What are the powers and functions of the parliament?
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.
The legislative body of the Union government is the Parliament. The Indian Parliament is divided into three sections by the Constitution: the President, the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), and the House of People (Lok Sabha). Members of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) are democratically elected directly by the people. The legislative assemblies of the states elect members of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States).
The powers and functions of the Parliament
The Parliament’s powers and functions can be divided into several categories, as stated below
Legislative Powers and Functions
The parliament, being the legislative body, has many legislative functions and powers. Our constitution divides all subjects into three lists: state, union, and concurrent. The parliament has full control over law-making on subjects mentioned in the union list. On a subject specified in the concurrent list, the parliament can overrule a state’s law. It also holds priority over residuary subjects. Subjects that do not appear on any of the three lists are called residuary subjects.
It has the power to make laws in the state legislature in certain situations.
- When the Upper house of the Parliament passes a resolution in that direction.
- During the situation or a state of national emergency.
- When more than two states ask parliament to take action.
- When international treaties, conventions, and agreements need it.
- While President’s Rule is in force.
Executive Powers and Functions
The executive consists of the president, the vice president, and the Prime Minister along with the council of ministers according to the constitution. The executive is accountable to the legislature for its policies and actions under the parliamentary system of government. So parliament has control over the executive.
The parliament has the authority to reject any bill that is presented by the Cabinet. A motion of no confidence can be used by the parliament to remove a government from power. The council of ministers is in office until the Lok Sabha gives it its confidence, according to Article 75 of the constitution. Question hour, cut motions, adjournment motions, censure motions, and other procedural techniques are used by Parliament to assert control over the executive. The parliamentary committees are made up of members from various political parties. The parliament exercises authority over the government through these committees.
Financial Powers and Functions
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.
Electoral Powers and Functions
It constitutes the electoral college of the President’s election, along with the members of the state assembly. All the members of the parliament participate in the election of vice president. The members of each house elect their speaker and deputy speaker (only deputy speaker in the case of Rajya Sabha).
Judicial Powers and Functions
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.
Amending Powers and Functions
Only parliament has the power to propose constitutional amendments. Both Houses of Parliament have equal authority when it comes to changing the Constitution. Amendments must be accepted by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to be effective.
Apart from these powers, there are other powers vested to the Parliament. The Parliament has the authority to change, reduce, or expand state/UT boundaries. Many important issues are discussed and debated in the Parliament sessions. The role of the opposition is very important as it acts as a check on the member of the ruling party.
Question 1: Why did India opt for a parliamentary form of government instead of a presidential one?
Based on the type of relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government, democratic systems are characterized as parliamentary or presidential. The executive is accountable to the legislature for its policies and actions under the parliamentary system of government. The presidential system of government is one in which the executive is constitutionally independent of the legislation during its term of office and is not answerable to the legislature for its policies and acts.
India is acquainted with the Parliamentary system which was followed by the British during their rule, so it was easy for our leaders to work with it as they had a fair idea and experience of how it works. Our constitution makers also opinioned that the legislative-executive conflicts can be best avoided in the parliamentary system rather than the presidential system. For a diverse country like India, the Parliamentary system is suitable because it allows for more representation of various sections, interests, and areas in government
Question 2: What constitutes the parliament?
The Parliament is the legislative organ of our country. It constitutes the President, the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), and the House of People (Lok Sabha). Members of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) are democratically elected directly by the people. The legislative assemblies of the states elect members of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States).
Question 3: Discuss the power of parliament in its authority in the union, the state, and the concurrent list?
All subjects are divided into three categories in our constitution: state, union, and concurrent. The parliament has complete legislative authority over the subjects listed in the union list. The parliament can overrule a state’s law on a subject included in the concurrent list. It also takes precedence over ancillary subjects. Residuary subjects are those that do not appear on any of the three lists. In some circumstances, it has the authority to make laws in the state legislature, like when the Parliament’s Upper House votes a resolution in that direction. During a national emergency, when more than two states request that parliament actor when it is required by international treaties, conventions, and accords. Or when President’s Rule is in effect.