What is meaning of parliament?
Meaning of Parliament: – Parliament is an assembly of the representatives of a political nation or people, often the supreme legislative authority. A parliament is the legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions i.e., representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries. The term is similar to the idea of a senate, synod or congress, and is commonly used in countries that are current or former monarchies, a form of government with a monarch as the head.
Some contexts restrict the use of the word parliament to parliamentary systems, although it is also used to describe the legislature in some presidential systems (e.g. the Parliament of Ghana), even where it is not in the official name.
Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of the Republic of India. It is a bicameral legislature composed of the President of India and the two houses i.e., the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The President in his role as head of legislature has full powers to summon and prorogue (discontinue a session) either house of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha. The president can exercise these powers only upon the advice of the Prime Minister and his Union Council of Ministers.
Those elected or nominated (by the President) to either house of Parliament are referred to as Members of Parliament (MP). The Members of Parliament, Lok Sabha are directly elected by the Indian public voting in Single-member districts . The Members of Parliament, Rajya Sabha are elected by the members of all State Legislative Assembly by proportional representation. The Parliament has a sanctioned strength of 543 in Lok Sabha and 245 in Rajya Sabha including the 12 nominees from the expertise of different fields of science, culture, art and history. The Parliament meets at Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi.
India has a parliamentary form of government and this was adopted from the British government. There are some differences between Britain and India. In India, Constitution is supreme but in Britain their Parliament is supreme. There is no written constitution in Britain but India has written constitution.
What is the composition of Parliament of India?
The Indian Parliament consists of three constituents: –
- The President: – The President of India is the head of state of the Republic of India. The President is the formal head of the executive, legislature and judiciary of India and is also the commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces.
- Rajya Sabha (Upper House): – The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India. As of 2021 it has a maximum membership of 245, of which 233 are elected by the legislatures of the states.
- Lok Sabha (Lower House): – India’s bicameral Parliament, with the upper house being the Rajya Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by an adult universal suffrage and a first-past-the-post system to represent their respective constituencies, and they hold their seats for five years or until the body is dissolved by the President on the advice of the council of ministers.
The President of India
President of India: – The President of India, officially the President of the Republic of India, is the ceremonial head of state of India and the Commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces. He is the first citizen of India and is a symbol of solidarity, unity, and integrity of the nation. He is a part of Union Executive along with the Vice-President, Prime Minister, Council of Ministers, and Attorney-General of India. The President is indirectly elected by an electoral college comprising the Parliament of India (both houses) and the legislative assemblies of each of India’s states and territories, who themselves are all directly elected.
Part V of the Constitution (The Union) under Chapter I (The Executive) lists out the qualification, election and impeachment of the President of India. Although article 53 of the Constitution of India states that the President can exercise his powers directly or by subordinate authority, with few exceptions, all of the executive powers vested in the president are, in practice, exercised by the prime minister (a subordinate authority) with the help of the Council of Ministers. The president is bound by the constitution to act on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet as long as the advice is not violating the constitution.
How is President elected?
There is no direct election for the Indian President. An electoral college elects him. The electoral college responsible for President’s elections comprises elected members of: –
- Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
- Legislative Assemblies of the states (Legislative Councils have no role)
- Legislative Assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry
The value of the vote of an MLA and MP is given below: –
Article 52: – There shall be a President of India. The President is the head of the Indian state. He is said to be the first citizen of the country, who heads all the armed forces. He is the first citizen if served as a symbol of the integrity and solidarity of the country and the nation.
Article 53: – The executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President and exercised by him directly or by his subordinate officers in accordance with this Constitution. Also, The President has the supreme command of the Defence forces of union and the exercise of same shall be regulated by the government.
Article 54: – The President is elected by an electoral college, which consists of elected members of both houses of parliament and elected members of legislatures of all states and members of the NCT of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
Article 55(3): – In the Constitution of India, the President shall be elected in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote and voting in such election shall be by secret ballot.
Article 56: – The President shall hold office for a period of five years from the date he enters upon his office. The President shall continue in office until his successor enters office, irrespective of the expiration of his term.
Article 57: – A person who holds, or who has held office as President, shall be eligible for re-election to that office, subject to other provisions of this Constitution.
