PARLIAMENT OF INDIA
Parliament or the Central Legislature consists of the President and the two Houses:
(i) The Rajya Sabha (Council of State) and (ii) the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The President is an integral part of Parliament and all bills passed by Parliament must have his assent before they become law. Parliament is to meet at least twice a year and at an interval of not more than six months between one session and another. The maximum strength of the two Houses is fixed at 545 for the Lok Sabha (not more than 525 from the States and 20 from the Union Territories) and 250 (12 nominated) for the Rajya Sabha.
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Qualifications to become a member of Parliament:
- A person should be a citizen of India.
- He should not be less than 30 years of age in order to fill a seat in Rajya Sabha and not less than 25 years of age to fill a seat in the Lok Sabha.
- He should possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed under any law made by Parliament. He is also required to make and subscribe an oath or affirmation to bear the true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India.
A person is disqualified both for being chosen as, and for being, a member of Parliament if he:
(i) holds an office of profit under any Government in India, other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder,
(ii) is of unsound mind,
(iii) is an undischarged insolvent,
(iv) has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign State or
(v) is disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament.
Powers and Functions of Parliament : Parliament has vast legislative powers :
- It can make laws on the subjects contained in the Union and Concurrent Lists.
- In certain cases, Parliament can also make laws on the subjects mentioned in the State List.
- It has vast financial powers. It passes the budget and authorises all the income and expenditure.
- It exercises control over the executive.
- The Lok Sabha or the House of the People has also a share in the election of the President and the Vice-President.
RAJYA SABHA AND LOK SABHA
Rajya Sabha (Council of State):
The elected members are representatives of the States and the nominated members are eminent men in art, literature, science and social services etc. The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body, i.e., it is not subject to dissolution. One third of its members retire after every two years. The elections to the Rajya Sabha are indirect. The alloted quota of every State is elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of that State. The election is
conducted in accordance with the system of proportional representation by a single transferable vote. The Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Lok Sabha (House of the People):
The number of seats to each State is allotted in such a way that the ratio between the number and the population of the State is, as far as practicable, the same for all States. Each member represents not less than 500,000 citizens. The term ordinarily does not exceed 5 years.
The President may, if he is of the opinion that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented in the Lok Sabha, nominate not more than two members of that community to the House of People (Lok Sabha). The Lok Sabha Secretariat comes under the direct supervision of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, who is chief of the Secretariat, is appointed by the President of India as per Article 98 of the Constitution. Except in the case of Money Bills, the Constitution provides equality of status of the two Houses. The Speaker is elected by members of the Lok Sabha for a period of 5 years. The term of the Lok Sabha can be extended for one year at a time. The Lok Sabha can be dissolved before the expiry of its normal term of five years by the President.
The House of the People elects a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker from among its members. The principal function of the Speaker is to preside over the meetings of the House in addition to other duties in connection with the internal affairs of the House of the People.
A Money Bill is not introduced in the Rajya Sabha which has no power over Money Bills. It can
originate only in the Lok Sabha. In financial matters, the Lok Sabha is more powerful than the Rajya Sabha. After a Money Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha,
it is to be sent to the Rajya Sabha for its recommendations. The Rajya Sabha cannot reject or amend a Money Bill by virtue of its own powers. If the Rajya Sabha does not return the Bill within fourteen days, it shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses.
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Election held to elect members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies as also to the office of the President and Vice-President is termed as “General Election”. General Elections are normally held every five years in India. But mid-term elections can be held if the circumstances so demand. General Elections are controlled by the Election Commission consisting of one Chief Election Commissioner and a number of Election Commissioners appointed by the President.
he Election Commission conducts the election of the President and Vice-President of India as well.
Main Duties of the Election Commission: The main duties of the Election Commission are:
- to superintend, direct, control and conduct all elections to Parliament and State Legislatures as also to the office of the President and Vice- President of India;
- to lay down general rules for election;
- to determine constituencies and to prepare electoral rolls;
- to give recognition to the political parties;
- to allot election symbols to different political parties and individual contestants, and
- to appoint tribunals for the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with election to Parliament and State Legislatures.
Powers of the Election Commission are given in Article 324.
Minimum age prescribed for election is :
(i) President of India – 35 years
(ii) Member of Lok Sabha – 25 years
(iii) Member of Rajya Sabha – 30 years.
Mid-term election: is an election held out of schedule as a result of the dissolution of Parliament or a State legislature before it has been in existence for its normal term of five years.
By-election : is held in respect of a seat rendered vacant during the running term of an elected person, which might occur on resignation, death or due to any other subsequent disqualification of the already elected Member. Every person who is a citizen of India and who is not less than 18 years of age and who is not otherwise disqualified, is entitled to vote at the elections of the House of the People (and also of the Legislative Assembly of the States). A member of either House of Parliament will be disqualified from being a member if he has voluntarily given up membership of the party on whose ticket he was elected. Democracy in India rests on the fact that people have the right to choose and change the government.
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