PARLIAMENT

Parliament

 

In a parliamentary democracy, the legislature, as a body representing the wishes of the people, occupies a high position of power and responsibility. Here lies the democratic potential of the Parliament”.

 

BACKGROUND
  • Parliament is the legislative organ of the union government, the other two are Executive and Judiciary.
  • Adoption of “Parliamentary form of government” gives pivotal position to parliament in Indian democratic system.
  • A genuine democracy is inconceivable without a representative, efficient and effective legislature.
  • The legislature also helps people in holding the representatives accountable. This is indeed, the very basis of representative democracy.
  • Law-making is but one of the functions of the legislature. It is the centre of all democratic political processes.
  • Legislature is the most representative of all organs of government. The sheer presence of members of diverse social backgrounds makes the legislatures more representative and potentially more responsive to people’s expectations.

 

 

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
  • 79 to 122 in Part V of the Constitution deal with the organisation, composition, duration, officers, procedures, privileges, powers and so on of the Parliament.
  • 79– There shall be a Parliament for the Union which shall consist of the President and two Houses to be known respectively as the Council of States and the House of the People.
  • 80 – Composition of council of states (Rajya Sabha)
  • 81 – Composition of House of people (Lok Sabha)
  • Art.82 – Readjustment after each census . Setting up a Delimitation

 

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
  • The Parliament of India consists of three parts:the President, the Council of States and the House of the People.
  • President, although integral part of parliament but not a member of either house of parliament. The President does not sit in parliament.
  • In 1954, the Hindi names ‘Rajya Sabha’ and ‘Lok Sabha’ were adopted by the Council of States and the House of People respectively.
  • The Lok Sabha is the Lower House (First Chamber/Popular House), Represents the People of India as a whole.
  • The Rajya Sabha is the Upper House (Second Chamber/House of Elders), Represents the States and UTs of the Indian Union.
  • Unlike Britain and India, American president is not an integral part of the legislature.
  • The President performs the following functions relating to parliament.
    • Summon both houses.
    • Prorogue both houses.
    • Addressing both the houses.
    • Dissolves the Lok Sabha on recommendation of cabinet.
    • Issues ordinances when houses are not in session
  • In this aspect, the Indian Constitution follows the British pattern rather than the American pattern.
 American patternBritish pattern
1.Legislature (known as Congress) consists of the –

  1. Senate (Upper House)
  2. House of Representatives (Lower House).
Parliament consists of the –

  1. Crown (King or Queen)
  2. House of Lords (Upper House)
  3. House of Commons (Lower House).
2.The presidential form of government lays stress on the separation of legislative and executive organs.

 

Parliamentary form of government emphasises on the interdependence and cooperation between the legislative and executive organs.
3.The American president is not regarded as a constituent part of the Congress.India has a ‘President-in-Parliament’ like the ‘Crown-in- Parliament’ in Britain.

 

 

 

 

COMPOSITION OF RAJYA SABHA (Article – 80)
  • Maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is fixed at 250 (238 Members elected indirectly and 12 nominated by the President)

Present Rajya Sabha

Fourth Schedule of the Constitution Allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the States and Union Territories.
  • Total member strength – 245
  • Representatives of the States – 229
  • Representatives of the Union Territories – 4
  • Members nominated by the president – 12

 

REPRESENTATION OF STATES
  • Representatives of states in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of state legislative assemblies.
  • Method of election:System of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
  • The seats are allotted to the states in the Rajya Sabha on the basis of population.
  • India does not have equal representation to the states in Rajya Sabha.
  • In The USA all states are given equal representation in the Senate irrespective of their population.

 

 

REPRESENTATION OF UNION TERRITORIES

  • The representatives of each UTs in the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college specially constituted for the purpose.
  • Method of election:- Through a System of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
  • Only Delhi, Puducherry and Jammu & Kashmir have representation in Rajya Sabha (total nine union territories).
  • The other six UTs have too small populations to have any representative in the Rajya Sabha.

 

NOMINATED MEMBERS

  • 12 members nominated by President to the Rajya Sabha from people who have special knowledge or practical experience in art, literature, science and social service.
  • Rationale behind provision – to provide eminent persons a place in the Rajya Sabha without going through the process of election.
  • Unlike India, American Senate has no nominated members.

 

COMPOSITION OF LOK SABHA (Article – 81)
  • Maximum strength of the Lok Sabha is fixed at 552.
  • Representatives of the States and UTs (elected indirectly)
  • Total = 530+20
  • Members nominated by the President :- 2 (From Anglo-Indian community)

 

Present Lok Sabha
  • Total member strength – 543
  • Representatives of the States – 530
According to Art. 366 (2) Anglo Indian – A person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is domiciled within the territory of India and is or was born within such territory of parents habitually resident therein and not merely established there for temporary purposes.
  • Representatives of the Union Territories – 13

 

REPRESENTATION OF STATES
61st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1988 – The voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 years.
  • The representatives of states in the Lok Sabha are directly elected by the people from the territorial constituencies in the states.
  • The election is based on the principle of universal adult franchise.
  • Eligible age for every Indian citizen to vote is 18 year

 

REPRESENTATION OF UNION TERRITORIES
  • The Constitution has empowered the Parliament to prescribe the manner of choosing the representatives of the UTs in the Lok Sabha.
  • Parliament enacted UTs (Direct Election to the House of the People) Act, 1965, by which the members of Lok Sabha from the UTs are also chosen by direct election.

 

NOMINATED MEMBERS
In current 17th Lok Sabha, no member has been nominated from the Anglo-Indian community.
  • Two Anglo-Indian(Art. 331) community members nominated by the president if the community is not adequately represented in the Lok Sabha.
  • Originally, this provision was to operate till 1960 but has been extended till 2020 by the 95th Amendment Act, 2009.

 

ELECTION MECHANISM OF LOK SABHA

TERRITORIAL CONSTITUENCIES

  • For holding direct elections to the Lok Sabha, each state is divided into territorial constituencies.
  • In this respect, the Constitution provides following two provisions:
    • Each state is allotted a number of seats in the Lok Sabha in such a manner that the ratio between that number and its population (preceding census) is the same for all states. However, this provision does not apply to a state having a population of less than six millions.
    • Each state is divided into territorial constituencies in such a manner that the ratio between the population (preceding census)of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it is the same throughout the state.
  • The Constitution ensures that there is uniformity of the representation in two respects.
    • Between the different states
    • Between the different constituencies in the same state.

 

READJUSTMENT AFTER EACH CENSUS (Article – 82)
  • After every census, a readjustment is to be made in
    • Allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to the states
    • Division of each state into territorial constituencies.
  • Parliament is empowered to determine the authority and the manner in which it is to be made.
  • Accordingly, the Parliament has enacted the Delimitation Commission Acts in 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002 for this purpose. (four times till date)
  • 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act , 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.
  • Objective for freezing was to encourage population limiting measures.
  • 84th CAA 2001 banned readjustment of seats that was extended for another 25 years (up to year 2026). Also now the readjustment and rationalisation of territorial constituencies to be done on the basis of 1991 census.
  • 87th Constitution Amendment Act, 2003 Provided for the delimitation of constituencies on the basis of 2001 census and not 1991 census.

 

RESERVATIONS FOR SC AND ST
  • The Constitution has abandoned the system of communal representation.
  • It provides for the reservation of seats for SC and ST in the Lok Sabha on the basis of population ratios.
  • Originally, this reservation was to operate for ten years (up to 1960), but it has been extended continuously since then by 10 years each time.
  • Now, under the 104th Amendment Act of 2019, this reservation is to last until 2030.
  • Though seats are reserved for SCs and STs, they are elected by all the voters in a constituency, without any separate electorate.
  • However, members of SCs and STs are also not debarred from contesting a general (non-reserved) seat.

 

104th Constitutional Amendment Act 2019 (126th CA Bill)
  • Objectives of the amendments are two fold –
    • To extend reservation for SC and ST(Art. 330 and 332) to Lok Sabha and legislative bodies.
    • Discontinuing the provision of nominating Anglo Indians(Art. 331) to Lok Sabha and legislative bodies.
  • The act has provisions for amending Art. 334 and extending reservation only for SC and ST to Lok
  • Sabha and legislative bodies till 25th January 2030 (which was expiring in 2020).
  • 334 originally provided that reservation of seats and special representation would cease 10 years after the commencement of the Constitution.

 

REASONS FOR NOT ADOPTING PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION IN LOK SABHA
  • Difficulty for the voters to understand the complicated system due to low literacy scale in the country.
  • The Proportional Representation System is highly expensive.
  • Unsuitability to the parliamentary government due to the tendency of the system to multiply political parties leading to instability in government.
  • It does not give any scope for organising by-elections.
  • The Proportional Representation System dilutes and eliminates intimate contacts between voters and representatives.
  • It promotes minority thinking and group interests.
  • It increases the significance of the party system and decreases the importance of voters.

 

REASONS FOR ADOPTING FPTP SYSTEM IN LOK SABHA
  • Simplicity – The entire election system is extremely simple to understand even for common voters who may have no specialised knowledge about politics and elections.
  • Clear choice – There is also a clear choice presented to the voters at the time of elections. Voters have to simply endorse a candidate or a party while voting.
  • More freedom to voters to choose The FPTP system offers voters a choice not simply between parties but specific candidates.
  • Ensures accountability – In constituency based systems like the FPTP, the voters know who their own representative is and can hold him or her accountable.
  • Smooth and efficient – FPTP system makes it possible for parliamentary government to function smoothly and effectively by facilitating the formation of a stable government by giving the largest party or coalition some extra bonus seats, more than their share of votes would allow.
  • Unity and common cause – FTPT system encourages voters from different social groups to come together to win an election in a locality. In a diverse country like India, a PR system would encourage each community to form its own nation-wide party.

 

SYSTEM OF PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION
  • In this system a party gets the same proportion of seats as its proportion of votes.
  • g. Israel and the Netherlands follow a proportional representation system.
  • In India, we have adopted PR with Single Transferable Vote system on a limited scale for indirect elections.
  • The Constitution prescribes PR system for the election of:-
    • President
    • Vice – President,
    • Election to the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council
    • The system of proportional representation has many variants, out of which two systems are the most popular viz. List system and System of single transferable vote.

 

 

ANALYSIS OF PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION SYSTEM
  • Proportional System and Stability – Because parties are granted seats in accordance with their vote share, numerous parties get seats in the legislature in the proportional representation system, without any party gaining a majority. This detracts from the stability of the system. Coalition government becomes inevitable.
  • Proportional System and  RepresentativenessPR tries to ensure that the election results are as proportional as possible, by curbing the inconsistency between the share of seats and votes. It ensures that smaller parties get representation in the legislature. It also encourages new parties to emerge and more women and minorities to contest for political power. This system representation ensures honesty in the election process both from the side of the candidate, who can choose their ideological commitments freely, and from that of the voter, who can vote freely.
  • Proportional System and Voter-Candidate Connect – One potential drawback of this system is that the relationship between a voter and the candidate may dilute, for the candidate may now be seen as representing the party and not the constituency.

 

FIRST PAST THE POST SYSTEM (FPTP)
  • In this system whoever has more votes than all other candidates, is declared elected.
  • The winning candidate need not secure a majority of the votes.
  • In the electoral race, the candidate who is ahead of others, who crosses the winning post first of all, is the winner.
  • This method is also called the “Plurality System”. This is the method of election prescribed by the Constitution.
  • The votes that go to all the losing candidates go “waste”, for those candidates or parties get no seat from those votes.
  • g. – Suppose a party gets only 25 per cent of the votes in every constituency, but everyone else gets even less votes. In that case, the party could win all the seats with only 25 per cent votes or even less.
  • The issue with FPTP is that certain groups of people will never get a share in the power structure.
  • During the drafting of the Constitution, various systems of proportional representation were considered, but the FPTP system was eventually adopted to avoid fragmented legislatures and to facilitate the formation of stable governments.
  • All key representatives except President, Vice President, Members of Rajya Sabha and Members of state legislative council are elected via FPTP system.

 

MERITS AND DEMERITS OF FPTP
 

MERITS OF FPTP

 

DEMERITS OF FPTP

Simplicity – It is very simplistic in nature using single-member districts and candidate-centred voting.Discrepancy and Wasted – There is commonly a discrepancy in the vote share and seat share in results, where votes given to smaller parties are ‘wasted’ since they do not gain a voice in the legislature.
Stability – FPTP system presents the advantage of producing a majority government at a general election by being decisive, simple and familiar to the electorate.Encourages caste, religion, Ethnicity and regional politics and distortion of electoral process. It leads to the exclusion of small or regional parties from the Parliament.
Freedom to choose – FPTP system allows voters to choose between people as well as parties, with voters having the opportunity to assess the performance of a candidate.The issue is that the victorious party has most often not secured the majority of votes. It is possible for a party to win a majority of the seats with just 20-26% of vote share; by the same token, a party may not get a simple majority even with 74% of vote share.
Broad-based participation – FPTP system encourages political parties themselves to have more broad-based participation.FPTP often works to the disadvantage of the smaller social groups. In the social context of India, the FPTP electoral system can mean that the dominant social groups and castes can win everywhere and the oppressed social groups may continue to remain unrepresented.
Connecting link – It ensures that there is a link between a constituency and its representative in the legislature, and incentivizes representatives to serve their constituents well.Smaller parties, when they have a broad base across constituencies, rather than a concentrated following in a few constituencies, may fail to win even a single seat even if their vote share is significant.

 

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION viz-a-viz FPTP
 

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

 

FIRST PAST THE POST SYSTEM

Large geographical areas are demarcated as constituencies. The entire country may be a single constituency (such as Israel or Netherlands).The country is divided into small geographical units called constituencies or districts.
More than one representative may be elected from one constituency.Every constituency elects one representative only.
Voters vote for the party instead of for a candidate.Voters vote for a candidate and not for a party.
Every party gets seats in the legislature in proportion to the percentage of votes
that it gets.
A party may get more seats than votes in the legislature.
Candidate who wins the elections gets a majority of votes i.e. (50%+1) votes.Candidate who wins the election may not get majority (50%+1) votes
Examples: Israel, NetherlandsExamples: U.K., India

 

DURATION OF THE HOUSES (Article – 83)
LOK SABHA
  • Lok Sabha is not a continuing It automatically dissolves after five years.
  • Its normal term is five years from the date of its first meeting after the general elections, after which it automatically dissolves.
  • The President is authorised to dissolve the Lok Sabha at any time even before the completion of five years and this cannot be challenged in a court of law.
  • The term of the Lok Sabha can be extended during the period of national emergency by a law of Parliament for one year at a time for any length of time.
  • However, this extension cannot continue beyond a period of six months after the emergency has ceased to operate.
  • The term of the fifth Lok Sabha that was to expire on 18 March, 1976, was by an act of parliament, extended by for a period of five years, 10 months and six days in total.
42nd CAA 1976 – Increased tenure of Lok Sabha to 6 years.

