Article 79 of the Constitution states that there shall be a Parliament of the Union and that is to consist of the President and two Houses known as the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha).
The Rajya Sabha was first constituted on April 3, 1952.
The Lok Sabha held its first sitting on May 13, 1952 after the first general election in the winter of 1951-52.\
The maximum strength of Lok Sabha has been fixed at 550.
Out of 550, 530 represent the States and 20 from Union Territories.
Not more than 20 members are to be elected from the Union Territories, in such manners as may be provided by law or by Parliament (At present the number of members elected from the Union Territories is 17).
Not more than two members can be nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community, if the President is satisfied that this community is not properly represented in the Lok Sabha.
Rajya Sabha consists of not more than 250 members on the whole. Of these 12 members, having specialised knowledge of literature, science, art or social sciences are to be nominated by the President.
Facts to be Remembered
The remaining members of the Rajya Sabha are to be elected by the elected members of the Vidhan Sabhas of the States in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
Qualifications for election as a Member of Parliament: Every citizen of India who has completed 25 years of age is qualified to be elected to the Lok Sabha.
For election to the Rajya Sabha, the age is kept at 30 years. Some other qualifications may also be prescribed by law.
Disqualifications from membership: If a person holds an office of profit, is of an unsound mind, is an undischarged insolvent, voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, is disqualified under any law made by the Parliament, he is ineligible to be elected as a Member of Parliament and can be disqualified to continue as a Member, if he is already one.
The disqualification issue regarding a Member is to be decided by the President in accordance with the opinion of the Election Commission.
Duration of the House
Lok Sabha: The duration of the Lok Sabha is five years from the date of first meeting. But if an emergency is in force, its duration can be extended by one year at a time and a maximum of six months there after (Art. 83).
Rajya Sabha: Rajya Sabha is permanent House and, therefore, cannot be dissolved. However, 1/3rd of its members retire every two years. Thus the term of each member of Rajya Sabha comes to six years.
Lok Sabha: Lok Sabha elects its own presiding officers called the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. Both are elected for the term of the Lok Sabha.
The Speaker is the Presiding officer of the Lok Sabha.
He does not vote but he can use his casting vote in case of a tie.
He presides over the joint sittings of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
He does not preside when a resolution for his re-moval is discussed by the House but he can participate in the proceedings of the House when such a resolution is being discussed.
Rajya Sabha: The Vice-President acts as the exofficio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The Deputy Chairman is elected by the Rajya Sabha.
Points To Be Remembered
All Members of Parliament enjoy certain powers, privileges and immunities necessary to enable the House to maintain its dignity and independence.
These privileges are of two types: (i) those which are enjoyed by the Members individually; and (ii) those which belong to each House of Parliament as a collective body.
Major privileges enjoyed individually include: freedom of speech, freedom from arrest in civil cases, and exemption from attendance as jurors and witnesses.
The privileges of the Houses collectively enjoyed are: the right to publish debates and proceedings along with the right to restrain others from publishing them; the right to exclude others; the right to regulate the internal affairs of the Houseand to decide matters within its walls; the right to punish parliamentary misbehaviour; and the right to punish members as well as outsiders forbreach of its privileges.
|General Sir Roy Bucher||1 January 1948-14 January 1949|
|General (now Field Marshal) K .M . Cariappa||15 January 1949-14 January 1953|
|General Maharaj Rajendra Sinhji||15 January 1953-31 March 1955|
|Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh is honoured with the rank of Marshal of the Air Force|
Difference Between Money Bill and Finance Bill
A money bill deals exclusively with taxation, borrowing or expenditure whereas a Finance Bill has a broader coverage in that it deals with other matters as well.
Facts to be Remembered
Functions of Parliament
Legislative functions: The Parliament has the power to make laws on any of the subjects included in the Union list, in the concurrent list and even on residuary subjects.
It acquires power to make laws on subjects included in the State list if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to that effect.
Financial functions. The Parliament controls the finances of the Union Government. No tax can be levied and no expenditure can be incurred by the Union Government without the approval of the Parliament. The Parliament can levy taxes on subjects in the Union List.
Executive functions. The Parliament exercises control over the Council of Ministers, since they are answerable to the Parliament. The moment the Parliament exercises no confidence in the Cabinet, it has to resign. Members of Parliament also exercise control over the Govern-ment by putting questions to the Ministers, by moving adjournment or censure motions and through such debates as on the Budget or on the President’s Address.
Constitutional functions. The Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution. In certain cases, the amendments passed by the Parliament require the approval of not fewer than half the States in the Indian Union.
Electoral functions. The Parliament participates in the election of the President. It elects the Vice-President.
The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha are elected by the members of the Lok Sabha and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is elected by the members of the Rajya Sabha.
Miscellaneous functions. The Parliament has the power to create more All-India Services. It can remove from office the President, the Vice-President, the Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, the Attorney General, the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and the Chief Election Commissioner in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution.
Adjournment, Prorogation and Dissolution
Adjournment. Adjournment is an internal affair of the House. Usually the Presiding officer can adjourn a sitting of the House. Adjournment does not affect any Bill that lies pending.
Prorogation. The power to prorogue the House lies with the President. Prorogation has the effect of terminating a particular session of the House. Generally a few days after the sine die adjournment of the House, the President issues a notification to prorogue it. A pending Bill does not lapse if the House is prorogued.
