Parliament – Composition, Procedures and Privileges

HoP = House of People or Lok Sabha
CoS = Council of State of Rajya Sabha

CoM = Council of Mnister

Composition of House of People or House of People (HoP)

  1. ≤ 530 members from states + ≤ 20 members from UTs + ≤ 2 Anglo-Indian members.
  2. There shall be no reservation for minority communities.
  3. Members from UTs may be chosen as prescribed by parliament which prescribed a direct election.

Reasons of disqualification from voting

  1. Non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime, corrupt or illegal practice (as declared by court).

Reasons for disqualification from being MP

  1. If the MP is attending any office of profit. But parliament by law may specify which office of profit is exempted.
  2. Unsound mind, undischarged insolvent, voluntarily acquired citizenship of another country.
  3. On disputes over qualifications, president’s decision in consultation with Election Commission (EC) will be final. (Art 103)

Rules for Resolving Election Disputes

  1. Representation of People Act, 1951 enjoins HCs to hold trials from day to day until their conclusion. It also declares that every petition should be tried as expeditiously as possible and efforts should be made to conclude the trial within 6 months.

  1. If a member remains absent from all meetings of the house for more than 60 days without permission, then he is expelled.


  1. He submits his resignation to the deputy speaker and vice versa.
  2. He can be removed by a resolution of HoP passed by effective majority. He can vote except in case of equality of votes. Such a resolution has to give 14 days notice.
  3. The speaker has the final powers to interpret the rules of procedure of the house. His conduct in maintaining procedure of the house is not subject to jurisdiction of any court of law.

Privileges of the parliament

  1. They were to be same as those enjoyed by House of Commons in British Parliament at the commencement of the Constitution until parliament itself makes a law in this matter.
  2. If there is any conflict between privileges of the parliament and FRs of a citizen, privileges of the parliament shall prevail.
  3. A person can be reprimanded for saying / publishing anything derogatory to the dignity of a member in his capacity as member of the house as such an act impedes him from discharging his duties as a member.
  4. An MP can’t be arrested in a civil case within +/- 40 day window of a parliamentary session or a committee meeting to which he is a part of. It doesn’t extend to criminal cases, contempt of court and preventive detention. He also can’t be forced to give judicial service without the permission of the speaker / chairman.
Legislative procedures

Ordinary Bills
  1. Introduction: A bill other than a money bill or financial bill may be introduced in any house (Art 107). A private member’s bill has to give notice of his intention to introduce the bill and ask for the leave of the house. If the bill has been published in the official gazette before the introduction no leave of the house is needed. Otherwise after the introduction it may be published in the gazette.
  2. After introduction: After the introduction a discussion may take place where only the principles and the general provisions of the bill may be discussed. Amendments and clause by clause discussion doesn’t take place at this stage. Following this the sponsor member may propose a motion that – (a) The bill be taken up for consideration. (b) The bill be referred to a select committee of the house. (c) The bill be referred to a joint parliamentary committee. (d) The bill be circulated for eliciting public opinion.
  3. Select committee report: The committee considers the provisions of the bill in detail (but not the principles and the general provisions for they have already been debated in the house). Finally it submits a report in the house. Then a motion that the bill as returned by the committee be taken up for consideration is forwarded. If the motion is accepted, clause by clause discussion on the bill and further amendments take place.
  4. Passage in the originating house: After the amendments, debates are over, the sponsor member may move a motion that the bill be put to vote. This is analogous to 3rd reading in House of Commons. If the bill is passed it goes to the other house for same procedure.
  5. Passage in the other house: If the other house rejects the bill or doesn’t take any action for 6 months (from the reception of the bill) then the president may call for a joint sitting. (Art 108)

Money Bills (Art 110)

A bill is a money bill if it deals with provisions only among the following:
  1. Taxes.
  2. Government borrowing.
  3. Custody of Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) or contingency fund of India.
  4. Appropriation of money out of CFI.
  5. Declaration of or amendment to any expenditure to be charged on CFI.
  6. Receipt of money in CFI or public account of India.
  1. A bill shall not be a money bill only because it imposes fines, fees etc. or changes the tax structure of local bodies.
  2. A money bill needs presidential assent to be introduced and can be introduced only in HoP (Lok Sabha).

Budget Process 

  1. Annual financial statement: It is laid before both houses of parliament on the recommendation of the president. It shows separately – (a) the sums required by the constitution to be charged directly to CFI, and (b) sums required to meet other expenditure of the government from the CFI. When the budget is presented only a general discussion on the policies and principles may take place in both houses of the parliament. No motion or voting is allowed at this stage. 
  2. Items which are required by constitution to be directly charged upon CFI shall not be put to vote but can be discussed by any house. After this stage, role of Council of State (CoS) or Rajya Sabha is over.
  3. Demand for grants: Items which are required to meet other expenditure are grouped together in the form of demands of grants, receive presidential recommendation, submitted to the HoP and then put to debate and vote. Vote on account is a grant in advance for the estimated departmental expenditure for the year before complete complete sanction has been given to that expenditure.
  4. Appropriation bill: No money can be withdrawn from CFI except by appropriation acts. Once demand for grants have been accepted by the vote of HoP, an appropriation bill is drafted consisting of all demand of grants and the money to be charged directly on CFI. This bill has to be passed or rejected by the HoP and no amendment varying any amount can be made.
  5. Annual finance bill: The taxation proposals of the budget are put together in the form of an annual finance bill and put to vote.
  6. Cut Motion: A disapproval of policy cut motion may be moved on demand for grants that the amount of demand be reduced to Re 1/- representing disapproval of the policy underlying the demand. An economy cut motion may be moved to reduce the amount of demand by a specified amount. A token cut motion is that the amount of the demand be reduced by Rs. 100/- in order to raise a certain grievance.
Expenditure Charged on Consolidated Fund of India (CFI)
  1. Allowances to President, Speaker, Deputy speaker, deputy chairman of CoS, judges of HC and SC, CAG.
  2. Debt charges of GoI debt.
  3. Any sums required to satisfy any judgement of any court of India.