44th CAA 1978 – Restored status quo-ante (i.e. to 5 years).

 

RAJYA SABHA
  • In the case of the first Rajya Sabha, the first two batches to retire were settled by drawing a lottery
  • The Rajya Sabha (first constituted in 1952) is a continuing chamber. It is a permanent body and not subject to dissolution.
  • 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 six years.
  • Further, the act also authorised the President to make provisions to govern the order of retirement of the members of the Rajya Sabha.
  • One-third of its members retire every second year.
  • Their seats are filled up (by fresh elections and presidential nominations) at the beginning of every third year.
  • The retiring members are eligible for re-election and re-nomination any number of times.

 

MEMBERSHIP OF THE HOUSES (Article – 84)
QUALIFICATION
Qualifications laid down by Constitution of India

 

 

  1. He must be a citizen of India.
  2. He must make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation before the person authorised by the election commission for this purpose.(Schedule 3 – Oaths and Affirmations)
  3. He must be not less than 30 years of age in the case of the Rajya Sabha.
  4. He must be not less than 25 years of age in the case of the Lok Sabha.
  5. He must possess other qualifications prescribed by Parliament.
 

 

Qualifications laid down by Representation of People Act (1951)

 

  1. He must be registered as an elector for a parliamentary constituency (same in the case of both, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha).
  2. He must be a member of a SC or ST in any State or UT, if he wants to contest a seat reserved for them.

Members of SC or ST can also contest a seat not reserved for them.

 

Minimum age for contesting elections (Art. 84)

Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies     21 years

Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha    25 years

Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha    30 years

NOTE– In 2006, SC upheld the constitutional validity of the change made in 2003 that  dispensed with the requirement that a candidate contesting an election to the Rajya Sabha from a particular state should be an elector in that particular state

 

Decision of the President is final on the question, whether a member is subject to any of the above disqualifications. President should obtain the opinion of the election commission and act accordingly.

 

DISQUALIFICATION
 

 

 

Disqualifications laid down by the Constitution of India.

 

 

  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 mind and stands so declared by a court.
  3. if he is an undischarged insolvent.
  4. if he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state.
  5. if he is so disqualified under any law made by Parliament.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Disqualifications laid down by Representation of People Act (1951)

 

 

 

  1. He must not have been found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices in the elections.
  2. He must not have been convicted for any offence resulting in imprisonment for two or more years. However, the detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.
  3. He must not have failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time.
  4. He must not have any interest in government contracts, works or services.
  5. He must not be a director or managing agent nor hold an office of profit in a corporation in which the government has at least 25 per cent share.
  6. He must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the State.
  7. He must not have been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups or for the offence of bribery.
  8. He must not have been punished for preaching and practising social crimes such as untouchability, dowry and sati.

 

DISQUALIFICATION ON GROUNDS OF DEFECTION

The Constitution lays down following grounds of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule.

The question of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule is decided by the Presiding officer of the house (Chairman in Rajya Sabha and Speaker in Lok Sabha) (not by the president of India).

However, adjudication by presiding officer in this regard is subject to judicial review – Supreme Court ruled in Kihoto Hollohan case 1992.

  • if he voluntarily gives up the membership of the political party on whose ticket he is elected to the House.
  • if he votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction given by his political party.
  • if any independently elected member joins any political party.
  • if any nominated member joins any political party after the six months.

 

VACATING OF SEATS
GROUNDS
  • Resignation/death
    • A member may resign by writing to the Chairman(Rajya Sabha) or Speaker(Lok Sabha), as the case may be.
    • The seat falls vacant when the resignation is accepted.
    • The Chairman/Speaker may not accept the resignation if he is satisfied that it is not voluntary or genuine. (E.g. Karnataka case 2019)
  • Absence
    • If a member is absent from all its meetings for a period of sixty days without its permission.
  • Disqualification
    • If a member of Parliament becomes subject to any of the disqualifications specified in the Constitution or on the grounds of defection, his seat becomes vacant.
  • Other cases
    • If his election is declared void by the court
    • if he is expelled by the House
    • if he is elected to the office of President or Vice-President or as Governor of a state.

Note– Constitution does not lay down any procedure to declare the election void if a disqualified person is elected to the Parliament.

This matter is dealt with 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.

 

POSSIBLE SCENARIOS IN CASE OF DUAL 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:

  • If a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 10 days in which House he desires to serve. In the default situation, his seat in the Rajya Sabha becomes vacant.
  • If a sitting member of one House is also elected to the other House, his seat in the first House becomes vacant.
  • If a person is elected to two seats in a House, he should exercise his option for any of one seat. By default case, both seats become vacant.

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.

 

OATHS AND AFFIRMATIONS
  • Every member of either House of Parliament, before taking his seat in the House, has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation before the President or some person appointed by him for this purpose.
  • Without subscribing the oath, members cannot vote and participate in the proceedings of the House and do not become eligible for parliamentary privileges and immunities.
The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, while assuming their offices, do not make and subscribe any separate oath or affirmation.

 

SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES
  • Members of either House of Parliament are entitled to receive such salaries and allowances as may be determined by Parliament.
  • There is no provision of pension in the Constitution. However, Parliament has provided pension to the members since 1976.
  • Salaries of Speaker, Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairperson, Deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha are determined by parliament, however they are charged on consolidated fund of india.

 

PRESIDING OFFICERS OF PARLIAMENT

SPEAKER OF LOK SABHA (Article – 93)

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

 

BACKGROUND OF INSTITUTION OF SPEAKER AND DY. SPEAKER OF LOK SABHA
  • The institutions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker originated in India in 1921 under the provisions of the GoI Act of 1919(Montague-Chelmsford Reforms).
  • In 1921, Frederick Whyte and Sachidanand Sinha were appointed by the Governor-General of India as the first Speaker and the first Deputy Speaker(respectively) of the Central legislative assembly.
G.V. Mavalankar and Ananthasayanam Ayyangar had the distinction of being the first Speaker and the first Deputy Speaker (respectively) of the Lok Sabha.

G.V. Mavalankar also held the post of Speaker in the Constituent Assembly (Legislative) as well as the provisional Parliament.

  • At that time, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were called the President and Deputy President respectively and same nomenclature continued till 1947 (as federal part of GoI 1935 was not implemented)
  • In 1925, Vithalbhai J. Patel became the first Indian and the first elected Speaker of the central legislative assembly.
  • The Government Of India Act, 1935 changed the nomenclatures of President and Deputy President of the Central Legislative Assembly to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.

 

ELECTIONS AND TENURE OF SPEAKER
  • The Speaker is elected by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members (as soon as may be, after its first sitting).
  • The date of election of the Speaker is fixed by the President.
  • Whenever the office of the Speaker falls vacant, the Lok Sabha elects another member to fill the vacancy.
  • 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:
    • if he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha
    • if he resigns by writing to the Deputy Speaker
    • if he is removed by a resolution.

 

REMOVAL OF THE SPEAKER
  • Resolution for removal must be passed by a majority of all then members of the Lok Sabha. (i.e. Absolute majority)
  • Resolution for removal can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.
  • When a resolution for the removal of the Speaker is under consideration of the House, he cannot preside at the sitting of the House, though he may be present.
  • However, he can speak and take part in the proceedings of the House at such a time and vote in the first instance, not the casting vote.
  • NOTE– Whenever the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Speaker does not vacate his office and continues till the newly-elected Lok Sabha meets.

 

POWER AND FUNCTIONS OF SPEAKER
  • Primary responsibility of the speaker is to maintain order and decorum in the House for conducting its business and regulating its proceedings. He has final power in this regard.
  • Within the house, speaker is final interpreter of the provisions of –
    • the Constitution of India,
    • the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha
    • the parliamentary precedents
  • Speaker exercises a casting vote in the case of a tie and does not vote in the first instance. Its purpose is to resolve a deadlock.
  • The Speaker adjourns the House or suspends the meeting in absence of a quorum (one-tenth of the total strength of the House).
  • Speaker presides over a joint setting (Art. 108) of the two Houses of Parliament. This sitting is summoned by the President to settle a deadlock between the two Houses on a bill. (Exceptions– Money bill and Constitutional Amendment Bills)
  • Speaker decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is final. He endorses on the bill his certificate that it is a money bill.
  • Speaker adjudicates the questions of disqualification of a member of the Lok Sabha, arising on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule.
  • Speaker acts as the ex-officio chairman of the Indian Parliamentary Group which is a link between the Parliament of India and the various parliaments of the world.
  • Speaker also acts as the ex-officio chairman of the conference of presiding officers of legislative bodies in the country.
  • Speaker appoints the chairman of all the parliamentary committees of the Lok Sabha and supervises their functioning.
  • Speaker is the chairman of the
    • Business Advisory Committee
    • Rules Committee
    • General Purpose Committee.
INDEPENDENCE
IMPARTIALITY OF SPEAKER’S OFFICE
  • He is provided with a security of tenure.
  • He can be removed only by a resolution passed by the Lok Sabha by an absolute majoritye , a majority of all the then members of the House. This motion of removal can be considered and discussed only when it has the support of at least 50 members.
Institution of Speaker in Britain–  Speaker is strictly a non-party man. There is a convention that the Speaker has to resign from his party and remain politically neutral.

Indian system– This healthy convention is not fully established in where the Speaker does not resign from the membership of his party on his election to the exalted office.

  • The Speaker has the power of Casting vote in the event of a tie during the process of voting on any resolution or motion in Parliament. He cannot vote in the first instance.
  • Work and conduct of the speaker cannot be discussed and criticised in the Lok Sabha except on a substantive motion.
  • Salaries and allowances are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and are fixed by Parliament.
  • His powers of regulating procedure or conducting business or maintaining order in the House are not subject to the jurisdiction of any Court.
  • He is given a seventh rank in the order of precedence, along with the Chief Justice of India. (Speaker has a higher rank than all cabinet ministers, except the PM or Deputy PM).

 

ISSUES WITH INSTITUTION OF SPEAKER
  • Claims of Prejudice and the Problem of Partisanship – Pertains to structural issues regarding appointment and his tenure in office. The Speaker is chosen from the majority party, and the Deputy Speaker from the opposition side.
  • No convention of Speakers foregoing their party membership – This is because the Speaker’s re-election to the House is not secure as he is a Non-party member in Britain.
  • Indian Speakers have held ministerial positions immediately before and after their term, without any cooling-off
  • Challenge of Coalitions –Time available to each party to represent its interests during discussions is reduced. There has been a decrease in the number of annual sittings of Parliament. Problem aggravated by repeated disruptions in parliament.
  • Rise in the number of political parties and varied political interest has made it harder for the Speaker to find consensus between members on use of disciplinary powers.
  • Unparliamentary conduct – Members seek to use unparliamentary means such as disruptions etc. for attaining the indulgence of the Speaker.
  • Role in Anti-Defection Law – Scope for Speakers to exercise discretion which is often used by the ruling party to disqualify dissent. E.g. Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka Assembly.
  • Determination of money bill– There have been several bills passed by subverting the due process ,as Money bills.
    • g. Aadhaar Bill etc. as Money Bill, though it may not have met the strict criteria laid out in the Constitution.

 

WAY FORWARD
  • Adjudicatory role of the Speaker under Anti Defection law should be given to the Election Commission or any neutral body outside the legislature.
  • British model of non-party member as speaker, should be followed.
  • A convention should be established to re-elect the speaker without contest.
  • In debates and during question hour, attempts should be made to not only give members time as per party strength, but also accommodate members who wish to convey different grievances or views.
  • Increasing transparency in his decision-making process to increase trust in the Speaker. For instance, decisions by Speakers should be made available to the public.
  • The Speakers’ reluctance to take action against disorderly members could potentially be reduced if the media plays a constructive role in highlighting instances of disorderly conduct and the adverse impact such conduct has on the performance of the House.
  • No political appointment of the speaker post retirement.
  • Political parties must not consider the post of speaker as a gift that they can offer to any senior party member indiscriminately.

 

DEPUTY SPEAKER (Article – 93)
  • Since the 11th Lok Sabha, there has been a consensus that the Speaker comes from the ruling party (or ruling alliance) and the post of Deputy Speaker goes to the main opposition party.
  • Deputy Speaker is elected after the election of the Speaker has taken place. He is also elected by the Lok Sabha itself from amongst its members.
  • The date of election of the Deputy Speaker is fixed by the Speaker.
  • Whenever the office of the Deputy Speaker falls vacant, the Lok Sabha elects another member to fill the vacancy.
  • Like the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker remains in office usually during the life of the Lok Sabha.
  • However, he may vacate his office earlier in any of the following three cases:
    • if he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha;
    • if he resigns by writing to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha
    • if he is removed by a resolution in Lok Sabha
  • The Deputy Speaker is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the Lok Sabha (Absolute majority) and Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.
Submission of Resignation

Speaker submits his/her resignation to Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha.

Deputy Speaker submits his/her resignation to Speaker of Lok Sabha.

 

The Deputy Speaker performs the duties of the Speaker’s office when it is vacant or is absent from the sitting of the House with assumption of all the powers of the Speaker.

  • He also presides over the joint sitting (Art.108)of both the Houses of Parliament, in case the Speaker is absent from such a sitting.
Remember– Deputy Speaker is not subordinate to the Speaker. He is directly responsible to the Lok Sabha.
  • While Deputy Speaker presiding over the House as Speaker, he can only exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie and cannot vote in the first instance
Special privilege of Deputy Speaker Whenever he is appointed as a member of a parliamentary committee, he automatically becomes its chairperson.
  • When a resolution for the removal of the Deputy Speaker is under consideration of the House, he cannot preside at the sitting of the House, though he may be present.
  • When the Speaker presides over the House, the Deputy Speaker is like any other ordinary member of the House. He can speak in the House, participate in its proceedings and vote on any question before the House.
  • The salary and allowance of Deputy Speaker is fixed by Parliament and is charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Deputy Speaker, while assuming their offices, do not make and subscribe any separate oath or affirmation.

 

SPEAKER PRO – TEM (Article – 95)
  • According to the Constitution, the Speaker of the last Lok Sabha vacates his office immediately before the first meeting of the newly-elected Lok Sabha.
  • Speaker pro-Tem institution facilitates the transition of the institution from old ones to newly elected members. He also enables the House to elect the new Speaker.
  • Therefore, the President appoints a member of the Lok Sabha as the Speaker Pro-Tem. Usually, the senior most member is selected for this.
  • The President himself administers oath to the Speaker Pro Tem.
  • He presides over the first sitting of the newly-elected Lok Sabha.
  • Main onus of Speaker Pro-Tem is to administer oath to the new members.
  • The Speaker Pro Tem has all the powers of the Speaker.
  • This office is a temporary office, when the new Speaker is elected by the House, the office of the Speaker Pro Tem ceases to exist.

