The Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in the country, responsible for making and passing laws, examining the government’s policies and actions, and representing the diverse interests of the Indian people. It serves as the cornerstone of India’s democratic system and plays a pivotal role in the governance of the nation.
The Parliament is the highest federal legislature in India. It is located in the Parliament House on Sangsad Marg in New Delhi. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word Sangsad (i.e., Sabha or Parishad). To make a bill into law, it has to be passed in both the Houses of Parliament and approved by the President. The houses are used for the joint sitting of Parliament. The Parliament of India consists of a lower house called the Lok Sabha and an upper house called the Rajya Sabha.
|Name||The Parliament of India|
|Founded||26 January 1950|
245 members of Rajya Sabha
543 members of Lok Sabha
- The Parliament of India
- Sessions of Parliament
- Eligibility criteria to be a member of Parliament.
- Comparison: Lok Sabha vs Rajya Sabha
- Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha
- Glossary of Parliamentary Terms:
- Parliamentary Bills:
- Bill Passing Procedure in Parliament:
- Function of Parliament
- Parliamentary Committees
- FAQs: Parliament of India.
- UPSC Sample Questions
Structure of Indian Parliament: The Parliament of India is a bicameral legislature consisting of two houses: the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People).
- The Central Legislative Assembly of India is called the Parliament.
- The Parliament of India is composed of the President, Lok Sabha (Lower House), and Rajya Sabha (Upper House).
- Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker had designed the Parliament of India.
- Article 79 of the Indian constitution describes the structure of Parliament.
- The first parliament in independent India was formed in 1952.
- There must be a presence of 1/10 of the members for a legitimate session in Rajya Sabha. This is called “Quorum” in a parliamentary term.
- The chairman of Lok Sabha is – the speaker. In the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker may preside over the Lok Sabha.
- It is pertinent to note that with the 42nd amendment to the constitution, the duration of the Lok Sabha was extended for 6 years in 1976.
You may read Important Amendments of Indian Constitution
Sessions of Parliament
The Lok Sabha is convened at least twice a year. According to the Constitution, there shall be no interval of more than six months between the end of one session of the Lok Sabha and the commencement of the next session.
The President of India convenes the Parliament at regular intervals (Article 75). It is mandatory to convene at least two sessions per year. There are usually three types of parliamentary sittings every year. These are –
- Budget sessions (usually held between February and May).
- Monsoon session (usually held between July and September).
- Winter session (usually held between November and December).
The maximum interval for two sessions of Parliament shall not exceed six months.
The session of parliament starts at 11 am and ends at 4 pm. There are two phases of the session in the diary of the parliament –
- From morning (11 am) to noon (1 pm)
- From 2 pm to evening (6 pm).
The Parliament of India meets in sessions, and each year, there are typically three main sessions:
- The Budget Session is the most crucial and the longest of the three sessions.
- It usually starts in late January or early February and continues until mid-April.
- The session begins with the President’s Address, outlining the government’s policy agenda for the year.
- The Union Budget is presented during this session, and detailed discussions on budgetary allocations occur.
- The session is divided into two parts with a recess. The first part includes the presentation of the budget, while the second part focuses on discussions and passing of budget-related bills.
- Other legislative and non-legislative business is also conducted during this session.
- The Monsoon Session typically convenes in July and continues until August.
- The session’s name comes from the fact that it coincides with the monsoon season in India.
- It involves discussions, debates, and passing of various bills.
- Important legislative and policy matters are addressed during this session.
- The Winter Session generally begins in November and lasts until December.
- It is a shorter session compared to the Budget Session and Monsoon Session.
- This session focuses on important legislative and policy matters.
- The session allows Parliament to address pending bills and important issues before the end of the calendar year.
In addition to these regular sessions, there can be special or extraordinary sessions convened at the discretion of the President of India on the advice of the government. Special sessions are called to address specific urgent matters that cannot wait until the next scheduled session.
The duration and specific dates of these sessions can vary from year to year, and they are subject to the discretion of the government and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha (in the case of the Lok Sabha) and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (in the case of the Rajya Sabha). These sessions provide a structured framework for the functioning of the Indian Parliament, allowing for the discussion and passage of important legislation, policy matters, and debates on various issues of national significance.
Eligibility criteria to be a member of Parliament.
- Must be a citizen of India.
- Age should be 25 for Lok Sabha.
- Age should be 30 for Rajya Sabha.
- Should be a voter for any parliamentary constituency in India
- Should be a voter in a parliamentary constituency.
