SESSION OF PARLIAMENT, SUMMONING PROROGATION AND DISSOLUTION
a) The President shall from time to time summon each House of Parliament to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, but six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its sitting in the next session.
b) The President may from time to time –
(i) Prorogue the Houses or either House
(ii) Dissolve the House of the People.
Sessions of the Parliament
a) A session of Indian Parliament is the time period during which a House meets almost every day continuously to transact business.
b) There are usually three sessions in a year.
a. the Budget Session (February to May)
b. the Monsoon Session (July to September)and
c. the Winter Session (November to December).
c) A session contains many meetings. Each meeting has two sittings – morning sitting from 11 am to 1 pm and post-lunch sitting from 2 pm to 6 pm.
d) A sitting of Parliament can be terminated by adjournment, adjournment sine die, prorogation or dissolution.
e) The period between the prorogation of a House and its reassembly in a new session is called ‘recess’.
a) Summoning is the process of calling all members of the Parliament to meet.
b) It is the duty of Indian President to summon each House of the Parliament from time to time.
c) The maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months. In other words, the Parliament should meet at least twice a year.
a) An adjournment suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks.
b) In this case, the time of reassembly is specified.
c) An adjournment only terminates a sitting and not a session of the House.
d) The power of adjournment lies with the presiding officer of the House.
Adjournment Sine Die
a) Adjournment sine die means terminating a sitting of Parliament for an indefinite period.
b) In other words, when the House is adjourned without naming a day for reassembly, it is called adjournment sine die.
c) The power of adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer of the House.
Note: The presiding officer of a House can call a sitting of the House before the date or time to which it has been adjourned or at any time after the House has been adjourned sine die.
a) Prorogation means the termination of a session of the House by an order made by the President under article 85(2)(a) of the Constitution.
b) Prorogation terminates both the sitting and session of the House.
c) Usually, within a few days after the House is adjourned sine die by the presiding officer, the President issues a notification for the prorogation of the session.
d) However, the President can also prorogue the House while in session.
a) Dissolution ends the very life of the existing House, and a new House is constituted after general elections are held.
b) Rajya Sabha, being a permanent House, is not subject to dissolution. Only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution.
c) The dissolution of the Lok Sabha may take place in either of two ways:
a. Automatic dissolution: On the expiry of its tenure – five years or the terms as extended during a national emergency.
b. Order of President: If President is authorized by CoM, he can dissolve Lok Sabha, even before the end of the term. He may also dissolve Lok Sabha if CoM loses confidence and no party is able to form the government. Once the Lok Sabha is dissolved before the completion of its normal tenure, the dissolution is irrevocable.
d) When the Lok Sabha is dissolved, all business including bills, motions, resolutions, notices, petitions and so on pending before it or its committees lapse.
OTHER TERMS RELATED TO THE PARLIAMENTARY FUNCTIONING
• It is the minimum number of members whose presence is essential to transact the business of the House. Article 100 provides the quorum of either House shall be one tenth of the total number of members of the House.
The day’s business normally begins with the Question Hour during which question asked by the members are answered by the Minister. The different types of questions are –
(a) Starred Question: It is one for which an oral answer is required to be given by the Minister on the floor of the House. Supplementary question may be asked based on the Minister’s reply. The Speaker decides if a question should be answered orally or otherwise. One member can ask only one starred question in a day.
(b) Unstarred Question: It is one for which the Minister lays on the table a written answer. A ten day notice has to be given to ask such question and no supplementary questions can be asked with regard to such questions.
(c) Short Notice Question: This type of question which can be asked by members on matters of public importance of an urgent nature. It is for the speaker to decide whether the matter is of urgent nature or not. The member has also to state reasons for asking the question while serving notice.
• This period follows the ‘Question Hour’ and it normally begins at noon. Usually, the members use this period to raise various issues for discussion.
• A motion that seeks reduction in the amount of a demand presented by the govt. is known as a cut Motion.
• Such motions are admitted at the speakers’ discretion. It is a device through which members can draw the attention of the government to a specific grievance or problem.
• There are three types Of cut motions –
(i) Disapproval of policy cut – which is to express disapproval of the policy underlying a particular demand, says that ‘the amount of the demand be reduced to Re. 1“.
(ii) Economy cut – Economy Cut refers to a cut motion which seeks to reduce the demand by a specific sum with a view to effecting the economy in the expenditure.
