Parliament of India


Parliament of India
Parliament of India
भारत की संसद
Bhārat kī Sansad
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type Bicameral
Houses Council of States or Rajya Sabha
House of the People or Lok Sabha
Leadership
Chairman of the Rajya Sabha & Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari, I
since 11 August 2007[1]
Speaker of the Lok Sabha Meira Kumar, INC
since 3 June 2009[2]
Leader of the House (Lok Sabha) Pranab Mukherjee, INC
since 26 May 2009[3]
Leader of Opposition (Lok Sabha) Sushma Swaraj, BJP
since 21 December 2009[4]
Leader of the House (Rajya Sabha) Manmohan Singh, INC
since 22 May 2004[5]
Leader of Opposition (Rajya Sabha) Arun Jaitley, BJP
since 3 June 2009[5]
Structure
Members 790
245 Members of RS[5]
545 Members of LS[6]
Rajya Sabha Political groups Indian National Congress (INC)[7]
Lok Sabha Political groups Indian National Congress (INC)[8]
Elections
Rajya Sabha Voting system Proportional Representation
Lok Sabha Voting system First past the post
Lok Sabha Last election Indian general election, 2009
Meeting place
Sansad Bhavan-2.jpg
Sansad Bhavan, New Delhi, India
Website
parliamentofindia.nic.in

The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha.[9]

The parliament is bicameral, with an upper house called as Council of States or Rajya Sabha, and a lower house called as House of People or Lok Sabha. The two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Sansad Bhavan (located on the Sansad Marg), in New Delhi. The Members of either house are commonly referred to as Members of Parliament or MP. The MPs of Lok Sabha are elected by direct election and the MPs of Rajya Sabha are elected by the members of the State Legislative Assemblies and Union territories of Delhi and Pondicherry only in accordance with proportional voting. The Parliament is composed of 802 MPs, who serve the largest democratic electorate in the world and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world (714 million eligible voters in 2009).[10][11]

Contents

History

The parliament house originally known as 'Council House', was planned at the introductory stage to be a part of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. But in 1919 according to the Montague-Chelmsford reforms, it was announced to be designed as the Indian parliament. Various designs of the building were planned from a triangular to a Roman colosseum like structure and which paved way for its present circular designed colonnaded verandah, with 144 pillars and 560 feet diameter. The foundation stone was the council House was laid on February 12, 1921 by the Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria. The building in pale and red Dholpur sandstone, used the same theme as neighbouring Secretariat Building. The building spread over nearly six acres was inaugurated on January 18, 1927 by then Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin. It is now commonly known as Sansad Bhavan[12]

Components

The Indian Parliament consists of two houses called as Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha respectively and the President of India. Concurrence of all the three is required to pass any legislative business.

Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha is also known as the "House of the People" or the lower house. All of its members are directly elected by citizens of India on the basis of Universal Adult Suffrage, except two who are appointed by President of India. Every citizen of India who is over 18 years of age, irrespective of gender, caste, religion or race, who is otherwise not disqualified, is eligible to vote for the election of Member of Lok Sabha.

The Constitution provides that the maximum strength of the House be 552 members. It has a term of five years. To be eligible for membership in the Lok Sabha, a person must be a citizen of India and must be 25 years of age or older, mentally sound, should not be bankrupt and should not be criminally convicted. At present, the strength of the house is 545 members.[6]

Up to 530 members represent the territorial constituencies in States, up to 20 members represents the Union Territories and no more than two members from Anglo-Indian community can be nominated by the President of India if he or she feels that the community is not adequately represented. House seats are apportioned among the states by population in such a manner that the ratio between that number and the population of the State is, so far as practicable, the same for all States.[6]

Several seats are reserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as per reservation quota implemented. There is currently no quota in India's parliament for participation from women; however, the Women's Reservation Bill proposes to reserve 33% of the seats in Lok Sabha for women.

Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha is also known as "Council of States" or the upper house. Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution. However, one third of the members retire every second year, and are replaced by newly elected members. Each member is elected for a term of six years.[13] Its members are indirectly elected by members of legislative bodies of the States.

The Rajya Sabha can have a maximum of 255 members in all. Elections to it are scheduled and the chamber cannot be dissolved. Each member has a term of 6 years and elections are held for one-third of the seats after every 2 years. 238 members are to be elected from States and Union Territories and 12 are to be nominated by President of India and shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely literature, science, art and social service.

The Council of States is designed to maintain the federal character of the country. The number of members from a state depends on the population of the state (e.g. 31 from Uttar Pradesh and one from Nagaland).

The minimum age for a person to become a member of Rajya Sabha is 30 years.

President of India

The President is elected, from a group of nominees, by the elected members of the Parliament of India (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) as well as of the state legislatures (Vidhan Sabhas), and serves for a term of five years. , ruling party (majority in the Lok Sabha) nominees have been elected and run largely uncontested. Incumbents are permitted to stand for re-election. A formula is used to allocate votes so there is a balance between the population of each state and the number of votes assembly members from a state can cast, and to give an equal balance between State Assembly members and National Parliament members. If no candidate receives a majority of votes there is a system by which losing candidates are eliminated from the contest and votes for them transferred to other candidates, until one gains a majority. Bold text

Working, procedures and committees

The Parliament consists of the President of Republic of India and both the Chambers. The House and the Council are equal partners in the legislative process; however, the Constitution grants the House of People some unique powers. Revenue-raising or “Money” bills must originate in the House of People. The Council of States can only make recommendations suggestions over these bills to the House, within a period of fourteen days – lapse of which the bill is assumed to have been passed by both the Chambers.

