Indian Constitution and Political Communication


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Indian Constitution and Political Communication

  1. 1. Constitution of India What is a Constitution ? Constitution of a country lays down the basic structure of the political system under which its people are to be governed. It establishes the main organs of the state- Legislature (governing body, government) Executive (Administration, decision making) Judiciary (Judges, Courts) Defines their powers , demarcates (separate, differentiate) their responsibility and regulates their relationships with each other and with the people. The term constitution is a Latin word that denotes an important law. A constitution is a codified written document which is the system for government. In a democracy , sovereignty (power, control) vests in the people and ideally the people govern themselves . But, with the growth complexities of administration and the size of the nation, direct democracy is no more feasible. In the modern representative democracies , people exercise their inalienable right to decide how and by whom they should be governed. Every constitution represents the vision and values of its founding fathers and is based on the social, political and economic ethos(culture) and faith and aspirations of the people. It is wrong to regard a country‟s constitution is not only what is written in the text of the constitution. Constitution is a living organism of functioning institutions. It keep constantly growing, evolving . Constituent Assembly and Sources of Constitution Sources of the constitution Sources of Indian constitution are diverse and many. These are both indigenous and foreign . The founding fathers made it very clear that they were not writing on a clean state . They took a conscious decision not to make a complete departure from the past , but to build on the existing structure and experience of institutions already established. Even otherwise , the Indian constitution had an organic (natural) growth. It evolved through the various demands for representative – responsible governmental institutions during the nationalist struggle. Organisation of village panchayats was clearly inspired be the ancient Indian institutions of self govt. Fundamental rights was made 1918 in Bombay session by Indian National Congress Equality before law was demanded in year 1925, which also includes freedom of speech, assembly and religion etc. In 1931 at Karachi Congress fundamental duties were included along with fundamental rights. A parliamentary system with a government responsible to parliament , safeguards for minorities and central polity contained in the constitution could also be said to have had their sources in the 1928 Nehru Committee Report. Finally , nearly 75 % of the constitution can be said be a reproduction of the Government of India Act- 1935. The basic structure of Polity and provisions regulating UNION-STATE relations, Declaration of Emergency etc. etc. were largely based on 1935 Act. Beside the indigenous sources, the constitution assembly had before it several models of foreign constitution to make Indian constitution better. In the Constituent Assembly of India there were members from the Congress as well as from Muslim League. There were also members from the Scheduled Caste Federation, the Communist Party of India and Unionist party in the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly of India included sections of Christians, Anglo-Indians and Minority Community. The final Constituent Assembly of India had two hundred and seven representatives, including fifteen women. There were about ninety three members nominated from the princely states and The Congress secured a huge majority
  2. 2. The Constituent Assembly took almost three years (two years, eleven months and seventeen days to be precise) to complete its historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India. During this period, it held eleven sessions covering a total of 165 days. Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign(independent) nation A total of 117,369 words in the English language. However, besides the English version, there is also an official Hindi translation available. The Indian constitution declares India as a Sovereign, Socialist Democratic, Republic with a parliamentary system of government. The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949 and it came into force on 26th January 1950. Every law of the land enacted by the government must conform to the constitution. India became independent from the colonial rule of the British Empire and a need for a competent government aroused. After the Second World War came to an end, a new government came to power in the United Kingdom. A new British government announced its Indian Policy in 1946, at the initiative of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee. A cabinet mission was formulated to discuss and finalize plans for the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian leadership and providing India with independence. The main aim of the Cabinet mission was to discuss the framework of the Constitution of India and lay down the procedure to be followed by the constitution drafting body. The constitution was drafted by the Constituent Assembly and it was elected by the elected members of the provincial assemblies. Sachidanand Sinha was chosen as the first president of the Constituent Assembly and later Rajendra Prasad was elected president of the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly of India consisted of the prominent figures of the nation including Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad as well as Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.The assembly also comprised of members from the Anglo-Indian community, scheduled classes, Parsis community and the Gorkha Community. Women members were also represented the constituent assembly and Sarojini Naidu was a well-known women member. The constituent assembly met on August 14, 1947 and various decisions were taken in the committee. The concept of Indian Flag was taken in the assembly meeting. A flag with three colours, Saffron, White and Green with the Ashoka Chakra was selected. Furthermore, the National Emblem of India was decided and it has been taken from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. The Indian Government adapted it on 26th January 1950 when the country became a republic. In addition to that it was decided to form a drafting committee with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as the Chairman along with six other members. A Draft Constitution was prepared by the Drafting Committee of Indian Constitution and submitted to the Assembly on November 4, 1947. The assembly finally took over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. The structure of the Constitution of India comprise of the preamble, twenty-two parts containing three hundred and ninety five articles, twelve schedules of Indian Constitution, ninety-four amendments of Indian Constitution, and five appendices. The Constitution distributes its legislative powers between Parliament and State legislatures. The residuary powers invest in the Parliament and the centrally administered territories are called Union Territories.