 

PANEL OF CHAIRPERSON OF LOK SABHA
  • Under the Rules of Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates from amongst the members a panel of not more than ten chairpersons.
  • Any of them can preside over the House in the absence(Not in case of vacancy)of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker.
  • He has endowed the same powers as the Speaker when presiding.
  • He holds office until a new panel of chairpersons is nominated.
  • When a member of the panel of chairpersons is also not present, any other person as determined by the House acts as the Speaker.
  • In case of vacancy, the Speaker’s duties are to be performed by such members of the House as the President may appoint for the purpose.
  • However, the elections are held as soon as possible, to fill the vacant posts.

 

CHAIRPERSON OF RAJYA SABHA (Article – 89)
  • 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.
  • As a presiding officer, the powers and functions of the Chairman in the Rajya Sabha are similar to those of the Speaker in the Lok 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 Chairman of Rajya Sabha (Unlike the Speaker) is not a member of the House.

  • Chairman also cannot vote in the first instance (similar to Speaker). He too exercises casting vote.
  • The Vice-President cannot preside over a sitting of the Rajya Sabha as its Chairman when a resolution for his removal is under consideration.
  • While the Speaker can vote in the first instance when a resolution for his removal is under consideration of the Lok Sabha, chairman cannot vote in the first instance because he is not member of the Rajya Sabha.

    However, he can be present and speak in the House and can take part in its proceedings, without voting, even at such a time.

  • Salaries and allowances of the Chairman (same as Speaker) are also fixed by the Parliament and are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Special powers- Speaker of Lok Sabha viz-a-viz Chairman of Rajya Sabha

    The Speaker decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is final.

    The Speaker presides over a joint sitting of two Houses of Parliament.

    During any period when the Vice-President acts as President or discharges the functions of the President, he is paid the salary and allowance of the President during such a time.

 

DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF RAJYA SABHA (Article – 89)
  • The Deputy Chairman is elected by the Rajya Sabha itself from amongst its members.
  • Whenever the office of the Deputy Chairman falls vacant, the Rajya Sabha elects another member to fill the vacancy.
  • The Deputy Chairman vacates his office in any of the following three cases:
  • if he ceases to be a member of the Rajya Sabha
  • if he resigns by writing to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
  • if he is removed by a resolution in Rajya Sabha
  • The Deputy Chairman is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the Rajya Sabha (Absolute majority) and Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.
Submission of Resignation

Deputy-Chairman submits his/her resignation to Chairman of Rajya Sabha.

Chairman (VP) of Rajya Sabha submits his/her resignation to the President of India

 

Remember– Deputy Chairman is not subordinate to the Chairman. He is directly responsible to the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Deputy Chairman performs the duties of the Chairman’s office when it is vacant, absent or when the Vice-President acts as President or discharges the functions of the President.
  • When a resolution for the removal of the Deputy Chairman is under consideration of the House, he cannot preside at the sitting of the House, though he may be present.
  • When the Chairman presides over the House, the Deputy Chairman is like any other ordinary member of the House. He can speak in the House, participate in its proceedings and vote on any question before the House.
  • When the Deputy Chairman is presiding over the House, he can only exercise a casting vote and cannot vote in the first instance.
  • The salary and allowance of Deputy Chairman is fixed by Parliament and is charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

 

PANEL OF CHAIRPERSON OF RAJYA SABHA
  • Under the Rules of Rajya Sabha, the Chairperson nominates from amongst the members a panel of vice-chairpersons.
  • Any of them can preside over the House in the absence (Not in case of vacancy)of the Chairperson or the Deputy Chairperson.
  • He is endowed with the same powers as the Chairperson when presiding.
  • He holds office until a new panel of vice-chairpersons is nominated.
  • When a member of the panel of vice-chairpersons is also not present, any other person as determined by House acts as the Chairperson.
  • In case of vacancy, Chairperson’s duties are to be performed by such members of the House as the President may appoint for the purpose.
  • However, the elections are held as soon as possible, to fill the vacant posts.

 

SECRETARIAT OF PARLIAMENT – Art. 98
  • Each House of Parliament has separate secretarial staff of its own, though there can be some posts common to both the Houses.
  • Their recruitment and service conditions are regulated by Parliament.
  • The secretariat of each House is headed by a secretary-general.
  • He is a permanent officer and is appointed by the presiding officer of the House.

 

LEADERS IN PARLIAMENT
LEADER OF THE HOUSE
  • The leader of the house in either House is an important functionary and exercises direct influence on the conduct of business.
  • He can also nominate a deputy leader of the House.
  • Offices of the leader of the House not mentioned in the Constitution of India, they are mentioned in the Rules of the House.
  • 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.
  • He acts as spokesperson of the house.
  • He maintains coordination between all sections to facilitate harmonious debate.
  • He is consulted by presiding officer r.t arrangements of government business.
  • In the Rajya Sabha, there is also a “Leader of the House”.
  • He is a minister and a member of the Rajya Sabha and is nominated by the prime minister to function as such.
In US Congress, leader of the house is known as the “Majority Leader”.

 

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
  • Leader of the Opposition not mentioned in the Constitution of India, but mentioned in Parliamentary Statute.
  • In each House of Parliament, there is the “Leader of the Opposition” (LoP).
  • Criteria– The leader of the largest Opposition party having not less than one-tenth seats of the total strength of the House is recognised as the leader of the Opposition in that House.
Reason behind 10 per cent criteria for LoP  If government or ruling party not present in the house, still house must function on the strength of opposition = Qualifying Quorum (10 per cent.)

 

  • Official leader of the opposition (LoP) was recognised for the first time in 1969. LoP in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were accorded statutory recognition in 1977(under salaries and allowances of LoP act)
  • Conditions specified for LoP in the act
    • He should be member of the house
    • Should be leader of the party in opposition having greatest numerical strength.
    • He should be recognised by the presiding
  • Main functions of LoP to provide a constructive criticism of the policies of the government and to provide an alternative government.
  • LoP has status, salary, allowances and other facilities equivalent to that of a cabinet minister.
  • Ivor Jennings described the Leader of Opposition as the “Alternative Prime Minister”.
In US Congress, leader of the opposition is known as the “Minority Leader”.

 

INSTITUTION OF SHADOW CABINET
  • This unique institution called the “Shadow Cabinet” exists in British political system.
  • Shadow Cabinet formed by the Opposition party to –
    • Balance the ruling cabinet.
    • To prepare its members for future ministerial offices.
  • In this shadow cabinet, almost every member in the ruling cabinet is ‘shadowed’ by a corresponding member in the opposition cabinet.
  • Shadow cabinet serves as the “alternate cabinet” if there is change of government.

 

ROLE OF OPPOSITION
  • To hold the government accountable for executive and legislative actions.
  • To question and occasionally confront logical and persuasive arguments.
  • To criticise government constructively and objectively.
  • To present an alternative perspective.
  • Highlight governments’ lapses and lacunas.
  • Shape and direct public opinion.
  • To represent minority interests.
  • Help in shaping the agenda of the government.
  • Provide critical inputs and feedback in policy formulation.

 

QUALITY OF THE OPPOSITION AND ASSOCIATED ISSUES

Till 1977, the congress was a dominant force, but the opposition though small was more effective due to high quality membership. E.g. Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

However, today’s institution of opposition facing following quality issues –

  • Fragmented and obstructionist approach in dealing with issues.
  • Lack of belief in debate, dissent and discussion(3Ds)
  • Failed in performing its most fundamental and basic duties.
  • Problem with question hours – lacks quality and content of question.
  • Rising expenditure on parliamentary proceedings not commensurate with quality.
  • Downgrading ethics and morality accompanied by unruly and rowdy behaviour.
  • Frequent disruptions leads to economic inefficiency of public finances along with erosion of credibility and decorum of the house.
  • Cash for vote, cash for query scam.
  • Non recognition of opposition leads to absence in selection and appointments committees for important and high powered appointments.
  • More focus on attack on personality instead of policy and programmes.

 

WAY FORWARD
  • Opposition should work as an alternative option.
  • Opposition should focus on critical analysis of policy and programmes
  • Reliance on orderly debate, discussion and dialogues.
  • Raising ethical moral standards.
  • Integral and coordinated approach in dealing with issues.
  • Provide inputs and feedback to the government to improve policy formulation and implementation.
  • Highlighting questions which would serve broader public interest rather than personal one.

 

 

WHIP
  • Institution of the whip is based on conventional parliamentary government.
  • It found mention neither in Constitution of India nor in the Rules of the House nor in a Parliamentary Statute.
  • 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 assigned responsibility of –
    • Ensuring the attendance of his party members in large numbers
    • Securing their support in favour of or against a particular issue.
    • Regulates and monitors their behaviour in the Parliament.
  • Disciplinary action can be taken in case of non-observance of directions issued to members by the party whip.

 

 

SESSIONS IN PARLIAMENT
SUMMONING
  • Under Article 85 of the Constitution: The President from time to time summons each House of Parliament to meet.
  • Parliament should meet at least twice a year e. Maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months.
  • There are usually three sessions in a year –
    • Budget Session (February to May) – longest of all sessions
    • Monsoon Session (July to September)
    • Winter Session (November to December)
  • Session of Parliament The Period spanning between the first sitting of a House and its prorogation or dissolution in the case of the Lok Sabha.
  • Recess of Parliament The Period spanning between the prorogation of a House and its reassembly in a new session.

 

ADJOURNMENT
  • An adjournment suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks.
  • Presiding officer of the House has the power of adjournment of house.
  • Each meeting of a day consists of two sittings – morning sitting and post-lunch sitting.
  • A sitting of Parliament can be terminated by adjournment or adjournment sine die or prorogation or dissolution (in the case of the Lok Sabha).

 

ADJOURNMENT – SINE DIE
  • When the House is adjourned without naming a day for reassembly, it is called adjournment sine die (terminating a sitting for an indefinite period).
  • Presiding officer of the House has the power of adjournment sine die.
  • He can also call a sitting of the House before the date or time to which it has been adjourned or at any time after the House has been adjourned sine die.

 

PROROGATION

 

In Britain, prorogation brings to an end all bills or any other business pending before the House.
  • Presiding officer declares the House adjourned sine die, when the business of a session is completed.
  • Within the next few days, the President issues a notification for prorogation of the session.
  • However, the President can also prorogue the House while in session.

 

DISSOLUTION
  • Rajya Sabha is a permanent House and not subject to dissolution.
  • Only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution.
  • Dissolution (Unlike a prorogation) ends the very life of the existing House, and a new House is constituted after general elections are held.
  • The dissolution of the Lok Sabha may take place in either of two ways
    • Automatic dissolution on the expiry of its tenure of five years
    • If the President decides to dissolve the House
  • The dissolution of the Lok Sabha is irrevocable.
  • On dissolution of Lok Sabha, all business including bills, motions, resolutions, notices, petitions and so on pending before it or its committees lapse.
  • However, some pending bills and all pending assurances that are to be examined by the Committee on Government Assurances do not lapse on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.

 

THE POSITION WITH RESPECT TO LAPSING OF BILLS
 

 

 

Bill lapses

 

  1. Bills pending in the Lok Sabha (whether originating in the Lok Sabha or transmitted to it by the Rajya Sabha)
  2. Bills passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha.

(Note – A bill originating in Lok Sabha lapses)

 

 

 

Bills does not lapses

 

  1. Bill not passed by the two Houses due to disagreement and if the president has notified the holding of a joint sitting before the dissolution of Lok Sabha.
  2. Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha.
  3. Bill passed by both Houses but pending assent of the president.
  4. Bill passed by both Houses but returned by the president for reconsideration of Houses.
PRESIDENT Address, Summon, Prorogue, Dissolution.

PRESIDING OFFICERAdjournment, Adjournment sine-de

 

QUORUM
  • Quorum is the minimum number of members required to be present in the House before it can transact any business.
  • It is one- tenth of the total number of members in each House including the presiding officer.
  • Quorum for Lok Sabha at least 55 members (Total strength – 550)
  • Quorum for Rajya Sabha at least 25 members (Total strength – 250)
  • Presiding officer either to adjourn the House or to suspend the meeting until if there is no quorum during a meeting of the House.

 

LAME DUCK SESSION
  • It is the last session of the existing Lok Sabha, after a new Lok Sabha has been elected.
  • Those members of the existing Lok Sabha who could not get re-elected to the new Lok Sabha are called lame-ducks.

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADJOURNMENT AND PROROGATION
  

ADJOURNMENT

 

 

                      PROROGATION

1.It only terminates a sitting and not a session of the House. It terminates both, sitting and a session of the House.
2.It is done by the presiding officer of the House. It is done by the president of India.

 

3.It does not affect the bills or any other business pending before the House and the same can be resumed when the House meets again.

 

It also does not affect the bills or any other business pending before the House.

However, all pending notices (other than those for introducing bills) lapse on prorogation and fresh notices have to be given for the next session.

 

LANGUAGE IN PARLIAMENT
  • The Constitution has declared Hindi and English to be the languages for transacting business in the Parliament.
  • However, the presiding officer can permit a member to address the House in his mother-tongue.
  • Official Languages Act (1963) allowed English to be continued along with Hindi (which was supposed to expire after 15 years e. in 1965).

 

 

RIGHTS OF MINISTERS AND ATTORNEY GENERAL (Art. 76)
  • Every minister and the Attorney general of India (Art.76) have without being entitled to vote
    • Right to speak and take part in the proceedings of either House,
    • Any joint sitting of both the Houses
    • Any committee of Parliament of which he is a member,
  • Underlying reasons behind this constitutional provision –
    • A minister can participate in the proceedings of a House, of which he is not a member.
A person can remain a minister for six months, without being a member of either House of Parliament.
  • A minister, who is not a member of either House, can participate in the proceedings of both the Houses.

