Functions of Parliament
a) Law making functions
b) Providing the Cabinet: It is the Parliament which provides the cabinet. No person can continue to be a minister for more than six months unless he is member of either House of the Parliament.
c) Control over the Cabinet: It is one of the more important functions and duties of the Lok Sabha to ensure that the ministry remains in power only as long as it has the support of the majority in that house [Art.75(3)].
d) Daily Answerability: In the Parliamentary system of Government the ministers have to answer questions, reply to calling attention motions, move legislation and justify Government’s actions in both Houses of Parliament.
e) Financial Control: An important function of Parliament is to exercise financial control over the government. Parliament also monitors spending of government money through its own committee called Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC).
f) A Platform for discussion on National Issues: Parliament provides the single largest platform for discussion of all important national and public issues and thereby it creates public opinion on these issues.
Qualifications and disqualifications for being a Member of Parliament
To be qualified to become a Member of Parliament a person must be:
a) A citizen of India;
b) Not less than 30 years of age in the case of the Rajya Sabha and not less than 25 years in the case of the Lok Sabha
c) A voter for any parliamentary constituency in India, but in the case of the Rajya Sabha a candidate must be registered as an elector in the State or Union Territory from where he is to be chosen.
There are, however, certain disqualifications for becoming a member. A person would be ineligible for being a member of either House of Parliament if the person:
a) Holds any office of profit under the government other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder
b) Is of unsound mind;
c) Has ceased to be a citizen of India;
d) Is so disqualified by any law made by Parliament;
e) Is so disqualified on the ground of defection.
f) If a person has been convicted, among other things, for promoting enmity between different groups or convicted for the offence of bribery or has been punished for preaching and practicing social crimes such as untouchability, dowry, or sati, then he is disqualified from being chosen as a member.
g) There are also disqualifications for a government servant dismissed for corruption.
a) The Rajya Sabha is the permanent upper House and not subject to dissolution.
b) It is composed of not more than 250 members.
c) Out of these 238 are to be the representatives of the State and the Union Territories and 12 are to be nominated by the President.
d) Persons to be so nominated are required to have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of literature, science, art or social service.
e) The object of this nomination is to provide distinguished persons a place in the Rajya Sabha without going through the process of election.
Election – The representatives of the States are elected indirectly by the elected members of State Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
a) The maximum strength of Lok Sabha is 552 of which 530 are elected from the states, 20 from union territories and 2 are nominated from the Anglo-Indian community.
b) The Constitution prescribes the numbers of seats in the Lok Sabha to be divided between the States and the Union territories.
c) The allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to a particular state and division of each state into territorial constituency is done on the recommendation of the Delimitation Commission (Art. 82), which is appointed after the completion of each census.
d) By 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 the allocation and division had been frozen till the year 2000.
e) By 87th Amendment Act, 2003 it has been laid down that the allocation of seats to a State shall remain frozen till 2026.
f) The division of the State into territorial constituencies shall be done on the basis of the census figures of 2001 census.
Articles 168 to 212 in Part VI of the Constitution deal with the State Legislatures’
Organization of State Legislature
a) The state legislature consists of the Governor and one or two houses.
b) The Constitution under Article 168 provides that in some States there shall be two houses known as Legislative Council (Upper House) and Legislative Assembly (Lower House).
c) There is no uniformity in the organization of state legislatures.
d) Most of the states have a unicameral system, while others have a bicameral system.
e) At present, only seven states have two Houses (bicameral). These are Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka , Jammu and Kashmir and Telangana The twenty-four states have unicameral system. Here, the state legislature consists of the governor and the legislative assembly.
f) In the states having bicameral system, the state legislature consists of the governor, the legislative council and the legislative assembly. The legislative council (Vidhan Parishad) is the upper house (second chamber or house of elders), while the legislative assembly (Vidhan Sabha) is the lower house (first chamber or popular house).
a) The Legislative Assembly consists of not more than 500 and not less than 60 members chosen by direct election form territorial constituencies in the state on the basis of universal adult franchise.
b) Maximum strength is fixed at 500 and minimum strength at 60, in case of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Goa, the minimum number is fixed at 30 and in case of Mizoram and Nagaland, it is 40 and 46 respectively, some members of the legislative assemblies in Sikkim and Nagaland are also elected indirectly
c) For the purpose of election, each state shall be divided into territorial constituencies in such manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it, as far as practicable, be the same throughout the State.
d) At the end of each decennial Census, the constituencies will be recasted to make the necessary adjustments to meet the variation in population.
e) There is, however, a provision for safeguarding the interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Anglo Indian community. Therefore, some constituencies are reserved for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe.
a) Constitution also empowers the Governor that when he feels that the Anglo-Indian community has not been given proper representation, he can nominate a fixed number of members belonging to that community to the State Assembly.
b) Governor nominate one member from the Anglo-Indian community.
a) He is a citizen of India;
b) He must be 25 years old;
c) He posses such other qualification as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament;
a) Every Legislative Assembly has a five years term from the date appointed for its first meeting unless dissolved earlier.
b) The Assembly stands automatically dissolved after five years.
c) The period of five years, may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time, and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate.
