Posts Tagged ‘Loksabha’

The House of People, aka Loksabha is the directly elected lower house of the Parliament. Loksabha is a representative of the people directly chosen through elections based on adult suffrage (right to vote). The Constitution decides the maximum strength of the lower house, which is 552, made up of 530 members who represent the States, up to 20 members for the Union Territories and not more than 2 Anglo-Indian Community members. These 2 are nominated by the President, if he feels that the community is not getting adequate representation in the House. The qualifying age for becoming a member of the Loksabha is 25 years.

The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The first general elections under the new Constitution were held during the year 1951-52 and the first elected Loksabha came into being in April 1952. Since then, India has witnessed the formation of 15 Loksabhas; the last election took place in April-May 2009. Each Loksabha functions for a term of maximum 5 years, after which it is dissolved automatically. However, in case of Proclamation of Emergency, the Parliament by law can extend the period by a year.

There is a pre-decided elective membership limit for each state. This limit is distributed among the states in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each state and the population of the state is, as far as possible, the same for all states. Gujarat has been allotted 26 seats.

The Constitution insists on the Loksabha to meet at least twice a year, and no more than 6 months can pass between sessions. Generally, 3 sessions of Loksabha take place in a year:

• Budget session: February to May
• Monsoon session: July to September
• Winter session: November to December

Loksabha has the power to elect its Presiding Officer who is called the Speaker. He is responsible for the conduct of business in the Loksabha. The Speaker is assisted by the Deputy Speaker who is also elected by the members of the House.

The first hour of every Loksabha session is called the Question Hour. During this hour, the ministers can pose questions on different aspects of administration and Government policies in the national as well as international spheres. These questions may then be assigned to specific Government Ministries, which have to be answered on a fixed date in the future.

Questions are of three types – Starred, Unstarred and Short Notice.

 A Starred Question is one to which a member desires an oral answer in the House and which is distinguished by an asterisk mark.

 An Unstarred Question is one which is not called for an oral answer in the House and on which no supplementary questions can consequently be asked. An answer to such a question is given in writing. (Minimum period of notice for starred/unstarred questions is 10 clear days)

• Short notice Questions are the ones that relate to the matters of urgent public importance. They are taken up for answer immediately after the Question Hour.

The powers of the Loksabha and the Rajyasabha are almost similar except in the area of Money Bills, in which case the Loksabha has the ultimate authority. Apart from this, the lower house has some special powers (de facto and de jure) which makes it superior to the upper house.

The Loksabha has its own TV channel, Loksabha TV, headquartered within the Parliament premises.

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The honorable President of India and two houses viz. Rajyasabha (Council of States) and Loksabha (House of People), together form The Parliament of the Republic of India. It is commonly referred to as the Indian Parliament. It is the supreme legislative authority that possesses the final authority over all other political bodies of the country. In a Parliament, the President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve the Lok Sabha.

The origin of Parliament can be traced back to many centuries. It is the central institution of many systems of Government. The word itself is derived from the Latin ‘parliamentum’ meaning ‘discussion’ and the French word ‘parler’ (to speak). The term came to use to name a body of people who would meet to discuss matters of the state.

The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The first general elections under the new Constitution were held during the year 1951-52 and the first elected Parliament came into being in April, 1952. Over the years, the Parliament of India has turned out to be multi-functional institution. It is the political nerve centre of the country, acting as a mirror of the society, accommodating the needs of the changing times, shouldering responsibilities and engaging itself fully in the process of running our parliamentary polity. Some of the cardinal roles and functions of the Parliament are: ensuring executive accountability, law making, control over the budget, constituent functions, representational role, educational role, informational functions, training and recruitment of leadership, besides other miscellaneous functions.

A parliamentary form of Government acknowledges the fact that in this system, Parliament derives its power directly from the consent of the people expressed through periodic elections and that it exists to implement the will of the people. The parliamentary system also ensures the best possible participatory democratic system and active interaction between the people and their representatives.

Apart from the basic authorities, the Parliament can, under certain circumstances, also assume legislative power with respect to a subject falling within the sphere, exclusively reserved for the states. The Parliament is also vested with powers to prosecute the President, remove judges of Supreme and High Courts, the Chief Election Commissioner, and Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution. All legislation requires the consent of both Houses of the Parliament. It is also vested with the power to initiate amendments in the Constitution.

Parliament – indeed the supreme legislative body of India – with all these major powers in its hands!

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