Parliament

The Parliament; Legislative Branch of The Indian Government

1. Introduction

India is a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic. Its constitution has established a democratic form of government in the country. The Constitution of India can also be considered as the Grundnorm [1] as it is the inspiration for all other laws of the country and governs the country, proper distribution of power and duties of several officials, the three main pillars of Indian democracy, which helps it to function efficiently i.e. Parliament, Executive, and Judiciary, a democratic form of government is run by representatives elected by the people. General elections are held every five years, and the people choose their government. General elections are conducted by an independent election commission. The entire country is divided into constituencies, each constituency electing a representative. Each state sends a certain number of members of parliament.

2. Division of subject matters

Determination of representatives on the basis of population. India is a union of states. The constitution provides for both the central government and the state government. The powers of the Central Government and the State Governments are clearly defined by the Constitution.

India has legislatures at both the national level, as well as at the state level. The constitution has given three different lists of subjects. Only the Parliament can pass laws on the subjects given in the Union List. Laws relating to the defense of the country, railways, shipping, currency, post and telegraph, foreign affairs, etc.

Whereas, the state government can make laws on the subjects given in the state list. Among them agriculture, health, forest, irrigation, electricity, law, and order are important.

State, Police, Entertainment, etc. Both the Parliament and the State Legislatures have the power to make laws on the subjects given in the Concurrent List. The important topics under this list are civil and criminal procedure, labor welfare, factories, newspapers, education, books, etc. The central government consists of three organs, namely the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. India follows the parliamentary form of government in which the parliament is the supreme law-making body and the real executive powers are vested in the prime ministerThe Prime Minister is the leader of the party in the majority in the popularly elected Lok Sabha. He chooses his ministers and all of them collectively and is personally responsible to the Lok Sabha.

3. Where is the Indian Parliament Located?

In Delhi, there is a huge parliament building known as Sansad Bhawan in which the representatives elected by the people gather and make laws for the whole country. Every proposed law when introduced in the Parliament is called a Bill. Such a law is first introduced in the form of a bill in either house of the Parliament. After discussion and passing by one house, it is sent for the concurrence of the other house. After being passed by both houses of the parliament, the bill is sent to the other house for concurrence. After being passed by both houses of the Parliament, the bill is sent to the President for his approval and signature. The bill becomes law after the President’s signature. Thus, the President, Lok Sabha, and Rajya Sabha form the Parliament.

4. Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha is the house of the people as its members are directly elected by the people. The members are elected for five years. Every member has to take an oath of faith and allegiance to the Constitution. Lok Sabha elections are contested by political parties and hence barring a few independent members, most of the members are elected on party tickets. The political party which has a majority in the Lok Sabha elects its leader who is appointed by the President as the Prime Minister of India. The President appoints other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The members of the Lok Sabha elect one person from amongst themselves to preside over their meetings. This person is called the speaker. The speaker conducts the proceedings of Lok Sabha impartially.

5. Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha is the second house of the Parliament. It is called the Council of States because it consists of the representatives of the states. Apart from the twelve members nominated by the President on the basis of their contribution to the field of literature, science, art, and social service, the rest are elected by the members of the state legislatures. Rajya Sabha never dissolves, however, One-third of its members retire at the end of every second year. The Vice President of India presides over the meetings of the Rajya Sabha, hence he is also known as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The functions of the Parliament make laws for the whole country. It is the highest law-making body in the country.

6. Controls the Income and Expenses of the Government

The central government receives money through various taxes. This money is spent on the welfare of the people. Income and expenditure are shown in the budget prepared and presented by the government to the Parliament every year. the budget is approved by the parliament.

The government can neither impose any tax nor spend any amount without the approval of the Parliament. Thus, the Parliament exercises control over the income and expenditure of the government. The most important function of the Parliament is to exercise control over the ministers and their functions. A member of parliament can ask any minister a question about his department. Through these questions, the members keep an eye on the functioning of various departments.

7. Responsible to the Parliament

The Prime Minister and his ministers are responsible for their work to the Parliament. furthermore, bypassing a no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha against them they can be removed. A proposed law is first introduced in the parliament as a bill.

