Parliamentary committees in India: appointment, kinds & functions
As we know every country has its own government. They have or make their own law, according to the demand or need of people. There are basically two type of government system that is acquired in the world. These are parliamentary system of government and the second is presidential system of government. Different nations have adopted different type of government out of the two prescribed system of government that we have named earlier. For example United State of America have adopted presidential system of government while on the other hand India, Canada, Italy, Japan ,etc have Parliamentary form of government. Presidential system and Parliamentary system both have its own different way of making of government.
Many countries in the world have democratic government through which every individual have rights to select their representative or leader by voting them. Most of the democratic country have opted parliamentary system as opposed to presidential system. As we all aware that India has opted parliamentary form of government. Now the question What is parliamentary system of government and how it is different from presidential system of government. The answer is that Parliamentary system of government which consist of democratic form of government in which the party one which get maximum vote forms the government and its leader becoming Prime Minister.
The Executive functions are exercised by members of the parliament that are appointed by the prime minister to the cabinet. But the Prime ministers may be removed from power whenever they lose the confidence of a majority of the ruling party. It is considered that the parliamentary system of government is originated from Britain and after that it was adopted in various countries. On the other hand The presidential system of government in which the president is directly elected by the people and the president is the chief executive. It is considered that the presidential system of government is origanated in United State Of America. The presidential form of government is alternative to the parliamentary system of government.
About Parliamentary committee
It is true that one person can not handel properly the demand and issues of people and can not staisfiy their demand. Therefore various types of committee are formed to handel the situation and demands of people and to satisfy them. These committee have different functions according to their prescribed board or relevant mater. In the same way, The Parliamentary committees are established to understand and deal with various matters which are not directly handled by the legislature. It is right that they also monitor the functioning of the executive branch. Now the parliamentary committee are divided into two types for example first is standing committee that is also known as permanent committees and second is ad hoc committees. Let’s understand these committee further in more details.
Types of Parliamentary committees
There are basically two types of parliamentary committees. These are mentioned as below:-
- Standing committee
- Ad hoc committee
In the standing committee the representative is elected or appointed periodically. The representative work till the tenure of his or her appointment over. It is further divided into three parts. These parts are given as below:-
- Financial standing committees (FSC)
- Departmental standing committees (DRSC)
- Other standing committees
- Financial Standing Committees:- The financial committee are further categorized in three types, these are given as below:-
- Public Accounts Committee:- This committee consist of 22 members ( 15 from lok sabha and 7 from Rajya sabha )The main function of public account committee is to examine the expenditure reports and various accounts under the purview of the parliament. The chairperson of this committee is appointed by the speaker to the senior member of ruling party since 1966-67. But for the first time in 1967, a member of opposition party in Lok Sabha was appointed as the chairman by the speaker. And this procedure of appointment of member from opposition party is continue till date.
- Estimates Committee – This committee consist of 30 members which are elected by Lok Sabha from its member every year. The main function of this committee is to examines the estimates of the expenditure proposed by the government in the budget and suggests ‘economies’ in public expenditure.
- Committee on Public Undertakings- This committee consist of 22 members ( 15 from Lok sabha and 7 from Rajya sabha) Its main function is to examine the reports and accounts regarding the public undertakings.
- Departmental Standing Committee:- There are a total of 24 Departmental Standing Committeesin which 8 committee are under Rajya Sabha and 16 committee are under Lok Sabha. The list of these committee are given as below:-
Departmental committee under lok Sabha:-
- Committee on Agriculture
- Committee on Coal and Steel
- Committee on chemicals and fertilizers
- Committee on defence
- Committee on Energy
- Committee on Information Technology
- Committee on external affairs
- Committee on Finance
- Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution
- Committee on labour
- Committee on petroleum and natural gas.
- Committee on railway
- Committee on urban development
- Committee on water resources
- Committee on rural development
- Committee on social justice and empowerment.
Departmental committee under Rajya Sabha:-
- Committee on commerce
- Committee on home affairs
- Committee on Human Resource Development
- Committee on Industry
- Committee on science and technology, Environment and forest
- Committee on Transport, Tourism and culture
- Committee on health and family welfare
- Committee on Personal, public Grievances, law and justice
Function of Departmental Committee
There are various functions of departmental committee, these functions are given below:-
- These committee work upon the demand of the concerned ministries or authoritties. They don’t have any propose regarding the cut-motion.
- They have to examine the bills of the concerned ministry.
- They have to work upon the annual reports of the ministries.
- These committee have to present the policy documents of the ministries before both the houses.
- They generally don’t interfere into matters of another departmental standing committees.
- The recommendations made them are advisory in nature, therefore they are not binding on the Parliament.
- Other standing committee:- There are various committee include in other standing committee, these committee are Committees on inquire, Committees to Scrutinise and Control, Committees Relating to the Day-to-Day Business of the House and House-Keeping Committees or Service Committees. Now I would like to explain these committees further more in details.