Dissolution. To dissolve the House means to put an end to its life. The President alone has the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha. A pending Bill lapses if the Lok Sabha is dissolved. The Rajya Sabha being a permanent chamber is never dissolved.
Miscellaneous Powers of Supreme Court
Judiciary at the Lower Level
Legislative Procedure in Parliament
Ordinary Bills. (a) An Ordinary Bill can be introduced in either House and has to be passed with the required majority in that House.
(b) Then the Bill is sent to the other House. The other House may (i) agree to the Bill, (ii) reject the Bill, (iii) pass the Bill with amendments, or (iv) not take any action for six months.
In case the other House agrees to the Bill, it is passed by both the Houses. In the other three cases, if the first House insists on getting the Bill passed and the second House is adamant is not passing the Bill as wanted by the first House, a joint sitting of the two Houses may be convened to end the deadlock.
(c) After the Bill is passed or deemed to have been passed by both the Houses, the Bill is presented to the President for his assent. A bill becomes law only when the President gives it his assent. The President has the option to send the Bill back to the Parliament with his message. But if the Bill is again passed by the two Houses, the President will have to give his assent.
Joint sitting of the two Houses:
In case of a deadlock over the passing of a Bill, the President summons a joint sitting. The joint sitting is presided over by the Speaker.
Once a Bill is passed at a joint sitting, it is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses. Since the numerical strength of the Lok Sabha is greater than that of the Rajya Sabha, the will of the Lok Sabha is likely to prevail.
Money Bills. A Bill which deals with (i) imposition or abolition of any tax, (ii) borrowing of money by the Government of India, (iii) the custody and maintenance of the Consolidated Fund, or Contingency Fund, or the Public Accounts of India, (iv) the declaration of any expenditure as charged expenditure, and (v) the Audit of the accounts of the Union and of the States is called Money Bill.
It may deal with any one or more than one of the matters listed above.
The Speaker is the final authority to decide whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, and he has to certify it as such before it can be introduced in the Lok Sabha.
A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha with the prior approval of the President. After it has been passed by the Lok Sabha, it is sent to the Rajya Sabha for its recommendations.
The Rajya Sabha is allowed 14 days to give its recommendation, at the end of which whether the Lok Sabha accepts the recommendation of the Rajya Sabha or not, the Bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses.
Thus, in cases of Money Bills, it is the Lok Sabha which enjoys real power.
Sources of the Indian Constitution
From the Government of India Act, 1935
From the Constitution of the United Kingdom
From the Constitution of the U.S.A.
From the Constitution of Ireland
From the Constitution of Canada
From the Constitution of Australia
From the Weimer Constitution of Germany
From the Japanese Constitution
From the Constitution of erstwhile USSR/Italy
From the Constitution of South Africa
An annual budget containing the proposed expenditure and estimated income and taxation proposals is introduced by the Finance Minister, about a month before the commencement of the new financial year, in the Lok Sabha.
Demands for grants of various Ministries are discussed by the Lok Sabha and is approved one by one.
All the expenditure approved through various demands for grants are presented in the form of an Appropriation Bill by the Finance Minister in the Lok Sabha.
Taxation proposals are presented by him in the form of the Finance Bill.
Committees of Parliament
The Parliament is assisted by a number of committees in the discharge of its duties. The member of these committees are appointed by the Speaker or elected by the House from amongst its members.
The important Committees of the Lok Sabha are: Business Advisory Committee. It consists of 15 members with the Speaker as its chairman. It plans and regulates the business of the House and advises regarding the allocation of time for discussion of different matters. It also decides when the sessions of the Parliament should be called.
Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions. It consists of 15 members. It classifies the bills submitted by members of the House according to their importance.
Select Committees. There are a number of select committees constituted for the consideration of different kinds of bills. These committees collect information and submit reports on bills referred to them.
Officers of the Legislature
Committee on Petition. It consists of 15 members. The Committee examines the petitions submitted to it and suggests remedial measures.
Rules Committee. It consists of 15 members with the Speaker as its ex-officio chairman. The committee considers matters of procedure and the conduct of business in the House and makes suggestions for the improvement of procedure.
Committee on Privileges. This committee, consisting of 15 members looks into cases regarding the violation of privileges of members of Parliament and recommends appropriate action.
Committee on Subordinate Legislation. This committee examines rules and regulations enacted by the executive to fill the gaps in the laws enacted by Parliament and ascertains how far these rules are within the limits prescribed in the main law.
Committee on Public Undertakings. Consisting of 15 members—10 from the Lok Sabha and 5 from the Rajya Sabha—this committee examines the working of public undertakings, including their accounts and finances.
Committee on Government Assurances. This committee examines how far the assurances and undertakings given by ministers on the floor of the House have been implemented within the stipulated period.
Committee on Absence of Members. This committee examines the leave applications of members. It also looks into cases where members have been missing from the house without permission for more than six months. It can condone the absence of such members or declare the seat vacant and ask for a by-election to fill up the same.
Estimate Committee. This committee is constituted by the Lok Sabha on the basis of proportional representation and consists of 30 members. It examines the annual estimates and suggests alternative policies to the government to ensure efficiency and economy in administration.
Public Accounts Committee. This committee consists of 22 members—15 from the Lok Sabha and 7 from the Rajya Sabha. It is assisted by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. It ensures that expenditure has not exceeded the grants made by Parliament and the money has been spent for the purpose for which it was sanctioned. In short, the committee ensures regularity and economy in expenditure.