 

DEVICES OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS
QUESTION HOUR
  • The first hour of every parliamentary sitting (Both houses)is slotted for question hour.
  • For the questions that Members of Parliament raise about any aspect of administrative activity; the concerned Minister is obliged to answer to the Parliament, either orally or in writing, depending on the type of question raised.
  • It was initially given by Indian Council Act 1892.
  • During this time, the members ask questions and the ministers usually give answers.
  • Question hour may not held on –
    • Budget presentation day
    • During proceedings of the Joint sitting
    • During sittings held on holidays
    • When parliament sit for an extended period
    • During presidential address.
  • Presiding officer can decline to accept question on following grounds –
    • If it trespasses the rules of the houses.
    • If it amounts to abuse the right to question.
    • If it asked to obstruct the proceedings of the house

 

TYPES OF QUESTION
Starred questionUnstarred questionShort notice question
This question requires an oral answer and hence supplementary questions can follow.This question requires a written answer and hence, supplementary questions cannot follow.This question is one that is asked by giving a notice of less than ten days. It is answered orally.

 

UTILITY OF QUESTION HOUR
  • Objectives behind the question may range from seeking authoritative information, to compelling the ministry to accept on the floor of the house, or embarrassing the government.
  • It acts as a deterrent to government’s misconduct and unruly behaviour.
  • It holds the government accountable for its policies and programmes on the floor of the house.
  • It informs the people about the government, so helps shape public opinion.

 

ISSUES WITH QUESTION HOUR
  • Less than fifty percent questions get answered.
  • Cash for query (Corruption) scam in question hour.
  • Chaos in parliament at starting, question hour being the first hour got most affected.
  • Non-serious and non-responsive attitude of MPs, stay absent on same day

 

ZERO HOUR
  • The zero hour (Unlike the question hour) is not mentioned in the Rules of Procedure.
  • It is an Indian innovation(since 1962) in the field of parliamentary procedures.
  • The time gap between the question hour and the agenda is known as zero hour.
  • Zero hour has an element of surprise.
  • Thus it is an informal device available to the members of the Parliament to raise matters without any prior notice.
  • The zero hour starts immediately after the question hour and lasts until the agenda for the day is taken up.

 

MOTIONS:

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

  • It is a self-contained independent proposal dealing with a very important matter like impeachment of the President or removal of Chief Election Commissioner.

 

SUBSIDIARY MOTION

  • It is a motion that, by itself, has no meaning and cannot state the decision of the House without reference to the original motion or proceedings of the House.

 

SUBSTITUTE MOTION

  • It is a motion that is moved in substitution of an original motion and proposes an alternative to it.
  • If adopted by the House, it supersedes the original motion.

 

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.
 

SIMPLE CLOSURE

CLOSURE BY COMPARTMENTSKANGAROO CLOSUREGUILLOTINE CLOSURE
It is one when a member moves that the ‘matter having been sufficiently discussed be now put to vote’.

 

The clauses of a bill or a lengthy resolution are grouped into parts before the commencement of the debate. The debate covers the part as a whole and the entire part is put to vote.Only important clauses are taken up for debate and voting and the intervening clauses are skipped over and taken as passed.

 

It is one when the undiscussed clauses of a bill or a resolution are also put to vote along with the discussed ones due to want of time.

 

PRIVILEGE MOTION

  • It is concerned with the breach of parliamentary privileges by a minister.
  • It is moved by a member when he feels that a minister has committed a breach of privilege of the House or one or more of its members.
  • Motion can be moved on grounds of withholding facts of a case or by giving wrong or distorted facts.
  • Its purpose is to censure the concerned minister.

 

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.
  • This motion is also an Indian innovation (since 1954)in the parliamentary procedure.
  • It is mentioned in the Rules of Procedure(unlike the zero hour)

 

ADJOURNMENT MOTION

  • It is introduced in the Parliament to draw attention of the House to a definite matter of urgent public importance.
  • This motion needs the support of 50 members to be admitted.
  • It is regarded as an extraordinary device as it interrupts the normal business of the House.
  • It involves an element of censure against the government.
  • Rajya Sabha is not permitted to make use of this device.
  • The discussion on an adjournment motion should last for not less than two hours and thirty minutes.
  • Criteria for admissibility
    • It must deal with matters of urgent public importance.
    • It must be on a specific matter.
    • It should involve the responsibility of the government.
    • It should not raise the question of privileges.
    • It should not raise sub judice matters.
    • At least 50 Lok Sabha MPs must support it

 

NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION

  • 75– The council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. This principle is the bedrock of parliamentary democracy.
  • It means that the ministry stays in office so long as it enjoys confidence of the majority of the members of the Lok Sabha.
  • The Lok Sabha can remove the ministry from office by passing a no- confidence motion.
  • Can be raised only once in a session. (Maximum thrice a year)
  • Motion is explicitly mentioned in Rules 198 of Lok Sabha.
  • No grounds required to introduce this motion.
  • It is always moved against the entire CoM, not against individual ministers.
  • The motion needs the support of 50 members to be admitted.

 

CONFIDENCE MOTION

  • The motion of confidence has come up as a new procedural device to cope with the emerging situations of fractured mandates resulting in hung parliament, minority governments and coalition governments.
  • The governments formed with wafer-thin majority have been called upon by the President to prove their majority on the floor of the House.
  • The government of the day, sometimes, on its own, seeks to prove its majority by moving a motion of confidence and winning the confidence of the House.
  • If the confidence motion is negative, it results in the fall of the government.

 

MOTION OF THANKS

  • The first session after each general election and the first session of every fiscal year is addressed by the president.
  • In this address, the president outlines the policies and programmes of the government in the preceding year and ensuing year.
  • This address of the president is discussed in both the Houses of Parliament on a motion called the ‘Motion of Thanks’.
  • At the end of the discussion, the motion is put to vote. This motion must be passed in the House.
  • Not passing the motion amounts to the defeat of the government.
  • This inaugural speech of the president is an occasion available to the members of Parliament to raise discussions and debates to examine and criticise the government and administration for its lapses and failures.

 

NO-DAY-YET-NAMED MOTION

  • A motion that has been admitted by the Speaker but no date has been fixed for its discussion.
  • The Speaker, after considering the state of business in the House and in consultation with the leader of the House or on the recommendation of the Business Advisory Committee, allots a day or days or part of a day for the discussion of such a motion.

 

 CENSURE MOTIONNO-CONFIDENCE MOTION
1.It should state the reasons for its adoption in the Lok Sabha.It need not state the reasons for its adoption in the Lok Sabha.
2.It can be moved against an individual minister or a group of ministers or the entire council of ministers.It can be moved against the entire council of ministers only.
3.It is moved for censuring the council of ministers for specific policies and actions.It is moved for ascertaining the confidence of Lok Sabha in the council of ministers.
4.Council of ministers need not resign from the office, if it is passed in the Lok Sabha.Council of ministers must resign from office, if it is passed in the Lok Sabha.

 

DILATORY MOTION

  • It is a motion for the adjournment of the debate on a bill / motion / resolution etc. or a motion to retard or delay the progress of a business under consideration of the House.
  • It can be moved by a member at any time after a motion has been made.
  • The debate on a dilatory motion must be restricted to the matter contained in such motion.

 

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.
  • A point of order should relate to the interpretation or enforcement of the Rules of the House or such articles of the Constitution that regulate the business of the House and should raise a question that is within the cognizance of the Speaker.
  • It is usually raised by an opposition member in order to control the government.
  • It is an extraordinary device as it suspends the proceedings before the House.
  • No debate is allowed on a point of order

 

HALF-AN-HOUR DISCUSSION
  • It is meant for discussing a matter of sufficient public importance, which has been subjected to a lot of debate and the answer to which needs elucidation on a matter of fact.
  • The Speaker can allot three days in a week for such discussions.
  • There is no formal motion or voting before the House.

 

SHORT DURATION DISCUSSION
  • It is also known as “two-hour discussion” as the time allotted for such a discussion should not exceed two hours.
  • The members of the Parliament can raise such discussions on a matter of urgent public importance.
  • The Speaker can allot two days in a week for such discussions.
  • There is neither a formal motion before the house nor voting.
  • This device has been in existence since 1953.

 

SPECIAL MENTION
  • A matter which is not a point of order or which cannot be raised during question hour, half-an hour discussion, short duration discussion or under adjournment motion, calling attention notice or under any rule of the House can be raised under the special mention in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Its equivalent procedural device in the Lok Sabha is known as ‘Notice (Mention) Under Rule 377’.

 

RESOLUTIONS
  • The difference between the resolution and motion is less of content and more of procedural aspect.
  • Members can move resolutions to draw the attention of the House or the government to matters of general public interest.
  • Resolutions are always formally voted upon.
  • All resolutions can be viewed as substantive motion.
  • A member who has moved a resolution or amendment to a resolution cannot withdraw the same except by leave of the House.

 

TYPES OF RESOLUTION
PRIVATE MEMBER’S RESOLUTION 

GOVERNMENT RESOLUTION

 

STATUTORY RESOLUTION

This  is moved by a private member(other than a minister). It is discussed only on alternate Fridays and in the afternoon sitting.

 

This is moved by a minister. It can be taken up any day from Monday to Thursday.

 

This can be moved either by a private member or a minister. It is always tabled in pursuance of a provision in the Constitution or an Act of Parliament.

 

ISSUES WITH GUILLOTINE MOTION
  • This dilutes the accountability of the legislature over the executive.
  • Passage of guillotine frequently could lead to misappropriation of allocation.
  • Guillotine reduces the role and oversight of opposition over public finances.
  • Misuse of provision – Less than about 40 percent part of Budget 2019 got discussed. Moreover it was passed as guillotine due to want of time.

 

SOLUTION
  • Guillotine motion should be used in exceptional circumstances.
  • Before passing such motion, opposition should be consulted.
  • It should not be passed in case of important provisions in the bill.
  • Selective and Case-by-case approach could be delineated

 

LEGISLATIVE PROCEEDINGS IN PARLIAMENT
  • A bill is a proposal for legislation and it becomes an act or law when duly enacted.
  • The legislative procedure is the same in both the Houses of Parliament.
  • Every bill has to pass through the same stages in each House.

 

ORDINARY BILL
  • Bills which are concerned with any matter other than financial subjects are ordinary bills.
  • Every ordinary bill has to pass through the following five stages-
1.
1.FIRST READING

Introduction of the bill and publication in gazette of india.

2.
2.SECOND READING

General but also the detailed scrutiny and assumes its final shape.

Bill may refer to  select committee or departmental committee.

Each clause is discussed and voted upon separately.

3.
3.THIRD READING

Debate is confined to the acceptance or rejection of the bill as a whole and no amendments are allowed.

Voting on the bill stage and authentication by presiding officer.

4.
4.BILL IN THE SECOND HOUSE

Bill passes through all the above same three stages.

President can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses in case of deadlock.

5.
5.ASSENT OF THE PRESIDENT

He may give his assent, withhold his assent, return the bill for reconsideration.

If the president gives his assent to the bill, the bill becomes an act

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUBLIC BILL AND PRIVATE BILL
 PUBLIC BILLPRIVATE BILL
1.It is introduced in the Parliament by a minister. It is introduced by any member of Parliament other than a minister.
3.It reflects the policies of the government (ruling party).It reflects the stand of the opposition party on public matters.
3.It has a greater chance to be approved by the Parliament.It has a lesser chance to be approved by the Parliament.
4.Seven days’ notice  prior to its introduction in the House is required.one month’s notice prior its introduction in the House requires.
5.It is drafted by the concerned department in consultation with the law department.Its drafting is the responsibility of the member concerned. Less possibility of assistance from the law department.

 

6.Its rejection by the House amounts to the expression of want of parliamentary confidence in the government and may lead to its resignation.Its rejection by the House has no implication on the parliamentary confidence in the government or its resignation.
14 private member’s bills — five of which were introduced in Rajya Sabha – have become law so far.

They can bring in constitutional amendment bills but not money bills.

 

MONEY BILL – Article 110
  • Money bills, which are concerned with the financial matters like taxation, public expenditure, etc.
  • 110 deals with the definition of money bills.
  • It states that a bill is deemed to be a money bill if it contains ‘only’ provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters:
    • The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax.
    • The regulation of the borrowing of money by the Union government
    • The custody of the Consolidated Fund of India or the contingency fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of money from any such fund
    • The appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund of India
    • Declaration of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or increasing 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.

Bill is not to be deemed to be a money bill by reason only that it provides for:

  • the imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties
  • the demand for payment of fees for licenses or fees for services rendered
  • the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax by any local authority or body for local purposes.

 

FEATURES OF MONEY BILL
  • Decision of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is final, if any question arises whether a bill is a money bill or not.
  • Such decisions cannot be questioned in any court of law or in either the House of Parliament or even the president.
  • The Speaker endorses it as a money bill when a money bill is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha and presented to the president for assent.
  • Money bills can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the president.
  • Money bill is considered to be a government bill and so it can be introduced only by a minister.
  • Rajya Sabha cannot reject or amend a money bill, can only make the recommendations.
  • Rajya Sabha must return the bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, whether with or without recommendations.
  • The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha.
  • If the Rajya Sabha fails to return the bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses in the form originally passed by the Lok Sabha.
  • When a money bill is presented to the president, he may either give his assent to the bill or withhold his assent to the bill but cannot return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.
  • Normally, the president gives his assent to a money bill as it is introduced in the Parliament with his prior permission.

 

FINANCIAL BILL
  • Financial bills, which are also concerned with financial matters (but are different from money bills).
  • All money bills are financial bills but all financial bills are not money bills.
  • Only those financial bills are money bills which contain exclusively those matters which are mentioned in Art. 110 of the Constitution.
  • Types of finance bills –
    • Money bills–Art. 110
    • Financial bills (I)–Art. 117 (1)
    • Financial bills (II)–Art. 117 (3)

 

FINANCIAL BILL – I

  • A financial bill (I) contains any or all the matters mentioned in Art. 110 and also other matters of general legislation.
  • A financial bill (I) is similar to a money bill in following aspects –
    • Both of them can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha
    • Both of them can be introduced only on the recommendation of the president.
The recommendation of president is not required for moving an amendment to finance bill (I) making provision for the reduction or abolition of a tax.
  • In all other respects, a financial bill (I) is governed by the same legislative procedure applicable to an ordinary bill.
  • It can be either rejected or amended by the Rajya Sabha(except that an amendment other than for reduction or abolition of a tax cannot be moved in either House without the recommendation of the president i.e.,
  • In case of a disagreement, the president can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock.
  • When the bill is presented to the President, he can either give his assent to the bill or withhold his assent to the bill or return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.

