Information on Indian Parliament
The Constitution assigns the name Parliament (Sansad) to the Union Legislature. It consists of the President and two Hoses – Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and Lok Sabha (House of the People). Thus our Parliament is bicameral. The House of the People represents people on the basis of population and Council of State gives representation to the constituent states.
The Rajya sabha is not exclusively the representative of the Constituent units of the Union. It also consists of 12 nominated members which by itself is a departure from the federal principle.
Rajya Sabha (Council of States)
The Constitution fixes the maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha at 250. Twelve are nominate by the President to represent literature, science, art and social services and not more than 238 members represent the States and the Union Territories. The representatives of a State are elected by the elected members of its legislative assembly in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. The method of election is thus indirect. In the case of Union Territories members are chosen in such a manner as the parliament may by law, determine.
The Rajya Sabha is continuous body and is not subject to dissolution, one third of its members retiring after every two years.
Qualification for Members: To be qualified, a candidate for election to the Rajya Sabha must be (a) a citizen of India (b) not less than thirty years of age and (c) possess such other qualification as may be prescribed b Parliament. By Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951, a candidate for election to the Rajya Sabha must be a parliamentary elector in the State from which he seeks election.
The Vice-president of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. But he is not a member of the Rajya Sabha. He has no right to vote except in the event of a tie. The Rajya Sabha elects a Deputy Chairman from among its own members who presides in the absence of the Chairman or during any period when the Vice-President may be removed by the resolution of the Rajya Sabha. The Deputy Chairman may also be removed by a resolution of the House supported by an absolute majority of the total membership.
Function so the Rajya Sabha: In the process of law-making the Lok Sabha alone cannot do anything. All bills, except money bills can originate in either House of Parliament. In case of disagreement, the President is empowered to summon both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha in a joint sitting for deliberation and voting on the Bill. But at the joint sitting the will of the Lok Sabha is bound to prevail on account of its numerical strength.
Regarding money Bills, Rajya Sabha practically has no power. The Constituent function of the Rajya Sabha is equally important. A bill to amend the Constitution may originate in either House of the Parliament. And this bill must be passed by both the Houses of parliament with requisite majority.
The Rajya Sabha has a share in the election of the President and the Vice-President and in their removal from office. A judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court may be removed for proven misbehavior or incapacity on the address passed by both Houses of Parliament supported by requisite majorities. The approval of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, is necessary for the continuance of the proclamation of Emergency beyond a period of two months.
Lok Sabha (House of the people)
The Lok Sabha is the lower house of Parliament. maximum strength of the house envisaged by the Constitution is now 552 (530 members to represent the States, 20 to represent the Union Territories, and the President may, if he is of the opinion that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented, nominate two members of that community).
Qualifications for Membership: A candidate for the membership of the Lok Sabha must be (a) a citizen of india (b) not less than twenty five years of age and (c) possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by parliament by law.
A person is disqualified to be chosen or to remain as a member of either House (a) if he holds any office of profit under the Union or the State other than an office declared by Parliament or the State Legislature not as disqualifying its holder (b) if he is declared unsound in mind by a competent court (c) if he is an undischarged insolvent 9d) if he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily accepted the citizenship of a foreign state or is under acknowledgement of allegiance or adherence to a foreign state and (e) if he is so disqualified by or under any law made by the Parliament. A member who has been absent without permission for sixty days may be disqualified to remain a member of the House and his seat is declared vacant.
Duration of the House: The Lok Sabha has a life of five years, unless sooner dissolved. But while a proclamation of Emergency is in operation the life of the House may be extended by the law of parliament for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not exceeding in any case beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate. The strength of the Thirteenth Lok Sabha is 545 consisting of 530 elected members from the States and 13 elected members from the Union Territories and the remaining 2 appointed by the President.
Functions of the Lok Sabha: Any Bill including money bill can originate in the Lok Sabha. The demands for grants are not submitted to the Rajya Sabha. The sanctioning of expenditure is the exclusive privilege of the Lok Sabha. The elected members of both Houses of Parliament form part of the Electoral College for the election of the President. The Lok Sabha enjoys equal power with the Rajya Sabha in the election of the Vice-President of India. The important function is that the Lok Sabha controls the executive. The Constitution makes the Council of Ministers collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. The constituent functions of the Lok Sabha are the same as those of the Rajya Sabha.
The Parliament has the power to remove the judges of the supreme court, those of the high courts, the chief election commissioner, Comptroller and Auditor General, and the members of the Union Public Service Commission. Any of the two houses can prefer the charge for the impeachment of the President. The resolution to remove the Vice-President of India, passed by the Rajya Sabha must be ratified by the Lok Sabha. The approval of the Lok Sabha along with the Rajya Sabha is necessary for the continuance of various proclamations of Emergency issued by the President. The reports of the Union Public Service Commission, the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Scheduled Castes and Tribes Commission, the Finance Commission are placed before both the Houses for their consideration.
The Speaker of Lok Sabha is elected by its members to preside over its sittings and conduct the proceedings. The Speaker vacates his office and ceases to be member of the House when he resigns at any time or he may be removed by a resolution by the majority of the members after giving 14 days notice. The Speaker does not vacate his office on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. He continues in office until the next elected House meets.
The constitution also provides for the office of the Deputy-Speaker and he performs the duties of the Speaker when the latter is absent or while the office of the Speaker is vacant. The constitution gives to the Speaker only a casting vote in the case of a tie.