Parliamentary Committees

  • The Constitution of India makes a mention of these committees at different places
  • But it didn’t make any specific provisions regarding their composition, tenure, functions, etc.
  • All these matters are dealt by the rules of two Houses.
  • Accordingly, a parliamentary committee means a committee
    1. Is appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker / Chairman
    2. Works under the direction of the Speaker / Chairman
    3. Presents its report to the House or to the Speaker / Chairman
    4. Has a secretariat provided by the Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha
  • The consultative committees, which also consist of members of Parliament, are not parliamentary committees as they do not fulfill above four conditions.
  • A minister cannot be elected as a member of any committee.
  • Parliamentary committees are of two kinds
    1. Standing Committeespermanent (constituted every year or periodically)
    2. Ad Hoc Committees – temporary
Standing Committees
  • On the basis of the nature of functions can be classified into six categories
  1. Financial Committees
  • Public Accounts Committee  – 22 (15+7)
  • Estimates Committee  – 30, 0
  • Committee on Public Undertakings – 22 (15+7)
  1. Departmental Standing Committees (24)  31 (21+10)
  1. Committees to Inquire
  • Committee on Petitions  – 15, 10
  • Committee of Privileges – 15, 10
  • Ethics Committee
  1. Committees to Scrutinise and Control
  • Committee on Government Assurances  – 15, 10
  • Committee on Subordinate Legislation  15, 15
  • Committee on Papers Laid on the Table  – 15, 10
  • Committee on Welfare of SCs and STs  30 (20+10)
  • Committee on Empowerment of Women  30 (20+10)
  • Joint Committee on Offices of Profit  – 15 (10+5)
  1. Committees Relating to the Day-to-Day Business
  • Business Advisory Committee  – 15, 11
  • Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions  – 15, 10
  • Rules Committee  15, 16
  • Committee on Absence of Members from Sittings of the House  – 15, 0
  1. House-Keeping Committees or Service Committees
  • General Purposes Committee
  • House Committee
  • Library Committee  – 9 (6+3)
  • Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members  – 15 (10+5)
Ad Hoc Committees
  • Ad hoc committees can be divided into two categories, that is, Inquiry Committees and Advisory Committees
  • Inquiry Committees are constituted by two Houses on a motion adopted in that behalf, or by the Speaker / Chairman, to inquire into and report
    1. Committee on Draft Five-Year Plan
    2. Committee on Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)
    3. Joint Committee on Stock Market Scam
  • Advisory Committees include select or joint committees on bills, which are appointed to consider and report on particular bills.
  • Select or Joint Committee considers the Bill clause by clause just as the two Houses do.
  • Amendments to various clauses can be moved by members of the Committee.
  • After the Bill has thus been considered, the Committee submits its report to the House.
  • The members are elected by the Parliament from its members
  • Term is 1 year
  • Elected by proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
  • All parties get due representation in it.
  • The chairman of the committee is appointed from amongst its members by the Speaker.
Public Accounts Committee
  • It is the oldest committee, set up in 1921 under Government of India Act of 1919 
  • It consists of 22 members (15 from the Lok Sabha and 7 from the Rajya Sabha)
  • Since 1967 the chairman of the committee is selected from Opposition.
  • Committee examine the annual audit reports of the (CAG), which are laid before the Parliament by the President.
  • The CAG submits three audit reports to the President,
    • audit report on appropriation accounts
    • audit report on finance accounts
    • audit report on public undertakings.
  • It also examine the money spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted by the Lok Sabha for that purpose
Estimates Committee
  • The origin of this committee can be traced to the standing financial committee set up in 1921
  • first Estimates Committee in the post-independence era was  constituted in 1950
  • Recommended by John Mathai, finance minister
  • In 1956 its membership was raised to 30.
  • All the thirty members are from Lok Sabha only.
  • It suggests about economic improvements in organisation, efficiency and administrative reform, alternative policies, examine whether the money is well laid out.
  • Its recommendations are advisory and not binding on the ministries
  • Its work is in the nature of a post-mortem.
Committee on Public Undertakings
  • This committee was created in 1964 on the recommendation of the Krishna Menon Committee.
