Parliament of India

  • Articles 79 to 122 in Part V
  • Parliament of India consists of 3 parts
    1. President
    2. Council of States   (Rajya Sabha)
    3. House of the People  (Lok Sabha)
  • In Britain, the Parliament consists of the Crown (King or Queen), the House of Lords (Upper House) and the House of Commons (Lower House).
  • In USA, the legislature, which is known as Congress, consists of the Senate (Upper House) and the House of Representatives (Lower House).
 
 

Composition of Rajya Sabha

  • The maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is fixed at 250
  • 238 are to be the representatives of the states and union territories (elected indirectly)
  • 12 are nominated by the president.
  • At present, Rajya Sabha has 245 members.
  • Of these, 229 from states, 4 from union territories and 12 are nominated by the president.
  • The 4th Schedule of the Constitution deals with the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha
 
Representation of States
  • Representatives of states in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of state legislative assemblies.
  • Election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
  • Number of representatives varies from state to state as per population.
  • In USA, all states are given equal representation in the Senate, 2 from each.
 
Representation of Union Territories
  • The representatives of each union territory in the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college, accordance with proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
  • Out of 7 union territories, Delhi and Puducherry have representation in Rajya Sabha.
    • 3 from Delhi
    • 1 from Pondicherry
  • The populations of other five union territories are too small to have any representative
 
Nominated Members
  • The president nominates 12 members
  • People who have special knowledge or practical experience in
    • art
    • Literature
    • science
    • social service
  • The American Senate has no nominated members.
 
 

Composition of Lok Sabha

  • The maximum strength of the Lok Sabha is fixed at 552.
  • 530 members are representatives of the states
  • 20 members are representatives of the union territories
  • 2 members are nominated by the president from the AngloIndian community
  • At present, the Lok Sabha has 545 members.
  • Of these, 530 from states, 13 from union territories and 2 AngloIndian members

Representation of States
  • The representatives of states in the Lok Sabha are directly elected by the people
 
Representation of Union Territories
  • Parliament has enacted the Union Territories (Direct Election to the House of the People) Act, 1965
  • As per this act the members of Lok Sabha from the union territories are also chosen by direct election
 
Nominated Members
  • The president can nominate two members from the Anglo-Indian community
  • Originally, this provision was to operate till 1960 but has been extended till 2020 by the 95th Amendment Act, 2009
 
 

SYSTEM OF ELECTIONS TO LOK SABHA

Territorial Constituencies
  • For the purpose of holding direct elections to the Lok Sabha, each state is divided into territorial constituencies.
  • The ratio between allotted number of seats and its population is the same for all states.
  • This provision does not apply to a state having a population of less than six millions
  • The ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it is the same throughout the state
 
Readjustment after each Census
  • 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 froze the allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha till the year 2000 at the 1971 level
  • Ban on readjustment was extended for another 25 years upto year 2026 by the 84th Amendment Act of 2001
  • The objective was to encouraging population limiting
 
Reservation of Seats for SCs and STs
  • Constitution has abandoned the system of communal representation
  • It provides reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the Lok Sabha on the basis of population ratios.
  • Originally, this reservation was to operate for ten years up to 1960, but it has been extended continuously since then by 10 years each time.
  • Now, under the 95th Amendment Act of 2009, this reservation is to last until 2020.
  • A member of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes is also not debarred from contesting a general seat.
  • 87th Amendment Act of 2003 provided for the refixing of the reserved seats on the basis of 2001 census
 
Territorial representation
  • System of territorial representation for the election of members to the Lok Sabha was adopted
  • Under territorial representation, every member of the legislature represents a geographical area known as a constituency
  • candidate who secures majority of votes is declared elected.
 
Proportional representation demerits:
  1. It is highly expensive.
  2. It does not give any scope for organising by-elections.
  3. It eliminates intimate contacts between voters and representatives.
  4. It promotes minority thinking and group interests.
  5. It increases the significance of party system and decreases that of voter.
 
 

DURATION OF TWO HOUSES

Duration of Rajya Sabha
  • The Rajya Sabha 1st constituted in 1952
  • It is a permanent body and not subject to dissolution.
  • one-third of its members retire every second year
  • The retiring members are eligible for re-election and re-nomination any number of times.
  • Constitution has not fixed term of office of members of the Rajya Sabha and left it to the Parliament.
  • According to the Representation of the People Act (1951), term of office of a member of the Rajya Sabha shall be 6 years.
  • In the first batch, it was decided by lottery as to who should retire.
 
