Parliament System

The Indian Parliamentary System comprises the President, Lok Sabha, and Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha is called the House of People, while Rajya Sabha is called the Council of States. The names “Lok Sabha” and “Rajya Sabha” were adopted in 1954 by the Indian Parliament. Articles 79–122 of the Indian Constitution deal with the Indian Parliament. 

For a seamless fusion of the legislative and executive branches of government, our constitution selected the parliamentary system of government.
The Westminster type of government, which is also used in India, is a parliamentary system.
The Indian government’s top legislative body is the Parliament. The Indian Parliament’s authority is outlined, constrained, and restrained, in contrast to the British Parliament.

Indian Parliamentary System: Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha
Indian Parliamentary System: Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha

Article 79 Indian Parliament

there shall be a Parliament for the union which shall consist of the President and the two houses namely – The Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and The House of the People (Lok Sabha)”.

Although President is not a member of either house of the Parliament he is an integral part of Parliament and performs several functions related to proceedings of the Parliament such as:

  1. Summoning and Prorogation of the Houses
  2. Dissolving Lok Sabha
  3. Giving prior recommendations to certain Bills
  4. No Bill can become law without his assent.
Indian Parliamentary System
Indian Parliamentary System

Functions Of The Parliament

The functions of Parliament as the legislative organ are as follows:

  • To Provide Cabinet: The first function of the Parliament is to provide Cabinet for the Legislative work and make sure that it has the confidence of the majority in the House.
  • Criticism of the Cabinet: Although the Cabinet creates the policy, the Parliament sets up a venue for discussion, debate, and policy criticism. so that the Cabinet might learn about its own mistakes and shortcomings and receive advice from other Parliamentary members.
  • Legislation: Another important function of Parliament is to make a law that benefits society.
  • Control over Executives: By posing probing and follow-up questions, and introducing motions and resolutions, such as motions for adjournment, motions for the call to attention, motions for no-confidence, etc., Parliament exerts authority over the executive branch.
  • Financial Control: Parliament also exercises financial control over the executive by taking part in budgetary debates introducing cut-motion.
  • Amendment of the Constitution: Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution under Article 368.
  • Role in Elections: Parliament has a role in the election of the President, Vice-President, impeachment of the President, and removal of the Vice-President.
  • Budget: Parliament passes the budget.
  • Parliament has the power to remove Judges of the Supreme Court and High Court, CAG, CEC, etc.
  • Parliament is an authentic source of Information. The information is collected and disseminated through debates and specific mediums of ‘Questions’ to Ministers.

Composition Of Rajya Sabha

According to Article 80, there shall be a Council of States, which shall consist of 250 members, of whom:

  1. 12 members to be nominated by the President in accordance with the procedure.
  2. Not more than 238 members are representatives of states and union territories (only Delhi and Puducherry have representatives in the Rajya Sabha and since now Jammu and Kashmir is also a union territory with the legislature, it will also send its representative to the Rajya Sabha).

Nomination:

  • 12 members are nominated by the President on the advice of the Union Council of ministers from among the person having wide experience or special knowledge in the fields of Arts, Science, Literature, and Social Service.

Representation of States and Union Territories:

  • The representatives of the State are elected by the members of legislative assemblies of different states including Delhi and Puducherry.
  • The members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the members of Legislative Assemblies of the State through proportional representation by means of a Single Transferrable vote.
Note:
According to Constitution, the maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha should not exceed 250.
However, as per the decision of the Vajpayee Government and the subsequent acts passed by the Parliament in 2001, the strength of the Rajya Sabha has been fixed to 245 till the year 2025.
Under the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, Indira Gandhi extended it for 25 years, and in 2001, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee govt. freeze the strength to 245 till the year 2025.
Important Points to Remember:
Rajya Sabha is a permanent house not subject to dissolution.
One-Third of its members retire every 2 years and the tenure of its members is 6 years.
Rajya Sabha is the upper house of Parliament. It is also called as Second Chamber of the Parliament.

Qualifications For Rajya Sabha

In order to be chosen as a member of Parliament:

  • He must be a citizen of India.
  • He must have completed 30 years of age.
  • He must be an ordinary resident or a registered voter in the state from where he is intended to be elected.
  • He must not hold any office of profit.

Representation For Council Of States

The system of proportional representation was adopted for the second Chamber in the Union and State Legislatures for the following reasons:

  • Article 80 (4) The proportional representation method is adopted because the election for the Rajya Sabha is indirect, i.e. the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of each State elect the members of the Rajya Sabha. It is done so that minority communities and parties also get some representation in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Article 171 (4) Similarly, the election to the Legislative Council of the State is conducted by proportional representation. It consists of the municipalities, district boards, and other local authorities and of graduates and teachers of three years standing resident in the State.

Special Powers Of Rajya Sabha

Following are the special powers of Rajya Sabha as they are not available to Lok Sabha:

  • Article 67 a resolution for the removal of the Vice President can only be initiated in Rajya Sabha. If Rajya Sabha passes it by a majority of all the then members of the house then it is transferred to the Lok Sabha where only a simple majority is required.
  • Article 249, if Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a 2/3rd majority then a particular subject in the state list is of National importance and Parliament can make law on it. Then only Parliament is competent to make law on such state-list subjects.
  • Article 312 for creating one or more All India Services it is essential to pass a resolution by a 2/3rd majority in Rajya Sabha. Then only Parliament can create such All-India services by making laws.