 

FINANCIAL BILL – II

  • A financial bill (II) contains provisions involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, but does not include any of the matters mentioned in Art. 110.
  • It is treated as an ordinary bill and in all respects, it is governed by the same legislative procedure which is applicable to an ordinary bill.
  • The only special feature of this bill is that it cannot be passed by either House of Parliament unless the President has recommended to that House the consideration of the bill.
  • a financial bill (II) can be introduced in either House of Parliament and recommendation of the President is not necessary for its introduction, but required at the consideration stage.
  • Bill can be either rejected or amended by either House of Parliament.
  • The President can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock in case of a disagreement between the two Houses.
  • When the bill is presented to the President, he can either give his assent to the bill or withhold his assent to the bill or return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORDINARY BILL AND MONEY BILL
 ORDINARY BILLMONEY BILL
1.It can be introduced either in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.It can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha.
2.It can be introduced either by a minister or by a private member.It can be introduced only by a minister.
3.It is introduced without the recommendation of the president.It can be introduced only on the recommendation of the President.
4.It can be amended or rejected by the Rajya Sabha.

 

It cannot be amended or rejected by the Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha should return the bill with or without recommendations, which may be accepted or rejected by the Lok Sabha.
5.It can be detained by the Rajya Sabha for a maximum period of six months.It can be detained by the Rajya Sabha for a maximum period of 14 days only.
6.It does not require the certification of the Speaker when transmitted to the Rajya Sabha (if it has originated in the Lok Sabha).It requires the certification of the Speaker when transmitted to the Rajya Sabha
7.It is sent for the President’s assent only after being approved by both the Houses. In case of a deadlock due to disagreement between the two Houses, a joint sitting of both the houses can be summoned by the president to resolve the deadlock.It is sent for the President’s assent even if it is approved by only the Lok Sabha. There is no chance of any disagreement between the two Houses and hence, there is no provision of joint sitting of both the Houses in this regard.

 

8.Its defeat in the Lok Sabha may lead to the resignation of the government (if it is introduced by a minister).Its defeat in the Lok Sabha leads to the resignation of the government.

 

9.It can be rejected, approved, or returned for reconsideration by the President.It can be rejected or approved but cannot be returned for reconsideration by the President.

 

ISSUES WITH MONEY BILL
  • 110(1) grants to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha the authority to certify a draft law as a money bill and his decision cannot be questioned and is beyond judicial review.
  • Rajya Sabha has very limited powers and roler.t. money bill. This makes speakers a very powerful institution.
  • An immunity from judicial scrutiny would effectively allow the government to elude the Rajya Sabha’s constitutional checks by simply having the Speaker classify a draft law as a money bill.
  • Misuse of Art. 110 to bypass the oversight and scrutiny of Rajya Sabhag. Aadhar act labelled as Money bill by speaker.
  • Recently, Finance Act 2017 not only abolished some of the tribunals but also altogether repealed the standards provided in the different statutes which governed their functioning and divested this power to the executives.
  • To use money bill as a means to nullify the Upper House’s democratic role in making substantive legislation undermines the Constitutional form which Ambedkar and the Constituent Assembly envisaged.

 

WAY FORWARD 
  • Finality according to the speaker’s decision in assigning Money bill too cannot be taken out from the court’s jurisdiction as the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that Judicial Review is a part of Basic Structure
  • The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha. In case of non-acceptance by Lok Sabha, reasons should be mentioned. So that element of accountability could be induced.
  • BRITAIN model of non-party member as speaker, so that misuse of powers for political gains could be curbed, although to the limited extent.
  • Exploring the possibility of constituting a special committee to ascertain whether the proposed bill comes under the ambit of the money bill or not. This will reduce arbitrariness of speakers in endorsement of money bills.

 

JOINT SESSIONS IN THE PARLIAMENT (Art. 108)
  • Under 108, Constitution provided an extraordinary machinery of Joint sitting to resolve a deadlock between the two Houses over the passage of a bill.
  • Potential situations of deadlocks – 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
    • 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.
  • In the above situations, the president has power to summon both the Houses to meet in a joint sitting for the purpose of deliberating and voting on the bill.
  • In reckoning the period of six months, no account can be taken of any period during which the other House (to which the bill has been sent) is prorogued or adjourned for more than four consecutive days.
  • Provision of joint sitting is applicable to ordinary bills or financial bills only
Provision of joint sitting is not applicable to following type of bills –

Money bills (Art. 110) – Lok Sabha  has overriding powers over Rajya Sabha

Constitutional amendment bills (Art. 368) – Must be passed by each House separately with special majority.

 

If the dispute bill has already lapsed due to the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, no joint sitting can be summoned, except the President has notified his intention to summon such a sitting(as the bill does not lapse in this case).

  • After the President notifies to summon a joint sitting of the two Houses, none of the Houses can proceed further with the bill.

 

PRESIDING OFFICER FOR JOINT SITTING
  • Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over a joint sitting of the two Houses and the Deputy Speaker, in his absence.
  • If the Deputy Speaker is also absent from a joint sitting, the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha
  • If he is also absent, such other person as may be determined by the members present at the joint sitting, presides over the meeting.
Speaker of Lok Sabha
Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha
Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha
Person as may be determined by the members present at the joint sitting
  • Quorum for joint sittingone-tenth of the total number of members of the two Houses.
The Chairman of Rajya Sabha does not preside over a joint sitting as he is not a member of either House of Parliament.
  • The joint sitting is governed by the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and not of Rajya Sabha.
  • Majority required in joint sitting – Majority of the total number of members of both the Houses present and voting in the joint sitting (Simple majority).
  • Most of the time, the Lok Sabha with greater numbers wins the battle in a joint sitting.
  • The Constitution has specified that at a joint sitting, new amendments to the bill cannot be proposed except in two cases:
    • Those amendments that have caused final disagreement between the Houses.
    • Those amendments that might have become necessary due to the delay in the passage of the bill.

 

JOINT SITTING TILL DATE (SINCE 1950)
  • 1961 – Dowry prohibition bill (Lok Sabha was disagreed with proposed amendments)
  • 1978 – Banking services commission reform bill (rejected by Rajya Sabha)
  • 2002 – Prevention of terrorism bill (Rajya Sabha rejected the bill)

 

ISSUES WITH JOINT SITTING (Art – 108)
  • Because of the sweeping majority, most of the bills easily get passed by Lok Sabha in joint sitting. This makes the position of Rajya Sabha virtually weak in federal democratic polity of india.
  • Moreover, joint sitting is usually presided over by the Lok Sabha speaker. Joint sitting is also governed by Rules of Lok Sabha.
  • Majority required in joint sitting is simple majoritye. present and voting. This makes passage of disputed bills even more easy.
  • In the last 70 years, only three joint sittings have been held. This fact implies the ineffectiveness of Rajya Sabha in ensuring scrutiny of the bill and its failure as a revising chamber to avoid hasty, ill-conceived legislation.

 

SOLUTION
  • Strengthening position of Rajya Sabha in proceedings of joint sitting.
  • Rajya Sabha should function as a revising chamber more effectively and upto the expectations of constitution makers.
  • Simple majority in joint sitting should be revised as a Special majority. This will ensure effective say of Rajya Sabha in resolving deadlocks in joint sitting.
  • Exploring the possibility and feasibility of presiding officers other than speaker to impart independent and impartial viewpoint to resolve conundrum.
  • Focus in joint sitting must be on “3Ds” – dialogue, discussion and dissention – This will strengthen the democratic fabric of Indian polity.

 

BUDGET IN PARLIAMENT (Annual Financial Statement) – Art. 112
  • Annual budgeting started in India in 1860.
  • The term “budget” has nowhere been used in the Constitution rather refers to the budget as the “annual financial statement” under Art. 112.
  • The budget is a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the GoI in a financial year along with other provisions.
  • Financial year of GoI – Begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March of the following year.
  • Overall, the budget contains the following
    • Estimates of revenue and capital receipts
    • Ways and means to raise the revenue
    • Estimates of expenditure
    • Details of the actual receipts and expenditure of the closing
    • financial year and the reasons for any deficit or surplus in that year
    • Economic and financial policy of the coming year.

 

  • Prior to 2017, the Government of India had two budgets
  • Railway Budget🡪 Consisted of the estimates of receipts and expenditures of only the Ministry of Railways
  • General Budget Consisted of the estimates of receipts and expenditure of all the ministries of the Government of India (except the railways).
  • The Railway Budget was separated from the General Budget in 1924 on the recommendations of the Ackworth Committee Report (1921)
  • In 2017, the Central Government merged the railway budget into the general budget. Henceforth, there is only one budget for the GoI called the Union Budget.

 

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS w.r.t. BUDGET
  • The President shall in respect of every financial year cause to be laid before both the Houses of Parliament a statement of estimated receipts and expenditure of the GoI for that year.
  • No demand for a grant shall be made except on the recommendation of the President.
  • No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriation made by law.
  • No money bill imposing tax shall be introduced in the Parliament except on the recommendation of the President, and such a bill shall not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
  • No tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law.
  • Parliament can reduce or abolish a tax but cannot increase it.
  • A money bill or finance bill dealing with taxation must be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and cannot be in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Vote on the demand for grants is the exclusive privilege of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha has no power.
  • The Rajya Sabha should return the Money bill (or Finance bill) to the Lok Sabha within fourteen days.
  • The budget shall distinguish expenditure on revenue accounts from other expenditure.
  • The expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India shall not be submitted to the vote of Parliament. However, it can be discussed by the Parliament.

 

PROCEDURE IN ENACTMENT OF BUDGET

The budget goes through the following six stages in the Parliament:

  1. Presentation of budget.
  2. General discussion
  3. Scrutiny by departmental committees.
  4. Voting on demands for grants.
  5. Passing of appropriation bill.
  6. Passing of finance bill.

 

INTRODUCTION OF BUDGET
  • Conventionally, the budget is presented to the Lok Sabha by the finance minister on the last working day of February with a speech known as the ‘budget speech’.
  • Since 2017, the presentation of the budget has been advanced to 1st of February.
  • Now, the Economic Survey(prepared by the finance ministry) presented one day or a few days before the presentation of the budget. This report is and indicates the status of the national economy
  • There shall be no discussion of the budget on the day on which it is presented to the House.
  • The budget is laid before the Rajya Sabha, which can only discuss it and has no power to vote on the demands for grants.

The budget documents presented to the Parliament consist of –

  • Budget Speech
  • Annual Financial Statement
  • Demands for Grants
  • Appropriation Bill
  • Finance Bill
  • Expenditure Budget
  • Receipts Budget
  • Expenditure Profile
  • Memorandum Explaining the Provisions in the Finance Bill
  • Budget at a Glance
  • Outcome Budget

 

Statements mandated under the FRBM Act

  • Macro-Economic Framework Statement
  • Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement
  • Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement

 

GENERAL DISCUSSION
  • This begins a few days after its presentation.
  • It takes place in both the Houses of Parliament and lasts usually for three to four days.
  • During this stage, the Lok Sabha can discuss the budget as a whole or on any question of principle involved therein.
  • No cut motion can be moved nor can the budget be submitted to the vote of the House.
  • The finance minister has a general right of reply at the end of the discussion.

 

SCRUTINY BY DEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEES
  • Post general discussion on the budget, the 24 departmental standing committees of Parliament examine and discuss in detail the demands for grants of the concerned ministers and prepare reports on them.
  • These reports are submitted to both the Houses of Parliament for consideration.
  • The standing committee system established in 1993makes parliamentary financial control over ministries much more detailed, close, in-depth and comprehensive.

 

VOTING ON DEMANDS FOR GRANTS
  • Voting of demands for grants is the exclusive privilege of the Lok Sabha .
  • Rajya Sabha has no power of voting the demands.
  • Voting is confined to the votable part of the budget(the expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India is not submitted to the vote).
  • The demands are presented ministry wise.
  • Each demand is voted separately by the Lok Sabha.
  • A demand becomes a grant after it has been duly voted.
  • Motions can also move to reduce any demand for grants. Such motions are called as ‘cut motion’, which are of three kinds:

 

POLICY CUT MOTIONECONOMY CUT MOTIONTOKEN CUT MOTION
It represents the disapproval of the policy underlying the demand. It states that the amount of the demand be reduced to Rs 1. The members have an option to advocate an alternative policy.It represents the economy that can be affected in the proposed expenditure. It states that the amount of the demand be reduced by a specified amount.It ventilates a specific grievance that is within the sphere of responsibility of the GoI. It states that the amount of the demand be reduced by Rs. 100.

 

CONDITIONS FOR CUT MOTION
  • It should relate to one demand only.
  • It should be clearly expressed and should not contain arguments.
  • It should be confined to one specific matter.
  • It should not make suggestions for the amendment or repeal of existing laws.
  • It should not refer to a matter that is not the primary concern of the Union government.
  • It should not relate to the expenditure “charged upon” the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • It should not relate to a matter that is under adjudication by a court.
  • It should not raise a question of privilege.
  • It should not revive discussion on a matter on which a decision has been taken in the same session.
  • It should not relate to a trivial matter.
  • It should not seek to raise a discussion on a matter pending before any statutory tribunal or statutory authority performing judicial or quasi-judicial functions or any commission or court of enquiry.

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF CUT MOTION
  • Facilitating the initiation of concentrated discussion on a specific demand for grant.
  • Upholding the principle of responsible government by probing the activities of the government.
  • Passage of motion by the Lok Sabha amounts to the expression of want of parliamentary confidence in the government and may lead to its resignation.

Issues with Cut Motion

  • The cut motion does not have much utility in practice.
  • They are only moved and discussed in the House but not passed as the government enjoys majority support.
  • Frequent recourse to guillotine’– Speaker puts all the remaining demands to vote and disposes them whether they have been discussed by the members or not.

 

PASSING OF APPROPRIATION BILL
  • The Constitution states that “no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriation made by law”.
  • An appropriation bill is introduced to provide for the appropriation out of the Consolidated Fund of India, all money required to meet:
    • The grants were voted on by the Lok Sabha.
    • The expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • The government cannot withdraw money from the Consolidated Fund till the enactment of the appropriation act.
  • Amendment cannot be proposed to the appropriation bill in either house of the Parliament that will vary the amount or altering the destination of any grant voted, or of varying the amount of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • The Appropriation Bill becomes the Appropriation Act after it is assented to by the President.
  • Appropriation act authorises the payments from the Consolidated Fund of India.

 

VOTE ON ACCOUNT

Passing an appropriation act takes time and usually goes on till the end of April.

  • However, the government needs money to carry on its normal activities after 31 March (the end of the financial year).
  • To resolve this, the Constitution has authorised the Lok Sabha to make any grant in advance in respect to the estimated expenditure for a part of the financial year.
  • It is generally granted for two months for an amount equivalent to one- sixth of the total estimation.

 

PASSING OF FINANCE BILL
  • The Finance Bill is introduced to give effect to the financial proposals of the Government of India for the following year.
  • The Finance Act legalises the income side of the budget and completes the process of the enactment of the budget.
  • It is subjected to all the conditions applicable to a Money Bill.
  • The amendments can be moved in the case of the finance bill.
  • Finance Bill must be enacted (i.e., passed by the Parliament and assented to by the president) within 75 days.

