Functioning of the parliament of India
The parliament of India is unquestionably the articulation of the trust and confidence that the people of India have in the essence of democracy. These are nothing but the involvement of the people in the decision-making method and government by concurrence.
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of India. According to Article 79 of the Constitution, the Parliament is composed of the Lok Sabha (House of People), Rajya Sabha (Council of States), and the President of India who acts as their head. Currently, the Lok Sabha comprises 543 members(maximum strength is 552) while Rajya Sabha comprises 245 members(maximum strength is 250).
Sessions of the Parliament:-
When the Parliament is functioning, the Parliament is said to be in session. This is the period during which the house meets to conduct its business. While when it is not functioning, it is said to be in recess. The President of India is empowered to summon each House of the Parliament at any point in time but the maximum gap between two sessions of the Parliament must not be more than 6 months. This means that the Parliament of India must meet at least twice a year. The Parliament of India conducts three sessions each year:-
- Budget Session:- From January to May
- Monsoon Session:- From July to September
- Winter Session:- From November to December
Apart from these Sessions, the Constitution of India through Article 85(1), empowers the President of India to summon each House of the Parliament to meet at any such time and place as he thinks fit in the form of Special Session, Emergency Session, or Joint Session. After the functioning of one session is complete, the Speaker/Chairman adjourns the House of the Parliament after which the President sends a notice of Prorogation and the house stands prorogued.
Lapse of Bills:-
The Lok Sabha gets dissolved after every five years while the Rajya Sabha is a permanent body.
When the Lok Sabha gets dissolved, the bills pending in Lok Sabha get dissolved lapses regardless of the origin. The bills pending in the Rajya Sabha will lapse if it is passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha. However, if it is not passed by the Lok Sabha(the bill is pending in both houses), the bill does not lapse.
If there is a deadlock among the two houses of the Parliament regarding any bill then a joint session of the two houses is called under Article 108 by the President. If the joint session regarding any bill has already been notified then that bill does not lapse. If the bill is passed by the two houses and is pending before the President for his assent, then also the bill will not lapse. If the bill is passed by the two houses and the President has sent the bill to the house of the Parliament for reconsideration, then the bill will not lapse.
Quorum of the Parliament:-
Article 100 of the Constitution provides for a Quorum of the Parliament. It is a minimum attendance of the Members of Parliament which is required in the House for any meaningful business to take place is called a quorum. The present quorum of the Parliament is 10% of the total members of the house.
Language of the Parliament:-
English and Hindi are official languages for the functioning of the Parliament. But the Presiding Officer of the House may allow the members to speak in their mother tongue as well and simultaneous translations of their speech will be done for other members for their understanding
Voting in the House:-
After a bill is tabled in the Parliament, the debate is done between the government and the opposition. After the debate, the bill is laid down for voting. The voting procedure is of various types, like sound votes, voting by division, and vote recording. In the sound votes, the Presiding Officer decides whether the bill should be passed or not on the basis of ‘ayes’ and ‘noes’ among the Member of Parliament. Voting Recording is done through Automatic Vote Recording Machine in which three lights are present, Red for No, Green for Yes, and Yellow for Abstaining from Vote.
Right of Participation:-
Ministers and the Attorney General of India have the right to participate in the proceedings of both the houses of the Parliament. But, the Ministers have the right to vote in only that house of the Parliament in which he is a member. Attorney General has no right to vote in any house of the Parliament.
Article 105 empowers the Parliament to frame its rules and regulations for the functioning of the Parliament on its own. The Parliament also has some conventions which are followed from the times of the British Rule and are still in practice with minor changes. It is the duty of the Presiding Officer of the House of Parliament to make the members of the house follow these rules and conventions.
With time, there have been numerous changes in the functioning of the Parliament. The recent innovations of televising the Question Hour and other important debates go a long way to bring Parliament to the door-steps of the people. Conscious of the fact of the people watching them, members find it difficult to be absent during the Question Hour. They are more careful about their behavior before the camera.
There have been revamping in the anatomy of governance globally that are effectively transferring huge strength to non-elected institutions. The power and authority of trust in the efficacy of institutions that are not subject to popular authorization like transnational institutions, courts, utility commissions, and independent human rights commissions are exceptional. Thus the Parliament unquestionably needs wide-ranging improvement as the inaccurate performance of the legislative branch of government is always greatly politicized. Furthermore, the abundance of political parties in the Parliament, the majority of which are institutionally powerless, has generously expanded the obstructions to aggregate activity.
Author: Yatharth Tripathi,
1st year, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi/ Student