- Additional qualifications also need to be prescribed by Parliament by law.
- If the court declares a person deranged or bankrupt, he will be disqualified from Parliament.
You may read the Age Limit for Various Constitutional Posts In India
Comparison: Lok Sabha vs Rajya Sabha
|Lok Sabha||Rajya Sabha|
|The President appoints the Prime Minister as the leader of the majority party in accordance with Article 75 (1).|
According to Section 75 (3), the Union Cabinet is responsible to the Prime Minister.
The President convened the joint session in accordance with Article 104.
The Chairman of the Lok Sabha will look into whether a Bill is a Finance Bill (Section 110), or a Revenue Bill (Section 117).
With the permission of 1/10 of the members of the Legislature, arrangements can be made to discuss emergency matters.
|The Rajya Sabha may conduct a new all-India examination (in accordance with Article 312).|
If the Rajya Sabha adopts a motion with the support of two-thirds of the members present, the Parliament may enact legislation in the national interest on matters which are required to be enacted by the State [According to section 249 (1)].
The Rajya Sabha has the exclusive power to create an all-India service
To make arrangements for the enactment of parliamentary laws on state-listed matters..
Number of members in Lok Sabha (Lower House)
- The highest number of members in the Lok Sabha – 552.
- The highest elected members of the Lok Sabha are 550.
- 2 members were nominated by the President from the Angla Indian (Article 331).
- Out of 552 members, 524 are from the state, 26 are from Union Territories and 2 are nominated by the President.
- The present number of Lok Sabha is 545.
- The number of current elected members – 543.
- Out of 545 members, 19 are from Union Territories, 524 are from the state, and 2 are nominated by the President.
Number of members in Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
- The highest number of members in the Rajya Sabha – 250.
- Maximum number of elected members in Rajya Sabha – 238
- The President can appoint 12 members from fields such as literature, arts, science, social services, etc.
- Out of 250 members of Rajya Sabha, 234 are from states, 4 are from UT, and 12 are nominated by the president.
- The present number of members of the Rajya Sabha – is 245.
- The present elected members – 233
- Out of 245 members, 229 are from states, 4 are from UT, and 12 are nominated by the President.
Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha
- Article 93 deals with the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- The Speaker is the chief controller or director of the Lok Sabha.
- The Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected by the elected members of the Lok Sabha.
- The Speaker controls the rules and regulations regarding the conduct of the meeting.
- The Speaker controls the privileges of the members.
- In the absence of the Speaker, the vice-speaker conducts the meeting.
- The Speaker remains in his office until the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
- The Speaker and Deputy Speaker may be removed by special notice of Parliament (14 days in advance).
- The Speaker may provide his adjudicating vote if it is equal in the case of voting for any subject in the Loke sabha.
- After the general election, the Speaker presided over the meeting with a quorum.
- The first session of Parliament was held on 13/5/1952.
- Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar was the first speaker of the Lakes Sabha (15/5/52 -27/2/56).
- Neelam Sanjeev Reddy was appointed twice as a speaker in Lok sabha (17/3/1967 – 19/7/1969) and (26/3/77. – 13/7/77).
- Current Lok Sabha – 17th
- Current Speaker – Om Birla (19.6.2019-present).
Glossary of Parliamentary Terms:
 Cut Motion: Three types of Cut Motion can be proposed as per the rules of the Lok Sabha
- Economy Cut
- Disapproval of Policy Cut
- Symbolic Token cut.
- Economy Cut: If the proposed budget allocation seems to be excessive, the economy cut may be proposed to reduce it.
- Disapproval of Policy Cut: Opponents may propose policy cuts to deny government spending in certain sectors. In this case, it is said that the demand for government expenditure will be reduced to a nominal amount.
- Symbolic Token cut: Usually 100 rupees are deducted from the amount demanded by the government for allocating unreasonable expenses.
 Question Hour: The proceedings of the Parliament begin with Question Hour. The first hour was spent questioning the workings of the government. This is the episode of raising questions. At this time the members ask various questions to the minister of the concerned department and later the minister of the concerned department gives his answers. The hours are from 11 am to 12 pm.
 Hung Parliament: Hung Parliament ‘or Triangular Parliament means no party has a majority in any Parliament.
 Zero Hour: The Zero Hour begins as soon as the Question Hour ends and continues until the end of the parliamentary process. During this time the members discuss important issues. Therefore, prior permission of Parliament is not required.
