profit. The word ‘office’ here means that such an office exists. There should be an office existing independently of the holder of the office. Such office provides profit or gain.
Abdul Saquur vs. Rishal Chandra[vii] – In order to determine whether such office is under the control of the Central or State Government there are 5 tests. They are:
- Whether the Government has power of appointment
- Whether the Government has power to remove the holder of office
- Whether the Government pays the remuneration
- Whether the functions performed are for the Government
- Whether the Government exercises control over the execution of those functions
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Why is the Rajya Sabha required?
- The Rajya Sabha consists of senior politicians and they discuss questions of public importance better.
- The Rajya Sabha revises the decisions of the Lok Sabha and prevents its hasty decisions.
- In Rajya Sabha the States are represented keeping up the federal principles (Article 83)
2. How is the disqualification of Member of Parliament decided?
According to Article 103 the decisions regarding the disqualification of any Member of Parliament shall be made by the President with the opinion of the Election Commission.
3. What is a Budget?
Budget refers to an annual financial statement which gives the estimated income and expenditure for that year. According to Article 112 the President causes the budget to be laid before the Parliament in respect of every financial year.
Edited byMadonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[i] Article 81(1), The Constitution of India, 1950
[ii] Article 331, The Constitution of India, 1950
[iii] Article 80(1), The Constitution of India, 1950
[iv] Article 89, The Constitution of India, 1950
[v] The Representation of Peoples Act, 1951
[vi] Deorao V Keshav Laxman Borkar, AIR 1968 Bom 314
[vii] Abdul Saquur V Rishal Chandra, AIR 1958 SC 52