ALL about the Parliament of India
The supreme legislative organ of the union of India is called the Parliament. Indian Constitution provides us a Parliamentary Democracy. Parliament of India is made from Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and President. Articles 79-122 of the Indian Constitution deal with the composition, powers and procedures of the Parliament of India.
Composition of the Parliament
Article 79 of the Constitution of India states that there shall be a Parliament for the Union, which comprises of the President and the two Houses- Rajya Sabha (the council of states) and Lok sabha (House of the people).
Article 80 of the Constitution specifies the composition of the council of states, which consists of 12 members nominated by the President and 238 representatives of the state and union territories.
The allocation of seats in the council of states to be fulfilled by representatives of states and union territories in accordance with the provisions contained in the 4th schedule.
Representation from States- They shall be elected by the elected members of the legislative assembly of the state in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. Hence from the above it can be said that the number of seats to each state varies in accordance with population of that state. Therefore larger states occupy more seats than smaller states.
Representatives from Union Territories: By convention the representatives are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college and the election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. Among all the Union Territories only Delhi and Pondicherry have representation since all other UT’s have less population.
Nominated Members- those persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in the fields of literature, science, art and social service are provided opportunity to enter Rajya Sabha without going through process of election. Recently this clause was in news for nomination of Sachin Tendulkar as it does not provide for sportspersons to enter Rajya Sabha through Presidential nomination but later it was accepted.
Article 81 specifies the composition of the house of the people, which consists of not more than 530 members chosen by direct elections from territorial constituencies in the states; not more than 20 members representing the union territories; 2 Anglo-Indians.
Representation of States- They are elected by the people directly by universal adult franchise. Each state shall be allotted number of seats in the house of the people in such a manner that the ratio between the number and the population of the state is equal for all the states. There is also a provision for reservation of seats for SC/ ST communities on the basis of population ratio.
Representation from Union Territories- According to the law prescribed by the Parliament the union territories direct election to the house of people act 1965 was passed and thereby they are also elected directly by people.
Nominated Members- President has powers to elect 2 members from Anglo-Indian community if the President feels that their community is not adequately represented.
Qualification for Membership of Parliament-
According to Article 84 following are the qualifications for members of Parliament. It states that a person shall not be qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in Parliament unless he-
Citizen of India
- Makes and subscribes before some person authorized in that behalf by the election commission an oath or affirmation according to the form subscribed to that purpose in the third schedule.
- In case of council of states the age of the member should not be less than 30 years and in case of house of people the age should not be less than 25 years.
- Possessing such other qualification as mentioned by Parliament from time to time. Accordingly Parliament has passed Representation of peoples act 1951, following are additional qualifications as per this act.
- A person shall not be qualified to be chosen as a representative of any state or UT in the council of states unless he is an elector of a parliamentary constituency in India
- A person shall not be qualified to be chosen to fit a seat in the house of people unless in case of a seat reserved for the scheduled castes or scheduled tribe in any state, he is a member of any of SC / ST respectively whether of that state or of any other state and he is an elector for any parliamentary constituency.
- A person shall be disqualified where the convicted person is sentenced to only fine, for a period of 6 years from the date of such conviction or imprisonment, from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of 6 years since his release.
- If the election commission is satisfied that a person has failed to lodge an account of election expenses within the time and the manner required
- Disqualification on the ground of corrupt practices and disloyalty
The following are declared as corrupt practices under Representation of Peoples act 1951:
- The appeal to vote or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of his religion, race, caste, community or language
- Promotion of feeling of enmity or hatred between different classes of citizens on the ground of religion, race, caste, community or language
- Publication of any statement of fact which is false in relation to personal character or conduct of any candidate
- Booth capturing
- Incurring expenditure in contravention to that specified
- Obtaining assistance from any person in service of government
- Hiring or procuring any vehicle for free conveyance of any elector to and fro any polling station
Working of the Parliament –
Each house is the master of its procedure and may make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business subject to the provisions of the constitution. The validity of any proceedings in Parliament cannot be questioned in a court of law on the grounds of any alleged irregularity of procedure. Some of the basic rules of procedure and conduct of business have been laid down in the constitution itself. Every first hour of Parliamentary sittings start with question hour during which the members ask question for which ministers are supposed to give their answer. The answers given by them shall depend on the type of question asked. Accordingly the questions can be starred for which the minister gives oral answers and other members can also ask supplementary questions depending on the answer provided by the minister. The questions can be unstarred for which usually written answer is provided by minister. Another type of question is short notice question for which a notice of 10 days is provided before asking questions for which also minister is supposed to give oral answer. Next to question hour is the zero hour which lasts till the agenda of the day. It is also utilized by members of Parliament to ask questions without giving any prior notice. The constitution has declared that Hindi and English can be the language of the Parliament. However presiding officer can permit for any other language to be used. Also every minister and attorney General has the power to take part in proceedings of any house of Parliament. They have the right to speak but without the right to vote in any other house other than the house to which they belong to.
Proceeding of the house- the President from time to time summons each house of Parliament. The maximum period with in which a session to be held is 6 months i.e. it should meet at least twice a year. Normally these sessions can be classified into 3 sessions in a year i.e.
- Budget Session – February – May
- Monsoon Session – July – September
- Winter Session- November- December