(iii) Token cut – is a device to ventilate specific grievances within the sphere of the government’s responsibility. The grievance has to be specified. Usually, the motion is in the form, “The amount of the demand is reduced by Rs. 100”.
Calling Attention Motion
• With prior permission of the speaker; a member may call the attention of a Minister to any matter of urgent public importance. The Minister may make a brief statement regarding the matter or ask for time to make a statement.
• It is motion moved by a member if he feels that a minister has committed a breach of privilege of the House or of any one or more of its members by with-holding facts of a case or by giving a distorted version of acts.
Points of Order
• A member may raise a point of order if the proceedings of the House do not follow the rules. The presiding officer decides whether the points of order raised by the member should be allowed.
Vote on account
• As there is usually gap between the presentation of the budget and its approval, the vote on account enables the govt. to draw some amount from the consolidated fund of India to meet the expenses in the intervening period.
• On the last of the allotted days at the appointed time, the speaker puts every question necessary to dispose all the outstanding matters in connection with the demands for grants. This is known as guillotine. The guillotine concludes the discussion and demands for grants.
• It is differs from a no-confidence motion in that the latter does not specify any ground on which it is based, while the former has to mention the charges against the govt. for which it is being moved.
• A censure motion can be moved against the Council of Minister or an individual minister for failing to act or for some policy. Reason for the censure must be precisely enumerated. The speaker decides whether or not the motion is in order and no leave of the House is required for moving it.
• The Govt. may at its discretion fix a date for the discussion of the motion. If the motion is passed in the Lok Sabha the Council of Minister is expected to resign.
PARLIAMENTARY PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES
• Parliamentary privileges, i.e., exceptional right or advantages are granted to the members of legislatures all over the world. Thus, in most of the democratic countries, the legislatures and their members enjoy certain privileges so as to function effectively.
• Privilege though part of the law of the land, is to a certain extent an exemption from the ordinary law.
• The privileges can be exercised by the House of the Parliament without help or hindrance from the judges.
• Parliamentary privileges can be classified into two broad categories:
1. Those that are enjoyed by each House of Parliament collectively, and
2. Those that are enjoyed by the members individually.
Collective Privileges – The privileges belonging to each House of Parliament collectively are:
(i) It has the right to publish its reports, debates and proceedings and also the right to prohibit others from publishing the same. The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 restored the freedom of the press to publish true reports of parliamentary proceedings without prior permission of the House. But this is not applicable in the case of a secret sitting of the House.
(ii) It can exclude strangers from its proceedings and hold secret sittings to discuss some important matters.
(iii) It can make rules to regulate its own procedure and the conduct of its business and to adjudicate upon such matters.
(iv) It can punish members as well as outsiders for breach of its privileges or its contempt by reprimand, admonition or imprisonment (also suspension or expulsion, in case of members).
(v) It has the right to receive immediate information of the arrest, detention, conviction, imprisonment and release of a member.
(vi) It can institute inquiries and order the attendance of witnesses and send for relevant papers and records.
(vii) The courts are prohibited to inquire into the proceedings of a House or its committees.
(viii) No person (either a member or outsider) can be arrested, and no legal process (civil or criminal) can be served within the precincts of the House without the permission of the presiding officer.
Individual Privileges – The privileges belonging to the members individually are:
(i) They cannot be arrested during the session of Parliament and 40 days before the beginning and 40 days after the end of a session. This privilege is available only in civil cases and not in criminal cases or preventive detention cases.
(ii) They have freedom of speech in Parliament. No member is liable to any proceedings in any court for anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or its committees. This freedom is subject to the provisions of the Constitution and to the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of Parliament.
(iii) They are exempted from jury service. They can refuse to give evidence and appear as a witness in a case pending in a court when Parliament is in session.
Constitutional provisions relating to Parliamentary Privileges
These privileges are available to all the legislatures –
a) The main articles of the Constitution of India dealing with the privileges of Parliament are 105 and 122 and the corresponding articles for the states are 194 and 212.
b) Article 105 (1) of the Constitution of India provides that, subject to the provisions of the Constitution and the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of Parliament, there would be freedom of speech in the Parliament.
c) Article 105(2) provides that no member of Parliament would be liable to any proceedings against him in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof, and that no person would be liable in respect of the publication of any report, paper votes or proceedings by or under the authority or either House of Parliament.
d) Article 105(3) ordains that in other respects the powers, privileges and immunities of each House of Parliament, and of the members and committees thereof, would be such as may from time to time be defined by Parliament by law
e) According to clause of this article, the provisions of clauses 1, and 3 would apply to persons who by virtue of the Constitution have the right to speak in or take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or a committee thereof, as they apply to the members of Parliament.