8. Money Bills and Other Than Money Bills

Bills are of two types- Money Bills and Bills other than Money Bills, any bill relating to income and expenditure is called a money bill, and the Money Bill cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha. It should be introduced in the Lok Sabha first. After it is passed in the Lok Sabha, the money bill is sent to the Rajya Sabha for return. Any Bills other than Money Bills can be introduced in either House of the Parliament. Every Bill introduced in the Parliament has to be read thrice in each House. Copies of the Bill are given to the members in advance so that they can study and raise objections, if any, at the preamble stage. The Minister or any other member introduces the Bill. In the second reading, there is a general clause-by-clause discussion on the Bill. The members supporting the Bill argue why the Bill is important and necessary. Opposing members criticize it and suggest reforms in the bill. If desired, it can be referred to a Select Committee made up of members of the House or a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament which examines the Bill in detail. The committee reports back with or without proposals for amendments. In the third reading, the bill as a whole is finally discussed and put to vote. If the majority of the members are in favor of it, the bill is passed. This procedure is followed in both houses. When both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have passed the bill, it is sent to the President for his signature. After the President has given his assent to it by signing it, the bill is called an Act and has the force of law.

9. Are there any Checks on the Parliament?

Generally, bills are passed by a simple majority in the Parliament. This means that if 100 members are present in the house and 51 members are in favor and 49 are against, then the bill is said to have been passed by a simple majority. The constitution can be changed or amended but cannot change its basic structure (Keshavananda Bharti V/s State of Kerala (AIR 1973 SC 1461). The special majority is required to amend certain parts of the Indian Constitution. Amendments to certain articles of the Constitution require a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting in the Parliament.

If a member misbehaves in Parliament, he can be reprimanded by the Speaker of the House. Sometimes the members are expelled from the house for disorderly behavior.

Summary

Thus, the Parliament performs a very important function. These can be divided into five main functions.

i) it exercises control over the government and its income and expenditure.

ii) it makes laws on various subjects.

iii) the members of parliament express their views on various public issues. In this way, they bring many grievances of the people to the notice of the government.

iv) as we have seen, members ask questions to get information.

the Parliament elects the Vice President and participates in the Presidential election. It can also impeach the President of India and the Vice President of India and remove the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.


[1]Brian H Bix and Brian H., ‘Kelsen, Hart, and Legal Normativity’ [2018] http://journals.openedition.org/revus <http://journals.openedition.org/revus/3984> accessed 16 August 2021.

Indian Judiciary

Indian Judiciary System; An Overview

1. Introduction

Indian Judiciary system one of the three pillars (Legislative, Executives, and Judiciary) of Indian democracy  ensures the rule of law, interprets, administers justice, and makes checks and balances of executives and parliament activities, though parliament is the supreme law-making body and can amend the constitution, however, it cannot amend constitution’s basic structure as it was decided in the case of Keshavananda Bharti V/s State of Kerala (AIR 1973 SC 1461)

Courts are the institutions where disputes are adjudicated, and justice is administered. The Indian judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, High Courts, and subordinate courts that resolve disputes between union and state, state and state, state and citizen, and in limited cases according to their jurisdiction in appeals arising out of private disputes. Contains substantial questions of law.

2. Authority Embedded in the Constitution of India

The Supreme Court is India’s highest court. It is placed at the apex of the judicial structure under Article 124 (1) of the constitution of India and Article 141 empowers the supreme court that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all Courts in India and Article 32 empowers issue the writ to any person or authority. Thus, its appellate powers are much wider as compared to any other federal system of the world. furthermore, Article 145 of the Constitution of India contains provisions to regulate the practice and procedure of the Supreme Court.

High Court The State judiciary consists of a High Court and a system of subordinate courts. The High Courts are the highest courts of law in the respective state or Union territory in which they are situated or have jurisdiction. The High Court can issue the writ to the person or authority having its location or residence within the territorial jurisdiction of the high court article 226 of the constitution.

Below the High Courts, the judiciary system has Subordinate courts. These courts come in close contact with the people and follow the law of the concerned state. The High Court of the respective state has administrative control over subordinate courts. 

