Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
The parliamentary system of government envisaged by our Constitution calls for a harmonious relationship between the executive and the legislature.In this context it may be noted that the first function of Parliament is to provide a Cabinet. The members of the Cabinet may be from the Lok Sabha as well as from the Rajya Sabha.
Organ of Information
Another very important function that Parliament performs is that of serving as an organ of information. Through the question hour and various other modes and procedures, Parliament is able to elicit from the government information in the most authoritative manner.
The Prime Minister, as well as the other Ministers in the Cabinet and outside the Cabinet, are continuously engaged in Parliament, or outside Parliament, in lecturing, talking, holding press conferences and expressing their views on other public occasions, but, no information revealed by them or elicited from them on such occasion can be regarded as authoritative information which Parliament is able to elicit from them.
They may twist or distort or garble facts, if they do not want to reveal them fully, outside Parliament, but they are expected to speak the truth and nothing but the truth at the time of answering questions or making statements in Parliament.
Guardian of Privileges
Parliament is the guardian of its privileges and anybody infringing these privileges can be punished by reprimand or expulsion of the membership of Parliament.
Control over Finance
Parliament has control over the finances of the country. No tax can be levied and no money can be spent without the consent of Parliament, though the expenditure charged on Consolidated Fund of India is not submitted to vote of the Parliament.
Providing the Cabinet
It follows from the above that the first function of Parliament is that of providing the Cabinet and holding them responsible. Though the responsibility of the Cabinet is to the popular Chamber the membership of the Cabinet is not necessarily restricted to that Chamber and some of the members are usually taken from the Upper Chamber.
Control of the Cabinet
It is a necessary corollary from the theory of ministerial responsibility that it is a business of the popular Chamber to see that the Cabinet remains in power so long as it retains the confidence of the majority in that House. This is expressly secured by Article 75(3) of the Constitution.
Criticism of the Cabinet and of Individual Ministers
In modern times both the executive and the legislative policies are initiated by the Cabinet, and the importance of the legislative function of Parliament has, to that extent, diminished from the historical point of view. But the critical function of Parliament has increased in importance and is bound to increase if Cabinet Government is to remain a ‘responsible’ form of Government instead of being an autocratic one.
In this function, both the Houses participate and are capable of participating, though the power of bringing about a downfall of the Ministry belongs only to the popular Chamber (i.e., the House of the People) [Article 75(3)].
While the Cabinet is left to formulate the policy, the function of Parliament is to bring about a discussion and criticism of that policy on the floor of the House, so that not only the Cabinet can get the advice of the deliberative body and learn about its own errors and deficiencies, but the nation as a whole can be appraised of an alternative point of view, on the evaluation of which representative democracy rests in theory.
Parliament participates in the election of the President and Vice-President of India.
Parliament has the power of removing the President of India through impeachment. The Vice- President of India can be removed if a resolution for his removal is adopted by the Rajya Sabha and agreed to by the Lok Sabha. The judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts can be removed by the President only when a request for their removal is make in the form of an address adopted by a special majority by both House of Parliament.
Parliament has been invested with certain specific powers by the Constitution. Some of these relate to citizenship matters, reorganisation of States and alteration of area, boundary or name of any State, extending duration of Lok Sabha, and conferring supplemental powers on the Supreme Court, adjudication of disputes relating to inter-State rivers, abolition or creation of Legislative Councils. The Constitution gives Parliament the final discretion to prescribe and regulate the specific conditions for the use of powers vested in different persons and bodies.
Changing Role of Rajya Sabha in Coalition Government
The special power of the Rajya Sabha has now becoming more effective in the wake of coalition politics. But the Rajya Sabha has some special power regarding the emergency, which were not used but now it has become really emphatic.
The Article 352 says that if a proclamation of emergency is issued when the LS remains dissolved or its dissolution takes place during the period of one month there from and a resolution approving the proclamation is passed by the RS the proclamation would be legally effective up to a maximum of 30 days from the date on which the Lok Sabha sits after the reconstitution.
The recent attitude in the case of Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), the imposition of President’s rule in Bihar and Tamil Nadu has revealed that the Rajya Sabha has a massive importance in the legislation.
The changing role of Rajya Sabha may be detrimental in the wake of globalization as many important Bills may remain pending due to non-cooperation. The purpose of the creation of Rajya Sabha was ensure greater transparency, and to balance the centre-state relations and to maintain the sanctity of federation.
Disqualification of A member of Parliament
1. If he holds any office of profit under the Union or State Government;
2. If he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court;
3. If he is an undischarged insolvent;
4. If not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state;
5. Disqualified by any law made by Parliament.
The Parliament in the Representation of People Act (1951), laid down some additional disqualification for its members
(a). A member must not found guilty or corrupt practices in the elections;
(b). Must not have been convicted for any offence resulting in imprisonment for two or more years;
(c). Must not have any interest in government, contracts, works or services;
(d). Must not be punished for socially discriminatory practices; etc.
Under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule, a member may face disqualification, under the defection law
1.If voluntarily gives up the membership of the party on whose ticket he was elected;
2.Abstains from voting or votes against any direction given by his political party;
3. Joins a political party after being elected as an independent candidate;
4. A nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months;
Disqualification under Tenth Schedule is to be decided by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and Speaker of the Lok Sabha as the case may be, and it is subjected to judicial review.