 Guillotine: If there is a deadline or incomplete discussion on the issue of expenditure allocation, the Speaker of the House arranges for a decision without discussion. This method adopted on the last day of the budget session is called a guillotine.
 Votes on Account: Votes on Account is used as an interim measure after the budget and during the period of budget approval. From the date of the commencement of the new financial year till the passage of the annual budget and disbursement law in Parliament, the Lok Sabha allows the government to spend money before the commencement of the new financial year. This system is called ‘Votes on Account‘.
 Point of order: If any member raises questions about the functions of Parliament or if he thinks that Parliamentary functions are not being conducted in accordance with the rules of Parliament, he raises a point of order and the Speaker takes necessary action.
 Quorum: The presence of a certain number of members is desirable before the completion of the proceedings of Parliament. This is one-tenth (1/10) of the total membership. The quorum is considered complete in the presence of 1/10 members. If there is no quorum, the Speaker can suspend the Parliament or certain parliamentary work (article 100).
 Adjournment Motion: The Speaker of the Lower House may declare an adjournment of Parliament related to debates and discussions. The sittings of Parliament are temporarily adjourned and the date and schedule of the next sitting are fixed. This is called an “Adjournment Motion“.
Bills raised in the Indian Parliament can be divided into four parts. They are:
- Ordinary Bill
- Money Bill.
- Financial Bill
- Constitution Amendment Bill
1. Ordinary Bill
- Ordinary bills may be raised in any house of parliament.
- The Rajya Sabha has equal powers in passing general bills.
- Approval of both houses of parliament is required for passing the general bill.
- If there is a difference of opinion on the bill, the Lok Sabha or upper house may delegate more power or the President may convene a joint session with the permission of the Speaker.
- Ordinary bills cannot become law without the consent of the President.
- If the President does not consent, the bill becomes invalid.
- The president can send the bill back to parliament for approval.
- When reconsidered by Parliament, the President is obliged to consent or sign on return.
- Can be raised without the approval of the President.
- The Rajya Sabha can consider it as an amendment and repeal.
- The Rajya Sabha can hold it for a maximum of 6 months.
- The removal of the bill in the Rajya Sabha does not require the approval of the Speaker.
- This bill can be raised by cabinet members.
2. Money bill:
- Article 110 of the Indian Constitution mentions the Money Bill.
- Money bills can only be raised in the Lok Sabha, not in the Rajya Sabha.
- The money bill is raised by the ministers.
- The Rajya Sabha cannot cancel or amend the budget but can withhold 14 days.
- The opinion of the Rajya Sabha is not acceptable in the case of money bills.
- The Lok Sabha may reject the Rajya Sabha’s recommendation.
- The approval of the Speaker is required before sending it to the Rajya Sabha.
- The President is obliged to consent to the Money Bill.
- A joint session cannot be convened in case of a stalemate over the money bill.
- Only with the consent of the President, it can be raised in the Lok Sabha.
- The Speaker of the Lok Sabha issues a certificate on whether the bill is a money bill or not.
The seven topics mentioned in Article 110 are known as money bills. E.g.-
- Tax collection, imposition, lamentation, change and control;
- The regulation or provision of loans, controls or amendments to financial laws adopted by the Government of India;
- The payment and withdrawal of India’s Reserve Expenditure Fund and Contingency Expenditure Fund;
- The appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
- Declaring any expenditure to be an expenditure incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India;
- The accumulation and disbursement of funds in the Consolidated Fund of India or the supervision or disbursement of funds in the government account or the public accounts or the custody, or auditors of the Union and State Governments;
- 1 to 6 related topics.
3. Finance Bill
- Article 117 of the Constitution of India mentions the Financial Bill.
- The Financial Bill requires the credentials of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- In the case of tax and expenditure, additional matters are also included in the finance bill.
- The finance bill is the external part of the seven issues mentioned in the Money bill.
- The finance bill emphasizes matters of revenue and expenditure issues.
- There are three types of Finance bills
- Money bill
- Finance Bill-1 [Article 117 (1)] or First Class Revenue Bill.
- Finance Bill-2 [Article 117 (3)] or second class revenue bill.
Note: All money bills are financial bills, but all financial bills are not money bills.
- Money bills and other matters are attached.
- Can only be raised in the Lok Sabha.
- Cannot be raised without the approval of the President.
- The Rajya Sabha can repeal and amend it.
- The President may call a joint session for disagreement with the bill.
- The President may consent or withhold or send it back to the relevant house for consideration.
