What is the parliament as per the Indian Constitution?
The Parliament of India, as per the Indian Constitution, is the supreme legislative body in the country. It is a bicameral legislature, meaning it consists of two houses: the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The structure and powers of the Parliament are detailed in Part V (The Union) and Part VI (The States) of the Constitution.
- Lok Sabha (House of the People):
- Members: The Lok Sabha is composed of Members of Parliament (MPs) directly elected by the people through general elections and by-polls.
- Duration: The term of the Lok Sabha is five years unless dissolved earlier.
- Representation: The number of seats in the Lok Sabha is determined based on the population of each state and union territory. The representation is proportional to the population, and some seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
- Powers: The Lok Sabha has significant powers, including the passage of legislation, approving the budget, and expressing confidence or no-confidence in the government.
- Rajya Sabha (Council of States):
- Members: Members of the Rajya Sabha, often referred to as Rajya Sabha members or Rajya Sabha MPs, are not directly elected by the public. They are elected by the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies, the members of the Electoral college for Union Territories, and the members of the Electoral college for graduates and teachers.
- Duration: The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body, and its members are elected for six years, with one-third of the members retiring every two years.
- Representation: The Rajya Sabha represents the states and union territories of India. The number of members is not fixed and can be altered by Parliament through legislation.
- Powers: The Rajya Sabha plays a complementary role to the Lok Sabha in the legislative process. It reviews and suggests amendments to legislation initiated in the Lok Sabha, and it has special powers in certain constitutional matters.
- Functions of Parliament:
- Legislation: Parliament is responsible for making laws on subjects specified in the Union List and Concurrent List.
- Budget: The Union Budget, presented in the Lok Sabha, is a crucial function of Parliament. It includes the Annual Financial Statement, the demand for grants, and the appropriation bill.
- Oversight: Parliament exercises control over the executive through various mechanisms, including question hour, debates, committees, and no-confidence motions.
- Representation: Members of Parliament represent the concerns and interests of the people they serve.
The President of India is an integral part of the Parliament but is not a member. The President’s role includes the summoning and proroguing of sessions, addressing both houses, and giving assent to bills passed by Parliament before they become law. The Parliament, along with the President, forms the cornerstone of India’s democratic governance structure.
What is the formation history of parliament in India?
The formation history of the Parliament in India is closely tied to the country’s struggle for independence and the subsequent framing of its Constitution. Here is a brief overview:
- Pre-Independence Period:
- Legislative Councils: The initial steps towards a representative legislative body were taken during British rule in India. The Indian Councils Act of 1861 and subsequent acts led to the establishment of legislative councils in various provinces. These councils had limited powers and were not fully representative.
- Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms (1919): The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms introduced a limited form of self-government in India. The Government of India Act 1919 expanded legislative councils and introduced a system of diarchy, allowing for elected members to have a say in certain matters.
- Government of India Act (1935): The most significant pre-independence development was the Government of India Act 1935. It proposed a federal structure for India and established a bicameral federal legislature. However, the actual functioning of this legislature was short-lived due to the outbreak of World War II.
- Post-Independence Period:
- Constituent Assembly: With India gaining independence in 1947, the Constituent Assembly was formed to draft the Constitution. This assembly also functioned as the interim Parliament until the new Constitution came into effect.
- Adoption of the Constitution (1950): The Constitution of India came into effect on January 26, 1950. With this, the provisional Parliament transformed into the permanent Parliament of the Republic of India.
- Formation of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha: The Parliament of India, as outlined in the Constitution, consisted of two houses: Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (Council of States). Members of the Lok Sabha were elected directly by the people, while members of the Rajya Sabha were elected by the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies and by the members of the Electoral college for Union Territories.
- First General Elections (1952): The first general elections in 1952 marked a historic moment, establishing India’s parliamentary democracy. Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India, leading the government formed by the Indian National Congress.
Since then, the Indian Parliament has played a central role in the democratic governance of the country. It has witnessed multiple general elections, changes in government, and constitutional amendments, evolving as a dynamic institution that reflects the diverse and democratic ethos of India.