Article 79: Composition of Parliament
- Article 79 states that there shall be a Parliament for the Union, which consists of the President of India and two Houses – the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha).
- The President represents the ceremonial head of the state, while the two Houses represent the legislative branch of the government.
Council of States (Rajya Sabha)
- The Rajya Sabha, known as the Council of States according to the Indian Constitution, serves as the upper chamber of India’s bicameral Parliament.
- It is composed of 250 members, out of which 238 are elected by the state and union territory legislatures using single transferable votes through open ballots, while the president can appoint 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services.
- The total allowed capacity is 250 (238 elected, 12 appointed) according to article 80 of the Indian Constitution.
- The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and its members are not subject to dissolution.
- However, one-third of its members retire every two years.
- The ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is Vice President of India.
- The House also chooses from amongst its Members, a Deputy Chairman.
- In the absence of the Chairman, Deputy Chairman presides.
The Rajya Sabha has a number of powers, including:
- Legislative power: The Rajya Sabha has equal powers with the Lok Sabha in making laws, except in the case of money bills. A money bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha can only recommend amendments to it.
- Power to approve all constitutional amendments: The Rajya Sabha must approve all constitutional amendments by a two-thirds majority.
- Power to elect the Vice President of India: The Rajya Sabha elects the Vice President of India, who is also the ex-officio chairman of the house.
- Power to approve the appointment of the Prime Minister and other ministers: The Rajya Sabha must approve the appointment of the Prime Minister and other ministers, as recommended by the President.
- Power to impeach the President: The Rajya Sabha can impeach the President by a two-thirds majority.
- Power to discuss and pass resolutions on important national issues: The Rajya Sabha can discuss and pass resolutions on important national issues, even if they are not related to legislation.
- Power to hold the government accountable: The Rajya Sabha can question the government on its policies and actions. It can also pass resolutions of no confidence in the government.
- The Rajya Sabha plays an important role in the Indian Parliament. It provides a forum for the states to have a say in national affairs.
- It also serves as a check on the powers of the Lok Sabha and helps to ensure that the federal structure of India is not undermined.
House of the People (Lok Sabha)
- The House of the People (Lok Sabha) is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of India.
- It is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of universal adult suffrage.
- The maximum strength of the Lok Sabha is 552, with 530 members representing the States and 20 representing the Union Territories.
Key features and functions of the Lok Sabha include:
Members of Parliament (MPs):
- The Lok Sabha consists of elected members known as Members of Parliament (MPs).
- These MPs are elected by the people of India through a general election, which is held every five years.
- Each Lok Sabha can have a maximum of 545 members, including two nominated members from the Anglo-Indian community if they are not adequately represented.
- The Lok Sabha is designed to represent the diversity of India’s population.
- The number of seats allotted to each state and union territory is determined based on their population, with larger states having more seats.
- The Lok Sabha has the primary responsibility for making and passing laws.
- Bills can be introduced and debated in the Lok Sabha, and if they are approved by a majority vote, they are sent to the Rajya Sabha for further consideration.
Control Over Finances:
- The Lok Sabha has the “power of the purse,” which means it has control over government finances.
- It can approve or reject budgets, taxation proposals, and financial bills.
Role in Government Formation:
- The political party or coalition with a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha forms the government.
- The leader of the majority party or coalition becomes the Prime Minister of India.
- The Lok Sabha has certain constitutional powers, such as the ability to amend the Constitution and impeach the President of India.
- The Lok Sabha is a crucial institution in India’s democratic framework, and its members represent the diverse interests and concerns of the Indian populace. It plays a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s laws, policies, and governance.
Article 79 of the Indian Constitution describes the Parliament of India as consisting of the President and two Houses, to be known respectively as the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha)