Lok Sabha, Lower House of Indian Parliament
Lok Sabha formed one of the cores of the Indian Parliament. Indian Parliament is divided into two houses namely the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. After gaining independence in 1947 it was decided to have a democratic status for future India where people could express their views through their representatives. This house is also regarded as the voice of India, as it is constituted by the representatives of the people who represent the demands of the people; the latest issues as well as the queries of the common man.
Untill 2009 there have been 15 Lok Sabha elections. In the year 2014, the members of the 16th Lok Sabha were elected after the Indian General Elections. The elections were conducted in nine phases from 7 April 2014 to 12 May 2014. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of the major alliances of NDA or National Democratic Alliance, achieved a simple majority with 282 seats out 543. Narendra Modi, now the current Prime Minister of India took office on 26th of May 2014.
Composition of Lok Sabha
Constitution of India has limited the composition of Lok Sabha up to a maximum of 552 members including not more than 20 members representing the people of Union Territories and only 2 members from the Anglo-Indian community if the president finds it less represented. As of now the total size of the Lok Sabha comprises of 545 members including the Speaker as well as two more members, if any.
Tenure of Lok Sabha
The regular tenure of Lok Sabha is for five years if not disturbed due to some emergencies as in case of Proclamation of Emergency when the tenure will be extended for one year. However, while a declaration of Emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not more than one year at a time and not extending, in any case, beyond a period of six months after the declaration has ceased to function.
Membership of Lok Sabha
A member of Lok Sabha is required to be a citizen of India, completing an age of 25 years, should be mentally sound, should not be a bankrupt and should not have any criminal record in his past records. Further the seats of reserved categories should be filled by the members of their own community.
The total elective membership is distributed among the States in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and the population of the State is, so far as practicable, the same for all States. The number is divided among the 28 States and the 7 Union Territories. Anglo-Indians (if nominated 2 by the President under Article 331 of the Constitution).
Sessions of Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha divides its work into three sessions all through the year.
Budget Session: February to May
Monsoon Session: July to September
Winter Session: November to December
Presiding Officer in Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha elects one of its own members as its Presiding Officer and he is called the Speaker. The Deputy Speaker who is also elected by Lok Sabha assists the speaker. The behaviour of dealing in Lok Sabha is the responsibility of the Speaker.
Powers of Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha possesses some special powers which make it more powerful than Rajya Sabha. These powers include Motion of No Confidence against the existing government which can only be passed in the Lok Sabha; passing of Money Bill which is again introduced by Lok Sabha and can be deliberated to Rajya Sabha for fourteen days .If it is not rejected by Rajya Sabha or the period lapse after 14 days from the day of introduction without any action or recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha is not accepted by Lok Sabha, then it is considered passed. Also the Budget of the year is presented by the Finance Minister in the House of Commons. In case of other bills non-financial (ordinary) bills, after the bill has been passed by the House where it was originally tabled (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha), it is sent to the other house, where it may be kept for a maximum period of 6 months. If the other House rejects the bill or a period of 6 months elapses without any action by that House, or the House that originally tabled the bill does not accept the recommendations made by the members of the other house, it results in a deadlock.
Among the other powers, the Lok Sabha possesses certain equal powers with Rajya Sabha. This includes initiating and passing of any bill on Constitutional Amendments; equal powers in passing a motion on the impeachment of the President by two-third membership of the membership of the house. Equal powers in initiating and passing of impeachment against the judges of Supreme Court and state high courts by a majority of the membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting); equal powers in initiating and passing a resolution for declaring war or national emergency or constitutional emergency in a state. In case the Lok Sabha is dissolved before the declaration of Emergency Rajya Sabha becomes the sole de facto and de jure parliament which cannot be dissolved.
Sessions of Lok Sabha
Lok SabhaThe sessions of Lok Sabha divide its job into the sessions namely the Budget Session which begins from February to May; followed by the Monsoon Session which starts from the month of July to September; which again is followed by the winter session in the month of November and December. The main aim is to discuss the issues as well as their work process on the floor of the house.
On regular days the session assembles at 11.00am to 1.00pm in the first half and at 2.00pm till 6.00pm in the second half. The first hour of every session is called the Question Hour during which various government ministries will be asked questions which are to be answered by them in a specific time period. The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and Directions issued by the Speaker from time to time thereby control the procedure in Lok Sabha. The items of business notice of which is received from the Ministers or Private Members and admitted by the Speaker, are included in the daily List of Business, which is printed and circulated to members in advance. At the time fixed for the beginning of a sitting the Speaker of the House after calculating that 55 members are present in the House which number including the Speaker is required to from the quorum.
The Lok Sabha begins the day with Question Hour during which the representatives of people are free to ask questions which the concerned ministry is supposed to answer in the house. This has been regarded as the most representative. After the Question Hour, the House takes up diverse items of work before proceeding to the main business of the day. The main business of the day may be consideration of a Bill or financial business or reflection of a resolution or a motion.
The next job of Lok Sabha is to pursue the legislative activities which begin with representation of bills which can be both government bill as well as private bill. A bill when represented by private members it is called private bill .All he bills goes through three stages called three readings before it is passed. To become law it must be passed by both the Houses of Parliament, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and then approved by the President. The presentation of the annual Budgets General and Railways their discussion and voting on the various demands for grants followed by passing of Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill, which is long drawn process, take up a major part of the time of the House during its Budget Session every year.
Within other activities one of the most important activities is to pass Motion or a Resolution. A Resolution is relevant because with these efforts are made to draw the attention of the house to such matters of public interest which needs attention. Government may move a Resolution or a Motion for obtaining the permit to a scheme or opinion of the House on an important matter of policy or on a grave situation. Similarly, a private member may move a resolution or motion in order to draw the attention of the House and of the Government to a particular problem. The last Two and Half hours of sitting on every Fridays are generally fixed for contract of private members’ business.
A Half-an-Hour Discussion can be raised on a matter of sufficient public importance, which has been the subject of a recent question in Lok Sabha irrespective of the fact whether the question was answered orally or the answer was laid on the Table of the House and the answer, which needs elucidation on a matter of fact. Normally not more than half an hour is allowed for such a discussion. Members may raise discussions on matters of urgent public importance with the permission of the Speaker. Such discussions may take place on two days in a week. No formal motion is moved in the House nor is there any voting on such a discussion.
Thus the entire working of the Parliament depends on the active participation by the members in these sessions. No bills and resolutions are passed without the number of members present and voting. In a way it can be said that larger the participation, more democratic it will be in representation.
Source: Jupiter Infomedia