Polity Titbits: Functions/powers of legislature

Legislature

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 29 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

 

 

LS RS
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

 

RS 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

Titbits:

  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

 

Titbits:

  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

Titbits:

  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

Titbits:

  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 reserves 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

 

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