OFFICERS OF THE PARLIAMENT
Each House of Parliament has its own officers to preside over its meetings-
a) The House of the people is presided over by the Speaker who is elected by the House from among its own members.
b) He has to discharge his responsibilities as a presiding officer. He brings the detachment and objectivity to bear upon all his decision.
c) He presides over the meetings of the House. He adjourns the House or suspends its meeting if there is no quorum.
d) Article 94 (c) provides for the removal of the Speaker by a resolution of the House passed by a majority of all the then members of the House. Removal of officers from their position in this manner, namely, by such special resolutions and by such special majorities is restricted to only a few officers such as the President, the Vice-President, the Presiding Officers of both House of Parliament, Judges of the Supreme Court, etc, as these officers are expected to discharge their responsibilities without political and party considerations.
a) The Deputy Speaker who presides over the House in the absence of the Speaker is elected in the same manner in which the Speaker is elected by the House.
b) He can be removed from office also in the same manner.
c) When he sits in the seat of the Speaker, he has all the powers of the Speaker and can perform all his functions. One of his special privileges is that when he is appointed as a member of a Parliamentary Committee, he automatically becomes its Chairman.
d) By virtue of the office that he holds, he has a right to be present at any meeting of any Committee if he so chooses and can preside over its deliberations. His rulings are generally final in any case, so far as they are related to the matter under discussion, but the Speaker may give guidance in the interest of uniformity in practice. Whenever the Deputy Speaker is in doubt, he reserves the matter for the ruling of the Speaker.
e) The Deputy Speaker, however, is otherwise like any ordinary member when the Speaker presides over the House. He may speak like any other member, maintain his party affiliation and vote on propositions before the House as any ordinary member.
f) The Deputy Speaker is entitled to a regular salary.
Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Council of States
a) While presiding officers of the Lok Sabha are called the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, their opposite officers in the Council of States are called the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman respectively.
b) The Vice-President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Council of States. As the presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha, his functions and powers are the same as those of the Speaker. He is however not a member of the House.
(i) In the absence of the Chairman, the Council is presided over by the Deputy Chairman. He is a member of the House and is elected by the members of the House. When he ceases to be a member of the Council, he automatically vacates the office of the Deputy Chairman. He can resign his office by writing to the Chairman.
(ii) The Deputy Chairman is empowered to discharge all the functions and to perform all duties of the office of the Chairman, whenever Chairman’s office is vacant or when the Vice-President is acting as the President.
(iii) As a presiding officer of the Council he is also given a regular salary and other allowances that Parliament by law has fixed. The Council of States also has a panel of members, called Vice-Chairman, nominated by the Chairman for the purpose of presiding over the House in the absence of both the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman.
d) Removal – He may be removed from his office by a resolution passed by a majority of all the member of the Council.
PRESIDING OFFICERS OF STATE LEGISLATURE
· Speaker and a Deputy Speaker for the legislative assembly
· Chairman and a Deputy Chairman for the legislative council
a) Speaker is Elected by the assembly itself from amongst its members.
b) He vacates his office earlier in any of the following three cases
(i) If he ceases to be a member of the assembly
(ii) If he resigns by writing to the deputy speaker and
(iii) If he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the assembly. Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days advance notice
c) Powers and duties
(i) Maintains order and decorum in the assembly
(ii) Final interpreter of the provisions of (a) the Constitution of India, (b) the rules of procedure and conduct of business of assembly, and (c) the legislative precedents adjourns the assembly or suspends the meeting in the absence of a quorum
(iii) Does not vote in the first instance. But, he can exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie
(iv) Can allow a secret‘ sitting of the House at the request of the leader of the House decides whether a bill is a Money Bill or not and his decision on this question is final
(v) Appoints the chairmen of all the committees of the assembly and supervises their functioning Himself
(vi) Chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, the Rules Committee and the General Purpose Committee
Deputy Speaker of Assembly
• Also elected by the assembly itself from amongst its members, remaining part is same as like speaker.
Chairman of Council
a) Elected by the council itself from amongst its members
b) Vacates-same like Speaker
c) Powers and duties is also like speaker
d) The Speaker has one special power which is not enjoyed by the Chairman.
e) The Speaker decides whether a bill is a Money Bill or not and his decision on this question is final which is not done by the chairman of the council.
Deputy Chairman of Council
a) Also elected by the assembly itself from amongst its members, remaining part is same as like deputy speaker
Rights of Ministers and Advocate General
a) Every minister and the advocate general of the state have the right to speak and take part in the proceedings of either House or any of its committees of which he is named a member, without being entitled to vote.
b) There are two reasons underlying this constitutional provision:
1. A minister can participate in the proceedings of a House, of which he is not a member.
2. A minister, who is not a member of either House, can participate in the proceedings of both the Houses.
The most important function of the Parliament is to enact laws. Legislative procedures are of four types depending on the type of a Bill
A. Ordinary Bill
B. Money Bill as defined in Art.110
C. Financial Bill (Art.117)
D. Constitution Amendment Bill
A. Ordinary Bill
a) Introduction of Bill: A Bill that does not fall in category (b), (c) and (d) above is called or ordinary Bill. Such a Bill may originate in either House of Parliament (Art.107). An ordinary Bill may be introduced either by a minister or by any other member. When a Bill is introduced by a member other than a minister then it is called private member’s Bill. The prescribed period of notice is one month for a private member’s Bill. For ministers notice is not required. If a Bill has been published in the official Gazette before introduction, no motion for leave to introduce is necessary. A Bill which has not been published prior to its introduction is published after introduction.
b) Post introduction Motions: Any time after the Bill has been introduced the member in charge of the Bill may make one of the following motions in regard of his Bill namely-
i) To be taken into consideration; or
ii) To be referred to a select committee; or
iii) To be referred to a joint committee of the Houses; or
iv) To be circulated for eliciting opinion.
c) Discussion of principles: On the day on which any of the above motions is made or on any subsequent day to which the discussion is postponed the principles of the Bill and its provisions may be discussed. Generally at this stage no amendments to the Bill may be moved. This is called the first reading.
d) Reference to a Committee: After the first reading is over the Bill is referred to a select committee or a joint select committee. When a motion for referring the Bill to a committee is carried the committee considers the Bill clause by clause and suggests omission, insertions and additions to the Bill. When the report of the committee is presented to the House, the bill is taken up for consideration of the House.
e) Clause by Clause consideration: After the bill has been taken into consideration the House takes up clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. At this stage, amendment to clauses of the bill is admitted. This is called the second reading of the bill.
f) Passing of the Bill: After the second reading the bill is ready for voting: This is called the third reading. When a Bill is passed by one House it is transmitted to the other House for concurrence. In the second House the Bill passes through all the stages except introduction. The second House may adopt any of the following courses:
(i) It may pass the Bill without amendment.
(ii) It may pass the Bill with amendment
(iii) If the originating House accepts the Bill as amended by the second House, it is presented to the President for assent.
(iv) If the originating House does not concur in the amendment and the disagreement is final, the President may summon a joint sitting to resolve the deadlock (Art. 108).
(v) The Deadlock is a situation resulting from any of the following reasons:
1. If a House has passed the bill and the other House has rejected it.
2. If the originating House does not finally agree to the amendments suggested by the other House.
3. If a House keeps the bill passed by another House pending and takes no action for a period of six months
4. To resolve the deadlock the President has the power to summon a joint session of both Houses of Parliament under art. 108.
5. This session is presided over by the Speaker of Lok Sabha. Due to its numerical majority, the Lok Sabha has an upper hand during joint session.
(vi) Assent of the President: – Once a bill has been duly passed by both the Houses, it is sent to the President for his assent. The President can give his assent, withhold his assent or return the bill to Parliament for reconsideration. If the bill is again passed by both Houses with or without amendments suggested by the President and is presented to the President again, he is obliged to give his assent (Art. 111). This is called the second passage of the same bill.
B. Money Bill
a) Article 110 states that a Bill is deemed to be a money bill if it contains provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters:
(i) The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax
(ii) The regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the Government of India, or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India
(iii) The custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such fund
(iv) The appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India
(v) The declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure
(vi) The receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the Public Account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State
b) Procedure for Money Bill
(i) Introduction of Money Bill: A Money Bill may be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. A Money Bill can be introduced only on the prior recommendation of the President.
