This article is written by Shifali, a student of B.A. LLB (2nd year) in Lovely Professional University, Phagwara (Punjab). This article is dealing with the composition of the parliament of India. It also deals with the powers and functions of the parliament of India.
The Parliament is the legislative organ of a Union government and the Parliament of India is its supreme legislative body. It occupies a front-and-centre position in India’s democratic political system due to the adoption of a parliamentary form of government.
What is Parliament?
Parliament is the highest forum of discussion and debate on public issues and national policy in any country. Parliament can seek information about any matter. In other countries, the parliament is called the Permanent (or “Permanent”) Council or the House of Representatives.
What is the composition of the parliament?
- The President
- Rajya Sabha
- Lok Sabha
The composition of parliament refers to the composition of The President, Rajya Sabha which is also known as the upper house and Lok Sabha which is also known as the lower house. Rajya Sabha is also known as the Council of States and Lok Sabha is known as the House of People.
The President of India is elected by an electoral college composed of elected members of both chambers of parliament and elected members of the legislative assemblies (people’s houses) of the states. Although the President of India is part of the Parliament, he does not sit or participate in discussions in either chamber. There are certain constitutional functions that they must perform in relation to Parliament. From time to time, the President convenes and prophesies the two houses of Parliament. While the Rajya Sabha is a continuing body, the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha is vested in the President. His approval is necessary for a bill to be passed by both houses of parliament. When Parliament is not in session and the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which require him to take immediate action, the President may promulgate ordinances having the same force and effect as laws passed by Parliament.
The Rajya Sabha is called the permanent house of Parliament because it is never completely dissolved.
The IV Schedule of the Constitution of India deals with the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the States and UTs.
Composition: The maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is 250 (of which 238 members are representatives of states and UTs (indirectly elected) and 12 are nominated by the President). The current strength of the House is 245, 229 members represent states, 4 members represent UTs and 12 are nominated by the President. The members nominated by the President are those who have special knowledge or practical experience in art, literature, science and social service.
The representatives of each UT in the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college specially constituted for the purpose.
- The Rajya Sabha has an important role in reviewing and amending laws initiated by the Lok Sabha.
- It can also initiate legislation and the bill must pass the Rajya Sabha to become law.
- The Rajya Sabha provides representation to the states. Therefore, any matter that concerns the states must be submitted for their consent and approval.
- If the Union Parliament wants to remove/transfer a matter from the State List, the approval of the Rajya Sabha is required.
The Lok Sabha, as the name itself suggests, is composed of representatives of the people elected by direct election based on adult suffrage. The maximum number of members of the House envisaged by the Constitution is 552 – up to 530 members representing the States, up to 20 members representing the Union Territories and at most two members of the Anglo-Indian community, who will be nominated by the President if, in his opinion, this community is not sufficiently represented in the House. The total number of elected members of the House is divided among the states in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allocated to each state and the population of the state is, as far as practicable, the same for all states. The qualifying age for membership in the Lok Sabha is 25 years. The Lok Sabha currently consists of 545 members.
- One of the most important functions of the Lok Sabha is to elect the executive, the body of people who work together to implement laws passed by Parliament.
- This executive branch is often what we mean when we use the term government.
- Decisions in joint session: Any ordinary law must be approved by both houses.
- However, in case of any difference between the two chambers, the final decision is taken by convening a joint meeting of both chambers.
- Given the greater power in such a meeting, the view of the Lok Sabha is likely to prevail.
- The Lok Sabha exercises multiple powers in monetary matters. Once the Lok Sabha passes the government’s budget or any other law relating to money, the Rajya Sabha cannot reject it.
- The Rajya Sabha can only postpone it for 14 days or suggest changes to it, but the former may or may not accept those changes.
- Power over the Council of Ministers: The Lok Sabha controls the Council of Ministers.
- If a majority of Lok Sabha members say they have “no confidence” in the Council of Ministers, all ministers including the Prime Minister must resign.
Membership in Parliament
- He/She should be a citizen of India and at least 30 years of age.
He/She should make an oath or affirmation stating that s/he will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India.
According to the Representation of People Act, 1951, s/he should be registered as a voter in the State from which s/he is seeking election to the Rajya Sabha.
However, in 2003, a provision was made declaring, any Indian citizen can contest the Rajya Sabha elections irrespective of the State in which He/She resides.
- He should be at least 25 years old.
- He should declare through an oath or declaration that he has true faith and devotion to the Constitution and will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India.
- He must possess such other qualifications as Parliament may by law prescribe and be registered as a voter in any constituency in India.
- A person contesting from a reserved seat should belong to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, as the case may be.
Powers and Functions of Parliament
As in other parliamentary democracies, the Parliament in India has the main functions of legislation, oversight of the administration, approval of the budget, ventilation of public grievances, and discussion of various topics such as development plans, national policies, and international relations. The division of powers between the Union and the states as observed in the Constitution in many ways emphasizes the general superiority of the Parliament in the legislative field. In addition to a wide range of subjects, even in normal times, Parliament can, under certain circumstances, assume legislative power about a subject falling within the sphere exclusively reserved for the states. Parliament is also vested with the power to impeach the President and remove judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, the Chief Election Commissioner and the Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with the procedure set out in the Constitution.
All legislation requires the consent of both houses of parliament. However, in the case of money bills, the will of the Lok Sabha prevails. Delegated legislation is also subject to parliamentary review and scrutiny. In addition to legislative power, the Constitution confers on the Parliament the power to initiate changes to the Constitution.
In this article, we have seen the importance and functions of Parliament in India. We have also seen its composition in India. Knowing about the composition of the Parliament and its importance will help you understand how the Indian Parliament is structured.