 

CHARGED EXPENDITURE
  • Expenditure ‘charged’ upon the Consolidated Fund of India– This charged expenditure is non-votable by the Parliament. It can only be discussed by the Parliament.
  • Expenditure ‘made’ from the Consolidated Fund of India – This Type of expenditure has to be voted by the Parliament.
List of the expenditure charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India
  1. Emoluments and allowances of the President and other expenditure relating to his office
2.Salaries and allowances of the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha
3.Salaries, allowances and pensions of the judges of the Supreme Court.
4.Pensions of the judges of high courts.
5.Salary, allowances and pension of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India
6.Salaries, allowances and pension of the chairman and members of the Union Public Service Commission.
7.Administrative expenses of the Supreme Court, the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Union Public Service Commission including the salaries, allowances and pensions of the persons serving in these offices.
8.The debt charges for which the Government of India is liable, including interest, sinking fund charges and redemption charges and other expenditure relating to the raising of loans and the service and redemption of debt.
9.Any sum required to satisfy any judgement, decree or award of any court or arbitral tribunal.
10.Any other expenditure declared by the Parliament to be so charged.

 

ISSUES WITH BUDGETING IN INDIA
  • Indian budget is by and large deficit oriented.
  • Indian budget is weak in public participation and involvement – less inclusive.
  • Limited transparency and accountabilityr.t budgeting.
  • Less observance and disregard to FRBM act 2003.
  • Although implementing gender based budgeting, more needs to be done to implement it in letter and spirit.

 

FUNDS
  • The Constitution of India provides for the following three kinds of funds –
    • Consolidated Fund of India (Art. 266)
    • Public Account of India (Art. 266)
    • Contingency Fund of India (Art. 267)

 

CONSOLIDATED FUND OF INDIA – Article 266
  • It is a fund to which all receipts are credited and all payments are debited.
  • all revenues received by the Government of India
  • all loans raised by the Government by the issue of treasury bills, loans or ways and means of advances
  • all money received by the government in repayment of loans.
  • All the legally authorised payments on behalf of the GoI are made out of this fund.
  • Parliamentary law (Legislative action) is required for appropriation (issued or drawn) of funds from this account.

 

CONTINGENCY FUND OF INDIA – Article 267
  • The Constitution authorised the Parliament to establish a ‘Contingency Fund of India into which amounts determined by law are paid from time to time.
  • The Parliament enacted the contingency fund of India Act, 1950.
  • This fund is placed at the disposal of the president, and he can make advances out of it to meet unforeseen expenditure pending its authorisation by the Parliament.
  • The fund is held by the finance secretary on behalf of the president.
  • Similar to the public account of India, it is also operated by executive action.

 

PUBLIC ACCOUNT OF INDIA – Article 266
  • All other public money(other than credited to the Consolidated Fund) received by or on behalf of the GoI shall be credited to the Public Account of India.
  • Includes provident fund deposits, judicial deposits, savings bank deposits, departmental deposits, remittances among others.
  • This account is operated by executive action.
  • Payments from this account are mostly in the nature of banking transactions.

 

TYPES OF MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT
  • There is no explicit classification of majorities in the Indian constitution.
  • A careful reading of different articles in Indian Constitution would provide an idea about four types of majorities.

 

SIMPLE MAJORITY

  • 50 percent + 1 of present and voting of the house.

Cases where the simple majority is used:

  • To pass Ordinary/Money/Financial bills.
  • Topass Non-Confidence Motion, Adjournment Motion, CensureMotion, Confidence Motion.
  • For the removal of the Vice President majority required in Lok Sabha is the simple majority – Art. 67(b).
  • To declare a financial emergency.
  • To declare state emergency – President’s rule.
  • Election of Speaker/Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha and State legislatures.
  • Constitution Amendment Bill under Art. 368 which needs to be ratified by states, requires only a simple majority at State Legislatures.

 

ABSOLUTE MAJORITY

  • 50 percent + 1 of total membership of the house.
  • g. Total membership of Lok Sabha is 545, an absolute majority in Lok Sabha means – 50% of 545 plus 1, i.e. 273.

 

EFFECTIVE MAJORITY

  • Majority of the effective strength of the house.
  • Effective strength of the house = Total membership minus vacancies.
  • E.g. actual members are 540, then 50 percent + 1 of 540 members.

Cases where the effective majority is used –

  • Removal of Vice president in RS – Art. 67(b).
  • Removal of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assembly.

 

SPECIAL MAJORITY

  1. As per Art. 249Two-third of present and voting

E.g. To pass the Rajya Sabha resolution to empower the parliament to make laws in the state list.

  1. As per Art. 368Two-third of present and voting + majority of the house (More than 50 percent)

Cases where special majority as per article 368 is used:

  • To pass a constitutional amendment bill which does not affect federalism.
  • Removal of judges of SC/HC.
  • Removal of CEC/CAG.
  • Approval of national emergency requires a special majority as per Art. 368 in both houses.
  • Resolution by the state legislature for the creation/abolition of Legislative Council (Art. 169).
  1. As per Art. 368 – Two-third of present and voting + more than 50 percent of the state legislatures by simple majority.

E.g. To pass a constitutional amendment bill which affects federalism like the position of high court judges.

 

PARLIAMENTARY PRIVILEGES

CONTEXT– On the Rafale fighter jet deal issue, a breach of privilege motion was moved against the Prime Minister and Defence Minister.

  • These are special rights, immunities and exemptions enjoyed by the two Houses of Parliament, their committees and their members.
  • They are necessary in order to secure the independence and effectiveness of their actions.
Parliamentary privileges do not extend to the president who is also an integral part of the Parliament. President is not member of either house.
  • In absence of privileges, the Houses can neither maintain their authority, dignity and honour nor can protect their members from any obstruction in the discharge of their parliamentary responsibilities.
  • The Constitution has also extended the parliamentary privileges to those persons who are entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or any of its committees. These include the attorney general of India and Union ministers.

 

SOURCES OF PRIVILEGES
  • Originally, the Constitution in Art. 105expressedly mentioned two privileges-
    1. Freedom of speech in Parliament
    2. Right of publication of its proceedings.
  • With respect to other privileges, it provided that they were to be the same as those of the British House of Commons, its committees and its members on the date of its commencement (26 January1950)until defined by Parliament.
  • The 44th amendment has made only verbal changes by dropping a direct reference to the British House of Commons, without making any change in the implication of the provision.
  • Till now, Parliamenthas not made any special lawton exhaustively codify all the privileges.

 

  • Important sources of privileges are –
    1. Constitutional provisions,
    2. Various laws made by Parliament,
    3. Rules of both the Houses,
    4. Parliamentary conventions,
    5. Judicial interpretations.

 

INDIVIDUAL PRIVILEGES
  • They cannot be arrested during the session of Parliament and 40 days before the beginning and 40 days after the end of a session. (available only in civil cases and not in criminal cases or preventive detention cases)
  • They have freedom of speech in No member is liable to any proceedings in any court for anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or its committees. This freedom is subject to the provisions of the Constitution and to the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of Parliament.
  • 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.

 

COLLECTIVE PRIVILEGES
  • It has the right to publish its reports, debates and proceedings and also the right to prohibit others from publishing the same.
  • The 44th CAA of 1978 restored the freedom of the press to publish true reports of parliamentary proceedings without prior permission of the House. Case of a secret sitting of the House is an exception to this.
  • It can exclude strangers from its proceedings and hold secret sittings to discuss some important matters.
  • It can make rules to regulate its own procedure and the conduct of its business and to adjudicate upon such matters.
  • It can punish members as well as outsiders for breach of its privileges or its contempt by reprimand, admonition or imprisonment (also suspension or expulsion, in case of members).
  • It has the right to receive immediate information on the arrest, detention, conviction, imprisonment and release of a member.
  • It can institute inquiries and order the attendance of witnesses and send for relevant papers and records.
  • 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.

 

BREACH OF PRIVILEGES AND CONTEMPT OF THE HOUSE
  • Breach of privilege🡪 “When any individual or authority disregards or attacks any of the privileges, rights and immunities, either of the member individually or of the House in its collective capacity, this is punishable by the House”
  • Contempt of the House🡪Any act or omission which obstructs a House of Parliament, its member or its officer in the performance of their functions or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly to produce results against the dignity, authority and honour of the House
Parliamentary Committee on privileges

Standing committee constituted in each house of the Parliament/state legislature.

Consists of 15 members in Lok Sabha (LS) and 10 members in Rajya Sabha (RS) to be nominated by the Speaker in LS and Chairman in RS.

Its function is to investigate the cases of breach of privilege and recommend appropriate action to the Speaker/Chairperson.

  • Phrases “breach of privilege” and “Contempt of the House” are used interchangeably, they have different implications.
  • A breach of privilege may amount to contempt of the House. Likewise, contempt of the House may include a breach of privilege also.
  • Contempt of the House comparatively has wider implications.
  • There may be a contempt of the House without specifically committing a breach of privilege.
  • Similarly,actions which are not breaches of any specific privilege but are offences against the dignity and authority of the House amount to contempt of the House.E.g. Disregard to a legitimate order of the House is not a breach of privilege, but can be punished as contempt of the House

 

SHOULD BE PRIVILEGES CODIFIED?
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF CODIFICATION
  • Unless they are codified, they remain vague and subject to different interpretations.
  • Codification would prevent conflict between judiciary and legislature.
  • Codification will also result in adherence and observance of privileges.

 

ARGUMENTS AGAINST CODIFICATION
  • Codification would bring them within ambit of Art. 13 (2)
  • Bill seeking to codify privileges would reflect the perspective of the ruling party, which ideally should be conceived independently.
  • What constitutes breach of privileges or contempt cannot be delineated.
  • Codification would impair the authority of the presiding officer to widen privileges by liberal interpretation. This may erode prestige and sovereignty of parliament.
  • Judiciary, at this juncture needs to reconcile privileges with Part III (FR)
  • By and large, privileges are not violated and abused.

 

REASONS FOR INEFFECTIVENESS OF PARLIAMENT

The parliamentary control over government and administration in India is more theoretical than practical.

However, following are some contributing factors –

  • The Parliament lacks time and expertise to control the administration which has grown in volume as well as complexity.
  • Technical nature of the demands for grants impedes Parliament’s financial control.
  • The voluminous size of the Parliament to manage effectively.
  • The majority support enjoyed by the Executive in the Parliament reduces the possibility of effective criticism, resulting in erosion of accountability.
  • Post mortem work by the financial committees like Public Accounts Committee
  • The increased recourse to ‘guillotine eroded the scope of financial control further.
  • The growth of ‘delegated legislation’ has reduced the role of Parliament in making detailed laws and has increased the jurisdiction of bureaucracy.
  • The frequent promulgation of ordinances by the president dilutes the Parliament’s power of legislation.
  • The Parliament’s control is sporadic, general and mostly political in nature.
  • Lack of strong, steady and coherent opposition in the Parliament.
  • Setback in the parliamentary behaviour and ethics.

 

SOLUTION AND WAY FORWARD
  • We need to renovate the image and stature of the parliament by fast tracking parliamentary and electoral reforms.
  • Relevant amendments to Anti-defection act considering extended coalition parties and prohibiting bye elections post defection.
  • Making membership financially less attractive and more motivated by the spirit of the public service.
  • Relevant amendments to the Rule 198 to allow no-confidence motion once in a year (presently its once in a session)
  • Stringent penalties for unruly behaviour and unethical conduct.
  • Introducing constructive vote of confidence based on German model.
  • Strengthening parliamentary committee system.
  • Prescribing a minimum number of days, for which parliament must sit in a year.
  • NCRWC recommended 120 days and 100 days for Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively.

 

MULTIFUNCTIONAL ROLE OF PARLIAMENT
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Powers and Functions

 

 

·         To make laws for the governance of the country.

·         It has exclusive power to make laws on the subjects enumerated in the Union List and on the residuary subjects.

·         With regard to Concurrent List, Parliament has overriding powers over the law of the state legislature in case of a conflict between the two.

·         All the ordinances issued by the president (during the recess of the Parliament) must be approved by the Parliament within six weeks after its reassembly.

·         Parliament makes laws in a skeleton form and authorises the Executive to make detailed rules and regulations within the framework of the parent law – delegated legislation or subordinate legislation.

·         Parliament is empowered to make laws on the State List under the following five abnormal circumstances when: –

1.       Rajya Sabha passed a resolution to that effect.

2.       Proclamation of National Emergency (Art.352) is in operation.

3.       Two or more states make a joint request to the Parliament.

4.       Necessary to give effect to international agreements, treaties and conventions.

5.       President’s Rule (Art. 356) is in operation in the state.

 

 

 

Executive Powers and Functions

▪          Given a parliamentary form of government in India, Parliament exercises control over the Executive through question-hour, zero hour, half-an-hour discussion, short duration discussion, calling attention motion, adjournment motion, no-confidence motion, censure motion and other discussions.

▪          It also supervises the activities of the Executive with the help of its committees.

▪          The ministers are collectively responsible to the Parliament in general and to the Lok Sabha in particular.

▪          Each minister is individually responsible for the efficient administration of the ministry under his charge.

▪          The council of ministers can be removed from office by the Lok Sabha by passing a no-confidence motion.

▪          The Lok Sabha can express lack of confidence in the government by –

1.       Not passing a motion of thanks on the President’s inaugural address.

2.       Rejecting a money bill.

3.       Passing a censure motion or an adjournment motion.

4.       Defeating the government on a vital issue.

5.       Passing a cut motion.

 

 

 

 

 

Financial Powers and Functions

·         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 Parliament also scrutinises government spending and financial performance with the help of its financial committees.

·         Therefore, the parliamentary control over the Executive in financial matters operates in two stages:

1.       Budgetary control – control before the appropriation of grants through the enactment of the budget.

2.       Post-budgetary control – control after the appropriation of grants through the three financial committees.

·         The budget is based on the ‘principle of annuity’ and ‘rule of lapse’ meaning Parliament grants money to the government for one financial year.

·         It facilitates effective financial control by the Parliament as no reserve funds can be built without its authorisation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Constituent Powers and Functions

·         The Parliament is vested with the powers to amend the Constitution (Art.368) by way of addition, variation or repeal of any provision.

·         Power to initiate the process of the amendment of the Constitution lies exclusively in the hands of the Parliament and not the state legislature.

·         There is only one exception, that is, the state legislature can pass a resolution requesting the Parliament for the creation or abolition of the legislative council in the state.

