Union Government

Published by vishal.hembram1990 on

• Article 52: There shall be a President of India. He shall be the head of the state.•• Article 53: Executive powers of the Union shall be vested in the President (and shall be) exercised by him either directly or through the officers subordinate to him in accordance with the constitution.
Election of the President (Articles 54 & 55)
• Article 54 provides that President shall be elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of:-(a) Elected members of both houses of parliament; and(b) Elected members of the legislative assemblies of the states.
•• In Art-54 & Art – 55 the word “State” includes “National Capital Territory of Delhi” and UT of Pondicherry (Puducherry). This was added by 70th Amendment Act, 1992. Members of legislative councils (in case of the bicameral legislature in state) do not participate in presidential election. Nominated members of both the Houses at the Centre and the States do not participate in the election of the President.
• Article- 55 (1) : There shall be uniformity in the scale of representation of the different states at the election of President.
• Article- 55 (3) : states that the election of the President shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote & the Voting is done through secret ballot.• To secure uniformity among states and parity between the Union and states following formula is adopted:

INDIAN POLIY & GOVERNANCE  •• Population data used for these calculations are of 1971 census. 42nd amendment, 1976 froze the “last preceding census” to 1971, till the first census after 2000.•• In 2000, the Union cabinet decided to extend the freeze on fresh delimitation of parliamentary and assembly constituencies up to 2026.•• After calculating the value of vote of MLAs and MPs, a complex system of calculating the quota of individual candidates is used which is based on the order of preference of candidates.
Disputes on election of the President•• Article 71 provides that all doubts and disputes arising out of the election of President or Vice-President shall be ‘inquired’ into and ‘decided’ by the Supreme Court whose decision shall be final.•• If the election of President is declared void by the Supreme Court, the acts performed by President before the date of such decision of court remain valid. • Article 71(4) declares that the election of President or Vice-President cannot be challenged on the ground that electoral college was incomplete.
Qualification for election as President :
A person to be eligible for election as President should fulfil the following qualifications:
• He should be a citizen of India.• He should have completed 35 years of age.• He should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.• He should not hold any office of profit under union or state government.
Note: A sitting President or Vice-President of the Union, the Governor of any state and a Minister of Union or State is not deemed to hold any office of profit and hence qualified as a Presidential candidate.
Conditions of president’s office:(a) U nder Article 59, the President cannot be a member of either house of parliament or any state legislature. If such a member is elected President, he shall be deemed to have vacated his seat in that house on the date which he enters the office of President.(b) His emoluments, allowances and privileges are determined by the parliament by law. His Salary and allowances cannot be diminished during his term of office.(c) Oath or affirmation of President’s office is administered by the Chief Justice of India (Article 60) or by the senior most judge of the Supreme Court.(d) Term of office of President is 5 years from the date on which he/she enters upon his/her office. The president is eligible for re-election.(e) He may be elected for any number of terms.
Vacancy in the President’s office:

A vacancy in the President office can occur in any of the following ways:

• On the expiry of his tenure of five years.

• By his resignation.

• O n his removal by the process of impeachment.

• By his death.

• When his election is declared void.

Note: Any person i.e. Vice-President, Chief Justice of India acting as a President or discharging the functions of the President enjoys all the powers and immunities of the Presidents.

Impeachment against the President•• Impeachment is a quasi-judicial procedure in the parliament in (Article 61).• Impeachment charge against the President can be initiated by either houses of the parliament.• If the vacancy is caused by ending of the term, election to fill the vacancy must be completed before the expiry.Outgoing President continues to hold office even if his/ her term has expired until his/her successor enters his/her office.