Article 58: – No person shall be eligible for election as President unless he;
- is a citizen of India;
- has completed the age of thirty-five years, and
- Is eligible for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
Article 59: – The President shall not hold any other office of profit. The office and allowances of the President shall not be reduced during his tenure. The President shall not be a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State, and if a member of either House of Parliament or of a House of the Legislature of any State be elected President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that House on the date on which he enters upon his office as President.
Article 60: – The President, every person acting as the President or discharging the functions of the President, has to take oath before entering his office in the presence of the Chief Justice of India and the senior judge of Supreme Court.
Article 61: – When the President is to be impeached for violation of the Constitution, this charge will be given priority by any House of Parliament.
Article 62: – Election of the President office shall be held before the expiry of the period of the existing president.
Article 63: – There will be a Vice President of India. “The Vice-President acts in the absence of the President on account of the President’s death, resignation, impeachment or other conditions.
Article 64: – The Vice-President of India is also the ex-officio chairman of the council of states.
Article 65: – The Vice-President discharges his functions to act as President or during casual vacancies in office or during the President’s absence.
Article 66: – Vice-President of the India is to be elected by the members of both the Houses of Parliament assembled in a joint sitting. Every effort is made to complete such elections before the date of the presidential election.
Article 67: – The Vice-President may, by writing in his own hand addressed to the President, resign from his office.
Article 67(c): – A Vice-President shall, despite the expiry of his term, continue in office until his successor enters his office.
Article 68: – Election time to fill vacancy in the post of Vice President and the term of office of the person elected to fill the casual election.
Article 69: – Vice-President has to take oath in the presence of President of India.
Article 70: – When there is no President or Vice-President of the country then in that case the chief justice of India will discharge the functions of president.
Article 71: – All doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of a President or Vice President shall be examined and decided by the Supreme Court, whose decision shall be final.
Article 72: – The President shall have the power to grant pardon, to punish, to relieve or to sentence, or to suspend, remove or persuade the punishment of any person guilty of an offense.
Article 73: – The executive power of the Union shall extend to matters in respect of which Parliament has the power to make laws.
Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India. It currently has a maximum membership of 245, of which 233 are elected by the legislatures of the states and union territories using single transferable votes through Open Ballot while the President can appoint 12 members from the field of art, literature, science, and social services. The potential seating capacity of the Rajya Sabha is 250 (238 elected, 12 appointed), according to article 80 of the Indian Constitution. Members sit for staggered terms lasting six years, with elections every year but almost a third of the 233 designates up for election every two years, specifically in even-numbered years. The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions, and unlike the Lok Sabha, being the lower house of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, which is the upper house of Parliament, is not subjected to dissolution. However, the Rajya Sabha, like the Lok Sabha can be prorogued by the President.
Article 84 of the Constitution lays down the qualifications for membership of Parliament. A member of the Rajya Sabha must: –
- Be a citizen of India.
- Make and subscribe before some person authorized in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule to the Constitution.
- Be at least 30 years old. (article 84 constitution of India)
- Be elected by the Legislative Assembly of States and Union territories by means of single transferable vote through proportional representation.
- Not be a proclaimed criminal.
- Not be a subject of insolvent, i.e. he/she should not be in debt that he/she is not capable of repaying in a current manner and should have the ability to meet his/her financial expenses.
- Not hold any other office of profit under the Government of India.
- Not be of unsound mind.
- Possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament.
Composition of Rajya Sabha (Article 80)
The Council of States (Rajya Sabha) is made up of not more than 250 members, 12 of whom are nominated by the President of India from among persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in relation to matters such as literature, science, art and social service.
Seats are allotted in degressive proportion to the population of each state or union territory, meaning that smaller states have a slight advantage over more populous states. Certain states even have more representatives than states more populous than them: for example, Tamil Nadu has 18 representatives for 72 million inhabitants (in 2011) whereas Bihar (104 million) and West Bengal (91 million) only have 16. As the members are elected by the state legislature, some small Union Territories, those without legislatures, cannot have representation. Hence, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Ladakh & Lakshadweep do not send any representatives. 12 members are nominated by the President.
Schedule 4: – Allocation of seats per State or Union Territory of Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament): –
|S.no.||States/Union Territories||Number of members|
|27.||Jammu and Kashmir||4|
Benefits of Rajya Sabha
- It is considered useful as senior politicians and statesmen can easily enter in it without going through the time of general election required for members of the Lok Sabha.
- Rajya Sabha acts as an observing body towards Lok Sabha as it keep an eye on the work of the Lok Sabha.
- The Rajya Sabha is a House where the states are represented to keep up with federal principles [Article 83 (a) (b)].
Rajya Sabha has one chairman and one vice-chairman (Article 89): – As soon as the State Council is elected, a member of the Council may elect a member of the Deputy Chairman and, so until the post of the Deputy Chairman becomes vacant, the Council shall elect another member.
The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and not subject to dissolution. However, one third of the members retire every other year, and they are replaced by newly elected members. Each member is elected for a term of six years. The Vice President of India is the ex-officio President of the Rajya Sabha.
Lok Sabha (Lower House)
The Lok Sabha, or House of the People, is the lower house of India’s bicameral Parliament, with the upper house being the Rajya Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by an adult universal suffrage and a first-past-the-post system to represent their respective constituencies, and they hold their seats for five years or until the body is dissolved by the President on the advice of the council of ministers. The house meets in the Lok Sabha Chambers of the Sansad Bhavan, New Delhi.
The maximum membership of the House allotted by the Constitution of India is 552 (Initially, in 1950, it was 500). Currently, the house has 543 seats which are made up by the election of up to 543 elected members and at a maximum. Between 1952 and 2020, 2 additional members of the Anglo-Indian community were also nominated by the President of India on the advice of Government of India, which was abolished in January 2020 by the 104th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019. The Lok Sabha has a seating capacity of 550.
A total of 131 seats (24.03%) are reserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes (84) and Scheduled Tribes (47). The quorum for the House is 10% of the total membership. The Lok Sabha, unless sooner dissolved, continues to operate for five years for time being from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law or decree.
Article 84 under Part V: – The Union of Indian Constitution sets qualifications for being a member of Lok Sabha, which are as follows: –
- He/She should be a citizen of India, and must subscribe before the Election Commission of India, an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
- He/She should not be less than 25 years of age.
- He/She possesses other such qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by the Parliament.
- He She should not be proclaimed criminal i.e. they should not be a convict, a confirmed debtor or otherwise disqualified by law; and
- He/She should have his/her name in the electoral rolls in any part of the country.
However, a member can be disqualified from being a member of Parliament: –
- If he/she holds the office of profit;
- If he/she is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court
- If he/she is an undischarged insolvent;
- If he/she is not a citizen of India, or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign State, or is under any acknowledgment of allegiance or adherence to a foreign State;
- If he/she is violating party discipline (as per the Tenth schedule of the constitution); disqualified under Representation of People Act.
A seat in the Lok Sabha will become vacant in the following circumstances (during the normal functioning of the House): –
- When the holder of the seat, by writing to the speaker, resigns.
- When the holder of the seat is absent from 60 consecutive days of proceedings of the House, without prior permission of the Speaker.
- When the holder of the seat is subject to any disqualifications mentioned in the Constitution or any law enacted by Parliament.
- A seat may also be vacated when the holder stands disqualified under the ‘Anti-Defection Law’.
Furthermore, as per article 101 of the Indian Constitution, a person cannot be: –
- A member of both Houses of Parliament and provision shall be made by Parliament by law for the vacation by a person who is chosen a member of both Houses of his seat in one House or the other.
- A member both of Parliament and of a House of the Legislature of a State.
Election of both speaker and deputy speaker (Article 93): – The election of speaker and deputy speaker is done by the members of Lok Sabha only. The constitutional office of the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha is more symbolic of parliamentary democracy than some actual authority.
Duration of the house of People (Article 83): – The Council of State Ministers shall not be subject to dissolution, but as many as one-third of the members shall retire at the end of every second year, as soon as the provisions made by Parliament in accordance with law. During the emergency the time period of Lok Sabha can extended to one year.
Readjustment after each census (Article 82): – Allocation of seats is done by Delimitation Committee. By law, Parliament implements the Delimitation Act after every census. After the enactment of the Act, the Central Government constitutes a Delimitation Commission.