- Concerning the accumulated funds under this Bill, which is not mentioned in Section 110
- It will not be passed in any house of the parliament without the consent of the President
- Any house can cancel or modify it
- The president may call a joint session because of the complexity of the bill.
- Once the bill is sent to the President, the President may consent or withhold it or send it back to the relevant house for reconsideration.
Constitution Amendment Bill:
- It can be raised in any house of Parliament.
- Related to an amendment of the constitution.
- It is mentioned in Article 368 of the Constitution.
- The President is obliged to sign the Constitution Amendment Bill. In this case, the President cannot use his veto.
Bill Passing Procedure in Parliament:
The procedure for passing a bill in the Indian Parliament involves several stages and is governed by the rules and procedures laid out in the Constitution of India. Here’s a step-by-step overview of the bill-passing procedure:
- First Reading: Introduction of the Bill:
- The bill is introduced in either the Lok Sabha (House of the People) or the Rajya Sabha (Council of States).
- The member introducing the bill is known as the “sponsor” or “mover” of the bill.
- The bill’s title, objectives, and main provisions are read out for the first time.
- First Reading: General Discussion:
- After the bill’s introduction, there is a general discussion on the bill’s principles and objectives.
- Members have an opportunity to express their initial views on the bill.
- No amendments are proposed or discussed during this stage.
- Second Reading: Detailed Examination and Committee Stage:
- The bill is referred to a parliamentary committee, which can be a department-related standing committee or a select committee, for detailed examination.
- The committee reviews the bill clause by clause, discusses amendments, and makes recommendations.
- The bill can also be discussed and amended in the house during the “Committee of the Whole” stage, where the entire house sits as a committee.
- Report Stage:
- After the bill is examined and amended in committee or the Committee of the Whole, it is reported back to the House.
- Members have the opportunity to discuss and further amend the bill during this stage.
- Third Reading: Final Approval:
- The bill, in its final form, is put to vote for approval.
- Members can debate the bill one last time, but no further amendments are allowed at this stage.
- A simple majority is required for the bill to pass in the House.
- Transmission to the Other House:
- If the bill is passed in the originating house (either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha), it is sent to the other house for consideration.
- The other house goes through a similar process of introduction, discussion, examination in committee, and voting.
- If Amendments Are Made in the Other House:
- If the second house makes any amendments to the bill, it is sent back to the originating house for concurrence.
- If there is disagreement between the two houses regarding the bill’s provisions, they may hold discussions to resolve the differences.
- President’s Assent:
- Once both houses agree on the final version of the bill, it is sent to the President of India for assent.
- The President can either give assent, withhold assent, or send the bill back for reconsideration (if there are specific reservations).
- Bill Becomes Law:
- If the President gives assent, the bill becomes law and is published in the official gazette.
- It then becomes part of the legal framework of the country.
This is the general procedure for passing a bill in the Indian Parliament. It’s important to note that the specific details and stages may vary depending on the type of bill (money bill, ordinary bill, or constitutional amendment bill) and the house in which it is introduced. Money bills have special procedures and must be introduced in the Lok Sabha, while constitutional amendment bills require a special majority in both houses and, in some cases, ratification by a majority of state legislatures.
Function of Parliament
The Parliament of India has several important powers and functions in the country’s democratic system. These powers and functions include:
- Lawmaking: Parliament is the primary legislative body in India. It has the power to make, amend, and repeal laws on various subjects listed in the Union List and Concurrent List of the Constitution.
- Passing Bills: Bills, which are proposed laws, can be introduced in either house of Parliament. After discussion and debate, bills must be passed by both houses and receive the President’s assent to become law.
- Budget Approval: Parliament approves the annual budget presented by the government. This includes the allocation of funds for different government programs and expenditures.
- Taxation: Parliament has the authority to levy and collect taxes. Tax proposals are presented in the annual budget.
Oversight and Accountability:
- Questioning the Government: Members of Parliament (MPs) can ask questions to government ministers, seeking clarifications and information about government actions.
- Debates and Discussions: Parliament conducts debates on important national issues, government policies, and current events.
- Committees: Parliamentary committees, such as the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee, scrutinize government activities and financial matters, ensuring accountability.
- Representation of the People: Parliament represents the diverse population of India. Lok Sabha members represent the people directly, while Rajya Sabha members represent the states and union territories.
- Federal Character: Rajya Sabha plays a crucial role in ensuring the federal character of India by representing the interests of the states.
- Parliament has the authority to amend the Constitution of India. Certain amendments require a special majority, while others require a simple majority.