  3. 3. In the Constituent Assembly of India there were members of Congress ,Muslim League , Scheduled Caste Federation, Communist Party of India, Unionist party ,Christians, Anglo-Indians and Minority Community. The final Constituent Assembly of India had 207 (including 15 women ). There were about 93 members from the princely states The Congress secured a huge majority The Constituent Assembly took almost three years (2 years, 11 months and 17 days) to complete its historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India. During this period, it held eleven sessions covering a total of 165 days. Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign(independent) nation A total of 117,369 words in the English language. However, besides the English version, there is also an official Hindi translation available. The Indian constitution declares India as a Sovereign, Socialist Democratic, Republic with a parliamentary system of government. The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949 and it came into force on 26th January 1950. Every law of the land enacted by the government must conform to the constitution. India became independent from the colonial rule of the British Empire and a need for a competent government aroused. However, during the prominence of the British Raj, the Government of India Act 1935 was passed which was the last constitution of India during the British rule. External Inputs British Constitution * Parliamentary form of government * The idea of single citizenship * The idea of the Rule of law * Institution of Speaker and his role * Law making procedure United States Constitution * Fundamental Rights, * Federal (Centralised) structure of government * Power of Judicial Review and independence of the judiciary French Constitution Liberty, Equality and Fraternity Canadian Constitution A quasi -federal form of government (a federal system with a strong central government) Australian Constitution Freedom of trade and commerce within the country and between the states Power of the national legislature to make laws for implementing treaties, Malaysian Constitution The idea of the Concurrent list Japan Constitution Fundamental Duties Weimar Constitution Emergency Provision u/a 356 President as supreme commander of armed forces. Salient Features of Indian Constitution : The Constitution of India has adopted following features from other constitutions. A written constitution: The Republic of India has a written and enacted constitution; it contained 409 Articles, twelve schedules and three appendices. In its present form it covers 254 pages. “Like the constitution of the United States of America, Canada and France, India too has a written constitution, though it differs from those documents in many respects.” The Longest Known Constitutions The constitution of India has the distinction of being the most lengthy and detailed constitutional document the world has so far produced.
  4. 4. The original constitution contained as many as 395 Articles and 8 schedules. It has been the endeavor of the framers of the constitution to provide for the solution of all the problems of administration and governance of the country. Thus, whole the U.S. Constitution originally compresses only 7 Articles, the Australian 128 Articles, the Canadian 147 Articles. Sovereign Democratic Republic The preamble of the constitution declares India to be a sovereign(independent) democratic Republic The word „Democratic‟ signifies that the real power come from the people. The constitution introduces the country the right to elect their representatives for the union Parliament and state legislatures at the time of elections to be held every five years. The world „Republic‟ is used to denote that the state is headed not by a permanent head like the queen of Britain but by a President indirectly elected by the people. Both Rigid and Flexible The Indian constitution is partly rigid and partly flexible. The procedure said down by the constitution for its amendment is neither very easy, as in England, nor very rigid as in the United States. It is only the amendment of few of the provisions of the constitution that requires notification by the state legislatures. The rest of the constitutions may be amended by the special majority of the union Parliament i.e. a majority of not less than 2/3 of the members of each. The very fact that within a period of 47 years the constitution had been amended 76 times proves that the constitution is flexible. Cabinet Government The constitution establishes cabinet type of Government both of the centre and the states. The most distinctive feature of a Cabinet system of government is the complete and continuous responsibility of the executive to the legislature. The cabinet is composed of the Prime Minister, who is the chief of the executive and his senior colleagues who share the responsibility with him for the formulation and execution of the policies of the Government. Under the Cabinet system the Head of the cabinet occupies a position of great dignity, but practically all authority nominally vested in him is exercised by the cabinet. Secular State A secular state has negative and positive aspects. Negatively, it is the exact opposite to a communal state which officially identified it self with a particular religion. In a secular state, on the other hand there is no official or state religion. In its positive aspects a secular state treats all its citizens alike and gives them equal opportunities. The state has no official religion. No discrimination can be made on the basis of religion, faith, caste, color and sex. Every