Duration of Lok Sabha
  • Its normal term is five years from the date of its first meeting after the general elections, after which it automatically dissolves.
  • President is authorised to dissolve the Lok Sabha at any time and this cannot be challenged in a court of law.
  • Further, the term of the Lok Sabha can be extended during the period of national emergency for one year at a time for any length of time.
  • This extension cannot continue beyond a period of six months after the emergency
 
 

MEMBERSHIP OF PARLIAMENT

Qualifications
  • He must be a citizen of India.
  • Minimum age for Rajya Sabha is 30 years
  • Minimum age for Lok Sabha is 25 years
  • The Parliament has laid down additional qualifications in the Representation of People Act (1951)
    1. He must be registered as an elector for a parliamentary constituency
    2. He must be a member of a scheduled caste or scheduled tribe in any state or union territory, if he wants to contest a seat reserved for them.
  • Members of either House of Parliament are entitled to receive such salaries and allowances as may be determined by Parliament
  • There is no provision of pension in the Constitution
  • Parliament has provided pension to the members under Salaries, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act
 
 
Disqualifications
  • if he holds any office of profit
  • if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court.
  • if he is an undischarged insolvent.
  • Parliament has laid down additional disqualifications in the Representation of People Act (1951):
    1. He must not have been found guilty of certain election offenses or corrupt practices in the elections.
    2. He must not have been convicted for any offense resulting in imprisonment for two or more years.
    3. Detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.
    4. He must not have failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time.
    5. He must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the State.
    6. He must not have been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups or for the offence of bribery.
    7. He must not have been punished for preaching and practicing social crimes such as un-touchability, dowry and sati.
  • Whether a member is subject to any of the above disqualifications, the president’s decision is final.
  • He should obtain the opinion of the election commission and act accordingly.
  • As per Constitution a person shall be disqualified from Parliament if he is disqualified on the ground of defection under the provisions of the 10th Schedule.
 
 

Vacating of Seats

Double Membership
  • A person cannot be a member of both Houses of Parliament at the same time.
  • If a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 10 days in which House he desires to serve.
  • In default of such intimation, his seat in the Rajya Sabha becomes vacant.
  • If a person is elected to two seats in a House, he should exercise his option for one.
  • Otherwise, both seats become vacant.
  • A person cannot be a member of both the Parliament and the state legislature at the same time.
  • His seat in Parliament becomes vacant if he does not resign his seat in the state legislature within 14 days
 
Disqualification
  • If a member of Parliament becomes subject to any of the disqualifications specified in the Constitution, his seat becomes vacant.
  • Representation of the People Act (1951), enables the high court to declare an election void if a disqualified candidate is elected.
 
Resignation
  • A member may resign his seat by writing to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha or Speaker of Lok Sabha
 
Absence
  • A House can declare the seat of a member vacant if he is absent from all its meetings for a period of sixty days without its permission
 
 

LEADERS IN PARLIAMENT

Leader of the House
  • Under the Rules of Lok Sabha, the ‘Leader of the House’ means the prime minister, he can also choose other member as leader
  • There is also a ‘Leader of the House’ in the Rajya Sabha, nominated by the prime minister
  • Leader can also nominate a deputy leader of the House.
  • The same functionary in USA is known as the ‘majority leader’.
 
 
Leader of the Opposition
  • Under Rules of the House, each House of Parliament, there is the ‘Leader of the Opposition’.
  • Leader of the largest Opposition party need minimum 10% seats of the House to be recognised as the leader of the Opposition in that House
  • Salary, allowances and other facilities equivalent to that of a cabinet minister. 
  • Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were accorded statutory recognition in 1977.
  • In 1969 that an official leader of the opposition was recognised for the first time.
  • The same functionary in USA is known as the ‘minority leader’.
  • The British political system has an unique institution called the ‘Shadow Cabinet’.
 
 
Whip
  • The office of ‘whip’ is mentioned neither in the Constitution of India nor in the Rules of the House nor in a Parliamentary Statute.
  • It is based on the conventions of the parliamentary government.
  • Every political party, whether ruling or Opposition has its own whip in the Parliament.
  • He is appointed by the political party to serve as an assistant floor leader.
  • He regulates and monitors their behavior, attendance and voting in house in the Parliament.
  • The members are supposed to follow the directives given by the whip. Otherwise, disciplinary action can be taken.
 

 

SESSIONS OF PARLIAMENT (Article 85)

Summoning
  • President from time to time sumons each House of Parliament to meet.
  • Maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament 6 months.
  • There are usually 3 sessions in a year
    1. Budget Session (February to May);
    2. Monsoon Session (July to September)
    3. Winter Session (November to December).
  • During a session, the House meets every day to transact business.
  • The period between the prorogation of a House and its reassembly in a new session is called ‘recess’.
  • Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs recommend convening of the session
 
 
Adjournment
  • Each meeting of a day consists of two sittings
  • A morning sitting from 11 am to 1 pm and post-lunch sitting from 2 pm to 6 pm.
  • An adjournment suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks.
 