(ii) Procedure in Rajya Sabha: A Money Bill after being passed by the Lok Sabha is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha must return the Bill within a period of 14 days from the date of the receipt of the Bill. If the Bill is not returned within 14 days it is deemed to have been passed by both Houses.
(iii) Assent: A Money Bill passed in the manner stated above is presented to the President for his assent. The President may either give assent or withhold assent. If the President has already given his recommendations on a Money Bill, it is improbable that he will refuse to give his assent.
C. Financial Bill
a) Defined in Art. 117, a Financial Bill is a Bill which contains provisions of general legislation along with one or more matters mentioned in Art.110.
b) There are two types of Financial Bills:
(i) Bill which contains any of the provisions of a Money Bill mentioned in Art.110 plus some other matters.
(ii) A Bill which is like an ordinary bill but which also contains provisions involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India is called a Financial Bill class II.
c) Special procedure of Financial Bills:
(i) A class I Financial Bill can be introduced only in a Lok Sabha on the prior recommendation of the President. To this extent it is also like an ordinary bill. Thus, class I Financial Bill involves the processes of both Money Bill and ordinary Bill.
(ii) A class II Financial Bill involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India may be introduced in either House. It does not require President’s prior recommendation for introduction. But it requires President’s recommendation for consideration in both the Houses and shall not be passed without it.
(iii) Thus, Rajya Sabha has the same power in regard to a Financial Bill as it has in regard to an ordinary Bill. It can reject or amend such a Bill.
(iv) Financial Bills have to be passed by the Rajya Sabha and in case of final disagreement between the two Houses a joint session has to be called. For Money Bills there is no joint sitting.
d) Assent to Financial Bills: Like an ordinary bill, the President has three options as regards his assent to a Financial Bill:
(i) To declare his assent,
(ii) To withhold his assent, and
(iii) To refer back for reconsideration. (Note: A Money Bill can only be assented to or vetoed. It cannot be sent back for reconsideration.)
e) Effect of absence of prior recommendation: Article 255 of the Constitution provides that if a bill requiring prior recommendation of the President is passed by Parliament and it receives assent of the President subsequently it will be considered valid. This is a cure and saves such legislation from invalidity.
D. Constitution Amendment Bill
a) Introduction: A Bill to amend the Constitution may be introduced in either House of Parliament. Prior recommendation of the President is not required.
b) Passing: Constitution Bills are to be passed by each House separately with special majority at every stage, i.e., all the three readings. There is no provision for a joint session of the two Houses of Parliament in case of a deadlock over an Amendment Bill.
c) Assent: After the 24th Amendment Act, 1971, the President has no option but to give assent to a Constitution Amendment Bill.
d) Lapsing of Bills: Article 107 enumerates the following conditions under which a Bill may lapse. In case of lapse, it has to be introduced again and all steps are required to be taken again.
(a) A Bill pending by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha lapse on its dissolution. The Bill may have originated in the Lok Sabha or may have been transmitted to it by the Rajya Sabha.
(b) A Bill passed by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha lapses on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
(c) A Bill originating in the Rajya Sabha which has not been passed by the Lok Sabha and which is still pending in the Rajya Sabha does not lapse.
(d) A Bill, which has been passed by both the Houses and has been presented to the President for assent does not lapse.
(e) A Bill returned by the President for reconsideration does not lapse.
(f) A Bill in regard to which the President has notified his intention to summon the Houses to a joint sitting does not lapse by dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
(g) All motions, resolutions, amendments etc. pending in the Lok Sabha lapse on its dissolution.
The term ‘Budget’ has nowhere been used in the Constitution. It is the popular name for the ‘Annual Financial Statement’ that has been dealt with in Article 112 of the Constitution.
The budget is a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India in a financial year, which begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March of the following year.
The Constitution of India contains the following provisions with regard to the enactment of budget:
a) The President shall in respect of every financial year cause to be laid before both the Houses of Parliament a statement of estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India for that year.
b) No demand for a grant shall be made except on the recommendation of the President.
c) No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriation made by law.
d) No money bill imposing tax shall be introduced in the Parliament except on the recommendation of the President, and such a bill shall not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
e) No tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law.
f) Parliament can reduce or abolish a tax but cannot increase it.
g) The Constitution has also defined the relative roles or position of both the Houses of Parliament with regard to the enactment of the budget in the following way:
(i) A money bill or finance bill dealing with taxation cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha- it must be introduced only in the Lok Sabha.