citizen is equal before law. Independence of Judiciary The framers of the constitution were aware that democratic freedoms were meaningless in the absence of an independent machinery to safeguard them. No subordinate or agent of the Government could be trusted to be just and impartial in judging the merits of a conflict in which the Government itself was a party. Similarly, a judiciary subordinates either to the centre or the states could not be trusted as an impartial authority of conflicts and controversies between the centre and the states. These were the compelling reasons for the creation of an independent judiciary as an integral part of the constitution and for the adoption of judicial independent as a basic principle of the constitution. Fundamental Rights Like the constitution of the United States of America, the constitution of India also includes a separate chapter guaranteeing fundamental Rights to all the citizens. These rights are justifiable and firm. They are binding on the legislature as well as on the executive. If any of the rights is violated, a citizen has the right to seek the protection of the judiciary. Act of the legislature or odder of the executive can be declared rule and void if it violates any of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens by the constitutions. The Constitution offers all citizens, individually and collectively, some basic freedoms. These are guaranteed in the Constitution in the form of six broad categories of Fundamental Rights, which are reasonable. Article 12 to 35 contained in Part III of the Constitution deal with Fundamental Rights. These are:
  5. 5. Right of Equality 1. Equality before Law. 2. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. 3. Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. 4. Abolition of Un-touchability. 5. Abolition of Titles. Right of Freedom 6. Freedom of Speech. 7. Protection in respect of conviction for offences. 8. Protection of life and personal liberty. 9. Protection against improper arrest and detention. Right against Exploitation 10. Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour. 11. Prohibition of employment of children. Right to Freedom of Religion 12. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. 13. Freedom to manage religious affairs. 14. Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion. 15. Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in educational institutions. Cultural and Educational Rights 16. Protection of interests of minorities. 17. Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions. right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights Fundamental Duties The 42nd Amendment Act introduced „Fundamental duties‟ to separate the fundamental rights Even thought the duties as such cannot be judicially enforced. It is an attempt to balance the individual‟s civic freedoms with has civic duties and thus to fill a serious gap in the constitution. Fundamental Duties Fundamental Duties prescribed by the Constitution under PART [IV-A] To abide by the Constitution and respect its principles and institutions, the NNaattiioonnaall FFllaagg aanndd tthhee NNaattiioonnaall AAnntthheemm.. To appreciate and follow the noble principles which inspired our national struggle for freedom. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India. To defend country and render national service when called upon to do so. To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India going beyond the religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women. To value and preserve the rich heritage of our complex culture. To protect and improve the natural environment iinncclluuddiinngg ffoorreessttss,, llaakkeess,, rriivveerrss aanndd wwiilldd lliiffee,, and to have compassion for living creatures. To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform. To safeguard public property and to reject violence. Preamble The Constitution of India opens with the Preamble which is like the preface of the constitution. The Preamble is not a part of the Constitution of India as it is not enforceable in a court of law. Nevertheless, the Preamble is useful as an interpretive tool. It is an integral part of the constitution and describes the basic structure of the Constitution of India. The Preamble of the constitution of India puts forth: WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a [SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC] and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY (union) assuring the dignity of the individual and the [unity and integrity of the Nation]; IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
  6. 6. 42nd Amendment On 18 December 1976, during the Emergency in India, the Indira Gandhi government pushed through several changes in the Forty-second Amendment of the constitution. A committee under the chairmanship of Sardar Swaran Singh recommended that this amendment be enacted after being constituted to study the question of amending the constitution in the light of past experience. Through this amendment the words "socialist" and "secular" were added between the words "sovereign" and "democratic" and the words "unity of the Nation" were changed to "unity and integrity of the Nation“. The idea for the addition of 'socialist' was prompted by Indira Gandhi, it was because of India's growing relationship with the erstwhile USSR. The National Symbol of India comes from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka. Ashoka ruled the land from 272 BCE to 232 BCE. The original sculpture shows four lions on a pillar with an elephant, horse, bull, and lion separated by a lotus on the base. A Dharma Chakra (wheel of law) is also carved into the stone. The emblem was adopted on January 26, 1950 by the Indian Government. The official symbol now shows three of the four lions with the Dharma Chakra in the center of the base and a bull and horse on either side. The base is also engraved with the phrase "Satyameva Jayate" in the Devanagari script of India. This simple phrase represents a powerful idea for the Indian people: "Truth alone triumphs". symbolising power, courage, pride and confidence Introduction to Union Government & Parliament of India Parliament Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India. The Indian Parliament comprises of the President and the two Houses- Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and Lok Sabha (House of the People) The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha (Upper House) Rajya Sabha (Council of States) not more than 250 members 12 are nominated by the President of India the rest are indirectly elected by state Legislative Assemblies The Council of States can not be dissolved members have terms of 6 years 1/3 members retire at end of every 2nd year Lok Sabha (Lower house) or (House of the People) 552 members 2 are appointed by the President of India the rest are directly elected from single-member districts 5-year terms unless dissolved Lok Sabha elects its presiding officer the Speaker President The President is the head of State, but not of the executive. He represents the nation, but does not rule the nation. The President of India is indirectly elected by an "Electoral College" composed of the elected members of both the houses of Parliament The Constitution vests all executive authority of the Union in the President. All executive functions of the Government of India shall be carried on behalf of the President and all executive action shall be expressed to be taken in his name. He holds the supreme Command of the Defense forces of the Indian Union and has the power of declaring war and making peace. All important appointments are made by the President including those of Government of States, Ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives, Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme and the State High courts; the Attorney General of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Chairman and members of the Union Public Service Commission.
  7. 7. Electoral College Qualification of Indian President He must be a citizen of India and must be at least 35 years of age. He must be qualified for election as a member to the House of the People; mentally sound, should not be bankrupt and if the person has criminal proceedings in courts, the person has to mention it when they file their affidavit to the election commission. However the person must not be criminally convicted. He must not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or Government of any state or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments. The Vice-President, State Governors, Ministers and Legislators may seek election as President provided they have resigned from their former offices. Tenure of Office of Indian President The President is elected for a period of five years from the date on which he assumes office but he is eligible for re-election. The President`s office terminates on the completion of five years. Emoluments for Indian President The President shall be entitled without payment of rent to the use of his /official residence and shall also get such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by parliamentary laws. The emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished during the term of his office. At present the President of India receives a salary of Rs.1.5 lakh per month. Besides this an amount equal to 225 million is allotted by the Government in the annual budget for the upkeep of the President. Powers of President President of India is the Head of State and first citizen of India, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The President can summon and prorogue either House of Parliament and dissolve House of the People. He may summon a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament if they fail to agree in a Bill. The President also nominates 12 members of the Council of States(Rajya Sabha). He may address either House separately or both of them together. He may also send messages to either House. At the commencement of the first session of the Parliament every year, he delivers and address. Every Bill passed by Parliament must received the President's assent before it can become an Act. The President may give his assent or withhold it for some time in case of other than a Money Bill. The constitution also confers upon the President is to circulate an ordinance at any time when Parliament is not in session. An ordinance has the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament but it must be placed before the two Houses of Parliament as-soon-as it re-assembly and ceases to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the re-assembly of Parliament. The President exercises important financial powers. At the beginning of every financial year, he causes to be laid before Parliament the "annual financial statement". This statement shows the estimated revenues and expenditure of the Union for that year. No Money Bill can be introduced in Parliament except on the President's recommendation. The President can also appoint from time-to-time, a Finance Commission to make recommendations regarding the distribution of taxes between the Union and the States High Courts.
  8. 8. Money Bill Under article 110 , the money bill is one which contain provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters The imposition, abolition, remission or alteration of any tax The regulation of the borrowing of money or the giving of any guarantee by the government. Powers of the President One of the most important and significant aspect of the Constitution relates to the enormous emergency powers vested in the Union Executive. The President is authorized to exercise these extraordinary powers in order to deal with three kinds of situations, viz emergencies caused by war or internal disturbance and threat thereof (National Emergency) emergencies arising from the failure of constitutional machinery in the state financial emergencies. National Emergency (Article 352) On the grounds of security threats to India by war, external aggression or armed rebellion. The President can proclaim this emergency only after receiving a written recommendation from the Cabinet. The proclamation of the emergency must be approved by the Parliament with in one month. If approved, it will continue for six months. It can be extended for an indefinite period with an approval of the Parliament for every six months. It has been proclaimed three times so far- 1962, 1971 and 1975. President can suspend the operation of Fundamental Rights (except Articles 20 and 21) during this type of emergency. Article 19 can only be suspended in case of external emergency and not in the case of internal emergency. State Emergency (Article 356) Emergency due to failure of constitutional machinery in State. The President's rule can be imposed when the President is satisfied, on the basis of either a report of the State Governor or otherwise, that the governance of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. The proclamation(announcement) of the President's rule should be approved by the Parliament within two months. If approved, it remains in force for six months from the date of proclamation of the State Emergency. It can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of the Parliament every six months. The State Governor, on behalf of the President, carries on the State administration with the help of the advisors appointed by the President or the Chief Secretary of the State. The President's rule has been imposed more than 100 times. Financial Emergency (Article 360) The President can proclaim Financial Emergency if he is satisfied that the financial stability or the credit of India or any part there of is threatened. Such a proclamation must be approved by the Parliament within two months. During the Emergency, the President can issue directions for the reduction of salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving under the State. Financial Emergency has not been declared so far. Procedure for Impeachment of President The President may, for violation of the constitution, be removed from office by impeachment. The charge of violating the constitution may be favored by either House of Parliament. The proposal to prefer a charge is to be contained in a resolution signed by not less than one- fourth of the total number of members of the House initiating impeachment. A resolution for impeachment can be moved after at least fourteen day's notice has been given by the members initiating impeachment.
  9. 9. Such a resolution should be passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House. Then the other House shall investigate the charge or cause the charge to be investigated. The President has the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation. If as a result of the investigation a resolution is passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House by which the charge has been investigated declaring that the charge preferred against the President has been sustained, such resolution shall have the effect of removing the President from his office as from the date on which the resolution is so passed. President’s Secretariat The President‟s Secretariat is headed by the Secretary to the President who is assisted by a team of officers. The President‟s Secretariat includes Secretariat, Household and Garden work charged establishments. These wings perform tasks relating to constitutional, administrative, hospitality of State guests, petitions on wide ranging subjects from general public and maintenance of Rashtrapati Bhavan, President‟s Estate and gardens. All matters requiring attention of the President in matters relating to executive power and relating to appointments of constitutional authorities are received in the President‟s Secretariat from the Ministries concerned and submitted to the President through the Secretary to the President. Once the President has agreed to the proposed course of action, the files go back to the concerned Ministries. Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha Powers and Functions Special powers of Rajya Sabha Rajya Sabha being a federal chamber - representing States/Union territories, enjoys certain special powers: (Under Articla 249) To empower Parliament to make laws in respect of any matter enumerated(included) in the State List in the national interest by adopting a resolution to this effect, Creation of All India Services Approving Proclamations (issued under article 352 or article 356 or article 360) if the Lok Sabha stand dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place within the period allowed for the approval of the Proclamation by Parliament. Legislative relationship between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha In legislative matters, Rajya Sabha enjoys almost equal powers with Lok Sabha, except in the case of Money Bills where the Lok Sahba has overriding powers. Such Bills cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha and are supposed to have been passed if these are not returned to Lok Sabha within fourteen days. In case of deadlock between the two Houses In the case of Bills, a disagreement between the two Houses may arise when a Bill passed by one House is rejected by the other House; or the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the Bill; or more than six months lapse from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it. A joint sitting of the Houses is convened for this purpose. 2/3 majority of total strength of both houses passes the bill. In case of Money Bill
  10. 10. In the case of Money Bills, there is no question of a deadlock as the Rajya Sabha has a limited say in such matters. There is no provision for a joint sitting in case of a deadlock over a Constitution Amendment Bill. In the history of Parliament of India, there have been three occasions when both Houses of Parliament held a joint sitting to resolve deadlock on Bills between them, i.e., (i) 6 and 9 May 1961 on the Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1959; (ii) 17 May 1978 on the Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977; and (iii) 26 March 2002 on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002. A Money Bill is introduced only in Lok Sabha and after it is passed by that House, it is transmitted to Rajya Sabha for its recommendation.Rajya Sabha has to return the Money Bill to Lok Sabha within a period of fourteen days from its receipt. Rajya Sabha cannot amend the Money Bill directly; it can only recommend amendments to the Bill.Lok Sabha may either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha.If Lok Sabha accepts any of the recommendations made by Rajya Sabha, the Bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses with the amendments so recommended and accepted.If, however, Lok Sabha does not accept any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses of Parliament in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha without any of the amendments recommended by Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha The Indian Independence Act, 1947 declared the Constituent Assembly of India to be a full sovereign body. Apart from being a Constitution drafting body, it also assumed full powers for the governance of the country. With the coming into force of the Constitution on 26 January, 1950, the Constituent Assembly functioned as the Provisional Parliament until the first Lok Sabha, then known as the House of People, and was constituted following General Elections in 1952. Lok Sabha, the Hindi nomenclature was adopted on 14 May, 1954. The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of Universal Adult Suffrage. The Constitution provides that the maximum strength of the House be 552 members - 530 members to represent the States, 20 members to represent the Union Territories, 2 members to be nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian Community. At present, the strength of the House is 545 members. The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved, is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case, beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate. Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the eligible voters. Members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of State Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. The normal life of every Lok Sabha is 5 years only while Rajya Sabha is a permanent body. Lok Sabha is the House to which the Council of Ministers is responsible under the Constitution. Money Bills can only be introduced in Lok Sabha. Also it is Lok Sabha, which grants the money for running the administration of the country. Rajya Sabha has special powers to declare that it is necessary and expedient in the national interest that Parliament may make laws with respect to a matter in the State List or to create by law one or more all-India services common to the Union and the States.
  11. 11. What is a Bill and Types of Bills A Bill is the draft of a legislative proposal brought before the House for approval. Bills initiated by Ministers are called Government Bills and those introduced by members who are not Ministers are known as Private Members' Bills. Bills are classified into : Original Bills (Bills embodying new proposals, ideas or policies) Amending Bills (Bills which seek to modify, amend or revise existing Acts) Consolidating Bills (Bills which seek to consolidate/ combine existing laws on a particular subject Expiring Laws (Continuance) Bills (Bills to continue an expiring Act); Repealing Bills (Bills seeking to repeal/cancel existing Acts); Bills to replace Ordinances; Constitution (Amendment) Bills; and Money and Financial Bills. Speaker decides whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not. A Bill becomes an Act only when passed by both the Houses of Parliament and assented to by the President. Steps involved in passage of a Bill A Bill while being considered has to undergo three stages in each House of Parliament. The first stage consists of the introduction of the Bill which is done on a motion moved by either a Minister or a member. During the second stage, any of the following motions can be moved: that the Bill be taken into consideration; that it be referred to a Select Committee of the House; that it be referred to a Joint Committee of the two Houses; The third stage is confined to the discussion on the motion that the Bill be passed and the Bill is passed/rejected either by voting or voice vote (or returned to the Lok Sabha by the Rajya Sabha in the case of a Money Bill). Committees in the Lok Sabha Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds: Ad hoc Committees and Standing Committees. Ad hoc Committees are constituted by the House or by the Presiding Officers, singly or jointly, for a specific purpose and come to an end when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report. Standing Committees are those Committees which are either elected by the House or nominated by the Presiding Officer periodically and are permanent in nature. Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions, Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Estimates Committee, General Purposes Committee, House Committee, and Rules Committee. Some Standing Committees of Lok Sabha are Joint Committees which includes members of both the Houses of Parliament. E.g. Committee on Empowerment of Women, Committee on Public Undertakings, Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Joint Committee on Offices of Profit, Besides, there are some Departmentally related Standing Committees (DRSCs). Budget Budget is the `Annual Financial Statement' or the Statement of the Estimated Receipts and Expenditure of the Government of India in respect of each financial year, presented to the Lok Sabha.
