• Question 49

    How has the system of Parliamentary committee affected the over - seeing and appraisal of legislation by the Parliament?


    Since the Parliament meets only during sessions, it has very limited time at its disposal. But to make laws it is necessary to consider a bill in depth and therefore more attention and time should be given. It is done by the Parliamentary committees. Since 1983, India has developed a system of Parliamentary Standing Committees. There are over twenty such departmentally related committees. Joint Parliamentary Committees are also doing the eminent work for the purpose of discussing a particular bill. Business advisory committee, committee on private member’s bills, select committee, the estimates committee, the public accounts committee and committees on privileges, rules committee and some other committees exist in the Parliament.

    The committee system has reduced the burden on the Parliament. Many important bills have been referred to committees and there, a large part of the discussion takes place. Amendments to the bill can also be proposed at this stage. The committees try to gather full information regarding that bill and can ask any member to appear before it.

    The recommendation of the committee is sent to the House. After that, on the basis of the report submitted by the committee, general discussion on the bill takes place in the House. The supporters of the bill give arguments in its favour while those, who are opposed to the bill point out the defects of the bill before the House and recommend its modification of rejection. The Parliament has merely approved the work done in the committees with few occasional alterations. The Parliament is the supreme law making body. Of course legally speaking, no bill can become law and no budget will be sanctioned unless approved by the Parliament. But the Parliament rarely rejects the suggestions made by the committees.

    Question 50

    Describe the various steps in the life of a Bill before it becomes an Act.


    Describe the law-making procedure in Indian Parliament.


    Procedure of Passing an Ordinary Bill in the Indian Parliament:

    An Ordinary or Non-Money Bill deals with general welfare of the community. An Ordinary Bill can originate in either House. An ordinary bill may be introduced either by a minister or by a private member. In the former case it is known as a Government Bill and in the latter case it is known as a Private Member’s Bill. A Government Bill and Private Member’s Bill undergo an identical procedure. Every bill has to pass through the following stages:

    1. Introduction of the bill and its first reading: This stage covers introduction of the bill and its publication in the gazette of India. A request for introduction along with the statement of objects and reasons is sent to the presiding officer. If a private member desires to introduce a bill, he must give notice of his intention to the presiding officer. Every bill introduced in the House has to be published in the gazette. On the appointed date, the ministers or member-in-charge of the bill moves the motion for permission to introduce the bill and read out the title. At this stage generally no debate takes place and the presiding officer puts bill to vote. The House grants leave by voice vote. Sometimes there is opposition to the introduction of the bill. In this case the presiding officer may ask the member-in charge to make brief explanatory statement in-favour of the bill. After the permission of the Speaker/Chairman, the bill is published in the Government Gazette as the first stage in the passage of the bill.

    2. Second Reading: After the consideration of the bill, the date for its second reading is fixed by the House. On the fixed date, mover of the bill may propose any of the following alternatives:

    (i) The bill may be referred to a Select Committee of the House.

    (ii ) The bill may be taken up for consideration.

    (iii) The bill may be circulated for the purpose of eliciting public opinion.

    In this stage, only the main principles involved in that bill are discussed; detailed discussion on the bill is not held.

    3. Committee Stage: After the second reading, the bills is sent to the committee for its consideration. The House appoints a Select Committee to consider the bill. It consists of the mover of the bill and a few other members. If the Deputy Speaker is a member of the committee, he automatically become its Chairman. Since the membership of the committee is small — it varies from 20 to 30 members and its members are experts in the field, the bill is thoroughly and minutely examined in the committee.

    Amendments to the bill can also be proposed at this stage. The committee tries to gather full information regarding that bill and can ask any member to appear before it.

    4. Report Stage: It is necessary for the committee to submit its report within three months or any other time fixed by the house for the purpose. The Chairman or any other member authorised by the committee submits the report on the appointment date. The reports is published and its copies are distributed among the members of the House. After that, on the basis of the report submitted by the committee, general discussion on the bill takes place in the House. The supporters of the bill give arguments in its favour while those, who are opposed to the bill, point out the defects of the bill before the House and recommend its rejection. There is a clause-by-clause discussion on the bill. After the discussion, voting takes place. If the majority votes in favour of the bill it is passed in the report stage otherwise it is rejected.

    5. Third Reading: It is the last stage in the passage of the bill by a House. At this stage, no substantial changes in the bill are made and only amendments to remove some ambiguities of language are allowed. Then the bill is put to vote. If it is passed by majority of members present and voting, it is so declared by the Speaker or the Chairman, as the case may be. He then certifies that the bill has been passed in the House and then it is sent to the other House.

    6. The bill in the other House: After a bill is passed in one House, it is sent to the other House. Here also the bill again goes through all the stages which it has undergone in the first House. If the bill is passed in the other House, it is sent to the President for his signature. After President’s assent, the Bill becomes an Act or Law.

    Tips: -

    M. Imp.

    Question 51

    Describe the procedure of election’ powers and position of the Speaker of a State Legislative Assembly in about 200 words.


    What are the functions of the Speaker of Vidhan Sabha?


    Election of the Speaker of Legislature Assembly: The members of the newly elected Legislative Assembly elect the Speaker from amongst themselves. The Speaker is the most important person of the Assembly. He presides over the meetings of the Assembly and is responsible for conducting the business of the House smoothly.

    Term of Office: The term of office of the Speaker is connected with the tenure of the Legislative Assembly. Even if the Legislative Assembly is dissolved, the Speaker remains in his office till the first meeting of the Legislative Assembly. He may resign if he so desires.

    Removal of the Speaker: The Speaker may be removed by the Legislative Assembly by absolute majority. Such a resolution will require at least 14 days, notice. When such a motion against the Speaker is under consideration in the House, he will preside over it.

    Powers and Functions of the Speaker of Legislative Assembly:

    1. The Speaker presides over the House and conducts its proceedings.

    2. He safeguards the privileges of the members and the House.

    3. The motions are admitted by him for discussion.

    4. He maintains discipline in the House.

    5. He may punish the members for breach of discipline. He may expel them from the House and may even suspend them for sometime.

    6. Topics are put by him before the House for discussion.

    7. He asks the members to vote as and when necessary and announces the results.

    8. He has the right of casting a vote in case of a tie.

    9. He is authorized to certify Money Bills.

    10. He sends the bills forward i.e., to the Governor or to the Legislative Council as the need be, after being passed by the House.

    Position of the Speaker: The office of the Speaker is one of honour, dignity and authority. He presides over the House which is the pivot of all political activities. He symbolizes the House and its authority. In the end we can say that the Speaker is the most important person in the State Legislative Assembly and his office is one of dignity, honour and authority.

    Tips: -

    V. Imp.

    Question 52

    Describe the composition, powers and functions of the State Legislative Council.


    In India there are 28 states. Every state has the right or option of retaining one house of the Legislature i.e. the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) or the two houses i.e., the Legislative Assembly as well as the Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad). The Legislative Council is the Upper House of the State Legislature.

    Composition of the Upper House (Legislative Council):

    Election: The members of the Legislative Council are not elected directly by the voters. They are elected in the following ways:

    1. One-third of the members of the Council are elected by the State Legislative Assembly. These persons are not to be the members of the House.

    2. One-third of the members are elected by the local bodies namely Corporations, Municipalities, Zila Parishads, Panchayats, etc.

    3. One-twelfth of the members of the Council are elected by the teachers of not lower than Higher Secondary School. Teachers who have three years of standing are entitled to vote in the elections.

    4. One-twelfth of the members are elected by the university graduates of at least 3 years of standing.

    5. One-sixth of the total members of the Council are nominated by the Governor. These persons have special aptitude and specialization in literature, fine arts, science and social service.

    Term of Office: The Legislative Council is a permanent body. Its one-third members retire by rotation after every 2 years but these persons can be re-elected. Each member of the Council remains in office for 6 years.

    Powers and Functions of the Legislative Council:

    1. Legislative Powers: Any non-Money Bill which can be introduced in the Legislative Assembly can also be introduced in the Legislative Council. Any Ordinary Bill on the subjects mentioned in the State List and Concurrent List can be introduced in the Legislative Council. After the Bill is passed by the Legislative Council it is sent to the Government for his assent unless it is passed by the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Council can delay a non-Money bill for 4 months.

    2. Financial Powers: In financial matters, the Legislative Council does not enjoy much powers. Money Bills cannot be introduced in this chamber. The Money Bill can only be introduced in the Legislative Assembly and after it is passed by it, it is sent to the Legislative Council and the Council can delay it only for 14 days. It may reject the bill or may not take any action over it for 14 days and in both the cases the bill is considered as passed by both the Houses.

    3. Control over the Executive: The Legislative Council does not exercise much control over the executive. Some ministers are of course taken from the Council. Its members can ask questions to the ministers and they are to give satisfactory answers to the questions. The Council can criticise the functioning of the department under the ministers. More than this it does not have any control over the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers cannot be removed from office by the Legislative Council.

    4. Electoral Functions: The Legislative Council elects its Chairman and Deputy Chairman. The Chairman is responsible for running smoothly the business of the House. In his absence the Deputy Chairman performs his duty. The Legislative Council has no right to take part in the election of the President of India, like the Legislative Assembly.

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