Powers and Functions
a) It can make laws on any subject provided in the State List. It can also make a law on a subject of the Concurrent List in case; it is not in conflict with a law already made by the Parliament.
b) It has control over the State Council of Ministers – Its members may ask questions to the minister, introduce resolutions or motions, and may pass a vote of censure to dismiss the government. The Ministry is collectively responsible to the Assembly. It controls the finances of the state.
c) It has constituent powers. According to Article 368, a bill of constitutional amendment first passed by the Parliament shall be referred to the states for ratification. It is here that the Assembly has its role to play.
d) It is also provided that the President shall refer to the Assembly of the concerned state a bill desiring alteration in its territory for eliciting its views in this regard before he recommends that such a bill be introduced in the Parliament.
e) The Assembly also elects its own Speaker and Deputy Speaker and may remove them by a vote of no confidence.
f) It takes part in the election of the President of India.
g) It considers reports submitted by various independent agencies like the State Public Service Commission, Auditor-General, and others.
Parliament’s Control over State Legislature
There are many restrictions on the powers of the state legislature, which make them subservient to the will of the Parliament. The restriction on the powers of the state legislatures are as follows:-
a) State legislatures can neither legislate on an item of the Union List nor a residuary subject.
b) Though it can enact laws on a subject mentioned in the Concurrent List, it is Central law, which shall prevail and to the extent to which the state law is violative of Central law it will be constitutional.
c) Article 249 provides that Rajya Sabha may pass a special resolution by two thirds majority of members, present and voting, to transfer any item from the State List to the Union or Concurrent Lists for the period of one year on the plea that it is expedient in the national interest.
d) There are some categories that require that a bill passed by the state legislature shall be reserved by the Governor for the consideration of the President
e) The state legislatures cannot override the veto of the President.
f) There are some kinds of bills that cannot be introduced in the state legislatures without the prior permission of the President. Bills seeking to impose restrictions on trade, commerce or intercourse with other States or within the State fall within this category.
g) The President is empowered to declare a state of emergency in the country without consulting the states. But once such an emergency has been declared, the Parliament is empowered to legislate on the subject mentioned in the State List.
Abolition or creation of Legislative Councils (Art.169)
a) Article 169 states that Parliament may by law provide for the abolition of the Legislative Council or for the creation of such a Council in a State, if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to that effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting.
b) However, no such law shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purpose of article 368.
Composition (Art. 171)
a) The total number of members in the Legislative Council of a State having such a Council shall not exceed one-third of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly of that state.
b) The total number of members in the Legislative Council shall in no case be less than 40, unless Parliament by law otherwise provides.
a) He should be a citizen of India
b) He must have completed the age of 30 years
c) Possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by the Parliament from time to time
d) Person holding office of profit under the Union or the State Government and persons convicted by the Court of election malpractices or other crimes are also not eligible for membership of the Legislative Council.
Of the total number of members of the Legislative Council of a State-
a) As nearly as, 1/3 shall be elected by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and such other local authorities in the State as Parliament may by law specify.
b) As nearly as, 1/12 shall be elected by electorates consisting of persons residing in the State who have been for at least three years graduates of any University in the territory of India or have been for at least three years in possession of qualifications as equivalent to that of a graduate of such University,
c) As nearly as, 1/12 shall be elected by electorates consisting of persons who have been for at least three years engaged in teaching in such educational institutions within the state not lower in standard than that of Secondary School.
d) As nearly as, 1/3 shall be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State from amongst persons who are not member of the Assembly;
e) The remainder shall be nominated by the Governor from among persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of matters such as literature, science, art, co-operative movement and social service.
Terms of Office
a) No person can be a member of both Houses of the State Legislature at the same time.
b) The Legislative Council is a permanent body, not subject to dissolution. One-third of its members retire every two years, after completing the term of six years. The quorum of the Council is one tenth of the total strength or 10 members, whichever is greater.
Powers and Functions
a) As regards with its powers, the Legislative Council plays a more advisory role.
b) Over legislative matters it has only a suspensive veto for a maximum period of 4 months.
c) Over financial matters, its powers are not absolute.
d) A Money Bill originates only in the Assembly and the Council may detain it only for a period of 14 days.
e) As similar to the case of the Parliament at the Centre, there is no provision for a joint sitting of both the Houses of the States Legislature to resolve a deadlock between them, over legislative matters, if any.
f) Thus, the Legislative Council is only a subordinate component of the Legislature.
Duration of Two Houses
a) Duration of Assembly
(i) Normal term is five years
(ii) The governor is authorized to dissolve the assembly at any time (i.e., even before the completion of five years) to pave the way for fresh elections.
(iii) The term of the assembly can be extended during the period of national emergency by a law of Parliament for one year at a time (for any length of time) cannot continue beyond a period of six months after the emergency has ceased to operate
b) Duration of Council
(i) It is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution
(ii) One-third of its members retire on the expiration of every second year
(iii) A member continues as such for six year
(iv) Vacant seats are filled up by fresh elections and nominations (by governor) at the beginning of every third year
(v) Retiring members are also eligible for re-election and re-nomination any number of times
Vacation of Seats
a) Double Membership: A person cannot be a member of both Houses of state legislature at one and the same time. If a person is elected to both the Houses, his seat in one of the Houses falls vacant as per the provisions of a law made by the state legislature.
b) Disqualification: If a member of the state legislature becomes subject to any of the disqualifications, his seat becomes vacant.
c) Resignation: A member may resign his seat by writing to the Chairman of legislative council or Speaker of legislative assembly, as the case may be. The seat falls vacant when the resignation is accepted 11.
d) Absence: A House of the state legislature can declare the seat of a member vacant if he absents himself from all its meeting for a period of sixty days without its permission.
e) Other Cases: A member has to vacate his seat in the either House of state legislature,
(i) if his election is declared void by the court if he is expelled by the House,
(ii) if he is elected to the office of president or office of vice-president, and
(iii) if he is appointed to the office of governor of a state