Population is the basis of allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha. As far as possible, each state gets representation in the Lok Sabha in proportion to its population according to census data. There is reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the Lok Sabha. Census data has also been taken into consideration here.
The allocation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha has been done on the basis of the ratio of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the State, relating to the total population, the provisions contained in Article 330 of the Constitution of India read with Section 3 of the RP Act. , As of 1950.
For Scheduled Castes, 84 seats are reserved in the Lok Sabha. As amended in the Representation of the People Act, 1950, the first schedule of amendment in the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2008, is issued by the State.
Subject to the provisions of the article, the Lok Sabha shall consist of 550 members who are elected as follows (Article 81)
- Not more than 530 member of the states elected by direct election from territorial constituencies, and
- No more than 20 members representing the Union Territories are elected in such a manner as Parliament may provide for the law.
Voting Rights: – The Sixty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution of India is officially known as the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1988, which reduced the age of voting for Lok Sabha elections and state assemblies from 21 to 18 years.
Article 84: A person shall not be considered eligible to fill a seat in Parliament unless he/she: –
- is a citizen of India, and makes and subscribes to the person authorized by the Election Commission before the oath or confirmation by the Election Commission in accordance with the form prescribed for this purpose in the Third Schedule;
- in the case of a seat in the Council of State, not for people under thirty years of age and, in the case of a seat in the House of Peoples, not less than twenty-five years; and
- Such are the other qualifications which may be prescribed under or on behalf of any law made by Parliament.
Powers of Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha has certain powers that make it more powerful than the Rajya Sabha: –
- Motions of no confidence against the government can be introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha. If passed by a majority vote, the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers resign collectively. The Rajya Sabha has no power over such a motion and hence has no real power over the executive. This is because the Constitution of India has only made the Union Council of ministers responsible to the Lok Sabha, not to the Rajya Sabha.
- Money bills can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha, and upon being passed, are sent to the Rajya Sabha, where it can be deliberated on for up to 14 days. If not rejected by the Rajya Sabha, or 14 days lapse from the introduction of the bill in the Rajya Sabha without any action by the House, or recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha are not accepted by the Lok Sabha, the bill is considered passed. The budget is presented in the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister in the name of the President of India.
- In matters pertaining to non-financial (ordinary) bills, after the bill has been passed by the House where it was originally tabled (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha), it is sent to the other house, where it may be kept for a maximum period of 6 months. If the other House rejects the bill or a period of 6 months elapses without any action by that House, or the House that originally tabled the bill does not accept the recommendations made by the members of the other house, it results in a deadlock. This is resolved by a joint session of both Houses, presided over by the speaker of the Lok Sabha and decided by a simple majority. Though the Constitution has placed both houses on the same footing in this regard, in reality, it is the Lok Sabha’s opinions that mostly prevail—due to its bigger numerical strength.
- Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in initiating and passing any Bill for Constitutional Amendment (by a majority of the total membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting).
- Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in initiating and passing a motion for the impeachment of the President (by two-thirds of the membership of the House).
- Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in impeachment process (initiating and passing a motion for the removal) of the judges of the Supreme Court and the state High Courts (by a majority of the membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting), who then can be removed by the President of India.
- Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in initiating and passing a resolution declaring war or national emergency (by two-thirds majority) or constitutional emergency (by simple majority) in a state.
- If the Lok Sabha is dissolved before or after the declaration of a National Emergency, the Rajya Sabha becomes the sole Parliament. It cannot be dissolved. This is a limitation on the Lok Sabha. But there is a possibility that the president can exceed the term to not more than 1 year under the proclamation of emergency and the same would be lowered down to six-month if the said proclamation ceases to operate.
In conclusion, it is clear that the Lok Sabha is more powerful than the Rajya Sabha in almost all matters. Even in those matters in which the Constitution has placed both Houses on an equal footing, the Lok Sabha has more influence due to its greater numerical strength. This is typical of any Parliamentary democracy, with the lower House always being more powerful than the upper.
Composition of Lok Sabha
|Andaman and Nicobar Islands*||1|
|DNH & DD||2|
|Jammu and Kashmir||5|