Committee on Subordinate Legislation : This committee maintains a close vigil and check over the ways legislative power delegated to a subordinate agency or to an executive officer is exercised. The committee of each House consists of 15 nominated members.
As a result of the extension of the activities of the State, the number of legislation has increased immensely. It is beyond the feasibility limit for Parliament to deliberate upon all the legislation made by it or add or subtract or form any new supplementary clauses to the Acts. To deal with it, Parliament delegates its powers of law-making to the executive.
But this power is concerned only with minor matters of detail or with new provisions to accord strength to the existing statues.
Parliament watches the use or abuse of delegated legislative power at all stages. The usual safeguards are: defining the limit of delegation, laying down special procedure for law making, and giving adequate publicity to the rules made. Rules no 70 and 222 require the explanation of the rule and make it obligatory upon the executive to table the new provisions in Parliament.
Committee on Papers Laid on the Table
Government lays before parliament many papers, statements either as a statutory duty or in the process of answering questions. Such papers are generally dispatched to the respective committees but a bulk remains with the committee of papers to examine the details of the papers already laid in the House. The Lok Sabha committee has 15 members and that in the Rajya Sabha 10.
Committee on Welfare of SC and ST
The Constitution provides for safeguards and protection of the SCs and STs in the parliamentary system. There must be a mechanism to fulfil the enshrined goals. The committee ensures Government action in this regard. It examines the reports of the SC and ST Commissioner and ensured effective implementation of it by Parliament. The committee consists of 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha, elected by the respective House from amongst the members.
Service Committees These committees ensure proper service to MPs, such as housing, library, conveyance, salaries, allowances, etc.
General Purposes Committee Each House has its own committee, with its presiding officer as the ex-officio Chairman, plus Deputy Speaker/Deputy Chairman, Members of panels of Chairman, Leaders of recognised parties/ groups and such other members nominated by the presiding officer.
House Committee To oversee housing arrangements for its members each House constitutes a House Committee.
The committee also examines the existing facilities of medical aid, food, etc.
Library Committee The committee has five members from the Lok Sabha and three from the Rajya Sabha. It advises the Speaker on selection of books, reframing of library rules, etc.
Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of MPs Initially constituted to frame Salaries and Allowances of Members of parliament Act, 1954, the committee has come to stay in Parliament. It ensures timely delivery of salaries and allowances of MPs. It consists of ten members from the Lok Sabha and five from the Rajya Sabha.
Consultative Committees There are informal consultative committees attached to each Ministry. The members are nominated by the Ministry of parliamentary Affairs. Generally, political parties have their representatives in these committees. They act as a forum of informal discussions between the members, ministers and senior officials of Government on policy. The deliberation of these committees, being informal, are not referred to on the floor of Parliament. Assurances made by Government in these committees are not binding on it, hence there is hardly any practical effect of their deliberations.
Constitution of Committees Parliamentary committees are formed both by the elected and appointed/nominated MPs. Members of all financial committees (PAC, Estimates Committee and Committee on Public undertaking), the Committee on Offices of Profit are elected every year by the members, according to the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
All the remaining committees have their members nominated by the Chairman of that House.
Committees are constituted both by the House exclusively as well as by members of both Houses.
Members of joint committees, PAC, Committee on Public Vndertakings, Committee on Welfare of SC and ST and Committee on Government Assurances are constituted with members from/ both Houses.
Representation to political parties and groups is an important feature of Parliamentary committees.
Also, there are a few conventions followed in this regard. For example, PAC is conventionally headed by a member of the opposition party.
The Speaker appoints the Chairman of the committee from amongst its members. If the presiding officer himself is a member of the same is the provision when the Deputy Chairman is a member of the committee.
Term of a Committee
Normally, a committee holds office for one year.
But standing committees may remain in function even after one year till the constitution of a new committee.
In case no term is assigned to a committee, it holds office till the work assigned is completed, after which it becomes functus officio.
Comptroller and auditor general
Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) controls the entire financial system of the country [Art. 148]– at the Union as well as State levels. In order to discharge this duty properly, it is highly essential that this office should be independent of any control of the Executive. Hence this office is an autonomous institution.
Part V, Chapter V of the Constitution discusses the mode of appointment and the powers of the CAG.
The CAG is appointed by the President of India.
Term of Office
The Constitution has not prescribed the tenure of the CAG. But Parliament has fixed it as six years.
He may be asked to vacate the office even earlier if he has completed 65 years of age.
He may, at any time, resign his office by writing under his hand addressed to the President of India.
He may be removed by impeachment [Arts. 148 (1); 124 (4)].
The CAG can be removed under the same procedure as that for a judge of the Supreme Court that is, an address passed by each House by majority and by a majority of two-thirds of that House present and voting can remove him. The removal is only on grounds of (i) proved misbehaviour; or (ii) incapacity.
CAG gets salary which is equal to the salary of a Supreme Court judge. His salary and expenses of the office are charged from the Consolidated Fund of India and, therefore, not subject to Parliament's vote.
The Constitution ensures the independence of CAG in the following ways:
(i) Though appointed by the President, the Comptroller and Auditor-general may be removed only on an address from both Houses of Parliament, on the grounds of proved misbehaviour, or incapacity;
(ii) His salary and conditions of service shall be statutory (i.e., as laid down by Parliament by law) and shall not be liable to variation to his disadvantages during his term of office;
(iii) He is disqualified for any further Government office after retirement;
(iv) His salary and other expenditures are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of Indian and thus shall be non- votable.
Powers and functions
Accounting and auditing are two important functions of the CAG. According to arts. 149 to 151, the duties of CAG are:
(i) To audit and report on all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India and of each State and each Union Territory having a Legislative Assembly as to whether such expenditure has been in accordance with the law:
(ii) Similarly, to audit and report of all expenditure from the Contingency Funds and Public Accounts of the Union and of the States;
(iii) To audit and report on all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, etc., kept by any Department of the Union or a State;
(iv) To audit the receipts and expenditure of the Union and of each State to satisfy himself that the rules and procedures in that behalf are designed to secure an effective check on the assessment collection and proper allocation of revenue;
(v) To audit and report on the receipts and expenditure of
(a) all bodies and authorities 'substantially financed' from the Union or State revenues;
(b) Government companies;
(c) other corporations or bodies, when so required by the laws relating to such corporations or bodies.