·         Parliament can amend the Constitution in three ways: –

1.       By simple majority – Major part of the Constitution

2.       By special majority – Some other provisions of the Constitution

3.       By special majority but with the consent of half of all the state legislatures – Only a few provisions of the Constitution can be amended by the Parliament (by special majority) and with the consent of at least half of the State Legislatures (by simple majority).

·         The constituent power of the Parliament is subject to the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution and not absolute or unlimited – Kesavananda Bharati case (1973)

Judicial Powers and Functions
  • 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.
 

 

 

 

Electoral Powers and Functions

  • The Parliament participates in the election of the President and elects the Vice- President.
  • The Lok Sabha elects its Speaker and Deputy Speaker, while the Rajya Sabha elects its Deputy Chairman.
  • The Parliament is also authorised to make laws to regulate the elections to the offices of President and Vice-President, to both the Houses of Parliament and to both the Houses of state legislature.
  • Parliament enacted the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election Act (1952), the Representation of People Act (1950), the Representation of People Act (1951), etc.
 

 

 

Other powers and functions.

·         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 proclaimed by the President.

·         It can create or abolish the state legislative councils (Art.169) on the recommendation of the concerned state legislative assemblies.

·         It can increase or decrease the area, alter the boundaries and change the names of states of the Indian Union.

·         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.

 

 

SOVEREIGNTY OF PARLIAMENT

  • The doctrine of “sovereignty of Parliament” is associated with and cardinal feature of the British Parliament.
  • Sovereignty entails the supreme power within the State. That supreme power in Great Britain lies with the Parliament. There are no ‘legal’ restrictions on its authority and jurisdiction.
  • According to AV Dicey (British jurist) principle has three implications:
    • The Parliament can make, amend, substitute or repeal any law.
In USA also, the sovereignty of Congress (Legislature) is legally restricted by the written character of the Constitution, the federal system of government, the system of judicial review and the Bill of Rights, similar to Indian Parliament.
  • There is no legal distinction between the constituent authority and the legislative authority of the British Parliament.
  • The Parliamentary laws cannot be declared invalid by the Judiciary As being unconstitutional. No system of judicial review in Britain.
  • The Indian Parliamentcannot be regarded as a sovereign body as there are ‘legal’ restrictions on its authority and jurisdiction.
  • The factors that limit the sovereignty of Indian Parliament are:
    • federal system of government with a constitutional division of powers between the Union and the states.
    • Written nature of the constitution– defined the authority and jurisdiction of all the three organs of the Union government and the nature of interrelationship between them.
    • System of Judicial review– independent Judiciary with the power of judicial review
    • Codification of justiciable fundamental rights under Part III of the Constitution
  • There is no codification of justiciable fundamental rights in the Constitution of Britain. The British Parliament has also not made any law that lays down the fundamental rights of the citizens. Yet,there is maximum liberty in Britain due to the existence of the Rule of Law.

 

SPECIAL POWERS OF LOK SABHA

  • 75 – CoM is directly responsible to Lok Sabha.
  • As far as money bill is concerned, Lok Sabha is superior to Rajya Sabha.
  • Joint sitting presided by Lok Sabha Speaker and governed by Rules of Lok Sabha.
  • Lok Sabha has an advantageous position in dealing with resolution of deadlock, attributed to numerical strength and want of a simple majority.
  • Power to withdraw national emergency
  • Numerical strength of members of Lok Sabha is more in most parliamentary standing committees.
  • Dominance of Lok Sabha in all joint parliamentary committees.

 

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF RAJYA SABHA
SPECIAL POWERS OF RAJYA SABHA
  • It can authorise the Parliament to make a law on a StateList (Art. 249).
  • It can authorise the Parliament to create new All-India Services common to both the Centre and states (Art. 312).
  • Only RS can initiate a move for the removal of the vice-president(Art. 67).
In our constitutional system,position of the Rajya Sabha is not as weak as that of the House of Lords in the British constitutional system nor as strong as that of the Senate in the American constitutional system.
  • If a proclamation is issued by the President for imposing national emergency or president’s rule or financial emergency at a time when the Lok Sabha has been dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place within the period allowed for its approval, then the proclamation can remain effective even if it is approved by the Rajya Sabha alone (Art. 352, 356 and 360).

 

  • Exception financial matters and control over the CoM, the powers and status of the Rajya Sabha in all other spheres are broadly equal and coordinate with that of the Lok Sabha

 

UTILITY OF RAJYA SABHA
  • It enables participation of the senior politicians and statesmen in politics.
  • Prevents hasty and ill-conceived,defective, careless legislations – house of corrections
  • Rajya Sabha ensures that the constitution does not become a playing card in the hands of the ruling party.
  • Gives representation to the states and protects their interests– maintains federal equilibrium.
  • Facilitation of intellectuals and persons from all walk of life.
  • It is not as powerful as the US Senate nor as weak as the House of Lords in Britain.
  • Checks arbitrariness of Lok Sabha where it has equal powers.

 

POSITION OF RAJYA SABHA vis-a-vis LOK SABHA
EQUAL STATUS WITH LOK SABHA
  • Introduction and passage of ordinary bills.
  • Introduction and passage of Constitutional amendment bills.
  • Introduction and passage of financial bills involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Election and impeachment of the
  • Election and removal of the Vice-President(Rajya Sabha alone can initiate the removal of the vice-president).
  • Making recommendation to the President for the removal of Chief Justice and judges of SC and HC, CEC and CAG.
  • Approval of ordinances issued by the President.
  • Approval of proclamation of all three types of emergencies by the President.
  • Selection of ministers including the Prime Minister.
  • Consideration of the reports of the constitutional bodies like Finance Commission, UPSC, CAG, etc.
  • Enlargement of the jurisdiction of the SC and the UPSC.

 

UN-EQUAL STATUS WITH LOK SABHA
  • A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject a Money Bill. It should return the bill within 14 days to LS.
  • A financial bill, not containing solely the matters of 110, also can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. With regard to its passage, both the Houses have equal powers.
  • The final power to decide whether a particular bill is a Money Bill or not is vested in the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • The Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over the joint sitting of both the Houses.
  • Voting on the demands for grants is the exclusive privilege of the Lok Sabha.
  • A resolution for the discontinuance of the national emergency can be passed only by the Lok Sabha.
  • The Rajya Sabha cannot remove the council of ministers by passing a no-confidence motion.
  • Council of ministers is collectively responsible only to the Lok Sabha. However, the Rajya Sabha can discuss and criticise the policies and activities of the government.

 

CRITIQUE OF RAJYA SABHA
  • Rajya Sabha is Federal chamber with non – federal features
    • Representation to UTs
    • Presence of nominated members
    • Removal of domicile requirement since 2003.
    • Unequal representation to the states.
  • Role of RS as a revision chamber has been poor – in 60 years only 3 instances of deadlocks.
  • RS has failed to check encroachment of the centre on state domain.
  • RS is the pale shadow of LS, Rajya Sabha has failed to establish a separate identity for itself so failed to emerge as “house of elders.”
  • Becoming heaven or rehabilitation platform for capitalists, retired bureaucrats and former judges (E.g. Ranjan Gogoi)
  • Abuse and misuse of provision of nomination.
  • Its role as guardian of the constitution has been poor and eroding further.

 

RATIONAL BEHIND SECOND CHAMBER – GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
  • Federal structure of the constitution is one of the oldest traditions in the USA.
  • Historical and constitutional tradition – house of commons in Britain.
  • Urge for reviewing and revision mechanism for legislation.
  • Functional representation which is based on class or occupation.
  • Ensures federal equilibrium in democratic polity.

 

ARGUMENTS AGAINST EQUAL REPRESENTATION IN RAJYA SABHA
  • Our constitution is not the result of an agreement between formerly independent colonies.
  • It may increase demand for smaller states.
  • Population and territorial size varies significantly across states.
  • A few small states may hold back an important amendment and legislation.
  • The Nehru committee report of 1928 also opposed it.

 

OBSERVATIONS BY PUNCHHI COMMISSION
  • Recommended restoration of domicile norm, which was removed in 2003.
  • Reason – Loyalty towards the party and not the state to which he/she represents.

 

PROBLEMS WITH PARLIAMENT
  • Politics of disruption by opposition – frequent walkouts, unruly behaviour and shouting on the floor of the house.
  • of days for which parliament sits and devotes time to transaction of business come down drastically.
  • Time for law making has been ceasing day by day – 48 percent in first LS, less than 20 percent in 16th Lok Sabha.
  • Criminalisation of politics – more than 35 percent members facing criminal charges (ADR report). This violates the basic principle that “lawbreakers cannot be lawmakers”.
  • Increasing average age of MPs – from 45 years to more than 50 years in the present Lok Sabha.
  • Prevalence of nepotism and corruption to get elected.
  • Representation to women is far less – 17th Lok Sabha 2019 has 78 women members (About 15 percent). This implies that mere 15 percent represents 49 percent of the population.
  • Most women come from Bahu, Beti, Bivi of established politicians. Too few women come and represent mainstream women movements.

 

WOMEN’S RESERVATION IN PARLIAMENT
  • Women members from constituent assembly were, by and large, opposed it.
  • 108 th constitutional amendment bill was introduced in 1996, 1998, 1999.
  • In 2010, a bill was passed in Rajya Sabha, but lapsed later.

 

EXPECTATION FROM POLITY
  • Socio economic development would address equity in terms of access to education, health care and employment opportunities.
  • Political parties shall allocate tickets to women on larger no.
  • Women would not allow corruption and criminalisation.

 

PROVISIONS OF 108th CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL 2008
  • Reservation will cease after 15 years of time.
  • Reservation of one third seats in Assemblies and Lok Sabha.
  • Reservation of one third of total SC/STs seats shall be allotted to women.
  • Reservation of seats shall be allotted on a rotational basis for different constituencies.

 

ADVANTAGES
  • This will make democracy more broader, deeper and representative with an element of
  • Enhanced representation to women is both a means and an end in itself.
  • Gender perspective in policy formulation and implementation.
  • Political empowerment of women will translate into economic empowerment.
  • Empowerment of women has a positive multiplier effect on family, society.
  • Would increase the decision making role of women along with stature and dignity.

 

ISSUES WITH RESERVATION
  • Issues with proxy candidature – as witnessed in panchayat raj institutions.
  • It would perpetuate unequal status of women.
  • Resistance from political squares to letting women contest election from non-reserved seats.
  • It would restrict the choice of voters only to women candidates.
  • There is no provision of reviewing post 15 years.
  • It would divert attention from larger issues such as ‘Electoral reforms’ inequity to access to ‘development’.
  • Bill is silent on reservation in state councils and Rajya Sabha.
  • One third members shall be unsettled every election and compulsory un-sitting violates principles of democracy.

 

EXPLORING OTHER OPTIONS
  • Parties can allocate one third party tickets to women candidates – also favoured by ECI. Moreover this required amendments to RPA 1951.
  • One third constituencies could be converted to “dual membership constituencies”
  • Women candidates may be allotted tickets where the party is weak.
  • No guarantee that political parties would honour reservation commitments under their political constituency. BJD and AAP are notable exceptions.
  • Strengthening intra party democracy, which would ensure democratic representation to women in party positions.

 

LEGISLATURE – EXECUTIVE RELATIONSHIP
PRINCIPLE FUNCTIONS OF PARLIAMENT
  • To produce the government on the basis of popular mandate.
  • Legislative role – Enactment of objective, fair and sound legislations.
  • Financial role – Parliament is custodian of public finances.
  • Holding the government accountable on the floor of the house.
  • Representative role – MPs are bridge and link between government and citizenry.
  • Parliament is a symbol of national unity and temple of democracy.
  • Parliament is an organ of information.

 

NEED FOR PARLIAMENTARY CONTROL ON EXECUTIVE
  • India has indirect representative parliamentary democracy.
  • Parliament is custodian of public finances
  • It checks authoritarian tendencies of the government commanding the majority.
  • To sensitise the incumbent government on public issues.
  • To shape public opinion and ensure equilibrium in public policy.
  • To ensure enactment of objective, fair and sound legislation.

 

MEANS OF PARLIAMENTARY CONTROL ON EXECUTIVE
  • Zero hour
  • Question hour
  • All motions and resolutions
  • Discussion on presidential speech
  • Budgetary procedure.
  • Parliamentary committee mechanism
  • No confidence and censure motion

 

PROBLEMS OF PARLIAMENTARY CONTROL
  • Administration is becoming more and more technical.
  • Increasing resort to delegated legislation with poor oversight.
  • Declining quality and merit of debates.
  • Decreasing no of sittings in the house, this translates in erosion of economic resources.
  • Fragmented opposition with obstructionist tendencies.
  • Rising infectivity of question hour and zero hour.
  • Standing committees are less acquainted with technical aspects of working of the house.

 

CONTEMPORARY TRENDS IN PARLIAMENTARY WORKING
  • With the advent of the coalition era, committees became more representative and assertive.
  • Exponential increase in private members bill (more than 300 in last LS) although the passing rate is dismal.
  • Governments also have become vulnerable to adverse ruling of presiding officers.
  • Meetings behind the chair now became new normal.
  • Increasing representation of political parties.
  • Regional parties are playing a pivotal role in flagging issues of local importance.
  • Frequent recourse to guillotine became law rather than exception.
  • Consensus building among different stakeholders became more challenging.
  • Increase in ordinance route, bypassing legislative procedure to some extent.

 

WHY CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OPT FOR PARLIAMENT SYSTEM
  • More democratic and representative – to sections, regions, interests.
  • As we were incipient democracy, we chose accountability over stability.
  • Historical legacy and constitutional tradition– GoI act 1919, GoI act 1935 etc.
  • Preference for avoidance of Legislative–Executive Conflicts.
  • Nehru report and Tej Bahadur Sapru committee

 

WAYS TO MAKE COALITION MORE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT
  • Common minimum programme before elections.
  • For ensuring stability, coalition partners could be brought under ambit of anti-defection law.
  • Coalition partners should observe the “Coalition Dharma”
  • Delineation of common media policy.
  • Giving preference to a free electoral coalition.
  • Members should restrain from personal attacks and criticism.
  • Formation of coordination committee for troubleshooting.

 

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES

CONTEXT– In recent sessions of Parliament, certain bills were passed without the scrutiny by parliamentary standing committees.

