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What are the compositions and functions of the Parliament of India?

All the legislative powers of the federal Government are vested in the Parliament. The laws framed by the Indian Parliament are enforced in the whole of the country. The holds its meetings in New Delhi the capital of India.

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Composition

The Parliament of India is a bi-cameral legislature. It consists of two Houses. Rajyasabha & Lok Sabha, in fact the President of India is also a part of the Parliament.

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Rajyasabha

Rajyasabha is the upper chamber of the Parliament, it can have at the most 250 members in it. The President of India nominates 12 members. These are the persons who have distinguished themselves in the field of Art, Literature, and Science & Social service. Rests of the members are elected by the members of State legislatures. 1/3rd of its members retire after every two years and other members are elected to fill up the vacancies. Each member remains in office for a period of 6 years.

Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha is the lower chamber of the Parliament. It can have at the most 545 elected members. 525 members can be directly elected by the votes from different states & 20 members can be elected from the Union territories. The members will be elected according to the laws framed by the Union Parliament. The President can nominate 2 members of the Anglo Indian Community if he feels that in the Lok Sabha this community has not been adequately represented. The members of the Lok Sabha are elected for a period of 5 years. The President of India can dissolve the Lok Sabha before the expiry of its term & can order for fresh elections.

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Salary & allowances

The salary & allowances of the members of Parliament are determined by Parliament from time to time.

Privileges

The members of Parliament enjoy freedom of speech on the floor of the House. They cannot be prosecuted for anything sad on the floor of the House. During the session of Parliament they cannot be arrested in civil cases.

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Sessions

The President of India convenes the sessions of the Parliament. He can call the sessions of both the Houses on the same date or different dates. The second session of the Parliament must be convened within a period of six months. There should not be difference of more than six months between the last meeting of the last session & the first meeting of the next session. This way two sessions are certainly called in one year.

Powers of the Parliament of India

Legislative Powers

The Parliament has the right to frame laws for the whole of the country. It can frame laws on the subject mentioned in the union list & concurrent list. Under certain special circumstances the Parliament gets the right to frame laws on the subjects-mentioned in the State List. The Parliament frames laws on State subjects for Union territories. The Rajyasabha can transfer a State subject in favor of the centre for the purpose of making laws. In case of the proclamation of emergency by the President the Parliament can legislate on State subjects. The power to legislate on residue subjects also vests with the Parliament. The Bill is sent to the-President after it is passed by both the Houses. Excepting the money Bill he can give his assent & make use of his veto powers. If the Parliament passes that Bill for the second time then the President’ is bound to give his assent to that Bill.

Financial Power

The Parliament controls the finances of the State. The Government places the budget before the start of the financial year. The Parliament discusses the budget & gives its assent to the Bill. The Government can neither impose any tax upon the public nor can it spend the money without the approval of the’ Parliament. The President will have to give his assent to the Money Bill passed by, the Parliament.

Control over the Executive

The Parliament controls the executive in the following ways:

  1. The Prime Minister & the other ministers are taken from the Parliament & after becoming ministers they remain the members of the Parliament. They participate in the meetings of the Parliament.
  2. The ministers are responsible to the Parliament for their actions & policies.
  3. The members of the Parliament can ask the ministers questions regarding the functioning of the administration. The ministers are to give a satisfactory reply to all these questions.
  4. The members of the Parliament by introducing “Adjournment Motion” can invite the attention of the Government to a serious problem or event.
  5. During discussion on budget the members of the Parliament discuss the working of different departments of the Government & criticize the policies of the Government.
  6. The Cabinet continues to remain in office according to the wishes of the Lok Sabha. It can seek the removal of the Cabinet by passing a no confidence motion against or by rejecting an important Government Bill & by passing a resolution for reducing the salary of a particular minister.

Judicial Powers

The Parliament exercises some judicial powers also.

  1. The Parliament can remove the President from office through impeachment.
  2. The parliament can also remove the Vice-President from office.
  3. The parliament can remove the judges of the High Courts and Supreme Court by passing a resolution to the effect.
  4. The parliament can extend or reduce the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

Electoral Powers:

  1. The elected members of the Parliament participate in the election of the President.
  2. The Vice-President is elected by the members of both the Houses of Parliament.

Amendment of the Constitution

Parliament plays a major role in the amendment of the constitution. Major portions of the constitution can be amended by the parliament alone by a simple or two thirds majority. In some important matters the amendment proposals after being passed by the parliament are to be sent for the approval of Legislatures of the states. The states cannot introduce a resolution of amendment of the constitution.

Miscellaneous Powers:

  1. The Parliament can create new state or change the boundary of the state by the procedure of law.
  2. The Parliament has the power to ratify treaties.
  3. The Parliament has the power to create or abolish Legislative Council. But the recommendation should come from the Legislative Assembly.

The Indian Parliament enjoys vast powers and it is a very important institution. It represents the entire nation. The laws framed by it are enforced in the whole of the state. But the Indian Parliament is not a supreme, sovereign body. The Indian Parliament is less powerful than the British Parliament.

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