Chairman Of Rajya Sabha

  • The Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. He presides over the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha.
  • In his absence, the Deputy Chairman performs the functions of the chairman.
  • The Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha is elected by the members of Rajya Sabha from among its own members.
  • He can be removed from office by a resolution passed by the majority of all the then members of the House.
  • Lok Sabha has no role in removing of Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.

Federal Nature Of Rajya Sabha

  1. In a federal system, the Upper House of Parliament represents the state of the union. Rajya Sabha represents the states in the true spirit of Indian Federalism.
  2. Rajya Sabha is a revising house or dietary house over the Lok Sabha. If a bill is passed in the Lok Sabha hastily, Rajya Sabha can reject it, take no action for 6 months or make some amendment to the bill and send it back to the Lok Sabha in the light of Public opinion.
  3. Rajya Sabha is useful because senior politicians are accommodated in it, after their defeat in the Lok Sabha election, so that their talent and experience are not lost and the nation can make use of it.
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Indian Parliamentary System

Composition Of The Lok Sabha

The House of the People, Lok Sabha is the Lower house of the Parliament or the first chamber of the Parliament.
It is also called as popular house of Parliament. It is called so because its members are directly elected by the people except two Anglo-Indian members nominated by the President if, in the opinion of the President, this community is not adequately represented.

The composition of the Lok Sabha according to the Constitution is:

  • Not more than 552
  • 530 from the representative state,
  • 20 from Union Territories
  • 2 nominated from Anglo Indian community.

However, the Parliament has fixed (during Vajpayee Government in 2001) the strength of Lok Sabha as 545 (530+13+2 – 104 Amendment Anglo-Indian seats were removed)). Till the year 2026 AD.

Tenure Of Lok Sabha

  • The normal tenure of Lok Sabha is 5 years.
  • However, this house can be dissolved by the President before the end of normal tenure.
  • The life of the Lok Sabha can be extended to the Parliament beyond 5 years term during National Emergency (Article 352). But this extension is for a period of not more than 1 year at a time. (no limit on the number of times)
  • However, if National Emergency is revoked then within 6 months this extension would be over an election would be conducted.
  • By the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, Indra Gandhi Government extended the normal tenure of the Lok Sabha from 5 years to 6 years.
  • However, when Janta Party Government cause to power it was reduced to its original normal tenure of 5 years by the 44th Amendment Act, of 1978.

Qualification For Lok Sabha

The qualification for the members of the Lok Sabha includes:

  1. He must be a citizen of India.
  2. He must not be less than 25 years of age.
  3. He must be a registered voter in any of the Parliamentary Constituencies in India.
  4. He must not hold any office of profit.

Vacancy Of Seats In Lok Sabha

  • No person shall be a member of both houses of Parliament at the same time.
  • If he is elected for both houses, he has to vacate the membership of either house.
  • If a member of either house is disqualified under Article 102.
  • If a member resigns in writing addressed to the Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha and Chairman in the case of Rajya Sabha.
  • If a member of either house is absent from the house without its permission for more than 60 days, the house may declare his seat vacant.

Disqualification Of Member Of Parliament

Under Article 102, a member of Parliament can be disqualified on one or more of the following grounds. If –

  • If he holds any office of profit.
  • If a competent court declares him to be of unsound mind.
  • If he is an undischarged insolvent.
  • If his citizenship is found forged if he requires citizenship from a foreign country.
  • If he is so disqualified under any law of the Parliament.
  • In case of any dispute, regarding the disqualification on the above grounds, the President’s decision in accordance with the opinion of the election commission shall be final.
  • If he is declared disqualified under anti-defection law (52nd Amendment Act, 1985).
  • In this case, the decision is taken by the Presidency officer of the house.

Special Powers Of Lok Sabha

  1. Money Bills can be introduced only in Lok Sabha.
  2. Finance Bill can also be introduced only in Lok Sabha
  3. In the case of a money bill, Rajya Sabha has the right to make recommendations that may or may not be accepted by the Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha can’t stop the money bill for more than 14 days.
  4. The Council of Ministers is only responsible to the Lok Sabha, and therefore Confidence and Non-Confidence motions can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha.
  5. Under Article 352 the Lok Sabha in a special sitting disapproves of the continuation of the Emergency even if Rajya Sabha rejects such a resolution.

Speakers And Deputy Speaker (ARTICLE 93)

  • The speaker is the chief presiding officer of the Lok Sabha.
  • He presides over the meeting of the Lok Sabha and his decisions on the proceedings of the house are final.
  • He has the responsibility to uphold the dignity and privilege of the house.
  • In the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy speaker performs the speaker’s duty.
  • The Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected by the members of the Lok Sabha from amongst its own members.
  • They can be removed from their offices by a resolution passed by Lok Sabha by a majority of all the then members of the house (effective members, total vacant).
  • Rajya Sabha has no role in the appointment of the speaker and deputy speaker of Lok Sabha.
  • To maintain the impartiality of his office the speaker votes only in case of a tie to remove a deadlock arising from equality of votes (casting votes).
  • The speaker holds his office even after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha till the new Lok Sabha is constituted.
  • This is because he heads the Lok Sabha secretariat which continues to function even after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.

