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Parliamentary Form Of Government

The Executive, Legislative and Judiciary are the three organs of the government. Parliament comes under the legislative Organ of the Union Government. The Parliament plays a vital role in governing our Indian democratic system. Under the constitution of India, Article 79 to 122 of part V discussed the parliamentary form of government. Parliament is a bicameral legislature consisting of the President and of two houses.

Organization Of Parliament

Under the Constitution of India, the Parliament consists of three parts:
  • President
  • Council of State or Rajya Sabha or Upper House : they represent the States and the Union Territories of India.
  • House of people or Lok Sabha or Lower House: represent the people as a whole.
The President is not a member of either house of the parliament and does not sit in parliament to attend meetings. The President is an integral part of parliament. Bills cannot be passed without the assent of the President.

Composition Of Two Houses

Composition of Rajya Sabha
  • Maximum strength of Rajya Sabha 250 ( 238 from States and Union Territories, 12 nominated by president).
  • Currently we have 245 members ( 229 from States, 4 from Union Territories, 12 nominated by president).
  • 4th schedule of the constitution deals with the allocation of Seats to Rajya Sabha.
Composition of Lok Sabha
  • Maximum strength of Lok Sabha 552 (530 from States, 20 for Union Territories, 2 nominated by president).
  • Currently we have 545 members (530 from States, 14 from Union Territories, 2 Anglo-Indians nominated by president).

Representation of States
Rajya Sabha - Members are elected by elected members of State Legislative Assemblies.

Elections are held by the system of Proportion representation by means of single transferable vote.

Seats are allocated on the basis of population.

Lok sabha - They are Directly elected by the people from the territorial constituencies in the states.

The principle of election is based on Universal adult franchise. As by 61st Constitution Amendment Act, the age for voting reduced from 21 to 18.

Representation of Union Territories
Rajya Sabha - Indirectly elected by electoral college. Delhi and Puducherry are have such representation.

Lok Sabha - As by Union Territories Act, 1965 enacted by parliament, members are selected by direct election.

Nominated members
Rajya Sabha - President nominate 12 members who have special knowledge or practical experience in art, literature, science and social service.

Lok sabha - President can nominate 2 Anglo-Indian community. This provision extended till 2020 by 95th Amendment Act, 2009.

Duration Of Two Houses

Duration of Rajya Sabha
  • It is a permanent body and cannot be dissolution.
  • 1/3rd members are retired for every two years.
  • Representation of people Act (1951) provide the terms of officer to be 6 years.

Duration of Lok Sabha
  • It is not a continuous body and normal term is 5 years.
  • President can dissolve the Lok Sabha at any time even before completion of 5 years.
  • The terms of Lok Sabha extended during the period of National Emergency.

Membership Of Parliament

Qualifications: Constitution lays down certain qualifications for the membership of parliament
  • He must be a Citizen of India
  • He must make an oath or affirmation before the person who authorized by election commission
  • He must not less than 30 years in case of Rajya Sabha and 25 years of age in case of Lok Sabha
  • Other qualifications prescribed by parliament.
  • As per Representation of People Act(1951), he must register as an elector for a Parliamentary constituency
  • He must be a member of SC/ST of the State/Union Territories, if he want to contest in seat reserved for them.

Disqualification: a person shall be disqualified for being elected as MP, under constitution
  • If he hold office of profit under the Union or State Government
  • If the court declared that he is unsound mind or he is insolvent
  • He is not a Citizen of India or voluntary acquired the Citizenship of foreign States
  • Disqualified by any law made by parliament.
  • As per Representation of People Act(1951), a person shall be disqualified for election offences or corrupt practices in elections, imprisonment for two or more years
  • Failed to submit an account of his election expenses. Offences of bribery, dowry, sati etc.

Vacating of seats:
Seats of MP are vacated when he is double membership, disqualified, resigned the post, by absence in meeting and other cases.

Oath and affirmation:
A member cannot take oath, he cannot vote or participate in any proceeding of house and does not eligible for privileges or immunities.

Salaries and allowances:
Parliament enacted Salaries, Allowance, Pension of Members of Parliament Act in 1954.