  • In 1974, its membership was raised to 22 (15 from the Lok Sabha and 7 from the Rajya Sabha)
  • It examine the reports and accounts of public undertakings
  • It examine the reports of the CAG on public undertakings
  • It examine the autonomy and efficiency of public undertakings
  • It cannot take up the examination of more than ten to twelve public undertakings in a year.
Departmental Standing Committees
  • On the recommendation of the Rules Committee, 17 Departmentally Related Standing Committees (DRSCs) were set up in 1993.
  • In 2004, increased from 17 to 24
  • The main objective of the standing committees is to secure more accountability of the Executive, particularly financial accountability.
  • Assist the Parliament in debating the budget more effectively.
  • The 24 standing committees cover under their jurisdiction all the ministries / departments of the Central Government.
  • Each standing committee consists of 31 members (21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha).
  • They are nominated by the Speaker or Chairman
  • 8 work under the Rajya Sabha and 16 under the Lok Sabha.
  • It consider the demands for grants of the concerned ministries / departments before they are discussed and voted
  • It consider annual reports of ministries / departments
  • It consider national basic long-term policy documents presented to the Houses
Committee on Petitions
  • This committee examines petitions on bills and on matters of general public importance.
  • It also entertains on matters pertaining to Union subjects.
Committee of Privileges
  • this committee are semi-judicial in nature.
  • It examines the cases of breach of privileges and take action
Ethics Committee
  • This committee was constituted in Rajya Sabha in 1997 and in Lok Sabha in 2000.
  • It enforces the code of conduct of members of Parliament.
  • It examines the cases of misconduct
Committee on Government Assurances
  • Examines the assurances, promises and undertakings given by ministers on the floor of the House
  • It was constituted in 1953.
Committee on Subordinate Legislation
  • Examines whether the powers to make regulations, rules laws delegated by the Parliament to the Executive are being properly exercised
  • It was constituted in 1953.
Committee on Papers Laid on the Table
  • This committee was constituted in 1975.
  • It examines all papers tabled by ministers, comply with provisions of the Constitution, or the related Act or Rule.
  • It does not examine statutory notifications and orders that fall under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation.
Committee on Welfare of SCs and STs
  • It consider the reports of the National Commission for the SCs and the National Commission for the STs
  • It examine all matters relating to the welfare of SCs and STs
Committee on Empowerment of Women
  • This committee was constituted in 1997
  • It considers the reports of the National Commission for Women
  • It examines the measures taken by the Union Government to secure status, dignity and equality for women
Joint Committee on Offices of Profit
  • It examines all committees and other bodies appointed by the Central, state and union territory governments
  • It recommends whether a persons should be disqualified or not.
Business Advisory Committee
  • It regulates the programme and time table of the House.
  • Lok Sabha committee includes the Speaker as chairman.
  • Rajya Sabha, includes Chairman as its exofficio chairman
Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions
  • This committee classifies bills and allocates time for the discussion on bills and resolutions introduced by private members
  • Only for Lok Sabha and includes the Deputy Speaker as its chairman.
  • Same function in the Rajya Sabha is performed by the Business Advisory Committee of that House.
Rules Committee
  • It recommends necessary amendments or additions to the rules of the House.
  • Committee includes Speaker and Chairman as ex-officio chairman
Committee on Absence of Members
  • It considers all applications from members for leave of absence
  • Check who have been absent for a period of 60 days or more without permission.
  • Only for Lok Sabha
  • In the Rajya Sabha and all such matters are dealt by the House itself.
General Purposes Committee
  • This committee considers and advises on matters concerning affairs of the House, which do not fall within the jurisdiction of any other parliamentary committee.
  • It consists of the presiding officer (Speaker / Chairman) as its ex-officio chairman
Consultative Committees
  • Consultative committees are attached to various ministries / departments of the Central Government.
  • They consist of members of both the Houses of Parliament.
  • The Minister / Minister of State in charge of the Ministry concerned acts as the chairman of the consultative committee of that ministry.
  • Provide a forum for informal discussions between the ministers and the members of Parliament on policies
  • These committees are constituted by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
  • Maximum member of a committee is 30 and minimum is 10
  • These committees are normally constituted after the new Lok Sabha is constituted