The Indian Constitution has a parliamentary form of government at both the national and state levels. The executive is accountable to the legislature for its policies and actions under the parliamentary system of government. Because the parliamentary system had been in use in India under British rule, the Constitution-makers were fairly acquainted with it. The parliamentary system was chosen by the Constitution-makers since it allows for more representation of various groups, interests, and areas in government.
Indian Parliament is called a bicameral legislature, which consists of two houses- the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. People of the Lok Sabha or House of the People are elected directly by people through the process of voting and the members of the Rajya Sabha or Council of States are elected by members of state legislative assemblies. The Parliament comprises the two Houses and the President of India.
Functions of the Parliament
In the Indian Constitution in Chapter II of Part V, the functions of the Parliament are mentioned. The functions of the Parliament can be classified into several heads as follows:
The parliament, being the legislative body, has many legislative functions and powers. The Parliament legislates on various matters which are mentioned in the Union List and the Concurrent List. While in Concurrent List, where the state legislatures and the Parliament make for joint jurisdiction, the union law prevails over the states unless the state law would have received certain earlier presidential assent.
The parliament can enact a law adding to, amending, varying, or even repealing a law made by the state legislature at any time. The Parliament is also responsible to pass laws on items of the State List under the following conditions:
- If any state is placed under President’s Rule (Article 356) or in case of an Emergency being in operation, the Parliament can enact laws on items in the State List also.
- In Article 249, the Parliament can make laws on items that are listed in the State List if the Rajya Sabha is able to pass a resolution by the 2/3rd majority of its members who are voting, which is necessary for Parliament to make laws on items in the interest of Nation.
- As per Article 253, passing of laws on that of State List items if it is essential for the implementation of international agreements or treatises which is required for foreign powers.
- As per Article 252, if the legislations of two or more states are passed for resolutions to the effects if it is desirable for the parliamentary law or for any items listed in the State list, the parliament for making laws for those states.
In executive is responsible for the legislature in the parliamentary forms of government and hence the parliament exercises control over most of the executives by certain measures:
- With the help of a “vote of no-confidence”, the Parliament is able to remove the Cabinet or executive from power. It also has the power to reject a budget proposal or any other bills which are brought by the Cabinet and a motion of no-confidence can be passed for the removal of government from office.
- The MPs or the Members of Parliament can ask questions to the ministers on their commissions and also for commissions. Any difficulties on part of the government can be exposed directly by the Parliament.
- The Adjournment motion allows for the Lok Sabha, chief objective for the adjournment motion for drawing the attention of the Parliament to issues of recent times on an urgent public interest.
- The Parliament also appoints the Committee on Ministerial Assurances which sees whether the promises which were made by the ministers to the Parliament are fulfilled or not.
- A censure motion refers to a motion moved by the opposition party in the House for strong disapproval of any policy of the government and can be moved only in Lok Sabha after the motion is passed, the government seeks confidence in the House and as in the case of the no-confidence motion, Council of Ministers need not resign if the motion is passed.
- A cut motion refers to those opposed to any demand on the financial bill by the government.
When it comes to finances, Parliament is the final authority. Without parliamentary approval, the Executive cannot spend a single penny. The Cabinet prepares the Union Budget, which is then presented to Parliament for approval. Parliament exercises budgetary and post-budgetary control over the government in this manner. All tax-imposition plans must be authorized by the Parliament. The government’s spending is scrutinized by the public accounts and estimates committees.
There are two committees of the Parliament, the Public Accounts Committee and Estimates Committee of the Parliament for keeping a check on executive spending, which is granted by the legislature.
The Parliament of India has the to power for amending the Constitution of India and both Houses of Parliament have an equal amount of power for amending the constitution concerned and amendments passed in both Houses for effective functioning.
The Parliament of India is part of the elections of the President and the Vice President of the country. The electoral college which is responsible for President is made up of the elected members of both Houses along with others. The removal of the President is possible by a resolution by Rajya Sabha agreed on by the Lok Sabha.
It has the authority to impeach the President when there is a violation of the Constitution by him. The Parliament also has the authority to impeach the Vice President, Supreme Court, and High Court, judges. It has the power to punish its members or outsiders for violating its privileges or disrespect. A member may bring a privilege motion if he believes that a minister or another member has violated the House’s or one or more of its members’ privileges by hiding or misrepresenting facts in a case. The power of the Parliament to penalize its members is also rarely challenged in court. Other important judicial functions of Parliament include the powers to impeach the President, Vice President, judges of the Supreme Court, High Court, etc.
Other Powers/ Functions of the Parliament
The issues pertaining to both international and national importance are discussed in the Parliament. Opposition plays a very important part in regard to ensuring that the country is aware of the alternatives. The Parliament is also at times referred to as a “nation in miniature” as parliament plays important role in deliberating on matters of importance before the laws or before the resolutions have been passed. The Parliament also functions as an organ of information and has the power to increase or decrease the boundaries of States or UTs.
- Parliament of India
- Why do we need Parliament?
FAQs on Functions of the Parliament
What are the main functions of the Parliament?
The main functions of the Parliament include the functions which are classified into various heads like legislative, executive, judicial and electoral, etc.
How many parliamentary bodies does India have?
India has two sub-bodies of parliamentary bodies and they are Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
Which parlimentary body holds the finance related powers?
Both the bodies of parliament hold finance related powers.
What is the role of Parliament in law-making?
The Parliament is responsible for making laws for the country and also amends the Constitution and also reject/change the draft laws.
How does Parliament make laws?
Certain bill becomes law after it has been passed by both Houses of Parliament and also receives acceptance by the president.
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