• If there is some other reason of vacancy other than expiry of term, election to fill the vacancy must be held within the 6 months from the date of occurrence of vacancy. The Vice-President shall act as President [Article 65(1)].•• If the President is temporarily unable to discharge his/her duties due to an absence from India, illness or any other such cause, Vice-President shall discharge his functions until the President resumes his duties [Article 65(2)].•• In case the office of Vice-President is vacant, the Chief Justice of India (or if his office is also vacant, the senior most judge of the supreme court available) acts as the President or discharges the functions of the President.•• When any person, i.e. Vice-President, chief justice of India, or the senior most judge of the Supreme Court is acting as the President or discharging the functions of the President, he enjoys all the powers and immunities of the President and is entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as are determined by the Parliament.
Impeachment Process
·         Charge must be in the form of a proposal/ resolution signed by not less than 1/4th of the total members of the house that turned the charges and 14 days’ advance notice should be given to the president.
·         This resolution must be passed by a majority of not less than 2/3rd of the total membership of the initiating house.
·         Charge is then investigated by the other house. The President has right to appear and to be represented at such investigation.
·         If the other house, after investigations, passes a resolution by 2/3rd majority of the total membership declaring that the charge is proved, the President is removed from the office from the date on which the resolution is passed.
In this context, two things should be noted:
(a) the nominated members of either House of Parliament can participate in the impeachment of the President though they do not participate in his election;(b) the elected members of the legislative assemblies of states and the Union Territories of Delhi and Pondicherry do not participate in the impeachment of the President though they participate in his election.No President has so far been impeached.

Privileges of the President (Article 361):(a) He is Not answerable to any court for the exercise of powers and duties of his office.(b) During his term of office, no criminal proceedings, no process for arrest or imprisonment can be undertaken.(c) No civil proceeding until:-(a) A notice in writing has been given to the President two months in advance.(b) The notice states the nature of proceeding, cause of action, name, residence and description of the party taking the proceedings and the relief claimed.

Powers and Functions of the President:
• “Executive power of the union shall be vested in the President” (Article 53).• All executive powers are exercised by the President with the advice of the council of ministers [Article 74(1)].• After the 42nd constitutional amendment it became obligatory for the President to seek advice of council of ministers. 44th Amendment gave him the power to send back the advice for reconsideration. But if the council of ministers sent back the same advice, President had to act according to such advice.
•• “Executive Power” refers to the power exercised by the council of ministers in the name of the President. The council of ministers is the “real executive”.•• The Prime-minister and other minister holds office during his pleasure.• He appoints the Attorney Gernal of India. The AGI holds office during the pleasure of the President. He appoints:1.    The Comptroller and Auditor General of India,2.    The Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners,3.     The Chair-man and members of the UPSC,4.     Chairman of Finance Commission,5.     The Governors of State.6.     He can declare any area as scheduled area.
Legislative Powers:
•• President is an integral part of the parliament. He exercises legislative powers with ministerial advice [Article 74(1)].•• When a bill is presented to the President for his consent, he can take following 3 steps:
(a) He may give his assent to the bill.(b) He can withholds his ascent to the bill.(c) He may (in case of bills other than money bills) return the bill for reconsideration of the parliament.•• A money bill cannot be returned for reconsideration.•• But if a bill (other than money bill) is passed again by both houses of parliament with or without amendment and again presented to President, he has to give assent to it.•• In case of state bills reserved by Governor for consideration of President, President has power of absolute veto, i.e. withholding of assent to the bill. Reservation is compulsory in the case where the law in question would derogate the powers of the high court under the constitution.•• In case of money bill of states so reserved, President may either declare his assent or withhold his assent.•• He has power to summon, prorogue the parliament and he can dissolve the Lok Sabha (Article 85).•• He shall have the power to summon a joint sitting of both houses of parliament in the case of deadlock over an ordinary bill presided over by speaker (Article 108).•• Addresses both houses of parliament assembled together, at first session after each general election to the Lok Sabha and at the commencement of first session of each year.• President has right to address either house or their joint sitting at any time, and to require the attendance of members for this purpose. President has right to send messages to either house of parliament either in regard to any pending bill or to any other matter.• He nominates 12 members of the Rajya Sabha from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art and social service.[Aricle-80(1)]• He can nominate two members to the Lok Sabha from the Anglo-Inidan community. (Aricle-331)•• He decides on questions of disqualification of MPs in consultation with the election commission.•• He lays certain reports and statements before parliament like: Reports of CAG, UPSC, Finance Commission, Special Officers for SCs/STs, Linguistic minorities, Commission on backward classes and Annual Financial Statement(Budget).•• Prior recommendation of President for introducing legislation is required on:(i) Bill for formation of new states or alteration of boundaries of existing states (Article 3).(ii) Money bill [Article 117(1)].(iii) Bill involving expenditure from consolidated fund of India even though it may not be a money bill.(iv) State bills restricting Freedom of Trade (Article 304).