  12. 12. A copy of the Budget is laid in the Rajya Sabha soon after its presentation in the Lok Sabha. The preparation and presentation of the Budget for the approval of the Legislature is a constitutional obligation on the part of the Government, both at the Centre and in the States. Budget Session The Budget Session of Parliament is normally held during February to May of the year. Two types of Budgets are usually presented in the House namely, the General Budget and the Railway Budget. The General Budget is presented by the Minister of Finance and the Railway Budget by the Minister of Railways. Question Hour Generally, the first hour of every sitting of the House, devoted to asking and answering questions, is called the `Question Hour'. There are Starred Questions, Unstarred Questions, Short Notice Questions and Questions to Private Members. Starred Question is one to which a member desires an oral answer in the House, which is distinguished by an asterik (*). To a starred question, members can put supplementaries, answers to which are given by the Minister on the floor of the House. Unstarred Question is one to which a written answer is desired by the member and is deemed to be laid on the Table of the House by the Minister. Short Notice Question is a question relating to a matter of public importance asked for oral answer by a member with notice shorter than ten days. If the Speaker is of the opinion that the question is of an urgent nature, the Minister concerned is asked if he/she is in a position to reply to the question at a shorter notice, and if so, on which date. A question may also be addressed to a Private Member provided the subject matter of the question relates to some Bill, Resolution or other matter connected with the business of the House for which that member is responsible. Money Bill A Bill is deemed to be a 'Money Bill' if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters: the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax; the regulation of the borrowing of money or giving of any guarantee by the Government of India. the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency(emergency) Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such Fund; the appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India; the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure; the receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or (g) any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f) [Art.110]. A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments in a Money Bill passed by the Lok Sabha and transmitted to it. It can, however, recommend amendments in a Money Bill. CONSOLIDATED FUND All revenues received by Government by way of taxation like income-tax, central excise, custom, land revenue (tax revenues) and other receipts flowing to Government in connection with the conduct duct of Government business like receipts from Railways, Posts, Transport etc. (non-tax revenues) are credited into the Consolidated Fund. CONTINGENCY FUND
  13. 13. This is in the nature of an imprest and is kept at the disposal of the President of India to enable the Government to meet unforeseen expenditure pending its authorisation by the Parliament. The money is to be used to provide immediate relief to victims of natural calamities and also to implement any new policy decision taker, by the Government pending its approval by the Parliament. Sessions of the Lok Sabha Normally 3 Sessions of the Lok Sabha are held in a year Budget Session - February - May Autumn or Monsoon Session - July - August Winter Session - November - December Adjournment „Adjournment‟ is a postponement of the sitting or proceedings of the House from one time to another specified for the reassembling of the House. During the course of a Session, the Lok Sabha may be adjourned from day to day or for more than a day. It may also be adjourned sine die which means the termination of a sitting of the House without any definite date being fixed for its next sitting. Prorogation „Prorogation‟ means the termination of a Session of the House by an order made by the President. The Prorogation of the House may take place any time, even while the House is sitting. However, usually, prorogation follows the adjournment of the sitting of the House sine die. Dissolution of the Lok Sabha „Dissolution‟ of the House means the end of the life of the Lok Sabha either by an order made by the President or on the expiration of the period of five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. Dissolution puts an end to the representative character of the individuals who at the time compose the Lok Sabha. On adjournment of the Lok Sabha or its adjournment sine die, the pending business does not lapse. Bills pending before either House or Select/Joint Committee and amendments which have already been moved and pending in the House, and business pending before a Parliamentary Committee do not lapse on prorogation whereas all business pending before the House or any of its Committee lapse on dissolution. Governor -Politics at state level As the Union executive is headed by the President , so is the Governor as the head of the executive at the state level. The Governor is the constitutional head of the state and the administration of the state is carried out in his name. Qualification He should be a citizen of India. He should not be less than 35 years of age. He must not hold any office of profit. He cannot remain a member either or parliament or a State Legislative. If such a member is appointed to the post of Governor his seat in the legislature concerned will fall vacant as & when he takes over the charge as a Governor. He must possess the qualification for membership of the State Legislature. Appointment The Governor is appointed by the President. Actually he is the nominee of the Central cabinet. In fact, this is political post & the Prime Minister and the other members of the Cabinet would like to have men of their confidence on such key posts.
  14. 14. Normally retired & defeated politicians appointed to these posts. The Governor according to the constitution will hold office during the pleasure of the President. Subject to this provision his tenure will be five years. He may be dismissed by the president before the expiry of his term. Immunity and Privileges According to Article 361 the Governor is answerable to any Court for the exercise & performance of the powers &duties of his office for any act done by him in the exercise of his official duties. No criminal proceedings can be instituted or continued against the Governor of the state in any Court during his term of office. Nor any process for the arrest & imprisonment of the Governor shall be issued from any Court during his term of office. Civil proceedings against the Governor can be constituted in any Court in respect of any act done in his personal capacity during his term of office. Powers Executive Powers : The Governor is the head of the state. All the executive powers of the state are vested in him. He exercises the powers connected with the subjects mentioned in the State List & the Concurrent list either directly or through officers subordinate to him. All the laws are executed in his name & he is responsible for the maintenance of peace & order in the State. All the important officials of the states are appointed by the Governor & all the employees of the state work under him. He appoints Chief Minister & all other Ministers with the approval of the Chief Minister. Besides this, the Governor appoints the State Advocate General, Chairman & Members of the P. S. C. & Vice-Chancellors of the different Universities. According to Article-167 it is the duty of the Chief Minister of the state to communicate to the Governor of the state all decisions of the Council of the Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the state & proposal for legislation The Governor sends his report to the President regarding the failure of the possibility of a failure of this constitutional machinery of a state.When the President makes a proclamation of emergency for the state under Article 356 of the constitution, the Governor acts as the agent of central govt. Legislative Powers : The Governor exercises many Legislative Powers. He is a part of the state Legislature. He convenes the session of the State Legislature. He can increase the duration of the session as well as he can adjourn the session before time. The Governor can dissolve the Legislative Assembly & can order fresh election. He can address both the chambers of the state legislature independently or collectively. The first session after the General Election and the first session of the New Year start with the inaugural address of the Governor. In his inaugural address the Governor places before the legislature the policy of the Government for the year. He also invites attention of the legislature towards the problem facing the state. He can send massages to the legislature from time to time.No Bill passed by the Legislature can become an Act with the assent of the Governor. He can reject an ordinary Bill & can reserve certain types of Bills for the approval of the President of India.He can issue ordinances when the Legislative Assembly is not in session but there is the demand of law to meet the situation. This is done on the advice of the Council of Ministers. The ordinances have the force of laws but they must be approved by the legislature within a period of six weeks from the beginning of the session of the legislature otherwise they will become ineffective. Financial Powers-It is the duty of the Governor to present the Budget for the coming financial year. He may present himself or by the minister concerned for the purpose. The money bill needs a certificate from the Speaker before introducing the same in the lower House. No kind of new taxes & the exemption of taxes can be exercised without the approval of the Governor. Judicial Power He enjoys certain judicial powers. The Chief Justice & other judges of the State High Court are appointed on the advice of the Governor. The Judges of other courts are also appointed by him. He has the power to pardon, reprieve & commute punishment. Miscellaneous functions Besides the above functions the Governor has also miscellaneous functions. The Governor may grant help from the Contigency Fund to help the people in natural calamities. The Governor receives the annual report of the Public Service Commission & with comments of the Cabinet he sends it to the Legislative Assembly. Position of the Governor
  15. 15. The constitution vests the executive powers of the state in the Governor. There is Chief Minister & his Council of Ministers to aid & advice the Governor. The Governor had no functions what to speak of powers, he had only duties. And the duties of the Governor he said are mainly two. to retain the ministry in Office & to see when to exercise his pleasure for that purpose in the best possible manner & (ii) to use the ministry, to warn the ministry & to suggest to the ministry alternation & for reconciliation. He always acts on the advice of his minister. The powers vested in the Governor are actually exercised by the ministers. The Governor cannot remove the minister from their office. The Cabinet remains in office so far as it enjoys the support of the majority party. The Governor summons the meeting of the Legislative on the advice of the Cabinet. The Governor dissolves the legislature & orders election on the advice of the Cabinet. He-is not only a rubber stamp but under-certain circumstances he can act according to his own will. This is called his discretionary power. He is the head of the state as well as the agent of the Central Govt. He is see that the State Govt. carries out the policies and orders of the Central Government. The Governor should be immediately informed of all the decisions taken by the Cabinet. The Chief Minister informs the Governor about all the decisions by Cabinet. The Governor can ask the Cabinet to reconsider a section. He can dismiss a ministry if he is convinced that it has lost majority support.The Governor becomes the agent of the Central Government when the President issues a proclamation of emergency in the state. The administration of the state is run by the Governor during the period of emergency. He then acts according to the orders and wishes of the President. End PRESIDENT/ Vice president Union Government Prime Minister & Council of Ministers Parliament Rajya Sabha (Council of States) Lok Sabha (House of people) Supreme Court State Governmen ts Governer Chief Minister & Council of Minister Legislature Vidhan parishad (Legislature Council) Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) High Court Governments of union territories Lt. Governer / Chief Commissioner/ Administrator Executive Chief minister {Council of ministers} Legislature (Legislalative Asembly) High Court