Sessions

The parliament has three sessions each year:

  • Budget session: 20–35 days in the months of February to May.
  • Monsoon session: 20–35 days in the months of July to August.
  • Winter session: 20-34days in the months of November to December.

Lawmaking procedures

Lawmaking procedures in India are modelled after, and are thus very similar to, those followed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Parliamentary committees

Parliamentary committees play a vital role in the Parliamentary System. They are a vibrant link between the Parliament, the Executive and the general public.

The need for Committees arises out of two factors, the first one being the need for vigilance on the part of the Legislature over the actions of the Executive, while the second one is that the modern Legislature these days is over-burdened with heavy volume of work with limited time at its disposal. It thus becomes impossible that every matter should be thoroughly and systematically scrutinised and considered on the floor of the House. If the work is to be done with reasonable care, naturally some Parliamentary responsibility has to be entrusted to an agency in which the whole House has confidence. Entrusting certain functions of the House to the Committees has, therefore, become a normal practice. This has become all the more necessary as a Committee provides the expertise on a matter which is referred to it.

In a Committee, the matter is deliberated at length, views are expressed freely, the matter is considered in depth, in a business-like manner and in a calmer atmosphere. In most of the Committees, public is directly or indirectly associated when memoranda containing suggestions are received, on-the-spot studies are conducted and oral evidence is taken which helps the Committees in arriving at the conclusions.

Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds: Ad hoc Committees and the Standing Committees most powerful of all is public accounts committee which is headed by the leader of the opposition.

Standing committees

Each House of Parliament has standing committees like the Business Advisory Committee, the Committee on Petitions, the Committee of Privileges and the Rules Committee, etc.

Standing committees are permanent and regular committees which are constituted from time to time in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Parliament. The work of these Committees is of continuous nature. The Financial Committees, DRSCs and some other Committees come under the category of Standing Committees.

These are the Committees on Subordinate Legislation, the Committee on Government Assurances, the Committee on Estimates, the Committee on Public Accounts and the Committee on Public Undertakings and Departmentally Related Standing Committees.

Ad hoc committees

Ad hoc committees are appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report. The principal ad hoc committees are the Select and Joint Committees on Bills. Others like the Railway Convention Committee, the Committees on the Draft Five Year Plans and the Hindi Equivalents Committee were appointed for specific purposes.

Joint Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex etc. also come under the category of ad hoc committees.

Central Hall

The Central Hall of the Parliament has been designed to be circular in shape. The dome is 98 ft. (29.87 metres) in diameter and is believed that it is one of the most magnificent domes in the world. The Central Hall is a place of historical importance in India for two reasons: The transfer of colonial power to the Provisional Government under Nehru in 1947 and the framing of the Constitution by the Constituent Assembly took place in this very hall. Originally, the Central Hall was used as the Library of the erstwhile Central Legislative Assembly and the Council of States until 1946, when it was converted and refurnished into the Constituent Assembly Hall. The Constituent Assembly met there from December 9, 1946 to January 24, 1950 to draft the constitution. At present, the Central Hall is used for holding Joint Sittings of the two Houses. At the commencement of the first session after each General Election to Lok Sabha and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President addresses both the Houses of Parliament assembled together in the Central Hall. When the Houses are in session, the Central Hall is used by Members for informal discussions among themselves. Central Hall is also used for special occasions when the Members of Parliament are addressed by distinguished Heads of States of other countries. The Hall is also equipped with Simultaneous Interpretation System. functions of parliament

the main functions of parliament are : {a} legislation, within its jurisdiction; {b} amendments of the constitution; {c} approval of presidential ordinance and proclamation; {d} consideration of president addresses and messages; {e} considerations of various resolutions and motions; {f} social legislation.

References

  1. ^ "Hon'ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India". rajyasabha.nic.in. http://164.100.47.5/Chairman-Rajyasabha/Default.aspx. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Bioprofile of Meira Kumar". Fifteenth Lok Sabha Member's Bioprofile. http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/members/Biography.aspx?mpsno=3066. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Bioprofile of Pranab Mukherjee". Fifteenth Lok Sabha Member's Bioprofile. http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/members/Biography.aspx?mpsno=4195. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Bioprofile of Sushma Swaraj". Fifteenth Lok Sabha Member's Bioprofile. http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/members/Biography.aspx?mpsno=3812. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "RAJYA SABHA – AN INTRODUCTION". rajyasabha.nic.in. http://rajyasabha.nic.in/rsnew/about_parliament/rajya_sabha_introduction.asp. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Lok Sabha". parliamentofindia.nic.in. http://parliamentofindia.nic.in/ls/intro/introls.htm. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Party position in Rajya Sabha". rajyasabha.nic.in. http://164.100.47.5/Newmembers/partymemberlist.aspx. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Parti-wise List of Members of 15th Lok Sabha". loksabha.nic.in. http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/Members/partywiselist.aspx. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Our Parliament". Indian Parliament (parliament.nic.in). http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/our%20parliament/par1.htm. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  10. ^ Post Store (8 June 2009). "The Washington Post, June 8, 2009". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/07/AR2009060702402.html. Retrieved 17 August 201. 
  11. ^ Ian Traynor in Brussels (7 June 2009). "The Guardian, Monday 8 June 2009". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jun/07/eu-elections-social-democrats. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Parliament House: 144 pillars of pride". Hindustan Times. June 07, 2011. http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/newdelhi/Parliament-House-144-pillars-of-pride/Article1-706583.aspx. 
  13. ^ "Parliament – Government: National Portal of India". Home: National Portal of India. http://india.gov.in/govt/parliament.php. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 

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