Discuss financial and judicial functions of Parliament.
Write a detailed essay on the powers and functions of the Parliament of India.
I. The Parliament: The Parliament of India is Bi-Cameral Legislature. It consists of two Houses: Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. In fact the President of India is also a part of the Parliament.
Powers and Functions of the Parliament: 1. Legislative Powers: The Parliament of India is empowered to pass laws regarding the subjects given in the Union List. Foreign affairs, defence, armed forces, war and peace, railways, national highways, air-routes; posts and telegraphs, foreign, trade, inter-State trade insurance, national institutions concerning scientific and technical education, monuments of historical importance, census, elections and Election Commission, salaries and allowances of the Members of Parliament, etc. are the subjects included in this list. The Parliament is also empowered to pass laws Concerning the subject given in the concurrent list.
The State Legislature also have the same authority regarding these subjects but if the State law on such a subject is against the law of the Centre, the former will be void to the extent it is against the latter. The residuary powers also belong to the Central Parliament. Normally the State Legislatures are authorised to make laws on the subjects given in the State List, yet the Parliament also can pass laws on these in the following circumstances:
(i) The Parliament will be empowered to make laws on a subject given in the state list of the Council of States passes a resolution, by 2/3 majority of the members present and voting, declaring that subject concerned has gained national importance. But such a resolution will be valid only for one year at a time.
(ii) When emergency is proclaimed for the whole of India or any part there of according to Article 252, the Parliament will be authorised to pass laws on any subject given in the State List. But such laws will come to an end, to the extent of unconstitutionality, six month after the end of the Emergency.
(iii) When Emergency is proclaimed in a State because of the failure of constitutional machinery, the legislative of the State concerned will be exercised by the Parliament. But the laws made by the Parliament during such an Emergency shall cease to operate, to the extent of incompetency, one year after the proclamation ends.
2. Financial Powers: The Parliament has the final power to control finance also. No doubt, preparation and introduction of the Budget, realization of the taxes and expenditure are the functions of the Cabinet yet the power of passing the Budget belongs only to the Parliament. No tax can be imposed without the approval of the Parliament. Similarly, no expenditure can be incurred by the Government without sanction of the Parliament.
The Parliament has the right to discuss all the items of expenditure and all of them, except and expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India, can be voted upon by it. It is empowered to decrease or reject any amount of expenditure sanctioned by the Parliament department wise as sanctioned. The Government has no authority to change any amount of its own free will. The Parliament has its Committees to enquire about the adequacy of the expenditure and estimates etc.
3. Control over the Executive: The Prime Minister and the other Ministers are taken from the Parliament and after becoming Ministers, they remain the Members of the Parliament. They participate in the meetings of the Parliament.
(i) The Ministers are responsible to the Parliament for their actions and policies.
(ii) The Members of the Parliament can ask the Ministers questions regarding the functioning of the administration. The Ministers are to give a satisfactory reply to all these questions.
(iii) The Members of the Parliament by introducing Adjournment Motion can invite the attention of the Government to a serious problem or event.
(iv) During discussion on Budget the Members of the Parliament discuss the working of ditferent Departments of the Government and criticise the policies of the Government.
(v) The Cabinet continues to remain in office according to the wishes of the Lok Sabha. It can seek the removal of the Cabinet by passing a no-confidence motion or by rejecting an important Government Bill or by passing a resolution for reducing the salary of a particular minister.
4. Judicial Powers: The Parliament has certain powers which are concerned with justice and judiciary. It may confer power of issuing writs and directions for any purpose other than the protection of fundamental rights on the Supreme Court of India. Similarly, it may confer some other powers also in the Supreme Court, which are not against the Constitution and which are essential for the performance of its duty. It is authorized to frame laws to enforce the orders issued by the Supreme Court.
The Parliament is also empowered to extend the jurisdiction of a High Court to any Centrally administered area or to furnish such a jurisdiction from any such area. It may even establish a High Court in a Centrally administered area. It may establish more courts for getting the laws made by it enforced properly. The Parliament has the power to impeach certain high dignitaries e.g., the President, Judge of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
5. Electoral Power: The elected Members of Parliament participate in the election of the President with the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the State. The Vice-President is elected only by the Members of Parliament. The Lok Sabha elects its Speaker and Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is elected by the Rajya Sabha.
6. Powers of Amending the Constitution: According to Article 368, the Parliament has the authority to amend the Constitution. An amendment can be made in the Constitution only if it is passed by absolute majority and 2/3rd majority of the members present and voting in both the Houses separately. But approval of 50 percent States is required in addition to the procedure given above, for amending the articles given in Article 368.