Adjournment Sine Die
  • Adjournment sine die means terminating a sitting of Parliament for an indefinite period.
  • The power of adjournment as well as adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer of the House.
  • He can also call a sitting of the House before the date or time to which it has been adjourned or adjourned sine die.
 
Prorogation
  • It not only terminates a sitting but also a session of the House
  • All pending notices lapse
  • President issues a notification for prorogation of the session after the business of house is completed
  • President can also prorogue the House while in session.
 
Dissolution
  • Only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution.
  • Dissolution ends life of the existing House, and a new House is constituted after general elections are held.
  • The dissolution of the Lok Sabha take place in two ways:
    1. Automatic dissolution, that is, on the expiry of its tenure of 5 years or the terms as extended during a national emergency
    2. Whenever the President decides to dissolve the House
  • When the Lok Sabha is dissolved, all business including bills, motions, resolutions, notices, petitions and so on pending before it or its committees lapse.
  • Pending bills and all pending assurances that are to be examined by the Committee on Government Assurances do not lapse on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
  • The position with respect to lapsing of bills is as follows:
    1. A bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses
    2. A bill passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha lapses.
    3. A bill president has notified for a joint sitting before the dissolution of Lok Sabha, does not lapse.
    4. A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha does not lapse.
    5. A bill passed by both Houses but pending assent of the president does not lapse.
    6. A bill returned by the president for reconsideration of Houses does not lapse.
 
 
Quorum
  • Quorum is the minimum number of members required to be present in the House before it can transact any business.
  •  It is 10% of each House including the presiding officer.
  • there must be at least 55 members present in the Lok Sabha and 25 members present in the Rajya Sabha
  • Presiding officer adjourn the House or to suspend the meeting until there is a quorum.
 
Voting in House
  • All matters at any sitting of either House or joint sitting of both the Houses are decided by a majority of votes of the members present and voting, excluding the presiding officer.
  • Only a few matters require special majority, not ordinary majority.
  • On the conclusion of a debate, the Speaker shall put the question and invite those who are in favour of the motion to say ‘Aye’ and those against the motion to say ‘No’.
  • For clearing confusion in this process Speaker may ask the members who are for ‘Aye’ and those for ‘No’ respectively to rise in their places and, on a count being taken. In such a case, the names of the voters shall not be recorded
 
Language in Parliament
  • The Constitution has declared Hindi and English are languages for business in the Parliament.
  • Presiding officer can permit a member to address the House in his mothertongue.
 
Rights of Ministers and Attorney General
  • Members of a House, every minister and the attorney general of India have the right to speak and take part in the proceedings of either House, any joint sitting of both the Houses and any committee of Parliament
  • But can’t vote if he is not a member of that house or committee
 
Lame-duck Session
  • Last session of the existing Lok Sabha, after a new Lok Sabhahas been elected.
  • Those members of the existing Lok Sabha who could not get re-elected to the new Lok Sabha are called lame-ducks.
 
 

DEVICES OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS

Question Hour
  • The first hour of every parliamentary sitting is slotted for this.
  • During this time, the members ask questions and the ministers usually give answers.
  • The questions are of three kinds
    1. starred question (distinguished by an asterisk) requires an oral answer and hence supplementary questions can follow.
    2. Unstarred question, on the other hand, requires a written answer and hence, supplementary questions cannot follow.
    3. short notice question is one that is asked by giving a notice of less than ten days. It is answered orally.
  • In addition to the ministers, the questions can also be asked to the private members.
  • The list of starred, un-starred, short notice questions and questions to private members are printed in green, white, light pink and yellow color respectively
 
 
Zero Hour
  • zero hour is not mentioned in the Rules of Procedure.
  • It is an informal device available to the members of Parliament to raise matters without any prior notice.
  • The zero hour starts immediately after the question hour
  • It is an Indian innovation in the field of parliamentary procedures since 1962.
 
Parliament
 
Point of Order
  • A member can raise a point of order when the proceedings of the House do not follow the normal rules of procedure.
  • It is usually raised by an opposition member in order to control the government.
  • It is an extraordinary device as it suspends the proceedings before the House.
  • No debate is allowed on a point of order.
 
Half-an-Hour Discussion
  • The Speaker can allot 3 days in a week for such discussions.
  • There is no formal motion or voting for this
 
Short Duration Discussion
  • It is also known as two-hour discussion as the time allotted for such a discussion is maximum 2 hours.
  • The Speaker can allot 2 days in a week for such discussions.
  • There is no motion or voting for this
  • This device has been in existence since 1953.
 
Special Mention
  • A matter which is not under any rule of the House can be raised under the special mention in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Its equivalent procedural device in the Lok Sabha is known as ‘Notice (Mention) Under Rule 377’.
 
