The Parliament of India is the highest law-making body within India. It consists of President and two houses(Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). To make a law, a bill has to pass in both the houses of Parliament of India and approved by the President.
As an integral part of Parliament of India, it is the duty of the president to summon, prorogue and dissolve the houses of Parliament.
President of India
President of India is the head of state of India. Any bill to become a law, the approval of the president is a must. And all the executive power of Union is vested in the hand of the President.[Read More about President]
Lok Sabha, Lower House of Parliament of India
Lok Sabha (also called the House of People). It is the lower house of the Parliament. The present strength of Lok Sabha is 545. Out of which 543 are directly elected by the people of India. 2 members are nominated by the president from the Anglo-Indian community.
The minimum age which is required to elect in the Lok Sabha is 25 years. The members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the people of India, by mean of Universal Adult Franchise(by all the citizens of India who are more than 18 years of age).
Of two house, Lok Sabha is more powerful than Rajya Sabha. As the Council of Ministers is responsible to the Lok Sabha and Money Bill can be introduced in Lok Sabha only.
The normal term of Lok Sabha is 5 years, but it can be dissolved earlier as well by President of India. Its term can also be increased during National Emergency by Parliament itself(One year at a time, for an indefinite period of time). But can not be extended more than six months after the emergency has ended.
Qualification of members of Lok Sabha
Following qualification, one has to fulfil to be elected as a member of parliament
- He must be a citizen of India
- He must be of minimum 25 years of age
- He does not hold any office of profit.
- He must not be convicted for any in which he has been punished for two or more than two years.
- He is not of an unsound mind and stands so declared by a court.
- He is not an undischarged insolvent.
- He must register as a voter in any Lok Sabha constituency and eligible to vote.
Special Powers of Lok Sabha
- Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. Another house has no power to reject or amend the Money Bill but only to suggests amendment.
- No-Confidence Motion can be moved only in the Lok Sabha.
- Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.
- Demand for Grants is voted only in the Lok Sabha.
Special Powers and privileges of Lok Sabha Speaker
- The joint Sitting or Special session of parliament is chaired by the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
- The speaker will have the final power to maintain order within the House of People. And his conduct will not be subject to the jurisdiction in any court.
- He has the right to adjourn the House.
- When a Money Bill is transmitted from the Lower House to Upper House, the speaker shall endorse on the Bill his certificate that it is a Money Bill. The decision of the speaker whether a Bill is Money Bill or not is final.
- Lok Sabha Speaker continues to hold office after the dissolution of the house till immediately before the first meeting of newly elected Lok Sabha takes place.
- Various committees of the House of the People function under the overall direction of the Speaker. The chairman of all parliamentary committees is nominated by him. He is the chairman of certain committees like the Business Advisory Committee, General Purpose Committee and Rules Committee. All committees submit their report to him.
- His salaries and allowances are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
Pro-tem speaker is the temporary speaker appointed by the president. He is appointed just after the election to preside the Lok Sabha session in which Speaker and Deputy-Speaker of Lok Sabha are elected. He also conducts the oath-taking ceremony of newly elected members.
His post ceases to exist once the election of Speaker and Deputy-Speaker is over. Generally, most experienced members of Lok Sabha are appointed as the Pro-tem Speaker. In the 17th Lok Sabha, Virendra Singh was appointed as Pro-tem Speaker.
Rajya Sabha, Upper House of Parliament of India
Rajya Sabha(also known as Council of States) is the upper house in the Indian Parliament. The members of this house are elected by the members of Legislative Assembly of all the states in India. Legislative Assembly of Union Territories has also representation in the Council of States.
The minimum age required to be elected in this house if 30 years.
The present strength of Rajya Sabha is 245, out of which 233 are elected by legislative Assemblies of States as well as Union Territories. 12 members are nominated by the President.
The Council of States can not be dissolved but its members have a term of six years. Term of 1/3rd of members ends in every two years. So the election is held for 77 seats every two years.
Qualification to be elected as a member of Rajya Sabha
Following qualification, one has to fulfil to be elected as a member of Rajya Sabha
- He must be a citizen of India
- He must be of an age of 30 years or more than 30 years.
- He does not hold any office of profit.
- He is not convicted for an office in which he has been punished for two or more than two years.
- He is not of an unsound mind and stands so declared by a court.
- He is not an undischarged insolvent.
- He must be register and voter in any constituency and eligible to vote.
Special power and privileges of Rajya Sabha
- Article 249: it provides for temporary union legislation with respect to the matter in the State List, if it is necessary for the national interest. But this is possible only when Rajya Sabha(Council of States) declare by a resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting.
- Article 312: For the creation of one or more All India Services, common to Union as well as State. If Council of States has declared by a resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the membership present and voting.
- Removal of Vice-President: A resolution to remove Vice-President from the office can be moved on the Rajya Sabha only.
Disqualification of a member of parliament of India
On the following ground, a member of parliament can be disqualified.