• Presidential veto’s can be of following types:

The Veto power enjoyed by the executive in modern states can be classified into the following four types:

1. Absolute VetoIt is the power to say no to a Bill passed by both Houses of Parliament. Such as Bill never becomes an act. The power cannot be overridden by the legislature. The Indian President has this power in relation in Bills except Money Bills.

2. Suspensive VetoThe President exercises this veto, when he returns a Bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.However, if the Bill is passed again by the Parliament, with or without amendments and again presented to the President, it is obligatory for the President to give his assent to the Bill.

3. Pocket VetoIn this case, the President neither assents nor rejects nor returns the Bill, but simply keeps the Bill pending for an indefinite period. This power of the President not to take any action (either positive or negative) on the Bill is known as the Pocket Veto.Since, the Constitution of India does not specify a time limit for the President to give assent to a Bill, the Indian President can exercise Pocket veto.

4. Qualified VetoIt is the power of veto which can be overridden by the legislature by a higher majority. The American President may return a Bill within 10 days specifying his objections to the Bill. If both the houses pass the Bill again with 2/3rd majority (present and voting) the veto is overridden. If the requisite majority cannot be mustered, the veto stands. In India, there is no Qualified veto.•• President of India enjoys Absolute, suspensive and pocket veto.
Financial Powers:•• He causes to be laid before the parliament the “Annual Financial Statement” or the “Budget”.•• Money Bill can be introduced in the parliament only with his prior recommendation.•• No demand for grant can be made except on his recommendations.•• He can make advances out of the contingency fund of India to meet any unforeseen expenditure.•• He constitutes a “Finance Commission” after a gap of 5 years to recommend the distribution of revenues betweencentre and states.
Executive Powers:•• All executive actions of GoI are performed in the name of the President.•• He appoints the Prime Minister and on his advice ministers of the union; judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, Governors of the states, Attorney general, Comptroller & Auditor General, Chairman and members of public service commission, members of the finance commission, other official commissions, special officers for SCs & STs, commission to report on administration of scheduled areas, Interstate council, Commission to investigate the condition of backward classes, special officers for linguistic minorities.•• These officials hold their office during the pleasure of the President. They can be removed by following the procedure laid down in the constitution. He/she exercises these powers with the advice of council of ministers.•• He makes rules specifying the manner in which the orders and other instruments made and executed in his name shall be authenticated.• He directly administers the Union Territories through administrators appointed by him.• He appoints the Chief Justice and the other judges of Supreme Court and high courts.• He can seek the advice of the Supreme Court on questions of law or fact Such advice tendered by the Supreme Court is not binding on him.• He can appoint an inter-state council to promote centre state operation.• He can declare any area as scheduled area and has power with respect to the administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas.
Judicial Powers:•• He appoints the Chief Justices and the other judges of Supreme Court and high courts.•• He can seek the advice of the Supreme Court on questions of law or fact. Such advice tendered by the Supreme Court is not binding on him.•• Under Article 72, President has the power to grant:i.              Pardons which completely absolve the offender from all punishments.\ii.            Reprieves or stay on the execution of the sentence for a temporary period.iii.           Respites or awarding lesser punishment on special grounds.iv.           Remission or reduction of sentence without changing it’s character.v.            Commutation or substitution of one form of punishment for another form which is lighter.

