The legislature of the Union, also known as Parliament is comprised of the President as well as two Houses, referred to by the names of Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People (Lok Sabha). Each House is required to be present within 6 months of the previous session. A joint sitting between two Houses may be scheduled in certain circumstances.
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The Parliament of India
India has a parliamentary structure of governance. It is the Union Parliament is the supreme organ of the nation’s legislature. Here, you’ll learn more about the duties and responsibilities of Parliament for the governance and polity sections in the UPSC syllabus.
The Indian Parliament is a bicameral parliament made up of two houses, that the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) are elected directly by the citizens through the vote. They are also members of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and are elected by members of the state’s legislative assemblies. The Parliament is comprised of two Houses, as well as The President. President of India.
According to Article 79, the Parliament consists of the President, the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha). Though the President is not a member of either of the Houses, he is an integral part of it.
Composition of Indian Parliament
Maximum Strength — 250 Out of these, President nominates 12 persons having special knowledge or practical experience in the fields of literature, science, art and social service. Presently, the Parliament, by law, has provided 233 seats for the States and the Union Territories. The total membership of the Rajya Sabha is thus 245. All the States and the Union Territories of Delhi and Pondicherry are represented in the Rajya Sabha.
- Representatives of the State are elected by members of state legislative assemblies on the basis of proportional representation through a single transferable vote. [States are represented on the basis of their population].
- There are no seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Rajya Sabha. The qualification to become a member is
a. Citizen of India.
b. 30 yrs of age.
c. Be a parliamentary elector in the state in which he is seeking election.
d. Others as prescribed by parliament from time to time.
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Special Powers of the Rajya Sabha
- A resolution seeking the removal of the Vice-President can originate only in the Rajya Sabba.
- If the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary in the national interest that Parliament should make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in the State List, it shall be lawful for Parliament to make law for a period of not more than one year.
- If the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary in the national interest to create one or more All-India services, Parliament bylaw, provide for such service or services.
- Maximum strength — 550 + 2 [530 — States/ 20 — Union Territories]
- The present strength of Lok Sabha — 545.
- The Ninety First Amendment, 2001, extended the freeze on Lok Sabha and State Assembly seats till 2026.
- The normal tenure of the Lok Sabha is five years, but it may be dissolved earlier by the President. The life of the Lok Sabha can be extended by the Parliament beyond the five-year term when a proclamation of emergency under Article 352 is in force. But the Parliament cannot extend the normal life of the Lok Sabha for more than one year at a time (no limit on the number of times in the Constitution).
- The qualification to become a member is:
- Citizen of India.
- At least 25 yrs of age.
- Mustn’t hold any office of profit.
- No unsound mind/insolvent.
- Has registered as a voter in any Parliamentary constituency.
- If he voluntarily gives up the membership of the party.
- If he overrules the ‘whip’.
- Absent for 60 days without intimation.
- Members’ oath is administered by Pro-Tem Speaker.
- Can resign, by writing to Speaker.
- The presiding officer is Speaker (In his absence Deputy Speaker). The members among themselves elect him.
- The Speaker continues in office even after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha till a newly elected Lok Sabha meets. Usually the Speaker, after his election cuts off all connections with his party & acts in an impartial manner. He does not vote in the first instance but exercises his casting vote only to remove a deadlock.
- Speaker sends his resignation to Deputy Speaker.
- The majority of the total membership can remove Speaker after giving a 14 days notice. (During this time, he doesn’t preside over the meetings). After his removal, continues in office till his successor takes charge.
- The quorum for Either House is 1/10 of the total no. of members.
Privileges of Parliament
- The privileges of each House can be divided into two groups:
- Those which are enjoyed by the members individually.
- Those which belongs to each House of Parliament, as a collective body.
- The privileges enjoyed by the members individually are:
- Freedom from arrest exempts a members from arrest during the continuance of a meeting of the House or Committee thereof of which he is a member and during a period of 40 days before and after such meeting or sitting. This immunity is confined to arrest in civil cases and not in criminal cases or under the law of preventive detention.