Youth Parliament
  • The scheme of Youth Parliament was started on the  recommendation of the Fourth All India Whips Conference.
  • Its objectives are to acquaint the younger generations with practices and procedures of Parliament;
 
 

LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURE IN PARLIAMENT

  • The legislative procedure is identical in both the Houses of Parliament.
  • Every bill has to pass through the same stages in each House.
  • A bill is a proposal for legislation and it becomes an act or law when duly enacted.
  • Bills introduced in the Parliament can be four categories
 
 
Ordinary Bills
  • Every ordinary bill has to pass through five stages in the Parliament before it became act
 
First Reading
  • An ordinary bill can be introduced in either House of Parliament.
  • Such a bill can be introduced either by a minister or by any other member.
  • The member who wants to introduce the bill has to ask for the leave of the House.
  • When House grants leave, the mover of the bill introduces it by reading its title and objectives.
  • No discussion on the bill takes place at this stage.
  • Later, the bill is published in the Gazette of India.
  • If a bill is published in the Gazette before its introduction, leave of the House to introduce the bill is not necessary.
 
Second Reading
  • the bill receives detailed scrutiny and assumes its final shape.
  • Its the most important stage in the enactment of a bill.
  • In fact, this stage involves three more sub-stages
 
Stage of General Discussion
  • The printed copies of the bill are distributed to all the members.
  • The principles of the bill and its provisions are discussed, but the details of the bill are not discussed.
  • the House can take one of four actions
    1. It may take the bill into consideration immediately or on some other fixed date
    2. It may refer the bill to a select committee of the House
    3. It may refer the bill to a joint committee of the two Houses
    4. It may circulate the bill to elicit public opinion
  • Select Committee consists of members of the House where the bill has originated
  • Joint committee consists of members of both the Houses of Parliament.
 
Committee Stage
  • This committee examines the bill thoroughly and in detail, clause by clause.
  • It can also amend its provisions, but without altering the principles underlying it.
  • After completing the scrutiny and discussion, the committee reports the bill back to the House.
 
Consideration Stage
  • The House, after receiving the bill from the committee, considers the provisions of the bill clause by clause.
  • Each clause is discussed and voted upon separately.
  • The members can also move amendments and if accepted, they become part of the bill.
 
 
Third Reading
  • Debate is confined to the acceptance or rejection of the bill
  • no amendments are allowed
  • If the majority of members present and voting accept the bill, the bill is regarded as passed by the House.
  • It authenticated by the presiding officer of the House and transmitted to the second House for consideration
 
 
Bill in the Second House
  • In the second House also, the bill passes through all the three stages, that is, first reading, second reading and third reading.
  • There are four alternatives before this House
    1. it may pass the bill as sent by the first house
    2. it may pass the bill with amendments and return it to the first House for reconsideration;
    3. it may reject the bill
    4. it may not take any action and thus keep the bill pending
  • If the second House passes the bill without any amendments or the first House accepts the amendments suggested by the second House, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses and the same is sent to the president for his assent.
  • If the first House rejects the amendments suggested by the second House or the second House rejects the bill altogether or the second House does not take any action for six months, a deadlock is deemed to have taken place.
  • To resolve such a deadlock, the president can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses.
  • If the majority of members present and voting in the joint sitting approves the bill, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses.
 
 
Assent of the President
  • Every bill after being passed by both Houses of Parliament,  presented to the president for his assent.
  • There are three alternatives before the president
    1. He may give his assent to the bill
    2. He may withhold his assent to the bill
    3. He may return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses
  • If the president gives his assent to the bill, the bill becomes an act and is placed on the Statute Book.
  • If the President withholds his assent to the bill, it ends and does not become an act.
  • If the President returns the bill for reconsideration and if it is passed by both the Houses again with or without amendments and presented to the President for his assent, the president must give his assent to the bill.
  • Thus, the President enjoys only a suspensive veto
 
 
 
Money Bills
  • Article 110
  • A bill is deemed to be a money bill if It contains ‘only’ provisions dealing with
    • Imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax
    • Regulation of the borrowing of money by the Union government
    • Payment or withdrawal or charged expenditure from Consolidated Fund of India or the contingency fund of India
  • A bill is not to be deemed to be a money bill by reason
    • Imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties
    • Demand or payment of fees for licenses or fees for services rendered
    • Imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax by any local authority or body for local purposes.
  • A bill is a money bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is final
  • His decision in this regard cannot be questioned in any court of law or even the president.
  • A money bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and on the recommendation of the president.
  • It can be introduced only by a minister
  • After a money bill is passed by the Lok Sabha, it is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for its consideration.
  • The Rajya Sabha cannot reject or amend a money bill.
  • It can only make the recommendations and must return the bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days
  • Lok Sabha can accept or reject recommendations of the Rajya Sabha.
  • If the Rajya Sabha does not return the bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, the bill is deemed to have been passed
  • Lok Sabha has more powers than Rajya Sabha with regard to a money bill.
  • When a money bill is presented to the president,
    • He may either give his assent to the bill or withhold his assent
    • He cannot return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.
 