Financial Bills (Art 117)

  1. Financial bills – first class: They involve one of the above 6 issues but are not confined solely to them. It has to receive presidential assent and can be introduced only in HoP. But CoS has the same power to amend it like any ordinary bill except that the amendment to the part involving taxation matters requires presidential recommendation. A joint sitting may resolve the deadlock.
  2. Financial bills – second class: It is an ordinary bill which contains provisions of spending from CFI. It can be introduced in any house and is treated as an ordinary bill except that before it is taken up for consideration by either house it has to receive presidential recommendation. A joint sitting may resolve the deadlock.

Joint Sittings (Art 108)

  1. If the bill had been rejected by the other house or no action taken for 6 months, then the bill appearing before the joint sitting will be the original bill + other amendments as made necessary by the delay.
  2. If the bill had been amended by the other house and some of such amendments not accepted by the first house then the bill presented before the joint sitting will be the amendments where both houses disagree + other amendments as made necessary by the delay.
Adjournment, Prorogation and Dissolution
  1. While prorogation and dissolution are done by president, adjournment is done by the speaker.
  2. When HoP is dissolved, bills which pending in CoS but not yet passed in HoP shall remain unharmed. Also joint sitting shall remain unaffected by the dissolution.
  3. Prorogation doesn’t affect bills pending (Art 107) and only affects notices, resolutions, motions etc.
  4. Dissolution doesn’t affect bills introduced in CoS and pending before CoS, bills passed by both HoP and CoS and waiting for presidential assent, bills for joint meeting.
Adjournment Motion and Point of Order
  1. Adjournment Motion and Point of Order are extraordinary devices because they seek to interrupt the normal business of the House. 
  2. The former carries an element of censure against the CoM so it cannot be introduced in the CoS and is introduced only in the Lok Sabha. Point of Order is used in both the Houses and is usually raised by the members of the Opposition.
Censure Motion vs No-Confidence Motion
  1. While a censure motion needs to state the reason for its adoption, in case of No-confidence motion there is no need to state the reason for its adoption.
  2. A censure motion can be moved against a minister or a group of minister or entire council of ministers while No-confidence motion can be moved against entire council of ministers only.
  3. If censure motion is passed in Lok Sabha, the council of minister need not resign from the office. While if No-confidence motion is passed, the council of ministers must resign from office

Other Financial Legislative Processes
• Vote on Account – for making any grant in advance in respect of the estimated expenditure for a part of any financial year pending the completion of the parliamentary procedure;

• Vote of Credit – for making a grant for meeting an unexpected demand upon the resources of India when on account of the magnitude or the indefinite character of the service the demand cannot be stated with the details ordinarily given in an annual financial statement; and

• Exceptional Grant – for making provision for an exceptional grant that does not form part of the current service of any financial year.

Parliamentary Committees

Committee on Estimates

  1. It is constituted annually by HoP and examines the annual financial statement. It reports to the house any efficiencies, reforms, alternative policies etc. which can be followed. It carries its examination throughout the year and submits its report to the speaker.

Committee on Public Accounts

  1. It has 15 members from HoP and 7 from CoS and is constituted annually. It examines the CAG report and submits its report to the speaker.
Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU)
  1. The Committee is empowered to examine the reports and accounts of the public undertakings; examine the reports of the CAG on the public undertakings; examine in context of government policy whether the affairs of the public undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices; and exercise such other functions as allotted to it by the Speaker. 
  2. However, the Committee is excluded from examining the following: 
    1. Matters of major Government policy as distinct from business of the public undertakings.
    2. Matters of day-to-day administration.
    3. Matters for the consideration of which another authority is established by law.
  3. The membership of the Committee is limited to 22, with 15 members from the Lok Sabha and 7 from the Rajya Sabha. The Committee has an annual term.
Departmentally Related Standing Committees 
  1. They were formed to facilitate proper examination of different demands for grants leading to more meaningful discussions in Parliament.
  2. Each of such Committees consist of not more than 31 members, 21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha. The term of office of these Committees is one year. 
  3. These Standing Committees have the following functions:
    1. To consider the Demands for Grants of the concerned Ministries/Departments and make a report on the same to the Houses. However the report shall not suggest anything of the nature of cut motions.
    2. To examine such Bills pertaining to the concerned Ministries/Departments as are referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker and make report thereon.
    3. To consider annual reports of Ministries/Departments and make reports thereon.
    4. To consider policy documents presented to the Houses, if referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker and make reports thereon.
  4. However, these Committees shall not consider the matters of day to day administration of the concerned Ministries/Departments. 
  5. The general procedure relating to Demands for Grants to be followed by these Standing Committees is as follows:
    1. After the general discussion on the Budget in the two Houses is over, the Houses shall be adjourned for a fixed period.
    2. The Committees shall consider the Demands for Grants of the concerned Ministries during the aforesaid period.
    3. The Committees shall make their report within the period and shall not ask for more time.
    4. The Demands for Grants shall be considered by the House in the light of the reports of the Committees.
    5. There shall be a separate report on the Demands for Grants of each Ministry.

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