Polity

Roles and Functions of Parliament of India

The Parliament – Roles and Functions of Parliament of India

Roles and Functions of Parliament of India

  • In Indian Constitutional System, the Parliament occupies a central position and has multiple functions and roles.
  • Its powers and functions can be classified as follow –
                  1. Legislative Powers and Functions
                  2. Executive Powers and Functions
                  3. Financial Powers and Functions
                  4. Constituent Powers and Functions
                  5. Judicial Powers and Functions
                  6. Electoral Powers and Functions
                  7. Other powers and functions.

Roles and Functions of Parliament, Ineffectiveness of Parliamentary Control, Sovereignty of Indian Parliament, Complete Notes on Indian Polity Click Here...

Legislative Powers and Functions

      • It is Primary function of Parliament to make laws for governance.
      • The Parliament can make laws on subjects of Union List and on the residuary subjects. It also has overriding powers in case of subjects mentioned in State list in case of Conflict.
      • All the ordinances issued by the president (during the recess of the Parliament) must be approved by the Parliament within six weeks after its reassembly. If not approved they become inoperative within the time frame.
      • The Parliament makes framework of the laws and authorises the executive to make detailed rules and regulations within the framework of the parent law. This is termed as Delegated Legislation or Executive Legislation.

Executive Powers and Functions

      • The Parliament exercises control over Executive through the various devices such as Question Hour, Zero Hour, Shout Duration Discussion, Different types of Motions etc.
      • It also supervises the activities of the Executive with the help of its committees like committee on government assurance, committee on subordinate legislation, committee on petitions, etc.
      • The Ministers and the Government is responsible to the Parliament and to Lok Sabha specifically.
      • The Lok Sabha can also express lack of confidence in the government in the following ways –
          1. By not passing a motion of thanks on the President’s inaugural address.
          2. By rejecting a money bill.
      • By passing a censure motion or an adjournment motion.
          1. By defeating the government on a vital issue.
          2. By passing a cut motion.

Financial Powers and Functions

      • After the Approval of the Parliament only, any tax can be imposed or collected and expenditure can be done by the Executives.
      • The Budget which contains framework of all the revenues and expenditure for the financial year is placed in front of Parliament for its approval.
      • The parliamentary control over the Executive in financial matters operates in two stages –
          1. Budgetary control – control before the appropriation of grants through the enactment of the budget
          2. Post-budgetary control – control after the appropriation of grants through the three financial committees which include public accounts committee, estimates committee and committee on public undertakings.
      • They bring out the cases of illegal, irregular, unauthorised, improper usage and wastage and extravagance in public expenditure.
      • The granted money if not spent by the end of the specified financial year, balance expires and returns to the Consolidated Fund of India. This is known as ‘Rule of Lapse’.

Constituent Powers and Functions

      • The Parliament can amend the Constitution by adding, repealing or amending certain provisions of the Constitution.
      • The power to initiate the process of amendment of the constitution lies with the Parliament only and not with the State Legislature.
      • There is only one exception, the state legislature can pass a resolution requesting the Parliament for the creation or abolition of the legislative council in the state.
      • The Parliament can amend the Constitution in three ways –
          1. By simple majority
          2. By special majority
          3. By special majority but with the consent of half of all the state legislatures
      • The Parliament can amend the constitution to the limit that it does not affect its Basic Structure.

Judicial Powers and Functions

      • The judicial powers and functions of the Parliament include the following –
          1. It can impeach the President for the violation of the Constitution.
          2. It can remove the Vice-President from his office.
          3. It can recommend the removal of judges (including chief justice) of the Supreme Court and the high courts, chief election commissioner, comptroller and auditor general to the president.
          4. It can punish its members or outsiders for the breach of its privileges or its contempt.

Electoral Powers and Functions

      • The Parliament participates in election of President and Vice President.
      • The Lok Sabha elects the Speaker and Deputy Speaker and Rajya Sabha elects the Deputy Chairman.

Other Powers and Functions

      • It includes –
          1. Serves as the Chief deliberative body of the country. It discusses various issues of National and International importance.
          2. It can create or abolish the State legislative Councils on recommendation of concerned state legislative assemblies.
          3. It can increase or decrease the area, alter the boundaries and change the names of the states of India.
          4. It approves all types of emergencies proclaimed by president.
          5. It can regulate the organisation and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and high courts and can establish a common high court for two or more states.

Ineffectiveness of Parliamentary Control

  • The Parliamentary control over government and administration in India is more theoretical than in actual.
  • Factors which are responsible for this includes –
      1. The legislative leadership lies with the Executive which plays a significant role in formulating policies.
      2. The Parliament is too large and unmanageable to be effective.
      3. Majority support enjoyed by the Executive in the Parliament reduces the possibility of effective criticism.
      4. The increased use of ‘guillotine’ reduced the scope of financial control.
      5. Parliament’s financial control is hindered by the technical nature of the demands for grants.
      6. The financial committees like Public Accounts Committee examines the public expenditure after it has been incurred by the Executive.
      7. The frequent proclamation of ordinances by the president dilutes the Parliament’s power of legislation.
      8. Lack of strong and steady opposition in the Parliament.
      9. Lack of expertise to control the administration which has become more complex.

Sovereignty of Indian Parliament

  • Sovereignty means the supreme power within the State.
  • The Indian Parliament cannot be regarded as a sovereign body as there are ‘legal’ restrictions on its authority and jurisdiction.
  • The factors that limit the sovereignty of Indian Parliament are –

Written Nature of the Constitution

        • Constitution defines the authority and jurisdiction of all the three organ of the Union Government and the nature of interrelation between them.
        • Parliament has to operate within the limits prescribed by the Constitution.
        • There is legal distinction between the legislative authority and the constituent authority of the Parliament.
        • In Britain, on the other hand, the Constitution is neither written nor there anything like a fundamental law of the land.

Federal System of Government

        • India is a federal system with constitutional division of powers between Union and State Government.
        • Both the Government has to be confined to the subjects enumerated in the Union list, Concurrent list and State list.
        • Britain, on the other hand, has a unitary system of government and hence, all the powers are vested in the Centre.

System of Judicial Review

        • The Judiciary in India is independent with the power of Judicial Review.
        • Both the Supreme Court and high courts can declare the laws enacted by the Parliament as void and ultra vires (unconstitutional), if they contravene any provision of the Constitution.
        • On the other hand, there is no system of judicial review in Britain.

Fundamental Rights

        • The justiciable nature of the Fundamental Rights also restricts the authority of Parliament.
        • Article 13 prohibits the State from making a law that either takes away totally or abrogates in part a fundamental right.
        • In Britain, on the other hand, there is no codification of justiciable fundamental rights in the Constitution.

So this was all about the Sovereignty, Roles and Functions of Parliament of India.

In the Next Post (Click Here), we will learn about the Supreme Court of India and Judges of Supreme Court of India.

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