 
Financial Bills
  • Financial bills are those bills that deal with fiscal matters, that is, revenue or expenditure.
  • Financial bills are of three kinds
    1. Money bills—Article 110
    2. Financial bills (I)—Article 117 (1)
    3. Financial bills (II)—Article 117 (3)
  • This classification implies that money bills are a species of financial bills.
  • The financial bills (I) and (II), on the other hand, have been dealt with in Article 117 of the Constitution.
 
Financial Bills (I)
  • It is a bill that contains any or all the matters mentioned in Article 110, and also other matters of general legislation.
  • In two respects, a financial bill (I) is similar
  • It can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha
  • It  can be introduced only on the recommendation of the president.
  • Procedure of the finance bill I is same as ordinary bill
  • an amendment for reduction or abolition of a tax cannot be moved in either House without the recommendation of the president
 
Financial Bills (II)
  • It contains provisions involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, but does not include any of the matters mentioned in Article 110.
  • It is treated as an ordinary bill and in all respects
  • it cannot be passed by either House of Parliament unless the President has recommended to that House the consideration of the bill.
  • Don’t need recommendation of the President is not necessary for its introduction.
 
 

 

JOINT SITTING OF TWO HOUSES

  • It is an extraordinary machinery provided by the Constitution to resolve a deadlock between the two Houses over the passage of a bill.
    1. if the bill is rejected by the other House;
    2. if the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the bill
    3. if more than six months have elapsed from the date of the receipt of the bill by the other House without the bill being passed by it.
  • In the above three situations, the president can summon both the Houses to meet in a joint sitting for voting on the bill.
  • Joint sitting can’t use for money bills and Constitutional amendment bills.
  • If the bill has already lapsed due to the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, no joint sitting can be summoned.
  • But, the joint sitting can be held if the Lok Sabha is dissolved after the President has notified his intention to summon such a sitting (as the bill does not lapse in this case).
  • The Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over a joint sitting and the Deputy Speaker, in his absence and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha in absence of deputy speaker
  • In his absence any member of two houses can preside but not the chairman of Rajya Sabha
  • The quorum to constitute a joint sitting is 10% of the total number of members of the two Houses.
  • The joint sitting is governed by the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and not of Rajya Sabha.
  • If the bill in dispute is passed by a simple majority of the total number of members of both the Houses present and voting
  • Since 1950, joint sitting invoked only thrice.
    1. Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1960
    2. Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977
    3. Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002.
 
 

BUDGET IN PARLIAMENT

  • Article 112
  • The Constitution refers to the budget as the ‘annual financial statement’.
  • the term ‘budget’ has nowhere been used in the Constitution.
  • The budget is a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India in a financial year, which begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March of the following year.
  • the budget contains the following
    1. Estimates of revenue and capital receipts
    2. Ways and means to raise the revenue
    3. Estimates of expenditure
    4. Details of the actual receipts and expenditure of the closing financial year and the reasons for any deficit or surplus
    5. Economic and financial policy of the coming year, that is, taxation proposals, prospects of revenue, spending programme and introduction of new schemes/projects.
  • The Railway Budget was separated from the General Budget in 1921 on the recommendations of the Acworth Committee.
  • In August 2016, the Central Government decided to merge the railway budget into the general budget.
  • Finance Ministry has constituted a five-member committee comprising the officials of both the Finance Ministry and the Railway Ministry to work out the modalities for the merger.
 
Constitutional Provisions
  • No demand for a grant shall be made except on the recommendation of the President.
  • No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriation made by law.
  • No tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law
  • Parliament can reduce or abolish a tax but cannot increase it.
  • A money bill or finance bill dealing with taxation cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha
  • The Rajya Sabha has no power to vote on the demand for grants
  • Estimates of expenditure in the budget shall show separately the expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and the expenditure made from the Consolidated Fund of India.
 
 
Charged Expenditure
  • The budget consists of two types of expenditure
    • expenditure ‘charged’ upon the Consolidated Fund
    • expenditure ‘made’ from the Consolidated Fund
  • Charged expenditure is non-votable by the Parliament, it can only be discussed by the Parliament
  • Other type has to be voted by the Parliament
  • The list of the charged expenditure is as follows:
    1. Salary, emoluments, allowances, office expenses of the President, Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
    2. Salaries, allowances and pensions of the judges of the Supreme Court and Pensions of the judges of high courts
    3. Salary, allowances, pension and office expenses of the CAG, chairman and members of UPSC
    4. salaries, allowances and pensions of persons serving in above offices.
    5. The debt charges for which the Government of India is liable, including interest, sinking fund charges and redemption charges and other expenditure relating to the raising of loans and the service and redemption of debt.
    6. Any sum required to satisfy any judgement, decree or award of any court or arbitral tribunal.
    7. Any other expenditure declared by the Parliament to be so charged.
 