- He remains absent from all meeting for 60 days without prior permission of the presiding officer.
- He is ceased to be a citizen of India.
- He is an undischarged insolvent.
- He is of unsound mind and declared so by a court.
- He can be disqualified on any ground as prescribed by Parliament
- He is not have been found guilty of certain election offences and corrupt practices. He is convicted for any offence in which he has been punished for two or more than two years.
- He can be disqualified on the ground of defection(Schedule 10)
- He a member gives up voluntarily membership of the political party on which ticket he has won the election.
- He has voted against or remains absent from voting in which direction has been issued by a political party from which he belongs.
- An independent member joins the political party after the election.
Role of Parliament of India
Since India has a parliamentary form of government, the role of parliament is more than mere legislative function.
- Legislative Function
- Providing the Cabinet
- Control of Cabinet
- Criticism of Cabinet as well as individual ministers.
- An organ of information- Debate, Discussion and Questions
- Financial Control- Through Budget, CAG Report.
Sessions of Parliament of India
As per the provisions of the constitution, it is the duty of the president to summon each house at such interval that six months shall not intervene between its last session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session[Article 85].
Various sessions of Indian Parliament:
- Budget Session
- Monsoon Session
- Winter Session.
- Special Session
- Lame-Duck Session
Budget Session :
It is the most important session of parliament of India. The Budget session is started by addressing the Joint Sitting of parliament by the President. It is the longest session of the parliament.
Budget Session is held in the months of February to May. During this session, the Budget is passed by the parliament.
The monsoon session is held in the month of July to September.
Winter Session :
This session is held in the month of November to December. It is the shortest session of the parliament.
There are provisions in the constitution to bring Special Session of Parliament to end the National Emergency or to perform some special function.
To convene Special Session of Parliament, for performing some special function. It is called on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers. To call Special Session Council of Ministers to have to give 14 days advance notice to the Speaker of Lok Sabha or Chairman of Rajya Sabha as the case may be.
Special Session to end National Emergency has to convene if at least 1/10th of the members of the Lok Sabha gives notice in writing to the Speaker of Lok Sabha if the house in session or president if the house is not in session. President has to call Special Session within 14 days of such notice.
This session is called just before the first sitting of the newly-elected Lok Sabha. This session is called to give farewell to all those members who fail to get elected in the newly constituted House.
Adjournment of the house of parliament is done to bring the special issue of public importance. The presiding officer of the house decides on the motion of adjournment. The adjournment of the house of parliament does not bring session of the parliament to an end. Adjournment does not have any effect on the bill pending in the parliament.
Adjournment does not put an end to the existence of a session of parliament but merely postpone the further transaction of business for a specified time, hours, days or weeks.
Prorogation of the house is done by the president and it brings the session of the parliament to an end. It does not have any effect on the bills pending both the houses of parliament.
The only Lower house of parliament of India(i.e. Lok Sabha) can be dissolved. A dissolution brings the House of People to an end so that there must be a fresh election. Lok Sabha is dissolved by the president. Generally, Lok Sabha is dissolved after five years but it can be dissolved earlier by the president.
Bill affected by the dissolution of Lok Sabha
When Lok Sabha is dissolved then some specific Bill will lapse (i.e. they will have to bring afresh).
- A Bill originated in the Lok Sabha and pending in Lok Sabha.
- A Bill originated in Lok Sabha and pending in Rajya Sabha
- A Bill originating in Rajya Sabha and pending in Lok Sabha.
All the above Bill will lapse after the dissolution of Lok Sabha.
Bill not affected by the dissolution of Lok Sabha
- A Bill originated in Rajya Sabha and pending in Rajya Sabha.
- A Bill passed by both the houses of parliament and pending for president’s approval.
- A Bill on which Joint Sitting has been called by the president to resolve the disagreement.
Joint Sitting of Parliament of India[Article 108]
India parliament has two houses Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. A make law a Bill has to pass in both the houses of parliament. But there may be an occasion when a Bill can not be passed by both the houses of parliament due to some disagreement. In such a scenario, there is a provision in the constitution for Joint Sitting of Parliament.
A deadlock situation is considered to happen in the following situations
If a Bill is passed by one house and transmitted to the other house and
(a) The Bill is rejected by the other house or
(b) The house has finally disagreed as to the amendment to be made in the Bill or
(c) More than six months have elapsed from the date of reception of Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it.
If deadlock occurs on any Bill then-president may call a Joint Sitting of both the houses of parliament to pass the Bill.
Speaker of Lok Sabha will preside the Joint Sitting of parliament. If Lok Sabha speaker is not available then Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha will preside the Joint Sitting of parliament. If Deputy Speaker is also absent then Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha will preside the Joint Sitting of parliament.
In Joint Sitting, a majority of the total number of members of both the houses of parliament present and voting is required. Since Lok Sabha has more strength than Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha has decisive power in Joint Sitting.
The very limited amendment can be made in the Bill during the discussion in the Joint Sitting of parliament.
