Parliament of India
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The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of the Republic of India. The Parliament is composed of the President of India and the houses. It is a bicameral legislature with two houses: the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People).
Sansad Bhavan (Parliament House):
The Sansad Bhavan (Parliament House) is located in New Delhi. It was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, who were responsible for planning and construction of New Delhi by British government. The construction of buildings took six years and the opening ceremony was performed on 18 January 1927 by the then Viceroy and Governor-General of India, Irwin. The construction costs for the building were 8.3 million (US$120,000). The Central hall consists of the chambers of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the Library hall. Surrounding these three chambers is the four storied circular structure providing accommodations for members and houses Parliamentary committees, offices and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
The President in his role as head of legislature has full powers to summon and prorogue either house of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha. The president can exercise these powers only upon the advice of the Prime Minister and his Union Council of Ministers. The President of India, the Head of state is a component of Parliament. Under Article 60 and Article 111, President’s responsibility is to scrutinize that bills/laws passed by the parliament are in accordance with constitutional mandate and stipulated procedure is followed before according his/her approval to the bills. The President of India is elected by the members of Parliament of India and the state legislatures and serves for a term of 5 years.
Members of Parliament (MP):
- Members of Parliament (MP) are elected or nominated (by the President) to either house of Parliament are referred to as members of parliament (MP).
- The Members of Parliament, Lok Sabha are directly elected by the Indian public voting in Single-member districts.
- The Members of Parliament, Rajya Sabha are elected by the members of all of the State Legislative Assembly by proportional representation.
- The Parliament has a sanctioned strength of 545 in Lok Sabha including the 2 nominees from the Anglo-Indian Community by the President, and 245 in Rajya Sabha including the 12 nominees from the expertise of different fields of science, culture, art and history.
- The Parliament meets at Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi.
Session of Parliament:
The period during which the House meets to conduct its business is called a session. The Constitution empowers the president to summon each House at such intervals that there should not be more than a six-month gap between the two sessions. Hence the Parliament must meet at least twice a year. In India, the parliament conducts three sessions each year:
- Budget session: February to May
- Monsoon session: July to September
- Winter session: November to December
Parliamentary committees are formed to deliberate specific matters at length. The public is directly or indirectly associated and studies are conducted to help committees arrive at the conclusions. Parliamentary committees are of two kinds: Ad hoc committees and the Standing committees.
Standing committees are permanent committees constituted from time to time in pursuance of the provisions of an act of Parliament or rules of procedure and conduct of business in Parliament. The work of these committees is of a continuing nature. Ad hoc committees are appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report.
Lok Sabha (House of the People) or the lower house has 545 members. 543 members are directly elected by citizens of India on the basis of universal adult franchise representing Parliamentary constituencies across the country and 2 members are appointed by the President of India from Anglo-Indian Community. The Constitution provides that the maximum strength of the House be 552 members. 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.
Term Duration: It has a term of five years.
Eligibility to Vote:
Every citizen of India who is over 18 years of age, irrespective of gender, caste, religion or race, who is otherwise not disqualified, is eligible to vote for the Lok Sabha. It has a term of five years.
Eligibility for Become a Lok Sabha MP:
To be eligible for membership in the Lok Sabha, a person must be a citizen of India and must be 25 years of age or older, mentally sound, should not be bankrupt and should not be criminally convicted and should elected by any one of the Indian constitution area.
Rajya Sabha (Council of States) or the upper house is a permanent body not subject to dissolution. One third of the members retire every second year, and are replaced by newly elected members. Its members are indirectly elected by members of legislative bodies of the states. The Rajya Sabha can have a maximum of 250 members. It currently has a sanctioned strength of 245 members, of which 233 are elected from States and Union Territories and 12 are nominated by the President. The number of members from a state depends on its population.
Term Duration: It has a term of Six years.
Eligibility for Become a Rajya Sabha MP:
To be eligible for membership in the Rajya Sabha, a person must be a citizen of India and should be elected as Member of Parliament. The minimum age for a person to become a member of Rajya Sabha is 30 years.