Presiding Officers

  1. Speaker of Lok Sabha:
    He is the head Lok sabha. He elected by Lok Sabha, amongst its members. He hold office during the life of Lok Sabha. Speaker can vacate his office earlier,
    • If he ceases to be a member of Lok Sabha
    • He resign by writing to Deputy Speaker
    • He removed by passing resolution in Lok Sabha by majority. Such resolution passed only after giving 14 days prior notice.
    Power and duties - he maintain order and decorum, and has primary responsibility.
    • He is an interpreter of the provisions of constitution, the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and Parliamentary precedents within the house.
    • Adjourns the meeting and suspends the meeting in absence of a quorum (1/10th of total members)
    • He not vote in first instance, he casting vote when tie.
    • He presides over a join meeting of the two houses to settle deadlock
    • By request of Leader of House, he can conduct secret setting
    • He decided whether the bill is money bill or not
    • If the question is rise in disqualification of member on the ground of under Schedule 10, the speaker decide it. It is judicial review.
    • He act as a ex-officio chairman of the Indian Parliamentary group.
    • Chairman of all the Parliamentary committees of Lok Sabha are appointed by speaker. He administrate their functions.
    • He is the chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, the Rules Committee and General Purpose Committee.
  2. Deputy speaker of Lok Sabha:
     Elected by Lok Sabha itself among its members. Date of election fixed by speaker. He hold office during the life of Lok Sabha. He can vacate his office, as like speaker of Lok Sabha. Whenever he appoint as a member of Parliamentary Committee, he is chairman. Deputy speaker not subordinate to speaker, he directly responsible for house. His powers and function are similar to speaker.
  3. Panel of Chairperson in Lok Sabha:
    speaker of Lok Sabha nominate a panel of members not more than 10 chairperson to preside over the house in the absence of speaker and Deputy speaker, but not act when the post are vacant. They hold office until the new panel is nominated.
  4. Speaker Pro Tem:
    President appoint member of Lok Sabha as a speaker Pro Tem when last Lok Sabha speaker vacated before the 1st meeting of newly elected Lok Sabha. He presides the first meeting of newly elected Lok Sabha. His duty is to administer the oath to new member and enable them to select the new speaker. When new speaker elected, he ceases to exist.
  5. Chairman of Rajya Sabha:
    Presiding officer of Rajya Sabha is called as a Chairman. Vice-president is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. He hold office until he removed from post of vice-president.

    His powers and functions are similar to the speaker of Lok sabha except the speaker he has special power:
    • When speaker decide the bill is money bill or not, his decision on this question is final.
    • He presides the joint meeting of two houses of parliament.
  6. Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha:
    Is elected by Rajya Sabha itself among its members. He vacate his office as like the speaker of Lok Sabha. He performs duties of Chairman when the vice-President act as President.
  7. Panel of Vice-Chairperson of Rajya Sabha:
    Under the rules of Rajya Sabha, the chairman nominate among the members a panel of Vice-Chairperson of Rajya Sabha. Their duties and functions are similar to Panel of Chairperson of Lok Sabha.
  8. Secretariat of parliament:
    Each house of the parliament has separate secretarial staff of its own. Their requirements and conditions of services are regulated by parliament. Secretariat of each house is headed with secretary general. He is appointed by the presiding officer.

Leaders In Parliament

Leader of House:
Means the Prime Minister. It is an important functionary. It exercise direct influence on the conduct of business.

Leader of Opposition:
Means leader of largest opposite party having not less than 1/10th of total strength of House. They questioning the policies of government.

Whip - appointed by political party to serve as an assistant floor leader. Charged with responsibility of ensure the attendance of the party members in numbers.

Sessions Of Parliament

Summon - president summon to each House to meet. Maximum gap between sessions not more than 6months. They meet twice a year. There are usually 3 sessions in year
  • Budget session (Feb. to May)
  • Monsoon session (July to September)
  • Winter session ( November to December)

Adjournment - Sitting of Parliament can be terminated by adjournment. It suspends the work in a sitting for specified time, for hours, days, weeks.

Prorogation - after declaration of adjournment, the business of session is completed, within few days president sent notice of prorogation of the session. The president can also prorogue the session.

Dissolution - when Lok sabha dissolution all the bills are lase, the newly constituted Lok Sabha reintroduced it.

Quorum - means minimum number of members present in House during transact the business, including presiding officer it be 1/10th of total member of in each House. If there is no quorum during a meeting, the presiding officer can adjourn or suspend the meeting.

Voting in House - a matters at any sitting of either House or join setting of both houses are decided by a majority of votes. Only few matters mentioned in Constitution like impeachment of the president, Amendment of Constitution required special majority.

Language - constitution has declared Hindi and English is language for transacting in Parliament. Presiding officer permit a member to address in his mother tongue.

Ministers and Attorney General - have the right to speak and take part in the proceeding of either House, join setting of both houses, committee of Parliament, but not entitled to vote.

Lame-duck Session - means after a new Lok Sabha elected, members of existing Lok Sabha not re-elected to the new Lok Sabha.

Parliamentary proceeding are use devices to take decision like questing hours, point of order, resolution, youth parliament etc. Legislative follow procedure for passing bills like etc. in parliament. If any requirement they call join setting of two Houses.

Written By: MGB Balarathna, BALLB, Pursuing 1st year LLM in Government Law College Tiruchirapalli affiliated under Tamil Nadu Dr.Ambedkar Law University.

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