Union Legislature Council Of Ministers: Constitutional Law Notes
Union Legislature Council Of Ministers: The word ‘Parliament‘ is derived from the French word ‘Parler’ which means ‘to talk‘.
The term connotes a place where people sit and discuss national and international problems and enact legislation for their country.
THE UNION PARLIAMENT
- THE PRESIDENT
- THE TWO HOUSES
- THE HOUSE OF PEOPLE (LOK SABHA)
- THE COUNCIL OF STATES (RAJYA SABHA)
The Union Parliament of India consists of the President and the two Houses known as the House of people and the Council of states. The House of people is the Lower chamber where as the council of states is the upper chamber of the house of parliament.
The Rajya Sabha is composed many of representatives of the states elected by the State Assemblies. The Lok Sabha is composed of directly elected representatives on the basis of adult franchise and territorial constituencies. The President is an integral part of the parliament.
Under the Constitution of India, the legislature of the Union is called Parliament is the pivot on which the political system of the country revolves.
THE HOUSE OF PEOPLE (LOK SABHA)
The House of people is known as the ‘Lower House’ of Parliament or the ‘Lok Sabha’ Its members are elected directly by the people.
Composition of Lok Sabha
530 MEMBERS CHOSEN BY DIRECT ELECTION FROM TERRITORIAL CONSTITUENCIES INTHE STATES
NOT MORE THAN 20 MEMBERS TO REPRESENT UNION TERRITORIES
TWO MEMBERS OF THE ANGLO- INDIAN, COMMUNITY MAYBE NOMINATED BY THE PRESIDENT
Under the Constitution, not more than 530 members are to be chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the states, and not more than 20 members to represent the union Territories.
In addition, two members of the Anglo-Indian, community maybe nominated by the President, if he is of the opinion that the community is not adequately represented in the Lok Sabha. Thus the maximum strength of the House envisaged in the constitution is thus 552.
The total elected strength of the Lok Sabha is distributed among the states in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats and the population of any state is as far as possible the same for all states. At present the Lok Sabha consists of 545 members.
Direct Election: The election to the Lok Sabha is conducted on the basis of adult franchise where every man or woman who has completed the age of 18 years is eligible to vote. The Constitution provides for secret ballot. According to the present system, a candidate who secures the largest number of votes is declared elected.
Duration of the Lok Sabha: Lok Sabha has been provided with a fixed term as in the case of the popularly elected House of Representatives in the United States of America and the House of commons in the United Kingdom. The term of the Lok Sabha in India is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting.
The expiration of the period of five years operates as its dissolution. The Lok Sabha may be dissolved before the expiration of its full term under certain circumstances, when a proclamation of Emergency is in force, the term of Lok Sabha can be extended by Parliament for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not exceeding in any case a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate.
Qualifications for membership:
According to Article 84 of the Constitution, following are the qualifications for the membership of Lok Sabha. A candidate must be-
- a citizen of India;
- have attained the age of twenty five years and
- must possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by the parliament. A person holding an office of profit is disqualified from becoming a member of the House.
The Lok Sabha shall meet at least twice a year and the interval between two consecutive sessions shall be less than six months. The time and place of meeting will be decided by the President who will summon the House to meet. He has also the power to prorogue the House.
The Lok Sabha can also be summoned in a special session for disapproving the proclamation under Article 352, if a notice in writing signed by not less than one-tenth of the members of the Lok Sabha is given to the speaker. When such a notice is given the President must summon the session within 14 days.
THE COUNCIL OF STATES (RAJYA SABHA)
The Rajya Sabha is the ‘Upper House’ of Parliament and is sometimes called the ‘House of Elders’.
Composition of Rajya Sabha (Article 80)
TWELVE MEMBERS TO BE NOMINATED BY THE PRESIDENT HAYING SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE OR PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE IN RESPECT OF LITERATURE, SCIENCE, ART AND SOCIAL SERVICE
NOT MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY-EIGHT REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATES AND OF THE UNION TERRITORIES.
The present strength of the Rajya Sabha is 245 of these, 233 are elected by the various State Legislative Assemblies, thus making the Rajya Sabha predominantly an indirectly elected body.