 •• To suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence –i.    By court martial.ii.  An offence against any law relating to any matter to which executive power of the union extends.􀂃 In all cases of death sentence.•• He is the only authority for commuting a death sentence.•• Pardoning powers on the President is to correct possible judicial errors.•• Power of President is an executive power and independent of judiciary. He is not a court of appeal and cannot becompelled to give a hearing to a petitioner. Courts cannot interfere in the exercise of this power.•• The President uses his pardoning powers on the advice of union government.
Military Powers:President is the supreme commander of the armed forces of the country. The exercise of this power is regulated by law (Article 53). He appoints the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air force. He can declare war or conclude peace subject to the approval of the parliament.
Diplomatic Powers:He represents India in international forums. He sends and receives ambassadors and diplomatic representatives. All treaties and international agreements are negotiated and concluded in his name though subject to approval of the parliament.
Emergency Powers:•• The President can proclaim emergency in the entire country or in any part of it on the grounds of war, external aggression or armed rebellion.•• Term ‘armed rebellion’ was inserted by the 44th constitutional amendment act (1978), replacing the original term ‘internal disturbance’.•• The President can proclaim this emergency only after receiving a written recommendation from the cabinet.•• The proclamation of emergency must be approved by the parliament (both houses) within one month. If approved, the emergency shall continue for six months.•• It can be extended for an indefinite period with an approval of the parliament for every six months.• A national emergency has been proclaimed three times so far in 1962, 1971 and 1975.
President can impose three types of emergencies :(a) National Emergency (Article-352)(b) President’s Rule (Article-356 & 365)(c) Financial Emergency (Article-360)•• During national emergency President can:i. Give directions to any state with regard to the manner in which its executive power is to be exercised.ii. Extend the normal tenure of the Lok Sabha by one year at a time.iii. Modify the pattern of the distribution of financial resources between the union and the states.iv. Suspend the fundamental rights of citizens except the right to life and personal liberty (article 21) and the right to protection in respect of conviction for offences (article 20). Moreover, the right to six freedoms (article 19) can only be suspended in case of external emergency (i.e. on the grounds of war or external aggression) and not in case of internal emergency (i.e. on the grounds of an armed rebellion).• The Parliament can make laws on items mentioned in the State List during the period of national emergency. Such laws become ineffective six months after the emergency.• If a notice in writing signed by not less than 1/10th of total members of Lok Sabha describing their intention to disapprove the continuation of emergency, served to Speaker of House or to President if house is not in session, special sitting shall be held within 14 days from date of such notice.• Satisfaction of President can be challenged on grounds of malafide intention.• In Minerva Mills Vs Union of India it was held that there is no bar to judicial review of the validity of proclamation of emergency issued by President under Article 352(1).But court’s powers are confined to check whether limitations conferred by constitution are complied with or not.

Vice President:

•• Article 63 of the constitution provides that there shall be a Vice-President of India.•• Article 66 says that the Vice-President is elected by the member of both houses of parliament in a joint session by secret ballot with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. States have no role to play in his election.•• Qualifications of the Vice-President are same as those of President except that he must be eligible for election to Rajya Sabha.•• His term of office is 5 years. He may resign from his office before the expiry of normal term by writing to the President.•• He can be removed from the post of the Vice President by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha, passed by a majority of all the members of the house and agreed to by a simple majority of the Lok Sabha. Such a resolution can bemoved only after giving 14 day’s notice of the intention to move the resolution.•• While resolution for impeachment of the President can be moved in the either of the houses, the resolution for the removal of Vice-President can only be moved in the Rajya Sabha.•• Vice-President gets a salary and other emoluments as chairman of Rajya Sabha.
Functions of The Vice President:•• No functions are attached to the office of the vice president.•• He is the ex-officio chairman of Rajya Sabha (Article 64).•• He presides over the meetings of Rajya Sabha but is not a member of Rajya Sabha. He has no right to vote.• During his discharge of his functions as a President, in case that post falls vacant on account of the death, resignation or removal of the president (Article 65).• He is entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by parliament by law, mentioned in second schedule.
The Prime Minister and Council of Ministers:
• Vice President can act as President only for a maximum period of six month within which a new President has to be elected.• While acting as the President, the Vice-President shall have all powers and immunities of the President.• While acting as President or discharging the function of President, the vice president does not perform the duties of the office of the Chair-man of Rajya Sabha.• While Vice-President is acting as President the duties of Chair-man of Rajya Sabha are performed by the Deputy Chairman.Parliamentary democracy in India envisages the presence of a nominal and real executive. They are the President and the Prime Minister respectively.• Prime Minister is the ‘Real Chief Executive’. The office of the Prime Minister first originated in England and was borrowed by the framers of the Constitution.