Special Powers Of Speaker

  • Whether a Bill is Money Bill or not is certified by the speaker and his decision is final and binding.
  • In the absence of The Speaker, The Deputy Speaker presides over the Joint Sitting of the Parliament.
  • The Committee of Parliament functions essentially under the speaker and their Chairpersons are also appointed by the speaker.

If the speaker is a member of any committee, he is the ex-officio chairman of that committee.

 The list of speakers to date:

Sr No.NamePeriodParty
1Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar1952- 1956Indian National Congress
2M. A. Ayyangar1956- 1962Indian National Congress
3Sardar Hukam Singh1962-1967Indian National Congress
4Neelam Sanjiva Reddy1967- 1969Indian National Congress
5Gurdial Singh Dhillon1969- 1975Indian National Congress
6Bali Ram Bhagat1976- 1977Indian National Congress
7Neelam Sanjiva Reddy1977Janatha Party
8K. S. Hegde1977- 1980Janatha Party
9Balram Jakhar1980- 1989Indian National Congress
10Rabi Ray1989- 1991Janata Dal
11Shivraj Patil1991-1996Indian National Congress
12P. A. Sangma1996-1998Indian National Congress
13G. M. C. Balayogi1998-2002Telugu Desam Party
14Manohar Joshi2002-2004Shiv Sena
15Somnath Chatterjee2004-2009Communist Party of India
16Meira Kumar2009-2014Indian National Congress
17Sumitra Mahajan2014-2019Bhartiya Janta Party
18Om Birla2019- PresentBhartiya Janta Party

Sumitra Mahajan and Meira Kumar are the only two female Lok Sabha speakers to date.

A Lok Sabha speaker can be removed by a resolution passed by an effective majority of more than 50 percent of the people of the house as per articles 94 and 96.

Pro-Tem Speaker

  • As soon as a new Lok Sabha is constituted, the President appoints the pro-tem speaker who is generally the seniormost member of the Lok Sabha (Seniority in terms of experience as the members of the house).
  • If two or more members are of equal experience, then it is the age of members amongst them is concluded.
  • His functions include:
    • administering oaths to Lok Sabha members
    • presiding over the election of a new Speaker.
  • The office of pro-tem Speaker sinks as soon as a new speaker is elected.
  • The senior member of the new Lok Sabha is appointed as pro-tem Speaker of Lok Sabha to administer oath and to preside over the speaker’s election meeting.

Leader Of Opposition

  • There was no provision for the leader of opposition in the original constitution.
  • However, this was created and given a cabinet rank by an act of the Parliament.
  • The party other than the ruling side with the largest number of members in Lok Sabha having at least 1/10th of the total strength of Lok Sabha is recognized as the opposition party and its leader is the Leader of Opposition.
  • Cabinet Rank – Cabinet Rank Minister is not a Cabinet Minister but the facilities of a Cabinet Minister are given to a Cabinet Rank Minister. For example; (the LOP=Leader of the Opposition).

The quorum for Parliament Session

Quorum is the minimum strength required to initiate or continue the proceedings in either house.
It is 1/10th of the total number of members of that house. (55 in Lok Sabha and 25 in Rajya Sabha).

How Parliament sessions Works
How Parliament Sessions Works

Sessions of Parliament

Sessions of Parliament
Sessions of Parliament

Differences between Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha

Lok Sabha

Vidhan Sabha

The Lok Sabha is the lower house of India’s parliament which is bicameral in nature The Vidhan Sabha is the legislative body in the states and Union Territory of India
As per the Constitution of India, the Lok Sabha has been allotted 552 seats. Currently, the 17th Lok Sabha, elected in May 2019, has 543 seats filled. The Indian Constitution states that the Vidhan Sabha must have no less than 60 members and no fewer than 500 members. Exceptions are made via an Act of Parliament for states and union territories with fewer than 60 members.
An exercise to redraw Lok Sabha constituencies is carried out by the Boundary Delimitation Commission of India every decade based on the Indian Census. The latest is the Census of India, 2011. The Vidhan Sabha of any state can be dissolved by the Governor in a state of emergency at the request of the Chief Minister. It can also happen if a no-confidence motion is passed against the ruling party. 
Money Bills can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha, where after being passed, it is sent to the Rajya Sabha for 14 days of deliberation. In the event of non-rejection after the 14-day lapse, the bill is considered passed. A money bill can only be introduced by the Vidhan Sabha. In a bicameral setup, they can be passed on to the Vidhan Parishad (State Legislative Council) for 14 days of deliberation.
If the Lok Sabha is dissolved before or after a declaration of national emergency, then the Rajya Sabha will become the sole parliamentary authority of the country. The Vidhan Sabha has the power to form or dissolve the Vidhan Parishad by passing a resolution to that effect by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members voting.

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