(ii) The Rajya Sabha has no power to vote on the demand for grants; it is the exclusive privilege of the Lok Sabha.
(iii) The Rajya Sabha should return the Money bill (or Finance bill) to the Lok Sabha within fourteen days. The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject the recommendations made by Rajya Sabha in this regard.
h) The estimates of expenditure embodied in the budget shall show separately the expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and the expenditure made from the Consolidated Fund of India.
i) The budget shall distinguish expenditure on revenue account from other expenditure.
1. Charged Expenditure
The budget consists of two types of expenditure- the expenditure ‘charged’ upon the Consolidated Fund of India and the expenditure ‘made’ from the Consolidated Fund of India.
The charged expenditure is non-votable by the Parliament, that is, it can only be discussed by the Parliament, while the other type has to be voted by the Parliament. The list of the charged expenditure is as follows:
a) Emoluments and allowances of the President and other expenditure relating to his office.
b) Salaries and allowances of the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
c) Salaries, allowances and pensions of the Judges of the Supreme Court.
d) Pensions of the Judges of High Courts.
e) Salary, allowances and pension of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
f) Salaries, allowances and pension of the Chairman and members of the Union Public Service Commission.
g) Administrative expenses of the Supreme Court, the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Union Public Service Commission including the salaries, allowances and pensions of the persons serving in these offices.
h) The debt charges for which the Government of India is liable, including interest, sinking fund charges and redemption charges and other expenditure relating to the raising of loans and the service and redemption of debt.
i) Any sum required to satisfy any judgment, decree or award of any court or arbitral tribunal.
j) Any other expenditure declared by the Parliament to be so charged.
2. Stages in Enactment of Budget
The budget goes through the following six stages in the Parliament:
a) Presentation of Budget: The budget is presented in two parts- Railway Budget and General Budget. Both are governed by the same procedure. The introduction of Railway Budget precedes that of the General Budget. While the former is presented to the Lok Sabha by the railway minister in the last week of February, the latter is presented to the Lok Sabha by the finance minister on the last working day of February. The Finance Minister presents the General Budget with a speech known as the ‘budget speech’. At the end of the speech in the Lok Sabha, the budget is laid before the Rajya Sabha, which can only discuss it and has no power to vote on the demands for grants.
b) General Discussion: The general discussion on budget begins a few days after its presentation. It takes place in both the Houses of Parliament and lasts usually for three to four days. During this stage, the Lok Sabha can discuss the budget as a whole or on any question of principle involved therein but no cut motion can be moved nor can the budget be submitted to the vote of the House. The finance minister has a general right of reply at the end of the discussion.
c) Scrutiny by Departmental Committees: After the general discussion on the budget is over, the Houses are adjourned for about three to four weeks. During this gap period, the 24 departmental standing committees of Parliament examine and discuss in detail the demands for grants of the concerned ministers and prepare reports on them. These reports are submitted to both the Houses of Parliament for consideration.
d) Voting on Demands for Grants: In the light of the reports of the departmental standing committees, the Lok Sabha takes up voting on demands for grants. The demands are presented ministry wise. A demand becomes a grant after it has been duly voted. Two points should be noted in this context. One, the voting of demands for grants is the exclusive privilege of the Lok Sabha, that is, the Rajya Sabha has no power of voting the demands. Second, the voting is confined to the votable part of the budget-the expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India is not submitted to the vote (it can only be discussed). They can also move motions to reduce any demand for grant. Such motions are called as ‘cut motion’.
e) Passing of Appropriation Bill: The Constitution states that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriation made by law’. Accordingly, an appropriation bill is introduced to provide for the appropriation, out of the Consolidated Fund of India, all money required to meet:
(i) The grants voted by the Lok Sabha.
(ii) The expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
(iii) No such amendment can be proposed to the appropriation bill in either house of the Parliament that will have the effect of varying the amount or altering the destination of any grant voted, or of varying the amount of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
(iv) The Appropriation Bill becomes the Appropriation Act after it is assented to by the President. This act authorizes (or legalizes) the payments from the Consolidated Fund of India. This means that the government cannot withdraw money from the Consolidated Fund of India till the enactment of the appropriation bill.
