Discuss the Composition, Powers and Functions of the Lower House of Indian Parliament i.e. Lok Sabha?
How does the Composition of Lok Sabha take place? What are the main powers of this House?
The Indian Parliament is a Bi-Cameral Legislature. It consists of two houses: 1. Rajya Sabha, 2. Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha is an Upper House of Parliament and the Lok Sabha is the Lower House of Parliament. The composition, powers and functions of the Lok Sabha are described below :
Composition of the Lok Sabha: Lok Sabha is the Lower House of Parliament. It is a popular House because it represents the nation at large. It is not only popular but a powerful House as well. It is the pivot of all political activities. The members of the Lok Sabha are elected directly by the people. The maximum number of members is fixed by the Constituton itself. Originally its number was fixed at 500. Later, it was raised to 525- 500 to be elected from the States and 25 from the Union Territories. By 31st Amendment is strength was raised to 545 and frozen upto 2001 A.D. Out of 545, 525 are to be elected from the States and 20 from the Union Territories. The President is entitled by 42nd Amendment to readjust the seats between States and Union Territories but he cannot increase the seats beyond 545. The President may, if he feels that the Anglo-Indian Community is not adequately represented, nominate two members to Lok Sabha.
Election of Lok Sabha: The election to the House is conducted on the basis of universal adult franchise system. Every citizen of 18 years of age, irrespective of caste, creed or sex may vote from the constituency in which his name appears in the electoral roll. The election is held through secret ballot. A candidate who scores the highest vote is declared elected. Some of the constituencies are reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Tenure of Lok Sabha: The life of the Lok Sabha is five years. All the members of this House are elected at one and the same time for a period of five years. However, the President can dissolve the Lok Sabha even before the expiry of its term, i.e. five years. The President also has the power to extend its tenure during Emergency.
Powers and Functions of the Lok Sabha:
1. Legislative Powers: The main function of the Parliament (President, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) is to enact laws for the social and material welfare of the citizens. It can make laws on all subjects given in the Union and Concurrent Lists. Under certain circumstances, it can pass laws on subjects given in the State List. A Non-Money Bill may originate in either House of the Parliament. It must be passed by both the Houses. In case of disagreement between two Houses, the President may summon a joint sitting. Here the Bill must pass with majority of total members of both Houses present and voting. Generally wishes of the Lok Sabha prevail in such cases.
2. Control over the Executive: It is the Lok Sabha which controls the executive. The leader of the minority party in the Lok Sabha is the Prime Minister of the country. Most of the Ministers are also taken from the Lok Sabha. The Cabinet is responsible to the Lok Sabha for all its actions and policies. The members of the Lok Sabha ask the Ministers questions and supplemenatary questions and they are to answer these questions. The members of the Lok Sabha can criticise the functioning of the Cabinet. If the Lok Sabha passes a vote of no-confidence against the Cabinet, the Cabinet will have to resign. The Cabinet remains in office till it is supported by the majority of the members of the House.
3. Financial Powers: It is said that, ‘One who holds the purse, holds the powers.’ This is true in regards to Lok Sabha. The Constitution provides that a Money Bill can only originate in Lok Sabha and cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha. When it is passed by Lok Sabha, it is sent to Rajya Sabha for its recommendations. Rajya Sabha has to return the Bill with or without recommendations within fourteen days. Lok Sabha may or may not accept the recommendations of Rajya Sabha. The Bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses of Parliament in its original form even if Lok Sabha does not accept the recommendations of Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha, can, thus, only delay a Money Bill for a maximum period of fourteen days. The Annual Budget is presented in the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister. The Lok Sabha has the power to decrease the expenses shown in the Budget. Unless the Budget is passed by the Lok Sabha, the Government gets no right to spend the money.
4. Electoral Powers: The Constitution gives elective functions to the Parliament. Lok Sabha alongwith Rajya Sabha and Legislative Assemblies elects the President. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha elect Vice-President of India. The Lok Sabha elects a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker from amongst its members.
5. Judicial Powers: The Lok Sabha can starts impeachment proceedings against the President of India. It investigates into the charges levelled against the Vice-President and gives its decision. It along with the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution of the removal of the judges of the High Courts or the Supreme Court.
6. Power of Amendment in the Constitution: Lok Sabha alongwith Rajya Sabha may amend the provisions of the Constitutions. An Amending Bill may be introduced in either House of the Parliament and has to pass according to the methods laid down in the Constitution. In case of deadlock between the two Houses, a joint sitting of both the Houses may be summoned by the President. Here, too, wishes of the Lok Sabha will prevail because of its better numerical strength.