The Indian Parliament Class 8 Civics Notes Maharashtra State Board
We have studied that the parliament plays an important role in a parliamentary system of government. In this chapter, we will discuss the Parliament of India. The Constitution of India has created the Parliament of India. The Legislature at the national level, that is the level of the central government, is called the Parliament. It consists of the President and the two Houses of Parliament – Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Though the President is an inseparable part of the Parliament, he/she cannot participate in the discussions in either of the houses of the Parliament. The two houses of the Parliament are called the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
Lok Sabha is the lower and the first house of the Parliament of India. Lok Sabha is the House of Representatives directly elected by the people. Hence, the Lok Sabha is called the ‘First’ house. The members of Lok Sabha are elected directly by people from the ‘territorial constituencies’. The tenure of Lok Sabha is five years. The elections take place after every five years. These elections are known as General Elections. However, there are examples when the Lok Sabha was dissolved before the completion of five years. Elections held in such a case are called mid-term elections.
Lok Sabha is the representative body of the citizens of the country. As per the constitution, there can be a maximum of 552 members in the Lok Sabha. To ensure equal representation to all sections of the community, some seats are reserved for members belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. In case there are no representatives from the Anglo- Indian community, the President can appoint two members from this community to the Lok Sabha.
The upper and the second house of Parliament is the Rajya Sabha. The members of the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected. As the name suggests, Rajya Sabha gives representation to 29 states and 7 Union territories in India. Thus, members of the Rajya Sabha work as representatives of the constituent states.
The total membership of the Rajya Sabha is 250 members. Amongst them, 238 members are elected from the constituent states and Union Territories. All the constituent states do not get equal representation in the Rajya Sabha. It is proportionate to the total population of each of the state. The remaining 12 members are appointed by the President. These members are usually experienced and distinguished personalities from the fields of literature, arts, science, sports, and social work. The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected through the system of proportional representation.
Rajya Sabha is never dissolved completely hence it is called a permanent House. 1/3 rd members of the total membership of the Rajya Sabha who have completed their tenure of six years retire every two years and an equal number of new members get elected. Because the limited members of the Rajya Sabha retire step by step, the Rajya Sabha can function continuously. Any person contesting for the elections of Rajya Sabha must be an Indian citizen and he must have completed 30 years of age. Members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are known as Members of Parliament (MPs). MPs try to resolve the queries and complaints of their constituencies by raising questions in the Parliament. The government allocates the funds to carry out development activities in their respective constituencies.
Functions of Parliament:
After understanding the basics of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, we will now review their functions.
Formulation of Laws:
In order to achieve the welfare of the people and the objectives of the Constitution, the Parliament has to formulate new laws. Also, outdated laws are repealed, and necessary changes are made in some laws. The process of the formulation of laws has been described in the Constitution. In accordance with the procedures, the Parliament fulfills this primary and important responsibility.
Control Over the Council of Ministers:
The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are drawn from the Parliament and Parliament exercises control over them. There are multiple ways through which this control can be exercised. It is the responsibility of the Parliament to see that the Council of Ministers does not disregard the Parliament and functions under its supervision.
Amendments to the Constitution:
The Parliament decides whether to make any amendment to the Indian Constitution. The Constitution Amendment Bill is considered to be an important bill. The Parliament discusses why the amendment is required and decides whether to accept it or not. The Constitution mentions various ways of amending the Constitution. They are as follows:
- Few provisions in the Indian Constitution are amended by a simple majority of the Parliament
- Some provisions require a special majority (2/3 rd) of the Parliament.
- Few other provisions are amended by a special majority plus consent from more than half of the constituent states.
Both Houses, the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha have the same set of rights. But there are certain rights that are enjoyed by the Lok Sabha and are not available to the Rajya Sabha. For example, Bills related to taxes are related to finance. Bills related to finance are considered as ‘Money Bills’ and such bills are introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha has limited powers with respect to money bills. Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha has certain rights which are not available to the Lok Sabha. For example, If Rajya Sabha feels that as a matter of national interest, the Parliament should make a law on the subject in the State List it can pass a resolution to that effect.
Speaker of Lok Sabha:
In the very first meeting after the elections of Lok Sabha, the members of Lok Sabha elect a ‘Speaker’ and ‘Deputy Speaker’. Lok Sabha functions under the guidance and control of the speaker. Lok Sabha represents the citizens and the Speaker represents the Lok Sabha. After getting elected as Speaker, he/she has to conduct the business of the House in an unbiased manner. Lok Sabha members have some rights and privileges as the representatives of the people. These are taken care of by the Speaker. Apart from this, the Speaker has to maintain the decorum and dignity of the house as well as interpret the rules of the daily functioning of the house and work accordingly.
The Chairman of Rajya Sabha:
The Chairman exercises control over the functioning of the Rajya Sabha. The Vice President is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The functions of the Rajya Sabha Chairman also include maintaining discipline in the house, facilitating discussions, giving members a chance to speak, etc.
How does the Parliament make Laws?
In our country, the parliament is empowered to make laws. To formulate them, a certain system has been adopted. This system is known as the law-making process. A rough draft of the law is prepared initially. This draft or outline is known as a draft proposal of the law or Bill of law. There are two types of bills that are primarily introduced in the House of the Parliament.
- Money Bill
- Ordinary Bill
In order to be converted into an Act (Law), the Bill undergoes the following process.
The minister of the concerned department/ministry or member of the parliament presents the bill and briefly explains its structure while presenting it. This is called as ‘first reading’.
There are two stages of second reading. In the first stage, the objectives of the proposed Bill are discussed and members in the House express their opinions on it. The supporters of the bill give favourable opinions while the opponents discuss the defects and faults in the bill. After the discussion within the house, as per the requirement, the bill is sent to a committee of the House. The committee report consisting of instructions and recommendations is sent to the House in order to make the bill flawless. Now, the second phase of the second reading begins. In this phase, the bill is discussed clause by clause. Members can suggest changes. After this, voting is taken in the house.
The bill is discussed briefly again during the third reading. Voting is taken to approve the Bill. If the bill gets assent by the required majority, then the bill is considered as passed by the House. The bill undergoes the same procedure even in the other house. After getting approval by both houses, the bill is further sent for assent by the President. If there occurs a difference of opinion between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over a specific bill, the future of this bill is decided in a joint meeting of both houses.
After the final assent and signature of the President, the bill is converted into law and the law is made. Every year in the month of February, the Finance Minister presents the national Budget to the Lok Sabha. The State Legislatures also follow the same procedure of law-making as in the Parliament. The Bill passed by the State Legislature can become a Law only after it receives the assent of the Governor.
Good Maharashtra State Board Class 8 Civics Notes The Indian Parliament can simplify complex concepts and make studying more efficient.