- Committee on inquire:- These committees are further divided into 3 parts. These are given as below:-
- Committee on Petitions:- The main function of this committee is to examine whether the petition on a bill or any matter of general public importance.
- Committee of Privileges:- This committee consist of 25 members ( 15 member of lok sabha and 10 member of Rajya Sabha). The main function of this committee is to act upon those member who breaches the code of it and for this it proposes a suitable action. It is like a semi-judicial in nature.
- Ethics Committee:- The main function of this committee is to take suitable action on those member of house who misbehave, misconducts and shows indiscipline activities in the house.
- Committees on Scrutinise and control:- These committees are of various types and handel the issues relating to their various department.
- Committee on Government Assurance:- This committee is consist of 25 members ( 15 Lok Sabha and 10 Rajya Sabha ). This committee have to examine the extent or limit of the promise, assure or any undertaking that is taken by the ministers of the house.
- Committee on Subordinate Legislation:- This committee consist of 15 members of both the houses. The main function of this committee is to examines whether the executives are exercising well and using their powers to make rules and regulations, and bye-laws they delegated by the Parliament or conferred by the Constitution.
- Committee on Papers laid on the table:- This committee consis of the 25 members ( 15 member of lok sabha and 10 members of Rajya Sabha). The main function of committee is scrutinizes the credibility of the paper that is laid down by the minister on the table that paper complies with the provision of the constitution or not.
- Committee on Welfare of SCs & STs:- This committee consists of 30 members ( 20 member of lok sabha and 10 member of rajya sabha). This committee also consider the Reports of National Commission for SCs and National Commission for STs.
- Committee on Empowerment of women:- The function of this committee is to consider the report of National Commission for women ( NCW).
- Joint Committee on Offices of Profit:- The main function of this committee is to examine the composition and character of committees and other bodies that are appointed by the Centre, state and union territory governments, etc and also recommends that the persons holding these offices should be disqualified from being elected as members of Parliament or not.
- Committee relating to day to day business of the house:- These committee are further divided into 4 parts and these parts are given as below:-
- Business Advisory Committee – The main function of this committee is to regulate the time-table for the house.
- Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions –The main function of this committee is to classifies bills and allocates the time for the discussion on the classified bills and provide resolutions that are introduced by private members
- Rules Committee – The main function of this committee is to make the proposal for the amendment in rues when required.
- Committee on Absence of Members – The main function of this committee is to take all the leave applications that are applied by the member of the houses.
- House keeping committee:- These are various types committees include in house keeping committee. These committees are given as below:-
- General Purposes Committee – The min function of this committee is to look into the matters which do not fall under the jurisdiction of other parliamentary committees. This committee compromises of the Presiding officer as its ex-officio chairmen it may be speaker or chairman, Deputy speaker and in case of rajya sabha it is deputy chairman, member of penal of chairperson and penal of vice chairpersons in case of rajya sabha, Chairmen of all the departmental standing committee of the house, Leaders and groups of recognized party and houses respectively and other members that are nominated by president, etc
- House Committee – The main function of these committee are to supervise on the facilities that are given to the members of the houses for example residences, food, medical aid, etc
- Library Committee – The main function of these committee are to manage the library of the houses and its amenities that are attached with it.
Ad hoc committee
These committees are basically temporary in nature. These committees are further divided into two parts. These are inquiry committee and advisory committee. These parts are explained as below:-
Inquiry Committee:- The inquiry committees are proposed by both house and these committee are also appointed by the speaker of lok sabha or chairman of rajya sabha. We can take some example of inquiry committee, these examples are joint committee on fertilizer pricing, joint committee on stock market scam, joint committee on Bofors contract and joint committee to enquire into irregulatries in securities and banking transaction, etc.
Advisory committee:- These committees are selected or joint committees appointed for the issues or matter regarding the bills. They have to submit their report on particular bills. These committee are different from the inquiry committees and their procedure of functioning are laid down in the Rules of Procedure and that are directed by the speaker of Lok sabha or chairmen of Rajya Sabha. Whenever any bill is introduced in either house, they have to refer it to the selected committee so that they can go through the bills and can examine whether the bill is right or wrong or will it be beneficial for the public or not.
After seen the various types of parliamentary committee, I would like to conclude that these committee are made with the special purposes and with particular target to satisfy the demand of people after listen their issue. These committee also help the ministers to work properly within their prescribed limits and not to interfere with the limits of other ministers. These committee are made on the basis of separate department to handel the issue of that particular department only. These committee also help to understand and to know whether the decision taken by ministers on the issue that falls under the particular department is right or not. To resolve the issue and maintain the functions of government properly these committee play a very crucial role. We can say that these committee have their big role in the parliamentary democratic country like India.
Author: AMIT SHEORAN,
Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur and second year