- During a state of emergency (national or state-level), Parliament has the power to extend the life of the Lok Sabha, suspend certain fundamental rights, and grant the President special powers.
- Parliament ratifies international treaties, agreements, and conventions entered into by the government.
- Parliament has the authority to impeach the President of India, judges of the Supreme Court, and high court judges in cases of misconduct.
- Parliament serves as a platform for discussing various issues, concerns, and policies, providing a forum for the expression of diverse opinions and perspectives.
- In times of national crisis, Parliament can play a vital role in deliberating and deciding on important measures and responses.
These powers and functions collectively make the Indian Parliament the cornerstone of India’s democratic system, providing checks and balances, representation, and a forum for debate and decision-making in the country’s governance.
Parliamentary committees play a vital role in the functioning of the Indian Parliament. They are smaller groups of Members of Parliament (MPs) from both the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) tasked with specific functions, including examining and scrutinizing various aspects of government policies and actions. Here are some key types of parliamentary committees in India:
Department-Related Standing Committees:
- These committees are responsible for examining the budgetary allocations and performance of various government departments.
- They are permanent committees, and there are 24 such committees in total, one for each major ministry or department.
- These committees review the demand for grants and make reports with recommendations.
- Select committees are formed for a specific purpose, usually to examine and report on a particular bill.
- They are temporary committees, dissolved once their task is completed.
- The Rajya Sabha also has select committees that examine bills originating in that house.
Joint Parliamentary Committees:
- These committees include members from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
- They are typically formed to investigate and report on specific issues, such as financial irregularities or important national matters.
- The most famous example is the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), which is occasionally formed to inquire into matters of national importance.
Public Accounts Committee (PAC):
- The PAC is one of the most important parliamentary committees.
- It examines the audit reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and scrutinizes government expenditures to ensure accountability.
- The chairman of the PAC is selected from the opposition party.
- The total number of members is 22. Member of Lok Sabha is 15, and in Rajya Sabha is 7. Duration 1 year.
- Similar to the PAC, the Estimates Committee examines the allocation and utilization of funds by the government.
- It ensures that government spending is in line with the approved budget.
- Member of Lok Sabha is 30. Duration 1 year.
Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU):
- COPU examines the performance and functioning of government-owned public-sector enterprises.
- It assesses whether these enterprises are operating efficiently and effectively.
- 15 members from Lok Sabha & 15 from Rajya Sabha.
Committee on Petitions:
- This committee examines public petitions addressed to Parliament and takes up matters of public interest.
- It ensures that grievances of the public are properly addressed.
- Number of members 15. Speaker of Lok Sabha supervises this committee.
- These committees deal with the rules and procedures governing the functioning of Parliament.
- They propose amendments to the rules as needed.
- Established in 1948. Number of members is 15. Speaker of Lok Sabha supervises this committee.
Business Advisory Committee:
- This committee advises the Speaker of the Lok Sabha on the scheduling and allocation of time for various parliamentary activities.
- Number of members 15. Speaker of Lok Sabha supervises this committee.
- Each house (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) has its own set of house committees, such as the Business Advisory Committee, Committee on Papers Laid on the Table, and others.
Committee on Privilege: Established in 1953. Members 15.
Committee on Government Assurances: Established in 1964. Members – 15.
You may read more about the parliamentary committee here.
The Parliament of India is a dynamic institution that reflects the country’s democratic values, diversity, and commitment to governance by the people and for the people. It serves as the forum where elected representatives deliberate, debate, and make decisions that shape the nation’s destiny.
These parliamentary committees provide a forum for in-depth examination, discussion, and recommendations on a wide range of issues. They help ensure transparency, accountability, and efficient governance by subjecting government actions and policies to scrutiny by elected representatives.
FAQs: Parliament of India.
UPSC Sample Questions
Explain the procedure for passing a money bill in the Indian Parliament. How does it differ from the passage of an ordinary bill? (15 marks)
What are the main functions of the Rajya Sabha in the Indian Parliament? How does its role differ from that of the Lok Sabha? (10 marks)
Discuss the role of parliamentary committees in strengthening democracy and governance in India. Provide examples of specific committees and their contributions. (15 marks)
Examine the role of the opposition parties in the functioning of the Indian Parliament. How do they contribute to the checks and balances in the parliamentary system? (15 marks)
How many Anglo-Indians can be nominated to the Lok Sabha by the President of India?
[D] None (The representation of Anglo-Indians in the Lok Sabha through nomination was abolished by the 104th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019)