In addition to the budget that contains the ordinary estimates of income and expenditure for one financial year; various other grants are made by the Parliament under extraordinary or special circumstances:
a) Supplementary Grant: It is granted when the amount authorized by the Parliament through the appropriation act for a particular service for the current financial year is found to be insufficient for that year.
b) Additional Grant: It is granted when a need has arisen during the current financial year for additional expenditure upon some new service not contemplated in the budget for that year.
c) Excess Grant: It is granted when money has been spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted for that service in the budget for that year. It is voted by the Lok Sabha after the financial year. Before the demands for excess grants are submitted to the Lok Sabha for voting, they must be approved by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
d) Vote of Credit: It is granted for meeting an unexpected demand upon the resources of India, when on account of the magnitude or the indefinite character of the service, the demand cannot be stated with the details ordinarily given in a budget. Hence, it is like a blank cheque given to the Executive by the Lok Sabha
e) Exceptional Grant: It is granted for a special purpose and forms no part of the current service of any financial year.
f) Token Grant: It is granted when funds to meet the proposed expenditure on a new service can be made available by reappropriation. A demand for the grant of a token sum (of Re 1) is submitted to the vote of the Lok Sabha and if assented, funds are made available.
Some of the important committees are described as follows:
1. Estimates Committee
a. The Committee has 30 members, who are elected in accordance with the system of proportional representation from among the members of Lok Sabha for a period of one year.
b. The Quorum for the meeting is one -third. The Estimates Committee is a standing Committee.
c. The Chairman is nominated by the Speaker provided if the Deputy Speaker is the member of the Committee; he automatically assumes the power of the Chairman. No minister can be a member of the Committee.
d. The Estimates Committee is charged with the responsibility of detailed examination of budget estimates.
e. Major functions include:
i. To suggest alternative policy in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration.
ii. To report how the economies, improvement in organization, efficiency or administrative reforms consistent with the policy underlying the estimates may be affected; To examine whether the money is well laid out within limits of the policy implied in the estimates.
2. Public Accounts Committee
a. The Public Accounts Committee is essentially a committee of the Lok Sabha. The strength of the committee is 22 of which 15 are elected from the Lok Sabha and the rest are nominated from the Rajya Sabha.
b. The Speaker nominates the Chairman, who conventionally is the Leader of Opposition in the Lower House.
c. The major function of the Public Account Committee is to scrutinize the appropriation account of the Government of India and other accounts laid before the House and the report of the Auditor General of India and also to satisfy itself that money is spent appropriately.
d. It is also responsible for commenting on the ways of the extravagance in the spending of the public funds.
3. Committee on Public Undertakings
a. The committee constituted in 1964 consists of 15 members of Lok Sabha and 7 members of the Rajya Sabha.
b. The major function of the committee is to examine the reports and accounts of public undertakings and suggest economic improvement in organization and financial management, etc.
4. Select Committee
a. The members of Select Committee are appointed by the House with their consent. The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker.
b. He has the power to ensure the attendance of a member and also ensures the production of papers and records. Select Committees present their report to the House.
5. Committee on Privileges The Speaker nominates the members of this committee. The strength is of 15 members. It is empowered to take stock of the breach of privileges and determination of breach of privileges.
6. Business Advisory Committee The committee is for the purpose of regulating the time-table of the working of the House. There are 15 members nominated by the Speaker, who himself is the Chairman of this committee.
7. Committee on Welfare of SC and ST 30 members drawn from both Houses serve on this Committee which considers all matters relating to SC/ST, coming under the purview of the Union Government and ensures whether constitutional safeguards in respect of these classes are properly implemented.
8. Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions Consisting of 15 members nominated by the speaker, the Committee classifies and allocates times to bills introduced by private members. The Deputy Speaker is invariably its members.
9. Departmental Standing Committees
a. Parliament has decided to constitute committees to consider the demand for grants of various ministries.
b. The committees consist of 23 members from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
c. But Rajya Sabha Members is being denied a vote in case a particular grant calls for such a procedure.
d. The Lok Sabha to which Council of Ministers is responsible and which alone can grant the money required for running the country’s administration after detailed scrutiny. The Parliament guillotine comes in handy in such circumstances.
10. Ad-hoc Committees – These Committees are appointed as need arises and they cease to exist as soon as they complete the task assigned to them. The usual ad-hoc committees are select/joint committees on bills, appointed to consider and report on particular bills.