Whereas the Lok Sabha is directly elected on the basis of adult suffrage for five years, the Rajya Sabha is indirectly elected on a proportional representation basis by the state Legislatures. For the purpose of this election to each State is allotted a certain number of seats in the Rajya Sabha.
The main basis of such allotment is the strength of the population in each State. The members of each State Legislative Assembly from the electorate for the purpose of electing the requisite number of members allotted to each state thus ensuring the principle of State representation in the ‘upper chamber’ of parliament.
Another principle that is given recognition in the composition of the Rajya Sabha is representation of talent, experience and service. The method of proportional representation helps better representation of minorities.
Term of Upper House i.e. Rajya Sabha:
The Rajya Sabha enjoys a continuity of life. Under the Constitution, the Rajya Sabha cannot be dissolved. The term of the members of the Rajya Sabha is six years and in this respect it resembles the senate of the United States whose members are also chosen for six years.
In fact, the Rajya Sabha is a permanent body like the American Senate, one third of the members of the Rajya Sabha retire after every two years.
Chairman and Deputy-Chairman of the Rajya Sabha-
The Vice-President of India is ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha. He is elected by an electoral college consisting of the members of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
While the office of the chairman is vacant, or during any period when the Vice- President acts as the President of India or discharges the functions of the President, the duties of the chairman of the Rajya Sabha are performed in the Deputy Chairman. The Rajya Sabha also has a panel of members called Vice-Chairman’ nominated by the chairman for the purpose of presiding over the Rajya Sabha in the absence of both the Chairman and Deputy
POWERS OF THE PARLIAMENT
The Parliament is mainly a law-making organ. It can make laws on all the matters specified in the Union list and Concurrent list of the Seventh Schedule.
The State list is beyond the jurisdiction of the Union Parliament; but under certain circumstances it can also make laws on the subjects enumerated under this list. When the President has declared an emergency, the Parliament gets power to make law on the State list in normal times.
The Parliament can make laws on the State lists if:
- The Council of States has declared by a resolution supported by not less than two-third of its members present and voting that it is necessary and expedient in the national interests that the Parliament should make laws with respect to any particular matter specified in the State list.
- Two or more States request the Parliament to make a law on a particular subject for them;
- Such a law is necessary for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or such other body.
Under a Parliamentary Government, there being no strict separation of powers, the legislative organ controls the executive organ. The Parliament exercises control over the executive through numerous measures. It can move adjournment motions and can thereby bring to light the omissions and commissions of the administration.
It can put questions to the executive to elicit any information regarding administration. It can appoint investigation committees to go into any aspect of administration. In extreme cases, the Parliament can get rid of by passing a motion of no-confidence against it.
The Parliament controls the union purse. No taxes can be levied and no expenditure can be made by the Government without its approval. It determines the financial policy of the country.
The Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution. It is worthy of note that while certain provisions of the Constitution may be amended without the consent of the States, none of the provisions can be amended without the approval of the Parliament.
There are some provisions of the Constitution which the Parliament can amend by a simple majority while certain others it can amend by a two-third majority. There are only a few matters which require the consent of the units.
The Parliament is also a debating assembly. It is the place where national questions are debated upon and policies are formulated. It is here that the actions of Government are reviewed and criticised. The discussion in the Parliament attracts the attention of the entire country and compels the Government to its intentions and policies.
The Parliament constitutes a part of the electoral college to elect the President of India. It alone elects the Vice-President. It has the power to impeach the President.
It can recommend to the President the removal of other high officers of the State including the judges of the Supreme Court. Finally, the proclamation of Emergency by the President is subject to the approval of the parliament.
DISQUALIFICATIONS FOR THE MEMBERSHIP OF PARLIAMENT
- No person shall be member of both the Houses of the Parliament.
- No person shall be member of the Parliament and a State Assembly. The disqualification for the membership of Parliament is different thing from the disqualification for the membership.
A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as a member of either House of Parliament—
- If he holds an office of profit under the Govt. of India or the Government of any State.
- If he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court.
- If he is an undicharged insolvent.
- If he is not a citizen of India.
- If he acquires citizenship of any other State.
- he shows allegiance to any other State.
- If he is disqualified under any law made by the Parliament.
If any question arises as to disqualification of a member, the decision of President shall be final.
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
Article 74 of the Constitution of India provides that there would be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head to aid and advise the President of the Indian Union in discharging his duties.
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President who also appoints other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to communicate to the President all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation and information relating to them.
The Council of Ministers comprises of ministers who are in three categories-
- CABINET MEMBERS– Each member of the cabinet handles an independent charge of a department.
- MINISTERS OF STATE– They are also the ministers of the cabinet rank and help in discharging the duties of cabinet ministers.
- DEPUTY MINISTERS– They are the ministers of the lower rank and work under the state ministers.
THE PRIME MINISTER
The Constitution of India provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers to assist the President in discharging his duties. The Prime Minister of India heads the Council of Ministers. He is the leader of the party that enjoys a majority in the Lok Sabha. While the President of India is the head of the State, the Prime Minister is the head of the Government.
APPOINTMENT– The leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha is appointed as the Prime Minister by the President. The President is the Constitutional head of the Union executive and the Prime Minister is the real head.
- He selects other ministers, who are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
- He presides over cabinet meetings.
- He is the link between the President and the Cabinet It is the Prime Minister who keeps the President informed of the decisions of the Council of Ministers.
- He guides the ministers and coordinates the policies of various departments and ministries.
- He is the leader of the Lok Sabha in Parliament.
- He is the Chairman of the Planning Commission.
- He is the Chief confidential advisor to the President.
Term of the office-The term does not exceed five years. He may also be removed from his office when his party loses majority in Lok Sabha.
Resignation- If the government is defeated in the Lok Sabha, the Cabinet and the Prime Minister both have to resign as they are responsible to the Lok Sabha.
Article 110 of the Constitution defines Money Bill. It provides that-
- For the purpose of this chapter, a Bill shall be deemed to be money bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters, namely:-
- the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;
- the regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the Government of India, or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India;
- the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such Fund;
- the appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
- the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;
- the receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or
- any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f).
- A Bill shall not be deemed to be a Money Bill by reason only that it provides for the imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties, or for the demand or payment of fees for licences or fees for services rendered, or by reason that it provides for the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax by any local authority or body for local purposes.
- If any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People thereon shall be final.
- There shall be endorsed on every Money Bill when it is transmitted to the Council of States under article 109, and when it is presented to the President for assent under article 111, the certificate of the Speaker of the House of the People signed by him that it is a Money Bill.
Procedure in respect of Money Bill- A Money Bill shall not be introduced in the Council of States except on the recommendation of the President.
After a Money Bill has been passed by the house of the People it shall be transmitted to the Council of States for its recommendation and the Council of States shall within a period of fourteen days from the date of its receipt return the Bill to the House of the People with its recommendations and the House of the People may thereupon either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the Council of States. If the House of the People accepts any of the recommendations of the Council of States, the Money Bill shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses with the amendments recommended by the Council of States and accepted by the House of the People.
If the House of the People does not accept any of the recommendation, of the Council of States, the Money Bill shall be deemed to have been passed by both the Houses in the form in which it was passed by the House of the People without any of the amendments recommended by the Council of States.
If a Money Bill is passed by the House of the People and transmitted to the Council of States for its recommendations is not returned to the House of the People within the said period of fourteen days, it shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses at the expiration of the said period in the form in which it was passed by the House of the People. [Art. 109]
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORDINARY BILL AND MONEY BILL
|ORDINARY BILL||MONEY BILL|
|Articles 107 & 108 deal with Ordinary Bills.||Articles 109 and 110 deal with Money Bills|
|An Ordinary Bill can be introduced any of the|
Houses of Parliament.
|A Money Bill can only be introduced in the|
|An ordinary Bill can be introduced only with the|
recommendation of b President.
|The Money Bill can be introduced without|
the recommendations of the President.
|A dead-lock may occur.||No deadlock occurs|
|A Joint session of Houses may be ‘lied to resolve|
|Joint session of the Houses is not necessary.|
|When a Bill is passed in one House and it is sent|
to the other House for passing, the other House
may keep that Bill for six months with it.
|A Money Bill is always passed by Lok Sabha.|
Thereafter it is sent to Rajya Sabha for
recommendations. It can keep only for 14
|The House has to oblige the recommendations of|
the other House.
|Lok Sabha may consider or may not consider|
the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha
pertaining to Money Bills.
|Certificate from the Speaker’s not necessary.||The Speaker has to give a certificate for the|