OUR PARLIAMENT

 


Parliament is the supreme legislative body of a country. Our Parliament comprises of the President and the two Houses—Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha.

The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The first general elections under the new Constitution were held during the year 1951-52 and the first elected Parliament came into being in April, 1952, the Second Lok Sabha in April, 1957, the Third Lok Sabha in April, 1962, the Fourth Lok Sabha in March, 1967, the Fifth Lok Sabha in March, 1971, the Sixth Lok Sabha in March, 1977, the Seventh Lok Sabha in January, 1980, the Eighth Lok Sabha in December, 1984, the Ninth Lok Sabha in December, 1989, the Tenth Lok Sabha in June, 1991, the Eleventh Lok Sabha in May, 1996, the Twelfth Lok Sabha in March, 1998 and Thirteenth Lok Sabha in October, 1999.

LOK SABHA

Lok Sabha, as the name itself signifies, is the body of representatives of the people. Its members are directly elected, normally once in every five years by the adult population who are eligible to vote. The minimum qualifying age for membership of the House is 25 years. The present membership of Lok Sabha is 545. The number is divided among the different States and Union Territories as follows:

(1) Andhra Pradesh 42

(2) Arunachal Pradesh 2

(3) Assam 14

(4) Bihar 40

(5) Chhattisgarh 11

(6) Goa 2

(7) Gujarat 26

(8) Haryana 10

(9) Himachal Pradesh 4

(10) Jammu & Kashmir 6

(11) Jharkhand 14

(12) Karnataka 28

(13) Kerala 20

(14) Madhya Pradesh 29

(15) Maharashtra 48

(16) Manipur 2

(17) Meghalaya 2

(18) Mizoram 1

(19) Nagaland 1

(20) Orissa 21

(21) Punjab 13

(22) Rajasthan 25

(23) Sikkim 1

(24) Tamil Nadu 39

(25) Tripura 2

(26) Uttaranchal 5

(27) Uttar Pradesh 80

(28) West Bengal 42

(29) Andaman & Nicobar Islands 1

(30) Chandigarh 1

(31) Dadra & Nagar Haveli 1

(32) Daman & Diu 1

(33) NCT of Delhi 7

(34) Lakshadweep 1

(35) Pondicherry 1

(36) Anglo-Indians (if nominated 2 by the President under Article 331 of the Constitution)

RAJYA SABHA

Rajya Sabha is the Upper House of Parliament. It has not more than 250 members. Members of Rajya Sabha are not elected by the people directly but indirectly by the Legislative Assemblies of the various States. Every State is allotted a certain number of members. No member of Rajya Sabha can be under 30 years of age.

Twelve of Rajya Sabha members are nominated by the President from persons who have earned distinction in the fields of literature, art, science and social service.

Rajya Sabha is a permanent body. It is not subject to dissolution but one-third of its members retire every two years. Rajya Sabha was duly constituted for the first time on April 3, 1952 and it held its first sitting on May 13, that year.

There are at present 245 members in Rajya Sabha, distributed among different States and Union Territories as follows:

(1) Andhra Pradesh 18

(2) Arunachal Pradesh 1

(3) Assam 7

(4) Bihar 16

(5) Chhattisgarh 5

(6) Goa 1

(7) Gujarat 11

(8) Haryana 5

(9) Himachal Pradesh 3

(10) Jammu & Kashmir 4

(11) Jharkhand 6

(12) Karnataka 12

(13) Kerala 9

(14) Madhya Pradesh 11

(15) Maharashtra 19

(16) Manipur 1

(17) Meghalaya 1

(18) Mizoram 1

(19) Nagaland 1

(20) Orissa 10

(21) Punjab 7

(22) Rajasthan 10

(23) Sikkim 1

(24) Tamil Nadu 18

(25) Tripura 1

(26) Uttaranchal 3

(27) Uttar Pradesh 31

(28) West Bengal 16

(29) NCT of Delhi 3

(30) Pondicherry 1

(31) Nominated by the President under 12 Article 80(1)(a) of the Constitution

Presiding Officers

Lok Sabha elects one of its own members as its Presiding Officer and he is called the Speaker. He is assisted by the  Deputy Speaker who is also elected by Lok Sabha. The conduct of business in Lok Sabha is the responsibility of the Speaker.

The Vice-President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. He is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament. Rajya Sabha also elects one of its members to be the Deputy Chairman.

Functions of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

The main function of both the Houses is to pass laws. Every Bill has to be passed by both the Houses and assented to by the President before it becomes law. The subjects over which Parliament can legislate are the subjects mentioned under the Union List in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. Broadly speaking, Union subjects are those important subjects which for reasons of convenience, efficiency and security are administered on all-India basis. The principal Union subjects are Defence, Foreign Affairs, Railways, Transport and Communications, Currency and Coinage, Banking, Customs and Excise Duties. There are numerous other subjects on which both Parliament and State Legislatures can legislate.

Under this category mention may be made of economic and social planning, social security and insurance, labour welfare, price control and vital statistics.

Besides passing laws, Parliament can by means of resolutions, motions for adjournment, discussions and questions addressed by members to Ministers exercise control over the administration of the country and safeguard people’s liberties.

Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

(1) Members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the eligible voters. Members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of State Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.

(2) The normal life of every Lok Sabha is 5 years only while Rajya Sabha is a permanent body.

(3) Lok Sabha is the House to which the Council of Ministers is responsible under the Constitution. Money Bills can only be introduced in Lok Sabha. Also it is Lok Sabha which grants the money for running the administration of the country.

(4) Rajya Sabha has special powers to declare that it is necessary and expedient in the national interest that Parliament may make laws with respect to a matter in the State List or to create by law one or more all-India services common to the Union and the States.