Prelims Spotlight: Functions/powers of legislature

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This Spotlight is a part of our Mission Nikaalo Prelims-2022.

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Morning 12 PM  – Prelims Spotlight Session

Evening 06 PM  – TIKDAM/MCQs Session

Evening 08 PM  – Tests on Alternate Days

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10th Mar 2022



Parliament –

Loksabha (house of people) + RajyaSabha (Council of states) + President

  LokSabha RajyaSabha
Other names Lower house, house of people Upper house, council of states
Total strength (state+UT+nominated) 530+13+2
229 elected from states + 4 from UTs + 12 Nominated by president
Maximum strength (state+UT+nominated) 530+20+2
238 +12
Mode of election Direct election – First past the post Indirect by MLAs – proportional representation by single transferable vote
Life cycle 5 yr or until dissolved Continuing chamber (6 year of MP)
Min age to contest polls 25 30
Presiding officer Speaker Vice President (Ex officio
Who can be nominated Anglo Indians
Special knowledge in Literature, art, science,social service  
Money Bill, certification and voting on it Introduced here, speaker certifies can vote and amend Can’t be introduced, can’t vote, can only send recommendation within 14 days
Estimate committee members All 30 from LS No role
Joint sitting presided by Speaker > deputy speaker Not by VP
National emergency discontinuation Resolution by LS No role
No confidence motion, censure motion adjournment motion Only in LS  
Parliamentary law on state list Authorizes (Art 249)  
Creation of new AIS Authorizes (Art 312)  
Introduction of motion to remove VP Introduced here and passed by effective majority LS – simple majority required

Presiding officers

Speaker of previous LS vacates post before first meeting of new LS

President appoint speaker Pro Tem – usually senior most member

Presides over first meeting, oath to members, election of speaker

Speaker is elected and pro tem cease to exist

Speaker fixes the date for election of deputy speaker

Nominates panel of =<10 chairpersons to preside in his/ deputy’s absence


Election and removal (Speaker, deputy and vice CP) and salary

Election -By the members of particular house by simple majority

Removal – 14 days notice and effective majority of house

Charged on CFI and thus non votable


  1. President is part of parliament but not the presiding officer of any house
  2. VP is not the part of parliament yet presiding officer and ex officio chairperson of RS
  3. President can not chair joint sitting even in the absence of speaker and deputy speaker. Deputy CP chairs the sitting in such eventuality
  4. Being elector of same state is not a requirement to contest election of RS or LS (elector in any constituency in India)
  5. Bills introduced by ministers are public bills, those by other members (including members of ruling party) are private bills

Unique provisions

  1. Question hour and not Zero hour is first hour of parliamentary proceeding.
  2. Indian innovation – Zero hour and Calling attention motion
  3. Not mentioned in rule of procedure – Zero hour (calling attention motion is in rules)
  4. Censure motion should state the reasons and can be initiated against individual minister as well; no such requirement for no confidence motion, only against CoM
  5. Adjournment motion is extraordinary device to draw attention to urgent matter of public importance
  Ordinary Bill Money bill CAB
Government approval No Required (introduced by minister only) No
Introduction Either house Only LS Either house
Passage Simple majority Simple Special
Amendments Simple majority RS only recommends changes within 14 days Special majority
Deadlock President can call Joint session after 6 month LS doesn’t have to accept recommendations, bill is passed as such No joint sitting
Returning by President Can return once for reconsideration or withhold assent Can’t return, either assent or reject Shall assent


  1. Only 3 joint sittings so far – dowry bill, banking services bill and POTA bill
  2. Only 14 private member bills have been passed so far, last bill (supreme court enlargement of jurisdiction bill )was in 1968
  3. Right of transgender persons bill was passed by RS (1st private member bill to get the nod of upper house in 45 years)

Budget (Annual Financial Statement, Article 112)

  1. Presentation of budget by FM
  2. General discussion – discuss as a whole
  3. Scrutiny by departmental committees – for 3 to 4 weeks
  4. Voting on demand for grants – voting only in LS and only on non charged expenditure (cut motions at this stage). On last day all remaining demands are put together and put to vote – guillotine
  5. Passing of appropriation bill – voted demands plus charged expenditure, no amendments can be moved here
  6. Passing of finance bill – financial proposals (taxes), amendments to reduce taxes can be moved
Fund Consolidated fund Contingency Public accounts
What comes All receipts and payments Money comes from CFI to meet unforeseen expenditure All public money except CFI (provident fund, remittances etc)
Parliamentary approval Yes No. finance secretary on behalf of president Not required, executive operates


  1. Charged expenditure can be discussed but not voted
  2. Salary and allowance of SC judges, UPSC members, CAG, President, VP, Speaker, deputy, vice CP etc are charged on CFI
  3. Salaries and Expenditure of election commission is not charged on CFI
  4. Salary of high court judges is charged on CF of states while their pension in charged on CFI

State legislative assembly (Vidhansabha)

Vidhan Sabha is equivalent to LS and Vidhan Parishad to RS

Differences are mentioned below

Vidhan Parishad (legislative council): 7 states, Andhra, Bihar, J&K, K’taka, Maharashtra, Telangana, UP

Creation and Abolition of Vidhan Parishad: Vidhan Sabha passes resolution by special majority and Parliament agrees to that resolution by simple majority


  1. Bill passed by Vidhan Sabha – Vidhan Parishad can amend w/i 3 months – Vidhan Sabha accepts or rejects amendments – Vidhan Parishad can hold the bill for 1 more month
  2. Bill passed by Vidhan Parishad – Vidhan Sabha rejects – bill is killed
  3. No provision for joint sitting in states
  4. Maximum strength of Vidhan Parishad ⅓ of Vidhan Sabha, min 40
  5. ⅚ indirectly elected, ⅙ nominated

Governor can reserve all the bills for presidential assent

Once he reserves the bill, his role is over and president can assent, hold back, reject or send the bill for reconsideration

Situations where Parliament can pass bill on state subject

Condition Duration
National emergency 6 months after expiry of emergency
President’s rule Indefinitely but legislature can repeal or modify
International treaty/ agreement Indefinitely
RS passes a resolution by ⅔ majority 1 year of resolution plus 6 months <resolution can be passed again>
2 or more states pass the resolution <applicable only ti those states> Indefinitely

Types of majority

Eg. Total seats – 545

Vacancies due to death and resignation – 10

Absence – 20

Total vote cast – 500 ( 15 present did not cast vote)

Type Simple Effective Absolute ⅔ majority Special Absolute ⅔
Definition 50% present and voting +1 50% of (total – vacancies) +1 50% of total + 1 ⅔ present and voting +1 Absolute and ⅔ simultaneously ⅔ of total +1
Example (500/2) +1 (545-10)/2 +1 (545/2) +1 (⅔*500) +1   (⅔*545)
Used Ordinary bill, money bill Removal of speaker, deputy speaker in LS, VP and vice Cp in RS No where Art 249, 312, 169 Art 368, removal of judges of supreme court, high court, CAG Impeachment of president

Parliamentary committees

Committee Estimates committee Public accounts committee Departmentally related standing committees (24)
Membership 30 (LS) 22 (15+7) 21+10
Appointment Elected every year by proportional representation Elected every year by proportional representation Nominated by Speaker and CP
Chairperson Ruling party member Opposition member from 1967  
Role Examine estimates included in budget and suggest economies in expenditure Examines audit report of CAG Demand for grants and bills

Other Standing Committees in each House, divided in terms of their functions, are:

  • Committees to Inquire:
    • Committee on Petitions examines petitions on bills and on matters of general public interest and also entertains representations on matters concerning subjects in the Union List; and
    • Committee of Privileges examines any question of privilege referred to it by the House or Speaker/Chairman;
  • Committees to Scrutinise:
    • Committee on Government Assurances keeps track of all the assurances, promises, undertakings, etc., given by Ministers in the House and pursues them till they are implemented;
    • Committee on Subordinate Legislation scrutinises and reports to the House whether the power to make regulations, rules, sub-rules, bye-laws, etc., conferred by the Constitution or Statutes is being properly exercised by the delegated authorities; and
    • Committee on Papers Laid on the Table examines all papers laid on the table of the House by Ministers, other than statutory notifications and orders which come within the purview of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation, to see whether there has been compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, Act, rule or regulation under which the paper has been laid;
  • Committees relating to the day-today business of the House:
    • Business Advisory Committee recommends allocation of time for items of Government and other business to be brought before the Houses;
    • Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions of the Lok Sabha classifies and allocates time to Bills introduced by private members, recommends allocation of time for discussion on private members’ resolutions and examines Constitution amendment bills before their introduction by private members in the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha does not have such a committee. It is the Business Advisory Committee of that House which recommends allocation of time for discussion on stage or stages of private members’ bills and resolutions;
    • Rules Committee considers matters of procedure and conduct of business in the House and recommends amendments or additions to the Rules; and
    • Committee on Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House of the Lok Sabha considers all applications from members for leave or absence from sittings of the House. There is no such Committee in the Rajya Sabha. Applications from members for leave or absence are considered by the House itself;
  • Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, on which members from both Houses serve, considers all matters relating to the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which come within the purview of the Union Government and keeps a watch whether constitutional safeguards in respect of these classes are properly implemented;
  • Committees concerned with the provision of facilities to members:
    • General Purposes Committee considers and advises Speaker/Chairman on matters concerning affairs of the House, which do not appropriately fall within the purview of any other Parliamentary Committee; and
    • House Committee deals with residential accommodation and other amenities for members;
  • Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament, constituted under the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, apart from framing rules for regulating payment of salary, allowances and pension to Members of Parliament, also frames rules in respect of amenities like medical, housing, telephone, postal, constituency and secretarial facility;
  • Joint Committee on Offices of Profit examines the composition and character of committees and other bodies appointed by the Central and State governments and Union Territories Administrations and recommends what offices ought to or ought not to disqualify a person from being chosen as a member of either House of Parliament;
  • The Library Committee consisting of members from both Houses, considers matters concerning the Library of Parliament;
  • On 29 April 1997, a Committee on Empowerment of Women with members from both the Houses was constituted with a view to securing, among other things, status, dignity and equality for women in all fields;
  • On 4 March 1997, the Ethics Committee of the Rajya Sabha was constituted. The Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha was constituted on 16 May 2000.
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