 

ORIGIN OF COMMITTEES

  • System of parliamentary committees can be traced back in GoI act 1919.
  • In the post-independence period, they are mentioned in various rules of the houses.
  • Rules of the houses – E.g. PAC, Estimate committee, Committee on PSU
  • Constitution of India (Art. 344)
  • Statute and laws – Joint committee on salary, allowances of MPs.
  • Through adoption of motion and resolution – Select Committee
  • Under powers of presiding officers – General Purpose Committee

 

RELEVANCE OF COMMITTEES

  • Useful in dealings with technical aspects.
  • Help in utilising limited  parliamentary time for other important works.
  • Upholds principle of accountability of executive to legislature.
  • Parliament is assisted by a number of committees in the discharge of its duties.
  • Ensure detailed scrutiny and uphold government accountability.
  • work in non-partisan manner
  • aids the Opposition to play a greater role in exercising control over the executive.
  • engage with relevant stakeholders
  • ensure financial prudence

 

CONDITIONS FOR PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE

  • Is appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker / Chairman
  • Works under the direction of the Speaker / Chairman
  • Presents its report to the House or to the Speaker / Chairman.
The consultative committees consist of members of Parliament is not parliamentary committees as they do not fulfilabove four conditions.
  • Has a secretariat provided by the Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha

 

TYPES OF COMMITTEES

CONTEXT– In recent sessions of Parliament, certain bills were passed without the scrutiny by parliamentary standing committees.

TYPES OF COMMITTEES
STANDING COMMITTEE
AD-HOC COMMITTEE

 

STANDING COMMITTEE

  • Permanent in nature
  • Constituted every year
  • work on a continuous basis.

 

AD-HOC COMMITTEE

  • Temporary in nature
  • Cease to exist on completion of the task assigned to them.

 

PUBLIC ACCOUNT COMMITTEE (PAC)
  • first setup in 1921 under the provisions of the GoI Act of 1919.
  • In 1921, PAC was headed by the Finance minister.
  • Presently, it consists of 22 members (Lok Sabha – 15 and Rajya Sabha – 7)
Since 1967 a convention has developed whereby the chairman of the committee is selected invariably from the Opposition. Earlier was from ruling party.
  • Election of membersEvery year by the Parliament from amongst its members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. It ensures that all parties get due representation in it.
  • Term of office of the membersone year.
  • A minister cannot be elected as a member of the committee.
  • Chairperson– Appointed from amongst its members by the Speaker.

 

FUNCTIONS OF PAC

  • examine the annual audit reports of the CAG, which are laid before the Parliament by the President.
  • The CAG submits three audit reports to the President
    • audit report on appropriation accounts
    • audit report on finance accounts
    • audit report on public undertakings.
  • Examines public expenditure also from the point of view of economy, prudence, wisdom and propriety.
PAC is assisted by the CAG and the CAG acts as a guide, friend and philosopher of the Public Account Committee (PAC).
  • To examine the appropriation accounts and the finance accounts of the Union government and any other accounts laid before the Lok Sabha.
  • To examine the accounts of state corporations, trading concerns and manufacturing projects and the audit report of CAG on them.
  • To examine the accounts of autonomous and semi- autonomous bodies, the audit of which is conducted by the CAG.
  • To examine the money spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted by the Lok Sabha.

 

LIMITATIONS OF PAC

  • It is not concerned with the questions of policy in a broader sense.
  • It conducts a post-mortem examination of accounts.
  • It cannot intervene in the matters of day-to-day administration.
  • Its recommendations are advisory and not binding on the ministries.
  • It is not vested with the power of disallowance of expenditures by the departments.
  • It is not an executive body and hence, cannot issue an order.

 

ESTIMATE COMMITTEE
  • The origin can be traced to the standing financial committee set up in 1921.
  • The first Estimates Committee constituted in 1950 on the recommendation of John Mathai, the then finance minister.
  • All the 30 members are from Lok Sabha only. The Rajya Sabha has no representation in this committee.
Estimates Committeehas been described as a ‘continuous economy committee’ and is largest among all parliamentary committees.
  • Election of membersEvery year by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. It ensures that all parties get due representation in it.
  • Term of office– one year.
  • A minister cannot be elected as a member of the committee.
  • Chairman of the committee– Appointed from amongst its members by the Speaker And he is invariably from the ruling party

 

FUNCTIONS
  • To examine the estimates included in the budget and suggest ‘economies’ in public expenditure.
  • To report and recommend economies, improvements in organisation, efficiency and administrative reform aligning with policies.
  • To suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration.
  • To examine whether the money is well laid out within the limits of the policy implied in the estimates.
  • To suggest the form in which the estimates are to be presented to Parliament.
  • The Committee may continue the examination of the estimates from time to time, throughout the financial year and report to the House as its examination proceeds.
  • It shall not be incumbent on the Committee to examine the entire estimates of any one year.
  • The demands for grants may be finally voted despite the fact that the Committee has made no report.

 

LIMITATIONS
  • It examines the budget estimates only after they have been voted by the Parliament, and not before that.
  • It cannot question the policy laid down by the Parliament.
  • Its recommendations are advisory and not binding on the ministries.
    It examines every year only certain selected ministries and departments.
  • It lacks the expert assistance of the CAG which is available to the PAC.
  • Its work is in the nature of a post-mortem.

 

 

COMMITTEE ON PSUs
  • First created in 1964 on the recommendation of the Krishna Menon Committee.
  • Presently, it consists of 22 members (Lok Sabha – 15 and Rajya Sabha – 7)
  • Election of membersEvery year by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. It ensures that all parties get due representation in it.
  • Term of office– one year.
  • A minister cannot be elected as a member of the committee.
  • Chairman of the committee– Appointed from amongst its members by the Speakerwho is drawn from the Lok Sabha only.

 

FUNCTIONS
  • To examine the reports and accounts of public undertakings.
  • To examine the reports of the CAGon public undertakings.
  • To examine whether the affairs of the public undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.
  • To exercise such other functions vested in the PAC and the estimates committee in relation to public undertakings which are allotted to it by the Speaker from time to time.

 

LIMITATIONS
  • It cannot take up the examination of more than ten to twelve public undertakings in a year.
  • Post-mortem nature of the work.
  • It does not look into technical matters as its members are not technical experts.
  • Its recommendations are advisory and not binding on the ministries.

 

BUSINESS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
  • Committee regulates the programme and time table of the House.
  • It allocates time for the transaction of legislative and other business brought before the House by the government.
  • The Lok Sabha committee🡪 consists of 15 members including the Speaker as its chairman.
  • Rajya Sabhacommittee🡪consists of 11 members including the Chairman as its ex-officio chairman.

 

RULES COMMITTEE
  • Committee considers the matters of procedure and conduct of business in the House and recommends necessary amendments or additions to the rules of the House.
  • Lok Sabha committee🡪 consists of 15 members including the Speaker as its ex-officio chairman

 

 

GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE 
  • Committee considers and advises on matters concerning affairs of the House, which do not fall within the jurisdiction of any other parliamentary committee.
  • In each House, this committee consists of the presiding officer as its ex- officio chairman, Deputy Speaker (Deputy Chairman in the case of Rajya Sabha), members of panel of chairpersons (panel of vice- chairpersons in the case of Rajya Sabha), chairpersons of all the departmental standing committees of the House, leaders of recognised parties and groups in the House and such other members as nominated by the presiding officer.

 

COMMITTEE ON WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
  • Committee was constituted in 1997
  • Consists of 30 members (20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha).
  • It considers the reports of the National Commission for Women
  • Examines the measures taken by the Union Government to secure status, dignity and equality for women in all fields.

 

COMMITTEE ON PRIVILEGES
  • The functions of this committee are semi-judicial in
  • Examines the cases of breach of privileges of the House and its members and recommends appropriate action.
  • The Lok Sabha committee has 15 members.
  • The Rajya Sabha committee has 10 members.

 

COMMITTEE ON SUBORDINATE LEGISLATION
  • Committee examines and reports to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub-rules and bye-laws delegated by the Parliament or conferred by the Constitution to the Executive are being properly exercised by it.
  • In both the Houses, the committee consists of 15

 

COMMITTEE ON ETHICS
  • Committee was constituted in Rajya Sabha in 1997 and in Lok Sabha in 2000.
  • It enforces the code of conduct of members of Parliament.
  • It examines the cases of misconduct and recommends appropriate action.
  • Ensures discipline and decorum in Parliament.

 

COMMITTEE ON ABSENCE OF MEMBERS
  • Committee considers all applications from members for leave of absence from the sittings of the House.
  • Examines the cases of members who have been absent for a period of 60 days or more without permission.
  • It is a special committee of the Lok Sabha and consists of 15 members.
  • There is no such committee in the Rajya Sabha.

 

 

CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE
  • These committees are attached to various ministries / departments of the Central Government.
  • They consist of members of both the Houses of Parliament.
  • The Minister in charge of the Ministry concerned acts as the chairman of the consultative committee of that ministry.
  • These committees provide a forum for informal discussions.
  • Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs Constitution these committees.
  • The membership of these committees is voluntary and subject to maximum 30 and the minimum is 10.
  • These committees shall stand dissolved upon dissolution of every Lok Sabhaand shall be reconstituted upon constitution of each Lok Sabha.
  • Separate Informal Consultative Committees Of the members of Parliament are also constituted for all the Railway Zones (Total 18 Railway zones)
  • Members of Parliament belonging to the area falling under a particular Railway Zone are nominated on the Informal Consultative Committee of that Railway Zone.
  • Informal Consultative Committees are to be arranged during the session periods only.

 

DEPARTMENTAL STANDING COMMITTEE
  • Constituted on the recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha, 17 DRSCs were set up in the Parliament in 1993.
  • Increasing their number from 17 to 24 in 2004.
  • Objective of the standing committees is to secure more accountability of the Executive to the Parliament in general and financial accountability in
  • They also assist the Parliament in debating the budget more effectively.
  • The 24 standing committees cover all the ministries / departments of the Central Government.
  • Each standing committee consists of 31 members.
    • 21from Lok Sabha
    • 10from Rajya Sabha
  • The members of the LokSabha are nominated by the Speaker from amongst its own members and by Chairman in case ofRajya Sabha.
  • A minister is not eligible to be nominated as a member of any of the standing committees.
  • Term of office– each standing committee is for one year from the date of its constitution.
  • Out of the 24 standing committees –
    • Under Rajya Sabha- 8
    • Under LokSabha–16

 

FUNCTIONS OF EACH STANDING COMMITTEE
  • To consider the demands for grants of the concerned ministries / departments before they are discussed and voted in the Lok Sabha.
  • To examine bills pertaining to the concerned ministries / departments.
  • To consider annual reports of ministries / departments.
  • To consider national basic long-term policy documents presented to the Houses.

 

LIMITATIONS ON FUNCTIONING OF STANDING COMMITTEE
  • They should not consider the matters of day-to-day administration.
  • They should not generally consider the matters which are considered by other parliamentary committees.
  • Recommendations of these committees are advisory in nature.

 

MERITS OF STANDING COMMITTEE
  • Their proceedings and working are devoid of any party bias.
  • More flexible procedural approach than in the Lok Sabha.
  • Ensures parliamentary control over executive much more detailed, close, continuous, in-depth and comprehensive.
  • The system ensures economy and efficiency in public expenditure.
  • Committees Facilitate opportunities to all the MPs to participate and understand the functioning of the government and contribute to it.
  • They can avail of expert opinion or public opinion to make the reports.
  • They are authorised to invite experts and eminent persons.

 

OFFICE OF PROFIT

CONTEXT– Recently, President has rejected a petition demanding disqualification of Delhi MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit.

ABOUT OFFICE OF PROFIT

  • 102 (Parliament)andArt.191 (State legislature) mention disqualifications on the basis of Office of Profit.
  • It is neither defined in the constitution or under Representation of People’s Act 1951.

 

SUPREME COURT GUIDELINES
  • SC in Pradyut Bordoloi vs Swapan Roy (2001)case provided following questions for the test for office of Profit:
    • Whether the government makes the appointment;
    • Whether the government has the right to remove or dismiss the holder;
    • Whether the government pays the remuneration;
    • What are the functions of the holder and does he perform them for the government;
    • Does the government exercise any control over the performance of those functions.
  • In Jaya Bachchan v. Union of India Case, defined it as “an office which is capable of yielding a profit or pecuniary gain.”
  • Conclusively, it is not the actual ‘receipt’ of profit but the ‘potential’ for profit that is the deciding factor in an ‘office of profit’ case.

 

PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
  • Initiated by the then Speaker of Lok Sabha, Somnath Chatterjee On 12th May 2005, the first such forum was Parliamentary forum on water conservation.
  • Subsequently, seven more Parliamentary forums were constituted.
  • At present, there are eight Parliamentary forums in total.
  • The Secretary-General of Lok Sabhais the Secretary to the forums.

OBJECTIVES OF FORUM
  • To provide a platform to the MPs to have interactions with the ministers concerned, experts and key officials to have a focused and meaningful discussion on critical issues with a result-oriented approach.
Parliamentary Forum will not interfere with or encroach upon the jurisdiction of the Departmentally-Related Standing Committees.
  • To sensitise MPs about the key areas of concern and equip them with the latest information and latest knowledge. Hereby, enabling them to raise these issues effectively in the House.
  • To prepare a data-base through collection of data on critical issues from ministries concerned, reliable NGOs, newspapers, United Nations, Internet.

 

 

FORUMS
  • Parliamentary Forum on water conservation and management (2005)
  • Parliamentary Forum on Youth (2006)
  • Parliamentary Forum on Children (2006)
  • Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health (2006)
  • Parliamentary Forum on Global Warming and Climate Change (2008)
  • Parliamentary Forum on Disaster Management (2011)
  • Parliamentary Forum on Artisans and Crafts-people (2013)
  • Parliamentary Forum on Millennium Development Goals (2013)

 

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES Vs PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
 PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEESPARLIAMENTARY FORUM
1.Statutory sanction and have origin in Rules, acts and motions.No such case with forums.
2.Generally do not have ministers as members.Forums may have ministers as members.
3.Committees prepare reports for the government along with an Action Taken Report.Forums do not prepare reports for the government along with an Action Taken Report.
4.Committees do not have formal powers to enforce production of records or deposition of civil servants.Forums do not have formal powers to enforce production of records or deposition of civil servants.

 

INDIAN PARLIAMENTARY GROUP\
  • Setup in 1949, through a resolution of constituent assembly.
  • Membership open to all MPs and Ex-MPs.
  • It mainly organises discussions and lectures on important issues.
  • It promotes personal contacts between MPs
  • It also organises foreign visits

 

YOUTH PARLIAMENT
  • The scheme of Youth Parliament was started on the recommendation of the Fourth All India Whips Conference.
  • The ministry of parliamentary affairs provides necessary training and encouragement to the states in introducing the scheme.
  • Its objectives are as mentioned follows –
    • to acquaint the younger generations with practices and procedures of Parliament
    • to imbibe the spirit of discipline and tolerance cultivating character in the minds of youth
    • to inculcate in the student community the basic values of democracy
    • to enable them to acquire a proper perspective on the functioning of democratic institutions.