3. A Quick graph depicting the Indian Judiciary System

Indian Judiciary
Indian Court System

Abortion Law in India

Is Abortion legal in India?

What Indian Law says about Abortion?

Abortion is legal in India. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, regulates the legality of abortion in India. Under this act, abortion can be done legally under certain circumstances and with the consent of the pregnant woman. Key provisions of the MTP Act include:

Is Abortion Legal In India?

1. Conditions for abortion: 

Abortion is permitted if the pregnancy poses a risk to the physical or mental health of the woman, or there is a risk of fetal abnormalities. Additionally, pregnancies resulting from rape, contraceptive failure, or failure of a birth control device may also be legally terminated.

2. Gestational Limits:

The MTP Act sets different gestational limits for abortion based on specific circumstances. Abortion can usually be done up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, in some cases where the life of the woman is at great risk, the gestation limit can be extended beyond 20 weeks.

3. Authorization:

The decision to have an abortion is made by a registered medical practitioner (doctor) and requires the consent of the pregnant woman. In some cases, a second doctor’s opinion may be taken.

It is important to note that abortion laws and regulations may vary between different states in India. Some states have imposed additional requirements and regulations, so it is advisable to consult the specific laws and regulations of the relevant state to understand the detailed provisions relating to abortion.

Download the Act here

*Note:- this article is meant for educational purposes only and shall not consider legal advice. however, readers are advised to consult the legal expert for a specific concern 

Indian Executive

The Empowering Union Executive Branch of the Indian Government

Union Executive

The Union Executive of India, as in the parliamentary type of government, consists of the President and the council of ministers. The executive branch of the Union Government is headed by the president, in whom the constitution vests a formidable array of powers. The president serves as the head of state and the supreme commander of the armed forces. Article 55 of the Indian Constitution states there shall be a President of India, and that the executive power of the Union will be vested in him, exercised by him, directly or through officials subordinate to him, in accordance with the constitution of India.

Union Executive

However, though he is the constitutional head of the parliamentary system of government and represents the nation, he does not rule it. The power that the president has as Executive power Article 53: All executive functions of the Union government are carried on in the name of the President. It is he who appoints the Prime Minister. According to the Constitution, he can appoint only such person to the post about whom he feels that he would be able to command the confidence of the majority of the members of Lok sabha. He also appoints and allocates minister portfolio on the advice of the Prime Minister, and appoint Attorney General, Comptroller, and auditor general, Chairman and members of UPSC, Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme court and High Court, Governors of states, and Chief commissioners of Union territories, members of Finance Commission languages, election commission, ambassadors or diplomatic agent of India to other countries.

The real power vests with the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister of India Article 75 provides that the Prime Minister and other ministers shall be appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister. The prime minister selects the council of ministers from other members of parliament. Council of ministers headed by the Prime minister to aid and advise the president in the exercise of his functions. It is the policy-making body of the country and the government in the real sense. It is composed of all the union ministers, Cabinet minis, Ministers of State, and Deputy Ministers.  

Constitution of India

The Indian Constitution: An Inspiring Foundations; Tracing the Brief History

Introduction to the Constitution of India

Indian Constitution was adopted on the 26th of November 1949, however, it came into force on the 26th of January 1950, one of the reasons being was on 26 January 1930 Purna Swaraj was declared by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in Lahore (current Pakistan), subsequently in commemorate of the day the constitution completely adopted and came into force from 26th January of 1950. The Indian constitution is the world’s longest handwritten constitution and originally it had 22-part, 8 schedules,s, and 395 articles.

In the long and eventful history of India, 15 August 1947 holds immense importance. On this day the two-centuries-old British rule of India ended and political authority was transferred to the representatives of the Indian people.

Historical Background of the Constitution in Indian Society

The Constitution of a country lays down the basic structure of the political system under which its people are to be governed. Though the concept of democracy, representative institutions, and rule of law, etc. was not alien to India as the Rigveda and the Atharvaveda mention the sabha (General Assembly) and the Smiti House of Elders, we can claim that the conventional political institutions established by Hindus in the ancient times and later by the Muslims in medieval era do not survive in any form in the present day.

Indian Constitution
Indian Constitution: An Overview

The arrival of the East India Company

However, we can trace the history of the evolution of the Indian constitution from 1601 when the East Indian company, which had come to India as traders, received its first charter in 1601 from the queen of England. As per Charter 1601, the company was given the power to make, ordain, and constitute such and so many reasonable laws, constitutions, orders, and ordinances for the good governance of the company. The legislative powers of the company were very limited in their scope and character. Later, similar legislative powers were thus designed and affirmed by the Charters of 1609. 1661 and later by Charter 1693, which enabled the company to regulate its business and maintain discipline among its servants. The charter of 1726 had great significance as the mayor’s courts were established for the first time in India at the three Presidencies – Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras – to introduce English laws in India. But still, the British were not the ruling power in India and it was only in the latter half of the 17th century, the period of the gradual disintegration of Mughal power, that the British administration of civil justice evolved after the company was awarded the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. This led to maladministration of Indian affairs by the company officials who amassed great wealth and left for England leaving East India Company on the verge of bankruptcy. A secret committee was appointed by British Parliament in 1772 that exposed several defects and lacunas in the administration of the company. Consequently, the Parliament passed the Regulating Act of 1773 to regulate the affairs of the East India Company.

Cabinet Mission Plan

The task of framing the Constitution of India was given to the Constituent Assembly, formed under the Cabinet mission plan 1946 even before the complete transfer of power that was affected by the Indian Independence Act 1947. It is composed of members chosen by the members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies through indirect election according to the scheme recommended by the Cabinet Mission.   

Making of The Indian Constitution

The arrangements were as 389 seats (93 princely states and 292 were elected through provincial legislative assemblies and 4 Chief Commissioners Provinces). However, after the partition, the strength of members in the assembly was reduced to 299. The first meeting of the constituent assembly was on December 9, 1946, and Sachidanand Sinha elected was as the first chairman. 2ndmeeting was on December 11, 1946, in this assembly Dr. Rajender Prasad was elected as chairman.

Initially, the assembly was not a sovereign body but was subject to the final authority of the British Parliament. It was the Indian Independence Act of 1947 that triggered a complete change in its character, as it was converted into a Sovereign body that was later reassembled on 14 August 1947 to assume power on behalf of the Government of India. Thus, the three phases of the Constituent Assembly can be described as; the first phase – was a Constituent Assembly under the Limitations of Cabinet mission plan from December to 14 August 1947; the Second Phase – was Constituent Assembly, a sovereign body and Provisional Parliament from 15 August 1947 to 26 November 1949 and; Third Phase- as a Provisional Parliament from 27 November 1949 to March 1952.

The Constitution is not to be interpreted as a mere law, but as the machinery by which laws are made. The Constitution of India now consists of :

1) The preamble 

2) Parts !-XXII, covering Articles 1- 395 and; 

3) Schedules 1-12 and the Appendix.

Sources of the Indian Constitution

Source of InspirationFeature that inspired
Government of India Act 1935Federal System, Office of Governor, Public service Commission, emergency (however this was adopted by Germany), Judiciary and executives
British ConstitutionParliamentary system, Single citizenship , Rule of law, Bi-cameral system , cabinet and writs from Britain (although many of inspirations were also from Indian Government Act 1919)
Ireland’s constitutionDPSP (Directive Principal to State Policy), Nomination of the Rajya Sabha members and election of the president.  
Russian Constitutionfundamental duties and Social, Political, and Economic Justice as enumerated in the preamble.
U.S. ConstitutionPreamble, Fundamental rights (From Bill of Rights), Free judiciary , Impeachment, vice president ex-officio chairman of Council of state(Rajya sabha), President as Executive head and the Supreme commander of Armed Forces, and removal of Supreme court and High Court Judges.
South Africa constitutionto amend the constitution, and election of the members of Rajya sabha
Australian ConstitutionJoint assembly, free trade, and concurrent list
Canada ConstitutionFederal government with a strong center, appointment of Governor, Residuary power lies with the center, Advisory jurisdiction of Supreme court.
Germany constitutionSuspension of Fundamental rights during the emergency.
Japanese ConstitutionProcedure Established by law
French ConstitutionEnumerated in the preamble, are the Republic and the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.