 
Stages in Enactment
  • The budget goes through six stages in the Parliament
 
Presentation of Budget
  • Presented to the Lok Sabha by the finance minister on the last working day of February.
  • At the end of the speech in the Lok Sabha, the budget is laid before the Rajya Sabha, which can only discuss it
 
General Discussion
  • The general discussion on budget begins a few days after its presentation.
  • It takes place in both the Houses of Parliament and lasts usually for three to four days.
  • The finance minister has a right of reply at the end of the discussion.
 
Scrutiny by Departmental Committees
  • After general discussion the Houses are adjourned for about three to four weeks.
  • During this gap, 24 departmental standing committees of Parliament examine and discuss in detail the demands for grants of the concerned ministers and prepare reports on them.
  • These reports are submitted to both the Houses of Parliament for consideration.
  • The standing committee system established in 1993 (and expanded in 2004) makes parliamentary financial control over ministries much more detailed, close, in-depth and comprehensive.
 
Voting on Demands for Grants
  • In the light of the reports of the departmental standing committees, the Lok Sabha takes up voting of demands for grants.
  • The demands are presented ministry wise.
  • A demand becomes a grant after it has been duly voted.
  • Each demand is voted separately by the Lok Sabha.
  • During this stage, the members of Parliament can discuss the details of the budget.
  • They can also move motions to reduce any demand for grant.
  • Such motions are called as ‘cut motion’, which are of three kinds:
 
 
Cut Motions
  • This is an effective tool to test the strength of the government.
  • If a cut motion is adopted by the House and the government obliged to resign.
  • It should relate to one demand only.
  • It should be clearly expressed and should not contain arguments or defamatory statements.
  • It should be confined to one specific matter.
  • It should not make suggestions for the amendment or repeal of existing laws.
  • It should not refer to a matter that is not primarily the concern of Union government.
  • It should not relate to a matter that is under adjudication by a court.
  • It should not raise a question of privilege.
  • It should not revive discussion on a matter on which a decision has been taken in the same session.
  • In total, 26 days are allotted for the voting of demands.
  • On the last day the Speaker puts all the remaining demands to vote and disposes them whether they have been discussed by the members or not. This is known as ‘guillotine’.
 
Policy Cut
  • It represents the disapproval of the policy underlying the demand.
  • It states that the amount of the demand be reduced to Re 1.
  • The members can also advocate an alternative policy.
 
Economy Cut
  • It represents the economy that can be affected in the proposed expenditure.
  • It states that the amount of the demand be reduced by a specified amount
 
Token Cut
  • The amount of the demand be reduced by Rupee 100
 
 
Passing of Appropriation Bill
  • The Constitution states that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriation bill
  • No amendment can be proposed to the appropriation bill if the grant voted, or amount of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • The Appropriation Bill becomes the Appropriation Act after it is assented to by the President.
  • This takes time and usually goes on till the end of April.
  • But the government needs money to carry on its normal activities after 31 March.
  • To overcome this functional difficulty, the Constitution has authorised the Lok Sabha to make any grant in advance
  • This provision is known as the ‘vote on account’.
  • It is passed after the general discussion on budget is over.
  • It is granted for two months, amount is 1/6 th of the total estimation.
 
 
Passing of Finance Bill
  • The Finance Bill is introduced to give effect to the financial proposals of the Government of India for the following year.
  • It is subjected to all the conditions applicable to a Money Bill.
  • Amendments can be moved in the case of finance bill.
  • According to the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act of 1931, the Finance Bill must be enacted (passed by the Parliament and assented to by the president) within 75 days.
 
 
Other Grants
  • In addition to the budget various other grants are made by the Parliament under extraordinary or special circumstances
 
Supplementary Grant
  • It is granted when the amount authorised by the Parliament found to be insufficient for that year.
  • It is for a particular service
 
Additional Grant
  • granted when a need has arisen for new service which is not contemplated in the budget for that year.
 
Excess Grant
  • It is granted when excess money has spent than granted in budget for a service
  • It is voted by the Lok Sabha after the financial year.
  • Before voting in Lok Sabha, must be approved by the Public Accounts Committee.
 
Vote of Credit
  • It is granted for meeting an unexpected demand or the indefinite character of the service
  • the demand cannot be stated with the details ordinarily given in a budget.
  • it is like a blank cheque given to the Executive by the Lok Sabha.
 
