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Parliament of India
Sansad
Coat of arms or logo.
Type
Type Bicameral
Houses Rajya Sabha
Lok Sabha
Leadership
Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Mohammad Hamid Ansari, (I)
since 11 August 2007
Speaker of the Lok Sabha Meira Kumar, (INC)
since 30 May 2009
Structure
Members 825
280 Members of RS
545 Members of LS
Election
House of Commons Last election Indian general election, 2009
Meeting place
Sansadbhawan.jpg
Sansad
Website
Rajya Sabha Website
Lok SabhaWebsite

The Parliament of India (or Sansad Bhawan) is the supreme bicameral legislative body of the federal government of the Republic of India. It consists of the office of President of India and two Chambers, the House of Commons, known as the Lok Sabha and the Council of States, known as the Rajya Sabha. The Members of either house are commonly referred to as Member of Parliament or MP. The MPs of Lok Sabha are elected by direct election and the MPs of Rajya Sabha are elected by the members of the State Legislative Assemblies in accordance with proportional voting.

Of the 545 members of the House of Commons, 530 members represent the territorial Constituencies in the States and the remaining represent the Union territories, chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law provide. These members serve a five-year term until the next General Election are held. House seats are apportioned among the states by population in such a manner that the ratio between that number and the population of the State is, so far as practicable, the same for all States.

The 250 Members of the Council of States serve a staggered six-year term. 12 of these members are nominated by the to be nominated by the President and shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely Literature, science, art and social service. The 238 members are representatives of the States shall be elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the State in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. Every two years, approximately one-third of the Council is elected at a time.

Part V of the Constitution vests all legislative power in the Parliament that consists of the President of Republic of India and both the Chambers. The House and the Council are equal partners in the legislative process (legislation cannot be enacted without the consent of both chambers); however, the Constitution grants the House of Commons some unique powers. Revenue-raising or “Money” bills must originate in the House of Commons. The Council of States can only make recommendations suggestions over these bills to the House, within a period of fourteen days - lapse of which the bill is assumed to have been passed by both the Chambers. But it is only up to the House to either approve these amendments or may reject it.

Any bill can become an act only after it is passed by both the houses of the Parliament and assented by the President. The Central Hall of the Parliament is used for combined sittings of the lower and upper houses and is of historical significance.

The Parliament meets in the Sansad Bhawan on Sansad Marg in New Delhi.

Contents

Lok Sabha

Sansad Bhavan in 2006

Lok Sabha is also known as the "House of the People" in Hindi or the lower house. Almost all of its members are directly elected by citizens of India. It is the more powerful of the two houses and can precede or overrule the Rajya Sabha in certain matters.

The Lok Sabha can have up to 552 members as envisaged in the Constitution of India (Article 81). It has a term of five years but it may be dissolved earlier by the President in the event of no confidence motion. Its duration may also be increased twice by 6 months during any national emergency.

To be eligible for membership in the Lok Sabha, a person must be a citizen of India and must be 25 years of age or older, mentally sound, should not be bankrupt and has no criminal procedures against him/her. Up to 530 members can be elected from the states, up to 20 members from the Union territories and no more than two members from the Anglo-Indian community can be nominated by the President of India if the president feels that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented. The Lok Sabha has 545 members, some seats are reserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The representatives from States and Union territories are directly elected by the people on the basis of universal adult suffrage. Every citizen who is over 18 years of age, irrespective of gender, caste, religion or race, who is otherwise not disqualified, is eligible to vote.

Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha is also known as "Council of States" or the upper house. Its members are indirectly elected by members of legislative bodies of the States.

The Rajya Sabha has 250 members in all. Elections to it are scheduled and the chamber cannot be dissolved. Each member has a term of 6 years and elections are held for one-third of the seats after every 2 years. The composition is specified in Article 80 of the Constitution of India.

The Council of States is designed to maintain the federal character of the country. The number of members from a state depends on the population of the state (e.g. 31 from Uttar Pradesh and one from Nagaland).

The minimum age for a person to become a member of Rajya Sabha is 30 years.

Parliamentary Committees

Parliamentary Committees play a vital role in the Parliamentary System. They are a vibrant link between the Parliament, the Executive and the general public.

The need for Committees arises out of two factors, the first one being the need for vigilance on the part of the Legislature over the actions of the Executive, while the second one is that the modern Legislature these days is over-burdened with heavy volume of work with limited time at its disposal. It thus becomes impossible that every matter should be thoroughly and systematically scrutinised and considered on the floor of the House. If the work is to be done with reasonable care, naturally some Parliamentary responsibility has to be entrusted to an agency in which the whole House has confidence. Entrusting certain functions of the House to the Committees has, therefore, become a normal practice. This has become all the more necessary as a Committee provides the expertise on a matter which is referred to it.

In a Committee, the matter is deliberated at length, views are expressed freely, the matter is considered in depth, in a business-like manner and in a calmer atmosphere. In most of the Committees, public is directly or indirectly associated when memoranda containing suggestions are received, on-the-spot studies are conducted and oral evidence is taken which helps the Committees in arriving at the conclusions.

Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds: Ad hoc Committees and the Standing Committees.

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Standing Committees

Each House of Parliament has Standing Committees like the Business Advisory Committee, the Committee on Petitions, the Committee of Privileges and the Rules Committee, etc.

Standing Committees are permanent and regular committees which are constituted from time to time in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Parliament. The work of these Committees is of continuous nature. The Financial Committees, DRSCs and some other Committees come under the category of Standing Committees.

These are the Committees on Subordinate Legislation, the Committee on Government Assurances, the Committee on Estimates, the Committee on Public Accounts and the Committee on Public Undertakings and Departmentally Related Standing Committees (DRSCs).

The Committee on Estimates, the Committee on Public Accounts, the Committee on Public Undertakings and DRSCs play an important role in exercising a check over governmental expenditure and Policy formulation.

Ad hoc Committees

Ad hoc Committees are appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report. The principal Ad hoc Committees are the Select and Joint Committees on Bills. Others like the Railway Convention Committee, the Committees on the Draft Five Year Plans and the Hindi Equivalents Committee were appointed for specific purposes.

Ad hoc Committees are appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report. The principal Ad hoc Committees are the Select and Joint Committees on Bills. Railway Convention Committee, Joint Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex etc also come under the category of ad hoc Committees

Building

The Parliament House (Sansad Bhavan) is a circular building designed by the British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker in 1912–1913. Construction began in 1921, and in 1927 the building was opened as the home of the Council of State, the Central Legislative Assembly and the Chamber of Princes.

The roof of the outer circle of the structure is supported by 144 granite pillars. The Houses are located on Janpath, close to the former Viceroy's House (Rashtrapati Bhavan). It can also be seen from the India Gate.

The former Chamber of Princes was home to the Supreme Court of India until 1958.

The Foundation stone of Parliament House was laid on the 12th February,1921 by H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught. The construction of the building took six years and the opening ceremony was performed on the 18th January,1927 by the then Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin. The cost of construction was Rs 83 lakhs. Size of the Building Parliament House is a massive circular edifice 5600 feet (about 170 metres) in diameter. Its circumference is about one-third of a mile (or about half a kilometre) and it covers an area of nearly six acres (about 24000 square metres). The open veranda on the first floor is fringed with a colonnade of 144 creamy sandstone columns—each 27 feet (8.23 metres) high. The building has twelve gates among which Gate No. 1 on the Sansad Marg is the main gate.

References


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Redirecting to Parliament of India


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