PARLIAMENT OF INDIA
Here in this article we are going to discuss one of the important topics of Indian Polity for ALL Competitive Exams, that is, Indian Parliament. In this article I sprinkle the important points related to the Parliament such as Organisation of Indian Parliament, Presiding officers of the Parliament, Leaders of the Houses of the Parliament, various Sessions of the Parliament, Devices of the Parliamentary proceedings, Types of Bills in Indian Parliament, Legislative Procedure of the Parliament, Joint Sitting of the two Houses, Shadow Cabinet, Functions And Privileges of the Parliament, so that you will get the comprehend knowledge of the topic from just one article. So let’s dive in the topic with utmost attention:
The Parliament is the supreme 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.
Article 79 to 122 in Part V of the Constitution deal with the – Organisation, Leaders, Sessions, Procedure, Privileges, Powers and Functions of the Parliament of India.
ORGANISATION OF INDIAN PARLIAMENT
The Parliament is a bicameral legislature which comprises of:
- The President.
- Lok Sabha(House of the People).
- Rajya Sabha(Council of States).
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, but he is an integral part of the Parliament because a bill passed by both the Houses of Parliament cannot become law without the President’s assent.
Rajya Sabha is a permanent chamber that represents the States and Union territories of the Indian Union while Lok Sabha is a temporary chamber having tenure of 5 yes and it represents the India as a whole. We’ll detail more about Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha in another Article.
PRESIDING OFFICERS OF THE PARLIAMENT
Each House of Parliament has its own presiding officer. There is a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker for the Lok Sabha, a Chairman and Deputy Chairman for the Rajya Sabha, A panel of chairpersons for the Lok Sabha, A panel of vice-chairpersons for the Rajya Sabha.
- Speaker of Lok Sabha:- The Speaker is the head of the Lok Sabha, and is elected by Lok Sabha from amongst its members. He does not vote in the first instance. But he can exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie. He presides over a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament. He decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is final.
- Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha:- Deputy Speaker is not subordinate to the Speaker. He is directly responsible to the House.
The Deputy Speaker performs the duties of the Speaker’s office when it is vacant, or he is absent from a sitting. In both cases, he assumes all the powers of the Speaker.
- Chairman & Deputy Chairman Of Rajya Sabha:- The Vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who presides over its sessions. The Deputy Chairman who is elected from amongst the Rajya Sabha members takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman. Deputy Chairman is not subordinate to the Chair-man. He is directly responsible to the Rajya Sabha.
- Panel Of Chairpersons of Lok Sabha:- A Panel of maximum 10 persons is nominated by the Speaker of Lok Sabha from amongst its members, so that any one of them can preside over the House when Speaker or Deputy Speaker is absent (and not vacant).
- Panel of Vice-Chairpersons of Rajya Sabha:- A Panel of Vice-Chairpersons not more than 10 is nominated by the Chairman of Rajya Sabha from amongst its members so that any one of them can preside over the House when Chairman or Deputy Chairman is absent (and not vacant).
- Speaker Pro tem:– He is the member of Lok Sabha appointed by the President who will preside over the first sitting of the newly elected Lok Sabha.
NOTE – Salaries and allowances of all the Members of Parliament are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and not subjected to the annual vote of Parliament.
LEADERS OF THE HOUSE
- Leader of the House:- Prime Minister, if he is a member of the Lok Sabha, or a minister who is nominated by the PM to function as the Leader of the House. is an important functionary and exercises direct influence on the conduct of business.
- Leader of Opposition:- leader of the largest Opposition party having not less than one-tenth seats of the total strength of the House. His main functions are to provide a constructive criticism of the policies of the government and to provide an alternative government.
- Whip:- Whip is the assistant floor leader of each political party appointed by the party itself to ensure the attendance of its members and to monitor their behaviour.
SESSIONS OF PARLIAMENT
- Summoning:- The President from time to time summons each House of Parliament to meet.
There are usually three sessions in a year:
- the Budget Session (February to May);
- the Monsoon Session (July to September); and
- the Winter Session (November to December).
- Recess:- The period between the prorogation of a House & its reassembly in a new session is called ‘recess’.
- Adjournment:- An adjournment suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks.
- Adjournment sine die:- When the House is adjourned without naming a day for reassembly, it is called adjournment sine die. The power of adjournment as well as adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer of the House.
- Prorogation:- it terminates a session of the House and it is done by the president of India.
- Dissolution:- a dissolution ends the very life of the existing House, and a new House is constituted after general elections are held. Rajya Sabha, being a permanent House, is not subject to dissolution. Only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution.
- Lame-Duck Session:-It refers to the last session of the existing Lok Sabha, after a new Lok Sabha has been elected.
DEVICES OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS
- Question Hour:- The first hour of every parliamentary sitting is slotted for this. During this time, the members ask questions and the ministers usually give answers.
- Zero Hour:- it is an informal device available to the members of the Parliament to raise matters without any prior notice.
- Motions:- The House expresses its decisions or opinions on various issues through the adoption or rejection of motions moved by either ministers or private members.
- Closure Motion:- It is a motion moved by a member to cut short the debate on a matter before the House. If the motion is approved by the House, debate is stopped forthwith and the matter is put to vote.
- Calling Attention Motion:- It is introduced in the Parliament by a member to call the attention of a minister to a matter of urgent public importance, and to seek an authoritative statement from him on that matter.
- No Confidence Motion:- the Lok Sabha can remove the ministry from office by passing a no-confidence motion.
- Motion of Thanks:- The first session after each general election and the first session of every fiscal year is addressed by the president.
- Point of Order:- A member can raise a point of order when the proceedings of the House do not follow the normal rules of procedure. It is an extraordinary device as it suspends the proceedings before the House and No debate is allowed on it.
- Censure Motion:- It can be moved against an individual minister or a group of ministers or the entire council of ministers. It should state the reasons for its adoption in the Lok Sabha and should be for specific policies and actions.
- Quorum – it is the minimum number of members required to be present in the House before it can transact any business i.e., one-tenth of the total members in each House including the presiding officer.
It is a feature of the Westminster system of government. It consists of a senior group of opposition spokespeople who, under the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition, form an alternative cabinet to that of the government, and whose members shadow or mirror the positions of each individual member of the Cabinet.
Joint sitting is extraordinary machinery provided by the Constitution to resolve a deadlock between the two Houses over the passage of a bill. A deadlock is deemed to have taken place under any one of the following three situations after a bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other House:
- If the bill is rejected by the other House;
- If the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the bill; or
- If more than six months have elapsed from the date of the receipt of the bill by the other House without the bill being passed by it.
The Lok Sabha speaker presides over the joint sitting.
Joint sitting cannot be called for resolving deadlock regarding Money Bill & Constitution Amendment Bill.
Chairman of Rajya Sabha does not preside over a joint sitting as he is not a member of either House of Parliament.
BILLS IN THE PARLIAMENT
The four kinds of bills mentioned in the Constitution that are:-
- Ordinary Bill:- It can be introduced in either Houses of the Parliament. It is passed by a simple majority by both the Houses.
- Money Bill:- A bill that deals exclusively with money matters that are mentioned in Article 110 in Constitution is called a Money Bill. A money bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the President. It is passed by a simple majority by both the Houses of Parliament. There is no deadlock between the Houses over the passage of a money bill.
- Financial Bill:- A Bill apart from dealing with one or more money matters if also deals with one or more non-money matters then it is called a financial Bill. Since it contains non-money matters after its introduction, it is passed in same manner an ordinary bill is passed.
- Constitutional Amendment Bill:- A bill introduced under article 368 to amend one or more provisions of the Constitution is called a Constitutional Amendment Bill. It can be introduced in either House of the Parliament and does not require the recommendation of President for its introduction.
A bill is a proposal for legislation & it becomes an act or law when duly enacted. Every bill has to pass through the same stages in each House.
Bills introduced in the Parliament are of two kinds: public bills & private bills (also known as government bills & private members‘bills respectively).
Though both are governed by the same general procedure & pass through the same stages in the House, they differ in various respects.
FUNCTIONS OF PARLIAMENT
- The primary function of Parliament is to make laws for the governance of the country. It makes laws in a skeleton form and authorises the Executive to make detailed rules and regulations within the framework of the parent law. This is known as delegated legislation or executive legislation or subordinate legislation.
- The Executive is responsible to the Parliament for its policies and acts.
- No tax can be levied or collected and no expenditure can be incurred by the Executive except under the authority and with the approval of Parliament.
- The budget is placed before the Parliament for its approval.
- The parliamentary control over the Executive in financial matters operates in two stages:
- budgetary control, that is, control before the appropriation of grants through the enactment of the budget; and
- Post-budgetary control, that is, control after the appropriation of grants through the three financial committees.
- The Parliament is vested with the powers to amend the Constitution by way of addition, variation or repeal of any provision.
- The Parliament can amend any provision of the Constitution except the ‘basic features’ of the Constitution.
- The judicial powers and functions of the Parliament include the following:
- It can impeach the President for the violation of the Constitution.
- It can remove the Vice-President from his office.
- It can recommend the removal of judges (including chief justice) of the Supreme Court and the high courts, chief election commissioner, comptroller and auditor general to the president.
- It can punish its members or outsiders for the breach of its privileges or its contempt.
- The Parliament participates in the election of the President and elects the Vice-President.
- It can increase or decrease the area, alter the boundaries and change the names of states of the Indian Union.
- It serves as the highest deliberative body in the country. It discusses various issues of national and international significance.
- It approves all the three types of emergencies (national, state and financial) proclaimed by the President.
- It can create or abolish the state legislative councils on the recommendation of the concerned state legislative assemblies.
- It can regulate the organisation and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and high courts and can establish a common high court for two or more states.
PRIVILEGES OF PARLIAMENT
Parliamentary privileges can be classified into two broad categories:
- Those that are enjoyed by each House of Parliament collectively, and
- Those that are enjoyed by the members individually.
Collective Privileges:- The privileges belonging to each House of Parliament collectively are:
- In have the right to publish its reports, debates and proceedings and also the right to prohibit others from publishing the same.
- It can punish members as well as outsiders for breach of its privileges or its contempt by reprimand, admonition or imprisonment.
- It has the right to receive immediate information of the arrest, detention, conviction, imprisonment and release of a member.
- The courts are prohibited to inquire into the proceedings of a House or its committees.
- No person (either a member or outsider) can be arrested, and no legal process (civil or criminal) can be served within the precincts of the House without the permission of the presiding officer.
Individual Privileges:- The privileges belonging to the members individually are:
- They cannot be arrested during the session of Parliament and 40 days before the beginning and 40 days after the end of a session.
- They are exempted from jury service. They can refuse to give evidence and appear as a witness in a case pending in a court when Parliament is in session.
- They have freedom of speech in Parliament. No member is liable to any proceedings in any court for anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or its committees.
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Important Tags : Organisation of Indian Parliament / Presiding officers of the Parliament / Leaders of the Houses of the Parliament / Various Sessions of the Parliament / Devices of the Parliamentary proceedings / Types of Bills in Indian Parliament / Legislative Procedure of the Parliament / Joint Sitting of the two Houses / Shadow Cabinet / Functions And Privileges of the Parliament