The Preamble of our Constitution declares India to be a Democratic Republic and vests supreme power with the people.
People exercise their power through their representatives who make and amend laws in the Parliament of India.
The Parliament is the highest representative body of Indian people at the national level.
The Parliament consists of the President of Indian Union and the two chambers – Lok Sabha (the House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (the Council of States). The Lok Sabha is the Lower chamber and the Rajya Sabha is the Upper chamber.
The Parliament makes and amends laws for the whole country. The real executive of the country, i.e. the Prime Minister, and his Council of Ministers are responsible for it.
Powers and Functions of the Parliament
It makes laws for the governance of the country.
It controls the finances of the Union.
It can pass the vote of no-confidence, if the Government acts against the constitutional provisions.
It can remove the President from office through a procedure called ‘impeachment’
It can also remove the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the Chief Election Commissioner and, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
It can establish a common High Court for two or more States.
It can alter the name or boundary of the State and can also form a new State by separating a part of a territory from a State or by merging the territories of the existing States.
The Lok Sabha
❖ The members of the Lok Sabha are directly elected by the people on the basis of Universal Adult Franchise, i.e. all citizens of the country, who have attained the age of 18 years and above can vote in the elections of the members of Lok Sabha.
The Constitution of India has prescribed 552 as the maximum number of the membership of the Lok Sabha. However, these days there are 545 members in the Lok Sabha of which 543 are elected representatives of the people and two are the members of Anglo-Indian community who are nominated by the President of India.
The whole country is divided into constituencies or territorial segments for the purpose of elections to the Lok Sabha. Each constituency generally comprises of 5 to 10 lakh people.
Some constituencies are reserved for the candidates of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
A person for being eligible for contesting Election to the Lok Sabha must:
- be a citizen of India,
- have completed 25 years of age,
- have his name as a voter in the voter’s list in any constituency of the Lok Sabha,
- not be an insolvent,
- not be holding any office of profit under the government,
- not be a proclaimed criminal, and
- not be of unsound mind.
The members of the Lok Sabha are elected for a term of five years. Every elected member of the Lok Sabha, before taking his seat, takes an oath before the President or some person appointed by him.
The President can dissolve the House even before the expiry of its term on the advice of the Prime Minister. The term of the Lok Sabhacan be extended by the Parliament for a period of not exceeding one year at a time in case of emergency.
Immediately after the elections of the Lok Sabha, its members meet and elect their Chairperson from among themselves. He is called the Speaker.
The Speaker can be removed by the Lok Sabha by a resolution passed by the majority of the members. The Deputy Speaker performs the duties of the Speaker when the latter is absent or while the office of the Speaker is vacant.
The Deputy Speaker is elected or removed in the the same way as the Speaker.
The Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha provides representation to the States and safeguards their interests in our federal system where powers have been distributed between the Centre and State.
The Constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha shall consists of 250 members, of which 12 members shall be nominated by the President from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service; and not more than 238 representatives of the States and of the Union Territories.
Rajya Sabha, at present, has 245 members, of these 233 members represent the States and the Union Territories, and 12 members are nominated by the President.
Elections to the Rajya Sabha are indirect. Members representing 4ates arekelected by elected members of Legislative Assemblies of the States in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and those representing Union,Territories are chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law prescribe.
The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution as a whole; one-third of its members retire every second year.
For a person, he or she to be a member of Rabha Sabha must:
- be a citizen of India,
- not be below 30 years of age,
- not be proclaimed a criminal by the court,
- not be holding any office of profit under the government, and
- ordinarily a resident of the State from which he is contesting.
The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected for a period of six years. Members can be re-elected if they desire and if their electors support them.
The meetings of the Rajya Sabha are presided • over by the Vice-President, who is its ex-officio Chairperson.
Despite their common sphere of activity, the Lok Sabha is more powerful than the Rajya Sabha. The Ordinary Bills and constitutional amendments are jointly passed by both the Houses. In case of Money Bills, the Lok Sabha is more powerful. These bills can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. It is the Lok Sabha which actually approves or rejects the Money Bills.