- A member cannot be summoned, without the leave of the House to give evidence as a witness while Parliament is in session.
- There is freedom of speech within the walls of each House.
- The limitation on freedom of speech is that no discussion can take place in Parliament with respect to the conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court except upon a motion for removal of the judge (Ref.: Art. 121).
- The privileges of the House collectively are:
- The right to publish debates and proceeding and to restrain publication by others.
- The right to exclude others.
- The right to regulate internal affairs of the House.
- The right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges.
The Legislative Procedures in Parliament
- Bills are of two types viz., Government and Private Member’s Bills.
- Bills may be classified under four heads viz., Ordinary, Money, Financial and Constitutional Amendment Bills. The different stages in Parliament relating to Bills other than Money Bills as follows :
- Motions after introduction
- Report by Select Committee
- Passing of the Bill in the House where it was introduced
- Passage in other House
- President’s Assent
- Money and Financial Bills cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The other Bills can be presented in either House.
- Money, Financial and an Ordinary Bill under Article 3 can be introduced only on the recommendation of the President. It means they cannot be introduced as Private Member’s Bills.
- The legislative procedure adopted for passing Government and Private Member’s Bills is the same.
- Can be ordered by President to consider a particular bill in case:
- a. A bill passed by one house is rejected by other.
- b. The amendments made by the other house are not acceptable to the house where the bill originated.
- c. In case, a bill remains pending unpassed for more than 6 months.
- The joint session is presided over by the Speaker of Lok Sabha or in his absence by the Deputy Speaker,
- If the President has notified his intention to summon the Houses for a joint sitting and then the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the joint sitting takes place notwithstanding the dissolution of the House.
- Most of the members of both Houses present and voting resolves the deadlock over a Bill.
- Since the Lok Sabha has larger membership, its will prevails.
- No fresh amendment can be done in a Joint session.
Sessions of Parliament
- At the discretion of the President Provided that the gap shouldn’t be more than 6 months.
- The Parliament generally meets in three sessions in a year. These are:
- Budget Session: In Feb.-May, longest.
- Monsoon Session: July-August
- Winter Session: Nov.-Dec., shortest.
Prorogation of House
- This means ending the session.
- Pending bills/business does not lapse; they are taken in the next session.
Dissolution of House
- Only of Lok Sabha.
- By President on the advice of the PM.
- Bills pending in Rajya Sabha, passed by Lok Sabha also lapse unless President calls a joint sitting of the 2 houses. Bills pending in Rajya Sabha, not passed by Lok Sabha don’t lapse
- The Budget is the annual financial statement of the Government. It is presented to the Lok Sabha upon the recommendation of the President. It is presented by the Finance Minister. It is the statement of the estimated receipts and expenditures of the Government of India for the following Financial Year. It also contains the actual receipts and expenditures of She previous year with a review of the financial position during that period.
- After the introduction of the Budget, the Lok Sabha discusses the demands for grants (i.e. proposed expenditure) of various ministries and departments and is approved by it, one by one. All the expenditures approved through various demands for grants and expenses charged on the Consolidated Fund of India, are then presented in the form of a single Bill called the ‘Appropriation Bill’.
Conduct of Business in Parliament
- Ordinary Bills: All bills, except money bills, are introduced in either house. [Speaker of Lok Sabha decides whether the bill is a money bill or not].
- Money Bills: It deals with the imposition or abolition of taxes, and matters pertaining to the borrowing of money by the govt. custody & maintenance of consolidated funds, etc.
- It can originate only in Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the President. The Rajya Sabha can only delay it by 14 days. Its final authority lies with Lok Sabha only.
Parliament’s Control Over The Financial System
- Article 265 states that no tax can be levied or collected except by authority of law. The executive, therefore, cannot impose any tax without the sanction of the Parliament.
- All the revenue and loans raised by the authority of law are paid into the Consolidated Fund of India. Under Article 266 no money can be withdrawn or spent or appropriated from the Consolidated Fund of India without the sanction of the Parliament.
Consolidated Fund of India
- It is a fund to which all the revenue, loans raised and income of the Government of India are deposited.
- Similarly, no money can be spent out of this Fund except through the grants made by the Parliament and expenditures charged to the Consolidated Fund of India.
- They are the expenditures that do not require the approval of the Parliament to be spent out of the Consolidated Fund of India. These expenditures are sanctioned either by the Constitution itself or by Acts of Parliament.
- According to Article 112(3), the following are some of the charged expenditures on the Consolidated Fund of India:
- The emoluments and allowances of the President and other expenditures relating to his office.
- The salaries and allowances of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- Debt charges for which the Government of India is liable.
- Salaries, allowances and pensions payable to the Judges of the Supreme Court and the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India and the pension payable to the Judges of the High Courts.
- Other expenses declared by the constitution or parliament are to be chargeable to the Consolidated Fund.
Contingency Fund of India
- Through an act of parliament in 1950
- It has a limit of Rs. 50 crore.
- It is at the disposal of the President. He can make advances out of this fund to meet unforeseen expenses where the Parliament’s approval cannot be obtained owing to the time factor. However, the sanction of the Parliament is necessary to replenish the Fund from the Consolidated Fund of India.
- The States have their own Consolidated and Contingency Funds.
- The Parliament, thus, controls the revenue expenditure and appropriation of the Government of India.
- Appointed to save time.
- Most of them function under the direction of the Speaker and are essentially Committees of the Lok Sabha.
- Classified under two heads:
a. Standing Committees
b. Ad hoc Committees
- Members of the Rajya Sabha are associated with all the Committees except the Estimates Committee. They constitute about one-third of the strength of each Committee. They are either elected by the Rajya Sabha or nominated by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
- Members of the Lok Sabha constitute two third of the strength of the Committee in which Rajya Sabha members are there. They are either elected by the Lok Sabha or nominated by the Speaker.
- The Chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts is appointed by the Speaker from amongst opposition members elected from Lok Sabha.
- In case the Speaker is a member of a Committee, he is the ex-officio Chairman of the Committee.
- The first hour of every sitting in both houses (11-12 AM). In this questions are asked by members & answered by ministers.
3 types of questions:
a. Starred Questions (1 member can ask only one/day) for which oral answers is required.
b. Unstarred Questions for which written answer (10 days notice) is required.
c. Short Notice Questions are the ones which relates to matters of urgent public importance and can be asked by members with notice shorter than the ten days prescribed for an ordinary question.
- From 12-1 PM daily. Time allotted every day for miscellaneous business is call-attention notices, questions on official statements & adjournment motions.
It is a proposal brought before the house for its opinion/decision.
Types of Motion
a. Privilege Motion – A resolution introduced by the opposition that a minister has to mislead the house by giving wrong information.
b. Censure Motion – Can be moved only in Lok Sabha only by the opposition. It can be brought against the ruling government or against any minister for the failure to act or seeking disapproval of their policy. A censure motion must specify the charges against the government for which it is moved. Further, no leave of the House is required for moving it. If a censure motion is passed in the Lok Sabha, the Council of ministers is bound to seek the confidence of the Lok Sabha as early as possible.
c. No Confidence Motion – Can be moved only in Lok Sabha and only by the opposition. It can be brought only against the Council of ministers and not against any individual minister.
Further, unlike a censure motion, a no-confidence motion need not set out any specific ground. Once admitted in the House, it takes precedence over all the pending business of the House. If the motion is adopted by the House, the Council of Ministers is bound to resign.
d. Call – Attention Motion – A member (after permission from the Speaker) calls the attention of the minister to any matter of ‘urgent public importance’.
There is no Call-Attention motion in the Rajya Sabha. Instead, there exists a motion called ‘Motion for Papers’.
e. Adjournment Motion – Leads to setting aside the normal business of the House for discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance.
f. Cut Motions – They are moved in the Lok Sabha only. They are part of the Budgetary process which seeks to reduce the amounts for grants.
Some Important Terms
- A directive issued by any political party to ensure the support of its members voting in favour or against a particular issue on the floor of the House. A person may lose the membership of the party and the legislature if he votes against the whip or abstains from voting.
Lame Duck Session
- This refers to the last session of the old parliament which is held after a new Lok Sabha has been elected after the general election. The lame ducks under it are those members who were part of the old House but could not get re-elected for the new House.
- Refers to a vote taken unexpectedly without voters being briefed or informed about it in advance.
- It is the reorganization f electoral districts attempted by the party to gain some electoral advantage in the forthcoming elections.
- As soon as the new Lok Sabha is constituted, the President appoints a Speaker Pro-tern who is usually the senior-most member (seniority in terms of number of years he/she served as a member) of the House. His functions include administering the oath to the newly elected Lok Sabha members and presiding over the election of the new Speaker. His term ceases as soon as the Speaker is elected.
- When due to lack of time, demands for grants are put to vote whether they are discussed or not in the House on the last day of the allotted time, it is called Guillotine and it concludes the discussion on demands for grants
The Constitution provides for a Legislature for every State in the Union. The Legislature of every State consists of the Governor and House or Houses. The Legislatures in the States are either bicameral (consisting of two Houses) or unicameral (consisting of one House). The Legislature in Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh J.K. & Andhra Pradesh. is bicameral. In the remaining State, the Legislature is unicameral consisting of only one House, i.e., the Legislative Assembly.
Legislative Council [Vidhan Parishad]
- Also known as Upper House. Like Rajya Sabha, it is also a permanent house (sort of) and cannot be dissolved.
- The total strength cannot exceed 1/3rd of the strength of the Legislative Assembly, subject to a minimum of 40 members. The strength varies as per the population of the state.
Creation and Abolition
- As per Article 169, if the Legislative Assembly passes a resolution for abolishing or creating of the Legislative Council by a majority of the total membership of the assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting, the Parliament may approve the resolution by a simple majority.
- A resolution passed by the Legislative Assembly for the creation or abolition of its Council is not binding on the Parliament. The Parliament may or may not approve of such a situation.
- 6 yrs term with 1/3rd members retiring every two years.
- Same as that of Lok Sabha, except for the age which is 30 yrs.
- One-third of the members are elected by local bodies, one-third by the legislative assembly, one-twelfth by university graduates of at least 3 yrs standing, the similar proportion by teachers (not less than secondary school) of at least 3 yrs standing & one-sixth nominated by the Governor from among those persons who distinguish themselves in literature, science or social service.
- The Council elects a Chairman & a Vice-chairman from amongst its members.
Legislative Assembly [Vidhan Parishad]
- Also known as Lower House, just like the Lok Sabha.
- Consists of directly elected representatives.
- Has a term of 5 yrs but can be dissolved by the Governor earlier. Term can be extended by one year during national emergency.
- The Council of ministers is collectively responsible to the Assembly. The Chief Minister is the leader of the house.
- Consists of not more than 500 members & not less than 60 members. The strength varies according to the population of the State concerned. However, the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim, Goa, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Pondicherry have less than 60 members.
- Same as that of Lok Sabha or Legislative Council except that the minimum age is 25 yrs.
- Every Legislative Assembly chooses its two members to be the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
- Their functioning, resignation, removal procedures are exactly the same as the Speaker/Deputy Speakers of the Lok Sabha.
- With reference to Money Bill, the position is the same at Union and State levels
- In case of Ordinary Bill, the only power of the Council is to interpose some delay in the passage of the Bill for a period of three months at the most. Ultimately the will of the Assembly prevails and when the Bill comes to the Council a second time the Council can delay it for not more than a month. There is no provision of joint sitting for solving differences between the two Houses. In the case of a Bill originating in the Council, the Assembly has the power of rejecting and putting an end to it forthwith.
Powers of State Legislature
- Can legislate on subjects contained in the State List as well as Concurrent List.
- Exercise control over State expenses.
- Exercise control over State Council of Ministers (can even remove it by passing the no-confidence motion).
- Participates in the election of the President.
- Has a share in the Amendment of Constitution as some provisions can be amended after ratification by the legislatures of half of the states.
A. Legislative Relations
- The Constitution divides the subject into the –
|Union List||97 subjects|
|State List||66 subjects|
|Concurrent List||47 subjects|
- Parliament has exclusive power on the Union list (contains subjects like defence, foreign affairs, currency, communication, citizenship, inter-state trade & commerce, banking, atomic energy, posts and telegraphs, etc).
- The State List contains subjects on which ordinarily the States alone can make laws. These include public order, police, administration of justice, prisons, local government, agriculture, public health and sanitation, irrigation, etc. but under certain conditions, the Constitution authorizes the Central Government to extend its jurisdiction over matters formally included in the State List. In fact, when a proclamation of emergency is in operation, Parliament can legislate on matters enumerated in all three lists.
- Both Parliament & State Legislature can legislate on subjects contained in the concurrent list. (contains subjects like a criminal and civil law, forest, education, marriage & divorce, drugs, trade unions, labour welfare, newspapers, books & printing press, population control and family planning, etc),
- Residual powers (i.e. subjects not included in any of the lists) rest with the union govt.
- Article 200 directs the Governor to reserve a Bill passed by the State Legislature for the consideration of the President, if in his opinion if passed into law, would derogate the powers of the High Court.
B. Administrative Relations
- The Indian Constitution has a strong bias towards the Centre to make it strong. The Central administration prevails over the State administration.
- The executive powers of the State should be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws of the Union Parliament and not impede or prejudice the executive power of the Union.
- If the State does not comply with the directives of the Centre; the latter may invoke Art. 356 and take over the administration of the State itself.
C. Financial Relations
- States are greatly dependent on the Centre. Constitution provides inadequate sources of revenue to States. Therefore, they have to depend on the Centre for subsidies & contributions. Union exercises control through the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, who audits State accounts. Appointment of Finance Commission by the President every 5 years also adds to it.
- The Centre also has powers to grant loons and provide Grants-in-aid (Article 275) to the States, especially for the purposes of promoting the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes and raising the levels of administration of the Scheduled Areas. This is, in fact, the most important source of income for the States.
- After demands for greater autonomy to States. Appointed in June, 83 under Justice Sarkaria. The Commission submitted its report on Oct 27, 1987.
- Recommended a process of consultation by the centre on all concurrent subjects
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Important Questions on Legislature
Which one of the following is the period for the Legislative Council to detain the ordinary bills? [UPPCS (Mains) 2005]
(A) 3 months
(B) 4 months
(C) 6 months
(D) 14 days
Which one of the following statements about the Chief Minister is not correct? [UP UDA/LDA (Mains) 2010]
(A) He is normally selected by the Governor
(B) He is formally appointed by the Governor
(C) He is chosen by the members of the majority party in the Legislative Assembly
(D) His continuance is office depends upon many factors
Which one of the following legislative House can be abolished? [RAS/RTS (Pre) 2016]
(A) Rajya Sabha
(B) Vidhan Sabha
(C) Lok Sabha
(D) Vidhan Parishad
Under which one of the following Articles of the Indian Constitution, the Legislative Assembly is allowed to resolve for the creation of the Legislative Council? [UPPCS (Pre) 2007, 2011, 2013]
Which one of the following cannot be dissolved but can be abolished? [UPPCS (Mains) 2007]
(A) Lok Sabha
(B) Rajya Sabha
(C) State Legislative Assemblies
(D) State Legislative Councils
FAQs on Legislature 2,3,10,12,14
Which is the Upper Chamber of the State Legislature in India?
The Upper Chamber of the State Legislature in India is Legislative Council.
According to which Article of the Constitution of India, the Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor of a State?
According to Article 164 of the Constitution of India, the Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor of a State.
Which Article of the Indian Constitution provides the provision of Vidhan Parishad in the State?
Article 171 of the Indian Constitution provides the provision of Vidhan Parishad in the State.
What is the right method to establish or cancel the second chamber in the States?
Proposal in Legislative Assembly with full majority along with the law passed by Parliament
The provisions for the creation and abolition of Legislative Councils in any State is included in Indian Constitution under ____
The provisions for the creation and abolition of Legislative Councils in any State is included in Indian Constitution under Article 169.