Joint Sitting of parliament is not possible in
- Money Bill
- Constitutional Amendment Bill
Bill Passes in Joint Sitting
So far following Bills has been by Joint Sitting of the Parliament.
- Dowry Prohibition Bill -1961
- Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill 1978
- Prevention of Terrorism Act -2002
- Bill for Women Representation(defunct)- 2008
- Goods and Services Tax Bill – 2017
Privileges of Parliament
- Right to publish debate and proceeding and right to restrain publication by others.
- Right to exclude others from attending the meeting.
- Right to regulate the internal affairs of the House, and decide matters arising within its wall.
- The right to publish parliamentary misbehaviour.
- The Right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges.
Powers, Privileges and immunity of members of Parliament
- Freedom from arrest: Members are exempted from arrest when the house is in session and 40 days before or after such meeting. This immunity is confined to arrest in civil cases and does not extend to arrest in criminal cases or under the law of preventive detention.
- Freedom from attendance as witness: A member of Parliament can not be summoned without the leave of the house, to give evidence as a witness while parliament is in session.
- Freedom of Speech: There will be freedom of speech within the wall of each house in the sense of immunity of action for anything said therein. Here Freedom of Speech is not restricted by Article 19(2), but are subject to regulation under the rule framed by the house. Freedom of Speech in house of parliament is also subject to restriction under Article 121(i.e. No discussion shall take place in parliament with respect to the conduct of any judge of Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties except upon a motion for presenting an address to the President praying for the removal of the Judge).
Committees of the Parliament of India
There are various committees in the parliament of India which works on the behalf of the parliament. It works as a watchdog for parliament. Since work of parliament is huge so for better execution of its work and control over the executive, various committees are made from members of the parliament and allocate different issues to each committee (to increase the efficiency of the parliament). Each member submits its report to the chairman of Lok Sabha. Here is the list of some of the most import Parliamentary Committees.
There are two types of Committee of Indian parliament.
- Standing Committee: It is continuous in nature.
- Ad hoc Committee: It is made for some special work and discontinued once work is done.
(a) Estimate Committee :
It is the largest committee of the parliament of India having 30 members. Its members are chosen from Lok Sabha only. Its function is to scrutiny the demand made by various ministries and suggests measures for efficient utilisation of resources.
(b) Public Account Committee :
It has a total of 22 members( 15 from Lok Sabha and 7 from Rajya Sabha). Its main function is to scrutiny the report of Comptroller and Auditor General. Its chairman is mainly from the opposition party.
(c) Committee on Subordinate Legislation :
It has 15 members nominated by the speaker of Lok Sabha. Its main function is to look into the issue of Delegated Legislation. Delegated legislation is to empower Executive to make detail Rule, Regulation, By-laws..etc by the parliament. It is done to save the time of parliament in making law.
(d) Committee on Public Undertaking :
It has 22 members(15 from Lok Sabha and 7 from Rajya Sabha). A minister is not appointed in this committee. Its main function is to scrutiny the audit report and look into the working of various Public Sector Undertakings.
(e) Committee on Private member’s Bill and Resolutions
(f) Committee of Privileges
(g) Rule Committee
(h) Joint Parliamentary Committee
This an ad hoc committee of the Parliament of India. Members from both the house of parliament are selected in this committee. The strength of this committee is not fixed.
This committee is formed when a resolution is passed in one house and agreed by other houses. This committee is formed to look into any specific issue. Till now many JPC committees are formed at different point of time to look into a specific issue of public importance.
- VVIP Chopper Scam – 2013
- 2G Spectrum case – 2011
- Soft Drink Pesticide issue – 2003
- Ketan Parekh Share Market Scam – 2001
- Harsh Mehta Stock Market Scam – 1992
- Bofors Scam – 1987
This is the first hour of every working day of the houses of parliament of India. The first hour of every working day is dedicated to the questions and answers, so this time is known as Question Hour.
During this hour, any member of parliament can ask questions to the government. These questions are answered by the concerned minister.
This is the time between the end of Question Hour and the time when the Business of the house starts. Since it starts around 12 pm, so it is known as Zero Hour.
During this Hour any member can raise the issue of public importance, with prior notice to the Presiding officer of the house.
The parliament of India consists of President, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The term of 17th Lok Sabha of India ranges from May 2019 to May 2024.
The normal term of Lok Sabha is 5 years. But its term can be reduced or increased.
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is getting dissolved.
Parliament of India is the highest law-making body in the country. It is bicameral having two houses Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha. While members of Lok Sabha is elected directly by the people of the country on the basis of universal adult franchise. It is also known as the lower house of the Parliament of India.
On the other hand, the members of Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by the Legislative Assemblies of State. Rajya Sabha is also known as the upper house of the Parliament of India.
President of India is also a constituent part of the Parliament of India along with Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Sir EdwinLutyen and Herbert Baker british architects designed the Parliament of India and President House. Construction works started in year 1927.