The Parliament System of India
A parliamentary system of government means that the executive branch of government has the direct or indirect support of the parliament. This support is usually shown by a vote of confidence. The relationship between the executive and the legislature in a parliamentary system is called responsible government. Parliamentary system has been taken from the United Kingdom because U.K. constitution is the mother constitution of parliamentarianism. It is also called ministerial or cabinet system.
Composition of the Parliament
President of India
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:
The constitution declares Hindi and English as the languages for conducting the business of the House. However, Article 120 allows the presiding officer to allow members to use their mother tongue if they are not proficient in Hindi or English.
The legislative procedure is a complicated one. It differs in cases of Ordinary Bills Money or Finance Bills, and Constitution Amendment Bills.
Ordinary Bills: Any Bill which is not a Constitution Amendment Bill or a Money Bill is classified as an Ordinary Bill. Ordinary Bills are of five types.
An ordinary Bill can be introduced in either House of Parliament (Article 107). The Bill needs to be passed by both Houses by a majority of members present and voting. If it is passed by the House in which it was introduced, and rejected by the other House, the President may call a joint sitting of both the Houses. In this sitting, the decision to accept or reject a Bill is taken by the majority of the total number of members of both Houses present and voting.
Money and Financial Bills: Article 110 defines a Money Bill. A Bill is considered to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters listed below. A Financial Bill may contain other proposals in addition to these. For example, a Bill that contains a taxation clause, but does not deal solely with taxation is a Financial Bill.
A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and requires the recommendation of the President. However, the Speaker of the House has the final authority to decide whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not. A Money Bill cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha nor can it be referred to a Joint Committee of Houses or be considered at a Joint Sitting of the two Houses. Once a Money Bill is passed in the Lok Sabha it is sent to the Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha may not amend Money Bills but can recommend amendments. A Money Bill should be returned by the Rajya Sabha to the Lok Sabha within 14 days or the Bill is deemed to have passed both Houses in the form it was originally passed by the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha has the discretion to accept or reject the recommended Amendments made by the Rajya Sabha.
Constitution Amendment Bill: A Constitution Amendment Bill may be introduced in either House and follow a process similar to an Ordinary Bill. The difference lies in the majority required to pass the Bills. Articles of the Constitution are classified into three categories for the purpose of amendment:
Parliament works according to certain rules and conventions. Some of the practices explained here.
Quorum: It is minimum number of members whose presence is essential to transact the business of the House. Article 100 provides that the quorum of either House shall be one-tenth of the total number of members of the House.
Question Hour: The day’s business normally begins with the Question Hour during which questions asked by the members are answered by the Ministers. The different types of questions are following:
Half an hour Discussion: 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 laid on the Table of House, and the answer needs elucidation on a matter of fact. Normally not more than half an hour is allowed for such a discussion. Usually, half-an-hour discussion is listed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only. In one session, a member is not allowed to raise not more than two half-an-hour discussions. During the discussion, the member who has given notice makes a short statement and not more than four members, who have intimated earlier and have secured one of the four places in the ballot, are permitted to ask a question each for further elucidation of any matter of fact.
Point of Order: A point relating to the interpretation or enforcement of the Rules of Procedure or such articles of the Constitution as regulate the business of the House raised in the House and submitted for the decision of the Chair.
Vote on Account: As there is usually a gap between the presentation of the budget and its approval, the vote on account enables the government to draw some amount from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the expenses in the intervening period.
Guillotine: The act of putting all the demands for grant to vote, without discussion on the last day earmarked for the discussion of the budget is called guillotine.
Adjournment: An adjournment terminates the sitting of the House which meets again at the time appointed for the next sitting. An adjournment also signifies brief break of the sitting of the House which re-assembles at the appointed time on the same day.
Sitting of the House: A sitting of the House is duly constituted when it is presided over by the Chairman or a member competent to preside over a sitting of the House under the Constitution or the Rules of Procedure of Rajya Sabha.