The Prime Minister

Appointment & oath :• The Constitution does not contain any specific procedure for the selection and appointment of the Prime Minister.• Article-75(1) of the Constitution provides that the Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President.• A person can be appointed as Prime-Minister, even if he is not a member of either house of Parliament and may continue to be so upto a period of six months.• The Prime Minister by virtue of Article-75(4) is required to take two types of Oath in the presence of the President which are as follows:1. Oath of office.2. Oath of secrecy.
Generally the President has no choice in the appointment of the Prime Minister and invites the leader of the majority political party in the Lok Sabha for this office. The Prime Minister theoretically holds office during the pleasure of the President. But the Prime Minister actually stays in office as long as he enjoys the confidence of the Parliament especially the Lok Sabha. The normal term is five years but it is automatically reduced if the Lok Sabha is dissolved earlier.

Salary:•• The Prime Minister gets the same salary and allowances which are paid to the members of Parliament. He also receives a constituency allowance like other MPs. In addition, he is also entitled to a sumptuary allowance, free official residence, free travel medical facilities, etc.

• Powers of Prime Minister. 

The Prime Minister enjoys extensive powers which are as follows-1. The President convenes and prorogues all sessions of the Parliament in consultation with him.2. He can recommend the dissolution of Lok Sabha to the President before expiry of its normal term.3. All the members of the council of ministers are appointed by the President on the recommendations of the Prime Minister.4. He allocates portfolios among the various ministers and reshuffles them. He can ask a minister to resign and can even get him dismissed by the President.5. He presides over the meetings of the council of ministers and exercises a strong influence on its decisions.6. He exercises general supervision over the working of other ministers and ensures that they work as a team.7. The Prime Minister can bring about the fall of the council of ministers if he resigns. He is the pivot around which the council of ministers revolves.8. The Prime Minister is the chief channel of communication between the President and the council of ministers and keeps the former informed about all the decisions of the council.9. He assists the President in the appointment of all high officials.10. He can recommend to the President, with the concurrence of other cabinet ministers, to proclaim a state of emergency on grounds of war, external aggression or armed rebellion.11. He advises the President about imposition of presidential rule in the states on grounds of breakdown of constitutional machinery or imposition of an emergency due to financial instability.12. He is the chairman of the Niti Aayog, National Development Council & Inter-State Council.

Council of Ministers:

•• “There shall be a Council of Ministers with Prime Minister as its head to aid and advice the President, who shall in exercise of his functions act in accordance with such advice” [(Article 74(1)].•• The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, Ministers are appointed by the President on advice of the Prime Minister [Article 75(1)].•• The ministers hold office during the pleasure of president [Article 75(2)].•• There is no constitutional bar for a nominated member to be appointed as a union minister.•• There is no bar on the appointment of a person from outside the legislature as minister, but he cannot continue as minister for more than 6 months unless he secures a seat in either house of parliament by election or nomination.[Article 75(5)].•• The salaries and allowances of ministers are determined by the Parliament.•• Constitutional duties of the Prime Minister as provided in Article 78 is to communicate to the President “all decisions” of the council of ministers relating to:i. Administration of the affairs of the union.ii. Proposal for legislation.iii. To furnish information relating to the administration of affairs of the union and proposals for legislation as the President may call for.iv. If the President so requires to submit for the consideration of council of ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by the council.•• Allocation of the portfolios among ministers is done by the Prime Minister.
Powers of Council of ministers:·         The council of ministers formulates and implements the policy of the country. It introduces most of the importantbills and resolutions in the parliament and steers them through.·         It prepares and presents the budget to the parliament for its approval.·         The foreign policy of the government is determined by the council of ministers. It advises the president with regard to appointments of diplomats.
Collective Responsibility:

• Council of ministers are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha [Article 75(3)]. The ministry resigns if it loses the confidence of the Lok Sabha.•• Vote of no confidence passed against any minister leads to the resignation of the entire council of Ministers.•• They work as a team and swim and sink together.
Individual Responsibility•• The principle embodied in Article 75(2) is that of individual responsibility. It says that the minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.•• Hence a minister can be dismissed even if the ministry has the confidence of legislature.
Legal ResponsibilityThe system of legal responsibility of a minister is not prescribed in the Indian Constitution. Further the courts are barred from inquiring into the nature of advice rendered by the ministers.


