Parliament: The Parliament of India constitutes the President, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. Also known as Sansad, our Parliament is the highest law making body in the nation.
Rajya Sabha : It is also known as the Council of States and has a maximum strength of 250 members. The Vice President is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Lok Sabha: It is also known as the House of People and its total number of members is 545. The Speaker presides upon the Lok Sabha.
EVM: This stands for Electronic Voting Machine.
Approval: This refers to the formal consent of the elected representatives that the Parliament continues to enjoy the people’s trust.
Opposition party: In the Parliament, opposition includes all such political parties which oppose the majority party. The largest of these parties is called opposition party.
Representative: The individual who is elected by the people.
Coalition: In case if one party does not get majority, then a group of political parties form coalition and elect a leader to form the government. Such government is known as coalition government.
Ruling party: This refers to the party which rules the country.
Unresolved: Such situations which do not have easy solutions to problems.
Legislature : Legislature is a deliberative body of persons, usually elective, who are empowered to make changes or repeal the law of a country.
Unicameral Legislature : It is the legislature with single house.
Bicameral Legislature : It is a type of legislature with two houses – upper House and Lower house
Zero hour : Zero hour begins at 12’o clock in the afternoon and after question hour.
Executive : Executive is that organ of government which implements the laws made by the legislature.
Laws : Laws are generally made and enforced by the Sovereign power in a country. All citizens are equal before law.
Parliamentary form : A Parliamentary form is a system of government where Parliament is supreme and the Council of Ministers are collectively responsible to the Parliament.
The Bills can be broadly divided as (i) Money Bills (ii) Financial Bills (iii) Ordinary Bills (iv) Constitution Amendment Bills.
An ordinary or non-money bill passes through the following stages:
(1) First Reading: At this stage, the mover introduces the bill stating its main features. This is called the first reading.
(2) Second Reading: On a fixed date, a general discussion is conducted on the bill. The bill is then referred to a selected committee.
(3) Committee Stage: The committee examines the bill thoroughly, clause by clause. After that it drafts its report.
(4) Report Stage : After the committee stage, that is, clause by clause consideration of the bill, each clause and amendment is put to vote.
(5) Third Reading: At this stage, a restricted debate takes place on the bill after which the bill is sent to the other House.
(6) Passage by other House: After being passed by one House, the bill goes to the other House where it goes through all the above mentioned stages once again.
(7) President’s Assent: After both the Houses pass the bill, it goes to the President for his consideration. The President can sent the bill back once for re-consideration. If the bill is passed again, the President has to give his assent after which the bill becomes a law.
(8) Special Stages : It includes joint sitting of both Houses in case of a deadlock on a particular bill.The President summons a joint sitting of both the Houses presided over by the Speaker. If at a joint sitting, the bill is passed by a two-third majority of members present and voting, it is deemed as passed by both the Houses.
Need of Universal Adult Franchise
For the participation of all adults in the government, Universal Adult Franchise is the best. It establishes real democracy and it is essential to extend trust in all sections of our country fellows.
The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of various states. There are 233 elected members plus 12 members nominated by the President.
Members are elected for a fixed period so that people can use their preferences again after 5 years to elect their representative. This is required for efficient working in a democratic system. Moreover, in a democracy, people have right to express their choices and elect their leaders, which will not be possible unless they are elected for a fixed period.
There are few women in Parliament because of the
(i) Absence of any system for proper representation of women in the Parliament such as, reservation of seats for women.
(ii) Discrimination against women in a male dominated society.
Role of opposition party in the healthy functioning of a democracy
(i) The opposition party asks questions from the ruling party regarding the working and management of the country in the Parliament. By asking questions, the government is alerted towards its short-comings, and also comes to know about the opinion of the people through their representatives in the Parliament.
(ii) They highlight drawbacks in various policies and programmes of the government and mobilize popular support for their own policies. The Parliament of India has two Houses:
(a) The Lok Sabha
(b) The Rajya Sabha.
Role of the Parliament in the functioning of the Government
(i) The Parliament which is made up of all representatives, controls and guides the government.
(ii) The question hour is an important mechanism through which MPs can elicit information about the working of the government.
(iii) The Parliament also has a significant role in law making.
(iv) The Rajya Sabha functions primarily as the representative of the states of India in the Parliament.
(v) The Rajya Sabha can also initiate legislation and a bill has to be passed in the Rajya Sabha in order to become a law. It, therefore, has an important role of reviewing and altering the laws initiated by the Lok Sabha. The Executive is a group of persons who work by together to implement the laws made by the Parliament. The Parliament session begins with a questions hour. The question hour is an important mechanism through which MPs (executives) can elicit information about the working of the government. By asking questions, the government is alerted to its shortcomings and also comes to know the opinion of the people. Similarly, executives from the opposition party highlight the drawbacks in various policies and programmes of the government. In this way, they play a critical role in healthy functioning of democracy.
Representative democracy : Representative democracy is that in which individual or the citizen is the most important person and the government as well as other public institutions need to have trust on these citizens.
(i) Representative democracy does not produce a perfect reflection of society, as the interests and experiences separate the communities who have been given adequate representation.
(ii) Representative democracy does not allow reservation in Parliament, as even after sixty years of independence, one-third reservation of women is still pending and only nine per cent women are members of Parliament, even when half of the population is that of women.
Role of Prime minister in the functioning of the country
(i) The Prime Minister is the leader of the ruling party in Lok Sabha.(ii) From the MPs who belong to his party, the Prime Minister selects ministers to work with him to implement decisions.(iii) These ministers then take charge of different areas of government functioning such as health, education, etc.