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OUR PARLIAMENT

Parliament is the supreme legislative body of a country. Our Parliament comprises of the president and the two Houseslok sabha (House of the People) and rajya sabha (Council of States). The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha. The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The first general elections under the new Constitution were held during the year 1951-52 and the first elected Parliament came into being in April, 1952, the Second Lok Sabha in April, 1957, the Third Lok Sabha in April, 1962, the Fourth Lok Sabha in March, 1967, the Fifth Lok Sabha in March, 1971, the Sixth Lok Sabha in March, 1977, the Seventh Lok Sabha in January, 1980, the Eighth Lok Sabha in December, 1984, the Ninth Lok Sabha in December, 1989, the Tenth Lok Sabha in June, 1991, the Eleventh Lok Sabha in May, 1996, the Twelfth Lok Sabha in March, 1998 and Thirteenth Lok Sabha in October, 1999. LOK SABHA Lok Sabha, as the name itself signifies, is the body of representatives of the people. Its members are directly elected, normally once in every five years by the adult population who are eligible to vote. The minimum qualifying age for membership of the House is 25 years. The present membership of Lok Sabha is 545. RAJYA SABHA Rajya Sabha is the Upper House of Parliament. It has not more than 250 members. Members of Rajya Sabha are not elected by the people directly but indirectly by the Legislative Assemblies of the various States. Every State is allotted a certain number of members. No member of Rajya Sabha can be under 30 years of age. Twelve of Rajya Sabha members are nominated by the President from persons who have earned distinction in the fields of literature, art, science and social service. Rajya Sabha is a permanent body. It is not subject to dissolution but one-third of its members retire every two years. Rajya Sabha was duly constituted for the first time on April 3, 1952 and it held its first sitting on May 13

There are at present 245 members in Rajya Sabha, distributed among different States and Union Territories

Presiding Officers Lok Sabha elects one of its own members as its Presiding Officer and he is called the Speaker. He is assisted by the Deputy Speaker who is also elected by Lok Sabha. The conduct of business in Lok Sabha is the responsibility of the Speaker. The Vice-President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. He is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament. Rajya Sabha also elects one of its members to be the Deputy Chairman. Functions of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha The main function of both the Houses is to pass laws. Every Bill has to be passed by both the Houses and assented to by the President before it becomes law. The subjects over which Parliament can legislate are the subjects mentioned under the Union List in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. Broadly speaking, Union subjects are those important subjects which for reasons of convenience, efficiency and security are administered on all-India basis. The principal Union subjects are Defence, Foreign Affairs, Railways, Transport and Communications, Currency and Coinage, Banking, Customs and Excise Duties. There are numerous other subjects on which both Parliament and State Legislatures can legislate. Under this category mention may be made of economic and social planning, social security and insurance, labour welfare, price control and vital statistics. Besides passing laws, Parliament can by means of resolutions, motions for adjournment, discussions and questions addressed by members to Ministers exercise control over the administration of the country and safeguard peoples liberties. Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha (1) 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. (2) The normal life of every Lok Sabha is 5 years only while Rajya Sabha is a permanent body.

(3) 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. (4) 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.

Constitution of india provides for a Parliamentary form of government. In doing so it follows the British model of government. Infect, the system of government that operated in India before 1947 was quite similar to the British model of parliamentary government. The members of the Constituent Assembly therefore decided to adopt this form of government for Independent of India. The Constitution of India provides for the organization of parliamentary government both at the central and state levels. All the features of a parliamentary government: Close relationship between the legislature and executive, responsibility of the executive before the legislature, head of the state as the nominal executive, and Prime Minister and the Council of Minister as the real executive, have been adopted in India.

Responsible Government or Cabinet Government Parliamentary Government is also known as Cabinet Government or Responsible Government. It is also sometimes called Parliamentary Democracy. The President of India is the Head of State. He is the nominal executive. Theoretically all the executive powers are in his hand. But these are not actually exercised by him. These are really used by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. It is the real executive. The resident always acts upon the advice of the Council of Ministers. Prime Minister is the head of government. He is the chief adviser to the President. The office of the Prime Minister is the most powerful office in India. For all its policies and decisions, the Council of Ministers and Prime Minister is responsible before the Parliament. The Parliament exercises continuous control over the working of the Council of Ministers. The leader of majority party in Parliament (Lok Sabha) is always appointed as always appointed as the Prime Minister and all ministers are essentially members of the Parliament. Ministers act both as legislators as well as heads of government departments. There is a close relationship between Council of Ministers and the Parliament and the former is responsible before the latter. Parliamentary form of government has been working successfully in India since 1950

The Nominal executive: The president of India. India is a democratic republic. President of India is the Head of State. He is an elected head of state. He is the Nominal Executive and is elected for a term of five years. All the elected members of the Parliament elect president of India (i.e. Elected members of the Legislatives Assemblies (Vidhan Sabhas) of all the 28 states of India. (i.e. all the elected MLAs of all the states). Term of Office

The election of the President is held after every five years. Each elected President holds his office for a term of 5 years. However, there is no bar on the re-election of the same person as President. Dr. Rajendra Prasad got the honor of being the first President of India. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has been holding this office since July 2002. The next election of the President will be held in July 2007.

Powers and Functions of President The office of the President of the India is the highest office. He is the head of state as well as the chief executive of India. He represents the sovereignty of India. The Constitution gives to him all the executive powers of India. He is the supreme commander of India armed forces Army, Airforce and Navy.

President as Chief Executive and Head of State The President of India is the head of state as well as the Chief Executive. However, in reality all his powers are really used by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. The President always acts upon the advice given by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. All appointments, treaties and other decisions are made in the name of the President by the council of Ministers. Nominal Executive The President of India is the nominal executive in whose name all the executive powers are exercised by the real executive i.e. by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. The bills passed by the Parliament become laws when signed by the President. The President, however, has no power to reject these. In case he has certain doubts in respect of any such bill, he can ask the Parliament of reconsider the same. When the Parliament reposes that bill, the President has to sign it, and it becomes a law. As head of the state, the President of India performs several ceremonial functions. He speaks for the nation. He represents India and the sovereignty of India. He sends Indias ambassadors to other countries and receives the ambassadors of other countries in India.

President of India as the Sovereign When the President addresses the Nation or attends any function, our Natural Anthem is played before and after his address. This symbolizes the sovereign status of the President.

The prime Ministers and The council of Ministers In India, the real executive is the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head. The powers of the President of India are really used by it. The most powerful person is the Prime Minister of India. He is the head of government and uses vast executive powers. He is the real maker of the Council of Ministers. He selects his term of ministers. He decides as to which department will be headed by which ministers. He can change the departments of the ministers at any time. He can get any minister removed by the President of India. When Prime Minister resigns, it means the resignation of the whole Council of Ministers. All decisions of the government are taken which the consent of the Prime minister. He plays most important role in making the policies of the government. He holds a very strong position. .. Real Executive in India

In India Parliamentary Government, the Council of Ministers with Prime Minister its head is the real executive. The President acts on its advice. The Prime minister is his chief advisor. The Prime Minister of India is the real center of power. There is close relationship between the council of Ministers by passing a vote of no confidence against it or against the Prime Minister. The Parliament maintains a continuous control over the working of the Council of Ministers.

Main features of Parliamentary government President as Head of state and the Nominal Executive President of India is the head of State. He is chief executive of India. However, he is only a nominal executive. All the powers are exercised in his name. A nominal executive is one in whose name powers are exercised. He himself dons not exercise these. President of India is the Nominal Executive. Theoretically, the Prime Minister and all other ministers are advisors to the President. But in reality the Prime Minister and his council of Ministers The President always acts in accordance with its advice. Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers constitute the real executive. It used all the powers of the President.

Prime Minister as the Head of Government and real center of power Prime Minister is the real center of the power in India. He is the leader of majority in the Lok Sabha. The President formally appoints him. Prime Minister is the real maker of the Council of Ministers. The President upon the advice of the Prime Minister appoints all members.

Prime Minister as the Captain of the council of Ministers The Council of Ministers works under the leadership, direction and control of the Prime Minister. No one can become or remain a minister without the consent of the Prime Minister. Any minister who disagrees with the Prime Minister has to resign and quit the ministry. The Prime Minister can ask any minister to resign. When the Prime Minister resigns, it is taken to be the resignation of entire Council of Ministers.

Cabinet as the powerful policy-making body Cabinet is the most important part of the Council of Ministers. It consists of around 20 cabinet ministers the senior most ministers who are in charge of major departments of government. The Cabinet makes all the policies and decisions of the Government. The Prime Minister directs and controls its working. He is the captain of the Cabinet.

Close Relationship between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers Each minister is essentially a member of the either house of Union Parliament. If any non-member becomes a minister, he has to become a Member of Parliament (MP) within six months. In case of the failure to do so, he has to quit his minister ship. The Council of Ministers and the Parliament always work together. Ministers as members of the Parliament actively participate in its working. They take full part in law making.

Ministerial Responsibility

A very distinctive and important feature of our parliamentary government is the principle of ministerial responsibility. The Council of Ministers is responsible before the Parliament for all its activities and decisions. Ministerial Responsibility has three main aspects. Indian Council of Ministers is fully responsible before the Union Parliament.

Ministers responsibility for all the acts of the President The Council of Ministers is responsible for all the decisions and actions of the President. The President always acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. Prime minister is the chief advisor of the President. Every decision of the President is really the decision of the Council of Ministers. It is therefore responsible for all the decisions and actions of the President.

Individual Responsibility of each Minister Each Minister is the head of the one or few departments. The concerned minister is responsible for the working of his department. In case anything wrong happens in his department, the minister is accountable before the Parliament. The Parliament has the power to pass a vote of no confidence or a censure motion against him. In this event the concerned minister has to tender his resignation. In case he refuses to do so the Prime Minister can get him removed by the President of India.

Collective Responsibility of the Council of Ministers The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible before the Parliament, in fact before the Lok Sabha. In case the Lok Sabha rejects any law or policy or decision or budget proposal made by the ministry, it is taken to be a vote of confidence against the entire Council of Ministers. In this event the Council of Ministers resigns and goes out of office. Likewise, when the Lok Sabha passes a direct vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister, it also means a lack of confidence in it. This also leads to the resignation of the entire Council of Ministers. This system is called Collective Responsibility of the Ministry before the Parliament.

Continuous Control of Parliament over the Council of Ministers. The Parliament has the means to continuously supervise and control the working of the Council of Ministers. The members of the Parliament can put to the ministers, which have to be essentially answered by them. MPs can seek any information or report from the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers depends upon the Parliament for getting passed all necessary laws. The finances of the country are under the control of the Parliament. The Council of Ministers cannot spend any money or levy or collect any tax without the approval of the Parliament.