The Constitution (Article-76) has provided for the office of the Attorney General for India. He is the highest law officer in the country.He is appointed by the President and holds office during his pleasure. To be eligible for appointment as Attorney General of India, a person must possess the qualifications prescribed for a judge of the Supreme Court. He is entitled to such salary and allowances as may be determined by the President. The Attorney General is entitled toaudience in all courts in the country and can take part in the proceedings of the Parliament and its committees.However, he is not given the right to vote.The team of office of the Attorney General is not fixed by the Constitution. Further, the Constitution does not contain the procedure and grounds for his removal.Attorney General can be removed from office by the President at anytime.The remuneration of the Attorney General is not fixed by the Constitution.
Functions:He is the chief legal adviser of the Government of India and gives it advice on all such legal matters which may be referred or assigned to him by the President.He also performs such other legal duties as are assigned to him by the President from time to time.The Attorney General appears before the Supreme Court and various High Courts in cases involving the Government of India.Attorney General of India (AGI) does not fall in the category of Government servants. Further, he is not debarred from private legal practice.In addition to the AGI, there are other law offices of the Government of India. They are the Solicitor General of India and additional Solicitor General of India.They assist the AGI in the fulfilment of his official responsibilities.Note: K.K. Venugopal is the current Attorney General of India.
The ParliamentThe parliament is the union legislature of India. It consists of the President and two houses the Lok Sabha (house of people) and Rajya Sabha (council of states). Article 79 to 123 in Part-V deals with the provisions of the Parliament.
Functions of Parliament:
·         To call for information·         To monitor expenditure of public funds·         To be a forum for the expression of grievances·         To be a forum for debate·         To represent the Electorate·         To Legislate·         To hold the government accountable for its actions·         To form the Government
Lok Sabha:
Lower House of the parliament and also known as the first chamber.•• Members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the people.•• Total membership is fixed at 552 by the constitution.Their distribution among the states and Union Territories are:i. 530 representatives from the states.ii. 20 members from the Union Territories.iii. 2 Anglo Indian members nominated by thePresident if such community has not been adequately represented.•• The mode of election of the Lok Sabha is:i. State representatives are elected directly by the people of the state.ii. Union territory representatives are elected in the manner prescribed by parliament by law.iii. Every citizen of India of 18 years and above and is not disqualified on the grounds of non-residence, unsoundness mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practices is entitled to vote (Art 326).•• Constitution 61st amendment act (1987) has reduced the age of voting from 21 to 18 years.•• Term of lok sabha is normally 5 years but it can be dissolved earlier by the President.•• Its term can be extended beyond 5 years by the parliament.This can be done during the proclamation of emergency (Under Art 352). But this extension can not be done for a period exceeding one year at a time and such extension cannot continue beyond a period of 6 months after proclamation of emergency ceases to operate.
Pro Tem SpeakerAs provided by the constitution, the speaker of the last Lok Sabha vacates his office immediately before the first meeting of the newly-elected Lok Sabha. Therefore, the President appoints a member of the Lok Sabha as the speaker Pro Tem. Usually, the senior most member is selected for this. The President himself administers oath to the speaker Pro Tem.The speaker Pro Tem has all the powers of the speaker.He presides over the first sitting of the newly-elected Lok Sabha. His main duty is to administer oath to the new members.He also enables the house to elect the new speaker.When the new speaker is elected by the house, the office of the speaker Pro Tem ceases to exist. Hence, this office is a temporary office, existing for a few days.
Rajya Sabha:
The Rajya Sabha is the second chamber or Upper House of the Parliament. It consists of representatives of the states.The maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is 250. Of these, 238 represent the states and union territories and the rest are nominated by the President. The nominees are persons who have distinguished themselves in the field of literature, art, science, social service and so on. Representatives of the states are elected by members of state legislative assemblies on the basis of proportional representation through a single transferable vote. It is noteworthy that in the Rajya Sabha, the states have been provided representation on the basis of their population.•• Rajya Sabha is a permanent house and is not subject to dissolution.•• Its members are elected for a period of 6 years but 1/3rd of its members retire after every 2 years.As regards qualifications for membership of the Rajya Sabha, the candidate must –•• be a citizen of India.•• be 30 years of age or more.•• be a parliamentary elector in the state in which he is seeking election.•• possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by the parliament from time to time.
Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha•• The Vice-President of India is the ex-officio chairman of the council of states.•• Deputy chairman is elected by the Rajya Sabha. He shall be a member of Rajya Sabha.•• Office of deputy chairman terminates if he ceases to become the member of the council.•• Deputy chairman can also resign, submitting his resignation to the chairman in writing. He can also be removed from his office by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha, passed by a majority of all the then members of the council. But such a resolution can only be moved by giving at least 14 days’ notice in advance.•• If the office of chairman is vacant, deputy chairman discharges his functions. But if the office of deputy chairman is also vacant, the duties of his office shall be discharged by such a member of the Rajya Sabha as the President may appoint for the purpose.•• The sitting of the house is presided over by the chairman and in his absence, by the deputy chairman. But if both of them are absent then such person as may be determined by the rule of procedure of the council shall preside over the sitting of the house.Qualifications for the Membership of Parliament (Art 84)•• The individual should be a citizen of India.•• He should be at least 30 years of age for Rajya Sabha and 25 years for Lok Sabha.•• He should possesses such other qualifications as prescribed by the parliament.•• His name should be registered as a voter in any parliamentary constituency.•• No minimum educational qualification has been prescribed.•• He/she must not hold any office of profit under the union or state government.•• He must be a member of a scheduled caste or scheduled tribe in any state or union teritony, if he wants to contest a seat reserved for them.Joint Session of the House• Art 108 provides that when a bill is passed by one house is sent to the other. The other house may:i. Reject the bill altogether.ii. Disagrees on it and returns it with some amendments which are not ultimately considered by the originatinghouse.iii. Takes no action and more than 6 months time has passed.iv. The President in such a case may summon a joint sitting of both the houses.•• At a joint sitting of two houses, the speaker of the Lok Sabha and in his absence, the deputy speaker, or if he is also absent, deputy chairman of the council of states and if he is also absent, such person as may be determined by the members present in the sitting presides. Lok Sabha by its numerical majority prevails over the joint sitting.• This provision does not apply to money bill.•• There cannot be a joint sitting for constitution Amendment bills. Nor do such bills require previous sanction of the President.•• President cannot summon a joint sitting if the bill has lapsed by reason of a dissolution of Lok Sabha.
Special Powers of Lok Sabha with respect to Rajya Sabha:•• A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject a Money Bill. It should return the bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days with or without recommendations.The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject fall or any of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha. In both cases, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by the two houses.•• A Financial Bill, not containing solely the matters of Article 110,  can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha. But, with regard to its passage, both have equal powers. The final power to decide whether a particular bill is a Money Bill is vested in the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over the joint sitting of both the houses.•• The Lok Sabha with a greater number wins the battle in a joint sitting except when the combined strength of the ruling party in both houses is less than that of opposition parties.•• Rajya Sabha can only discuss the budget, but cannot vote on the demands for grants. A resolution for the discontinuance of the national emergency can be passed only by the Lok Sabha and not by the Rajya Sabha.•• The Rajya Sabha cannot remove the Council of Ministers by passing a No-Confidence Motion. This is because the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible only to the Lok Sabha.
Special power of Rajya Sabha with respect to Lok Sabha:
As a federal chamber, it can initiate Central intervention in the State Legislative field. Article 249 of the Constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha may pass a resolution, by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting, to the effect that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that Parliament should make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in the State List. If such a resolution is adopted, Parliament will be authorised, to make laws on the subject specified in the resolution, for the whole or any part of the territory of India.Such a resolution will remain in force for such period, not exceeding 1 year, as may be specified therein, but this period can be extended by 1 year at a time by passing further resolutions.
Sessions of the Parliament:
•• A ‘Session’ of the parliament is the period spanning between the first sitting of a House and its prorogation (or dissolution in case of Lok Sabha) During a session the House meets every day transact business.
• Parliament normally meets in three sessions in a year:-i. Budget Session: February – Mayii. Monsoon Session: July – Augustiii. Winter Session: November – December
Legislative Procedure in Parliament:
•• The legislative procedure is identical in both the Houses of Parliament. Every bill has to pass through the same stages in each House. A bill is a proposal for legislation and it becomes an act or law when duly enacted.•• Bills introduced in the Parliament are of two kinds:public bills and private bills (also known as government bills and private members’ bills respectively). Though both are governed by the same general procedure and pass through the same stages in the house, they differ in various respects. Public bill can introduced by a minister which requires seven days notice. It reflects the policies of the government and its rejection by the house shows non confidence of ruling party in parliament and may leads to its resignation while private bill introduce by any member of parliament and requires one month notice. Its rejection has no implication on parliamentary confidence.•• The bills introduced in the Parliament can also be classified into four categories:1. Ordinary bills, which are concerned with any matter other than financial subjects.2. Money bills, which are concerned with the financial matters like taxation, public expenditure, etc.3. Financial bills, which are also concerned with financial matters (but are different from money bills).4. Constitution amendment bills, which are concerned with the amendment of the provisions of the Constitution.The Constitution has laid down separate procedures for the enactment of all the four types of bill.
Ordinary Bill:
•• This is a bill other than money bill and finance bill.•• An ordinary bill may originate in either house of the parliament.First ReadingAt this stage the title of the bill is read and a brief speech regarding the aims and objective of the bill is made. Opponents of the bill also make a brief speech at this stage and after a formal vote, the bill is published in gazette.Second ReadingAt this stage the general principles of the bill as a whole are discussed and decision regarding reference of the bill to the appropriate committee is taken. No amendments are possible at this stage.Committee StageAfter the second reading, the bill is referred to the appropriate committee where its provisions are thoroughly discussed.The committee can also make suitable suggestions for improvement of the bill and suggest necessary amendments.Report StageThe committee submits its report to the House, where it is thoroughly discussed. The members of the House hold a clause-by-clause discussion and vote thereon. At this stage, they can also propose fresh amendments, which are accepted by majority vote.Third ReadingA general discussion on the bill takes place and formal voting for the acceptance or rejection of the bill is held. No amendments can be proposed at this stage.After a bill has been passed by one house it is transmitted to the other house, where it goes through all these stages once again. After the bill has been passed by the other house, it is sent to the President for assent. However, if the other house proposes certain amendments which are not acceptable to the resolved by convening a joint-sitting of the two houses where the decision is taken by majority vote.The President can either accord his assent or return the bill for reconsideration of the Parliament. But if the Parliament repasses the bill, the President has to accord assent to it.
Money Bill (Article 110):
• Whether a bill is a money bill or not is decided by the speaker of the lok sabha.•• Art 109 says that a money bill can only be introduced in Lok Sabha and not in Rajya Sabha and only with the prior recommendation of the President.•• When a money bill is passed by the Lok Sabha, it is sent to Rajya Sabha for its recommendations. Rajya Sabha must return the bill with or without any recommendations, within 14 days from the date of receipt of bill. It is the discretion of the Lok Sabha whether to accept or reject recommendations of Rajya Sabha. The bill now is deemed to be passed by the Lok Sabha and is sent to the President for his/her assent.•• President cannot withhold his/her to a money bill (Art 111).•• There is no provision for a joint sitting in the case of a money bills as the Lok Sabha has a final say in the matter.
Financial Bills:
•• They are of 3 kinds-1 Money bills2. Other financial bills3. Bills involving expenditure•• A financial bill will deal with matters mentioned in Art 110 (1). A money bill deals with other matters also.Therefore all money bills are financial bills but all financial bills are not money bills.•• All financial bills are introduced only in the Lok Sabha after the recommendations of the President.•• A financial bill is passed like an ordinary bill.•• Joint session can be held for a finance Bill.
Constitutional Amendment Bill (Article 368):•• Certain provisions of the Constitution can be amended by the Parliament by simple majority. These include provisions relating to the creation of new states, reconstitution of existing states, creation or abolition of upper chambers in the state legislature, etc.•• Some provisions can be amended by Parliament by a two-third majority and also require the approval of the legislatures of not less than one-half of the states, (There is no time limit within which the states should give their consent to the bill). Provisions that can be amended this way include election of the President, powers of the union and state executive, union judiciary, High Courts, representation of states in Parliament, amendment procedure, etc.•• But a major portion of the Constitution can be amended by a two-third majority in parliament. This must also be the clear-cut majority of the total membership of each house. The provisions which can be amended in this ways are F. R., D.P.S.P, etc.•• It may be noted that provisions which affect the federal character of the Constitution can be amended only with the approval of the states.
•• A notable feature of the amendment procedure in India is that the initiative rests with the Centre and the states cannot initiate any amendments.

Our next topic will be State Government. Click on the link to directly go to the topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *