(Last Updated on : 10/04/2013)
Parliament is the supreme legislative body of a country. Our Parliament comprises of the President and the two Houses, Lok 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 Lok Sabha is also called as the "House of the People" or the lower house. The citizens of India directly chose almost all of its members. It is more influential between two houses and can even forego or overthrow the Rajya Sabha in particular matters.
The Lok Sabha have got 552 members as conceived in the Article 81 of the Constitution of India. It has a term of 5 years. In case of some special situations arise, where no party acquires majority, the President has the right to nullify the Lok Sabha preceding.
The eligibility criteria of Lok Sabha are significant, highlighting the uniqueness of Indian Parliament. A person should be a citizen of India and be not less than 25 years of age. Up to 530 members can be elected from the states, up to 20 members from the Union territories and no more than two members can be nominated by the President of India. Presently, the total number of members in Lok Sabha is 545. Out of which 530 members are from the states, 13 members from the Union territories and 2 nominated members representing the Anglo Indian community. Some seats are also conserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The people directly elect the representatives from States and Union Territories on the basis of universal adult suffrage. Every citizen, regardless of gender, caste, religion or race is eligible to vote. However he should be at least eighteen years of age.
The Rajya Sabha is an integral part of Indian Parliament. It is also called "Council of States" or the upper house. Members of legislative bodies of the States indirectly elect its members. The minimum age for a person to become a member of Rajya Sabha is 30 years. The procedure of electing members, its composition is unique and is an integral part of the Indian Parliament. It is specially mentioned in Article 80 of the Constitution of India. The Rajya Sabha has a total membership of 250. What is interesting is that the elections procedure of rajya sabha is fixed and it cannot be dismissed under any circumstances. Each member has tenure of six years and elections are held for one-third of the seats after every 2 years.
The President appoints 12 members from people having particular knowledge or experience in literature, science, art or social services. The representatives of the Indian states are chosen by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the State, following the system of 'proportional representation by means of single transferable vote'.
Representatives of Union Territories are also indirectly elected by members of an electoral college for that territory as per the system of 'proportional representation'.
The Council of States is also designed to conserve the federal character of the country. The number of members from a state depends on the population of the state.
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. The principal Union subjects are Defense, Foreign Affairs, Railways, Transport and Communications, Currency and Coinage, Banking, Customs and Excise Duties. Besides passing laws, India's Bicameral Parliament can deal with certain affairs like passing of resolutions, motions for adjournment, discussions etc.
Indian Parliament is located in New Delhi at Sansad Marg. The Central Hall of the Parliament is used for combined sittings of the lower and upper houses and is of great historical significance.
Indian Parliament embodies authentic proof of India's success as being the largest democratic nation in the world.