Token Grant
  • It is granted when funds to meet the proposed expenditure on a new service can be made available by re-appropriation.
  • A demand for the grant of a token sum of Rs.1 is submitted to the vote of the Lok Sabha if assented, funds are made available.
  • Re-appropriation involves transfer of funds from one head to another.
 
 

Funds

  1. Consolidated Fund of India (Article 266)
  2. Public Account of India (Article 266)
  3. Contingency Fund of India (Article 267)
 
Consolidated Fund of India
  • All revenues received by the Government of India
  • All loans raised by the Government by the issue of treasury bills, loans or ways and means of advances
  • All money received by the government in repayment of loans forms the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • All the legally authorized payments on behalf of the Government of India are made out of this fund.
  • No money out of this fund can be issued or drawn except in accordance with a parliamentary law.
 
Public Account of India
  • All other public money received by or on behalf of the Government of India shall be credited to the Public Account of India.
    • provident fund deposits
    • judicial deposits
    • savings bank deposits
    • departmental deposits
    • remittances and so on
  • This account is operated by executive action, can be made without parliamentary appropriation
  • Mostly in the nature of banking transactions.
 
Contingency Fund of India
  • The Constitution authorized the Parliament to establish a ‘Contingency Fund of India’
  • Amounts determined by law are paid from consolidated fund, time to time.
  • Parliament enacted the contingency fund of India Act in 1950
  • The fund is held by the finance secretary on behalf of President.
  • President can make advances out of it, if authorization is pending by the Parliament.
  • It is operated by executive action.
 
 
 

MULTI-FUNCTIONAL ROLE OF PARLIAMENT

Legislative Powers and Functions
  • The primary function of Parliament is to make laws for the governance of the country.
  • It has exclusive power to make laws on the subjects enumerated in the Union List and on the residuary subjects
  • Regard to Concurrent List the Parliament has overriding powers
  • The Constitution also empowers the Parliament to make laws on the subjects enumerated in the State List
    1. when Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to that effect
    2. when a proclamation of National Emergency is in operation.
    3. when two or more states make a joint request to the Parliament.
    4. when necessary to give effect to international agreements, treaties and conventions.
    5. when President’s Rule is in operation in the state.
  • The Parliament makes laws in a skeleton form and Executive to make detailed rules and regulations within the framework of the parent law. This is known as delegated legislation or executive legislation or subordinate legislation.
  • Such rules and regulations are placed before the Parliament for its examination.
 
 
Executive Powers and Functions
  • Executive is responsible to the Parliament for its policies and acts.
  • Parliament exercises control over the Executive through question hour, zero hour, half-an-hour discussion, short duration discussion, calling attention motion, adjournment motion, no-confidence motion, censure motion and other discussions.
  • It also supervises the activities of the Executive with the help of its committees
  • Each minister is individually responsible for the efficient administration of the ministry under his charge.
  • The Lok Sabha can also express lack of confidence in the government
    1. By not passing a motion of thanks on the President’s inaugural address.
    2. By rejecting a money bill.
    3. By passing a censure motion or an adjournment motion.
    4. By defeating the government on a vital issue.
    5. By passing a cut motion.
 
 
Financial Powers and Functions
  • Budget is placed before the Parliament for its approval.
  • The Parliament also scrutinizes government spending and financial performance with the help of its financial committees.
    • Public accounts committee
    • Estimates committee
    • Committee on public undertakings
  • If the granted money is not spent by the end of the financial year, then the balance expires and returns to the Consolidated Fund of India. This practice is known as the ‘rule of lapse’.
  • This rule leads to heavy expenditure in the closing of the financial year. This is called as ‘March Rush’.
 
 
Constituent Powers and Functions
  • The Parliament is vested with the powers to amend the Constitution by way of addition, variation or repeal of any provision.
  • There is one exception, that is, the state legislature can pass a resolution requesting the Parliament for the creation or abolition of the legislative council in the state.
 
 
Judicial Powers and Functions
  • It can impeach the President for the violation of the Constitution.
  • It can remove the Vice-President from his office.
  • It can recommend the removal of judges (including chief justice) of the Supreme Court and the high courts, chief EC, CAG to the president.
  • It can punish its members or outsiders for the breach of its privileges or its contempt.
 
 
Electoral Powers and Functions
  • The Parliament participates in the election of the President and the Vice-President.
  • The Lok Sabha elects its Speaker and Deputy Speaker, while the Rajya Sabha elects its Deputy Chairman.
 

 

POSITION OF RAJYA SABHA

Unequal Status with Lok Sabha
  • Rajya Sabha cannot introduce, amend or reject a Money Bill
  • A financial bill, not containing solely the matters of Article 110, also can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. But,with regard to its passage, both the Houses have equal powers.
  • The Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over the joint sitting of both the Houses.
  • Rajya Sabha can only discuss the budget but cannot vote on the demands for grants
  • A resolution for the discontinuance of the national emergency can be passed only by the Lok Sabha
  • The Rajya Sabha cannot pass a no confidence motion.
 
 
Special Powers of Rajya Sabha
  • It can authorise the Parliament to make a law on a subject enumerated in the State List (Article 249).
  • It can authorise the Parliament to create new All-India Services common to both the Centre and states (Article 312).
  • The position of the Rajya Sabha in our constitutional system is not as weak as that of the House of Lords in the British constitutional system nor as strong as that of the Senate in the American constitutional system.
 
 
 

PARLIAMENTARY PRIVILEGES

Meaning
  • Parliamentary privileges are special rights, immunities and exemptions
  • It enjoyed by the two Houses of Parliament, their committees and their members and who entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or any of its committees
  • These include the attorney general of India and Union ministers.
  • The parliamentary privileges do not extend to the president who is also an integral part of the Parliament.
  • They are necessary in order to secure the independence and effectiveness of their actions.
 
Collective Privileges
  • Right to publish its reports, debates and proceedings and also the right to prohibit others from publishing the same.
  • The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 restored the freedom of the press to publish true reports of parliamentary proceedings without prior permission of the House.
  • But this is not applicable in the case of a secret sitting of the House.
  • It has the right to receive immediate information of the arrest, detention, conviction, imprisonment and release of a member.
  • The courts are prohibited to inquire into the proceedings of a House or its committees.
  • No person (either a member or outsider) can be arrested, and no legal process (civil or criminal) can be served within the precints of the House without the permission of the presiding officer.
 
 
Individual Privileges
  • They cannot be arrested during the session of Parliament and 40 days before the beginning and 40 days after the end of a session.
  • This privilege is available only in civil cases not for criminal cases or preventive detention cases.
  • They are not liable to any court for anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or its committees.
  • This freedom is subject to the provisions of the Constitution
  • They are exempted from jury service.
  • They can refuse to give evidence and appear as a witness in a case pending in a court when Parliament is in session.
 
 
Breach of Privilege and Contempt of the House
  • Any individual or authority disregards or attacks any of the privileges, rights and immunities, either of the member individually or  collectively, the offence is termed as breach of privilege
 
 
Sources of Privileges
  • Originally, the Constitution (Article 105) expressedly mentioned two privileges
    • Freedom of speech in Parliament
    • Right of publication of its proceedings.
  • Other sources are
    • Various laws made by Parliament,
    • Rules of both the Houses,
    • Parliamentary conventions
    • Judicial interpretations
 
 

SOVEREIGNTY OF PARLIAMENT

  • The doctrine of ‘sovereignty of Parliament’ is associated with the British Parliament.
  • Sovereignty means the supreme power within the State.
  • That supreme power in Great Britain lies with the Parliament.
  • There are no ‘legal’ restrictions on its authority and jurisdiction.
  • De Lolme, a British political analyst, said, ‘The British Parliament can do everything except make a woman a man and a man a woman’.
  • Indian Parliament cannot be regarded as a sovereign body
  • There arelegalrestrictions on its authority and jurisdiction.
 
Written Nature of the Constitution
  • The Constitution is the fundamental law of the land in our country.
  • Parliament has to operate within the limits prescribed by the Constitution.
 
Federal System of Government
  • Law-making authority of the Parliament gets confined to the subjects enumerated in the Union List and Concurrent List and does not extend to the subjects enumerated in the State List
 
System of Judicial Review
  • Both the Supreme Court and high courts can declare the laws enacted by the Parliament as void and ultra vires (unconstitutional), if they contravene any provision of the Constitution.
 
Fundamental Rights
  • The authority of the Parliament is also restricted by the incorporation of a code of justiciable fundamental rights
  • Article 13 prohibits the State from making a law that either takes away totally or abrogates in part a fundamental right.
 
 
 

Notes

  • Westminster is a place in London where the British Parliament is located. It is often used as a symbol of the British Parliament.
  • Article 121 of the Constitution says that no discussion shall take place in Parliament with respect to the conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or of a high court in the discharge of his duties except upon a motion for presenting an address to the president praying for the removal of the judge.
 
 
 
State
Rajya Sabha Seats
Lok Sabha Seats
1
UP
31
80
2
Maharashtra
19
48
3
West Bengal
16
42
4
Bihar
16
40
5
Tamil Nadu
18
39
 
Sikkim
1
1
 
Mizoram
1
1
 
Nagaland
1
1
1
Delhi
3
7
2
Puducherry
1
1
See Also
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