(IGP) GS Paper 1 – Indian Polity & Governance – “Parliament of India”

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS
(Pre)

Subject – Indian Polity & Governance
Chapter : Parliament of India

Parliament of India

  • Indian democracy is based on the Westminster model
    (British model of democracy is referred to as the Westminster model) where
    the importance of Parliament in the political system is central.

  • Art. 79 says that there shall be a Parliament for the
    Union which shall consist of the President and two Houses to be known as the
    Rajya Sabha or the federal chamber or Council of States or Upper House and
    the Lok Sabha or the popular chamber or Lower House or House of the People.

Rajya Sabha

  • It is the federal house representing the States.

  • Maximum strength (sanctioned strength) of Rajya Sabha is
    two hundred and fifty (250), of which 238 are to be elected and 12 are
    nominated by the President of India. The actual strength of Rajya Sabha is
    two hundred and forty five (245), of which 233 are elected and 12 are
    nominated by the President.

  • The allocation of seats in Rajya Sabha is contained in
    the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution.

  • The elected members of the (233 Members) Rajya Sabha are
    elected by the elected members of the Assemblies of States and the two Union
    Territories of Delhi and Puducheri in accordance with the system of
    proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

Eligibility

A candidate for election to Rajya Sabha:-

  • Should be a citizen of India

  • Above 30 years of age and

  • Possessing such other qualifications as may be prescribed
    by law of Parliament

Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution

One-third of its members retire every two years. Thus, it is
a permanent body. Normally a member is elected for six years but a member
elected against a mid-term vacancy (casual vacancy), serves only for the
remaining period.

Chairman of the Rajya Sabha

  • The Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya
    Sabha (Art.64).

  • As the Presiding Officer, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
    is the guardian of the prestige and dignity of the House. He safeguards the
    privileges and immunities of the members individually and the House
    collectively. He issues warrants to execute the orders of the House, where
    necessary. For example, to punish any one who commits contempt of House.

  • The Chairman’s rulings cannot be questioned or criticised
    and to protest against – the ruling of the Chairman is a contempt of the
    House and the Chairman.

Deputy Chairman

The Deputy Chairman is elected by the members of Rajya Sabha
from among themselves. While the office of Chairman is vacant, or during any
period when the Vice-President is acting as, or discharging the functions of the
President, the duties of the office of the Chairman are performed by the Deputy
Chairman.

Chairman Protem

When the offices of both the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman
are vacant, the duties of the office of the Chairman are performed by such
member of the Rajya Sabha as the President may appoint for the purpose (Art.91)
The member so appointed is known as the Chairman protem.

Casting Vote

Casting vote is the vote cast to break a tie when there is
equality of votes. Under the Constitution, the Chairman exercises only a casting
vote in the case of equality of votes.

Utility of Rajya Sabha

  • It is the permanent House and so has benefits like it can
    ratify proclamation of Emergency when the Lok Sabha is not in session and
    cannot be called into session immediately. It means the proclamation can
    continue.

  • Constitution can not be amended unless Rajya Sabha,
    sitting independently of the Lok Sabha passes the Bill. That is, there is no
    joint session in case of deadlock. Thus, the national and states’ interests
    are protected.

  • It has 12 nominated members who add to the quality of
    parliamentary proceedings and policy making.

  • It enables law making to become more sober when the
    representatives of the people are carried away by emotional issues

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Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct
election on the basis of universal adult suffrage. The maximum strength of the
House envisaged by the Constitution is 552-upto 530 members to represent the
States, up to 20 members to represent the Union Territories and not more than
two members of the Anglo-Indian Community to be nominated by the President, if,
in his opinion, the community is not adequately represented in the House.

Presiding Officers

  • Lok Sabha elects one of its own members as its Presiding Officer and he
    is called the Speaker. He is assisted by the Deputy Speaker who is also
    elected by Lok Sabha, The conduct of business in Lok Sabha is the
    responsibility of the Speaker.
  • The Speaker protem (sworn in by the President to swear in the newly
    elected members of House) presides over the sitting in which the Speaker is
    elected, if it is a newly constituted House. If the election falls later in
    the life of a Lok Sabha the Deputy Speaker presides.

Term of Office

The Speaker holds office from the date of his election till, immediately
before the first meeting of the Lok Sabha which is newly constituted after the
dissolution of the one to which he was elected. He is eligible for re-election

Resignation

The Speaker may, at any time resign from office by writing under his hand to
the Deputy Speaker.

Removal

The Speaker can be removed from office only on a resolution of the House
passed by a majority of all the then members of the House. It is mandatory to
give a minimum of 14 days notice of the intention to move the resolution.

Functions of the Speaker

  • Under the Constitution, the Speaker enjoys a special position
  • He certifies Money Bills and is final (Art. 110)
  • Presides over joint sittings which are summoned to resolve a
    disagreement between the two Houses
  • Decides on granting recognition to the Leader of the Opposition in the
    Lok Sabha
  • Following the 52nd Constitution amendment 1985, the Speaker is vested
    with the power relating to the disqualification of a member of the Lok Sabha
    on grounds of defection.

Motions and Resolutions

A motion is a proposal for eliciting decision or expressing the opinion of
the house on a matter of public importance. Every question to be decided by the
House must be proposed as ‘Motion’.Motions fall into three principal categories:

  • Substantive Motions
  • Substitute Motions
  • Subsidiary Motions.

Resolutions

A Resolution is a procedural means to initiate a discussion on any matters of
general public interest. A Resolution is actually a Substantive Motion.

Difference between a motion and a resolution.

  • All Resolutions fall in the category of Substantive Motions. But all
    motions need not necessarily be substantive.
  • Further, all motions are not necessarily put to vote of the House,
    whereas all the resolutions are required to be voted upon. For example, the
    resolution to impeach the President of India.

Equality Between The Two Houses

  • The Constitution requires the laying of a number of papers on the Table
    in both the Houses, notably amongst them are the Budget, supplementary
    demands for grants, Ordinances and Proclamations issued by the President,
    reports of Constitutional and statutory functionaries such as the
    Comptroller and Auditor-General, the Finance Commission, the Commissioners
    for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the Backward Classes
    Commission, the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities and the Union Finance
    Commission
  • Both Houses also participate in matters of elections of the President
    and the Vice-President
  • Both participate in impeachment of the President, a Judge of the Supreme
    Court or of a High Court and CAG

Differences between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

  • Members of Lok Sabha are directly elected on the basis of universal
    adult franchise. Members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members
    of State Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional
    representation by means of the single transferable vote
  • The normal life of every Lok Sabha is 5 years while Rajya Sabha is a
    permanent body
  • Rajya Sabha has a nominated component- 12 members of
    intelligentsia-which Lok Sabha does not have

Sessions of Parliament

  • A session is the period of time between the meeting of a Parliament and
    its prorogation.
  • Normally Parliament meets, in three sessions in a year, namely Budget
    session in the months of February-March, April and May; Monsoon session in
    the months of July-August and Winter session in the months of
    November-December.

Effect of dissolution of Lok Sabha

All business pending before Lok Sabha lapses on its dissolution. However, the
dissolution of LS also affects the business pending before the Rajya Sabha to a
certain extent, as indicated below:

  • Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha which has not been passed by the Lok
    Sabha shall not lapse
  • Bill which is pending in the Lok Sabha lapses
  • Bill passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha lapses
  • Under Article 108(5), a Joint Sitting of both Houses to resolve a
    deadlock on a Bill will be held notwithstanding the fact that dissolution of
    the Lok Sabha has intervened since the President has notified his intention
    to summon the Houses to meet in a Joint Sitting etc.

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