Indian Constitution
General Knowledge

Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha

Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha

» Vice-President of India is ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and functions as the Presiding Officer of that House so long as he does not officiate as the President.
» When the Chairman acts as the President of India, the duties of the Chairman are performed by the Deputy Chairman.
» The Chairman may be removed from his office only if he is removed from the office of the Vice-President.
» The powers of Chairman in the Rajya Sabha are similar to those of the Speaker in the Lok Sabha except that the Speaker has certain special powers like certifying a Money Bill, or presiding over a joint sitting of the two Houses.

Privileges of Parliament

» The privileges of each House can be divided into two groups :
  ★ Those which are enjoyed by the members individually.
  ★ Those which belong to each House of Parliament, as a collective body.

» The privileges enjoyed by the members individually are :
  ★ Freedom from Arrest exempts a member from arrest during the continuance of a meeting of the House or Committee thereof of which he is a member and during a period of 40 days before and after such meeting or sitting.
  ★ This immunity is confined to arrest in civil cases and not in criminal cases or under the law of Preventive Detention.
  ★ A member cannot be summoned, without the leave of the House to give evidence as a witness while Parliament is in session.
  ★ There is Freedom of Speech within the walls of each House.
  ★ The limitation on freedom of speech is that no discussion can take place in Parliament with respect to the conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties except upon a motion for removal of the judge {Ref.: Art. 121}.

» The privileges of the House collectively are :
  ★ The right to publish debates and proceedings and to restrain publication by others.
  ★ The right to exclude others.
  ★ The right to regulate internal affairs of the House.
  ★ The right to publish Parliamentary misbehavior.
  ★ The right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges.

The Legislative Procedures in Parliament

The different stages in the legislative procedure in Parliament relating to Bills other than Money Bills are as follows :
  1. Introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament
  2. Motions after introduction
  3. Report by Select Committee
  4. Passing of the Bill in the House where it was introduced
  5. Passage in the other House
  6. President's Assent

Money Bills and Financial Bills

A Bill is called Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters :
  ★ The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax.
  ★ The regulation of the borrowing of money by the Government.
  ★ The custody of or the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Fund of India.
  ★ The appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
  ★ The declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated fund of India.
  ★ The receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State.

» The procedure for passing of Money Bills in Parliament is :
» A Money Bill can not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
  ★ After a Money Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha, it is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha (with the Speaker’s certificate that it is a Money Bill).
  ★ The Rajya Sabha can neither reject a Money Bill nor amend it. It must, within a period of fourteen days from the date of receipt of the Bill, return the Bill to the Lok Sabha with its recommendations. Lok Sabha may accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha.
  ★ It is upto the Lok Sabha to accept or reject the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha. If the Lok Sabha accepts any of the recommendations the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses with the amendment recommended by the Rajya Sabha and accepted by the Lok Sabha.
  ★ If a Money Bill is not returned by the Rajya Sabha within fourteen days, it shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses in the form in which it was passed by the Lok Sabha {Ref.: Art. 109}.

» Only those Financial Bills are Money Bills which bear the certificate of the Speaker as such.
» Financial Bills which do not receive the Speaker's certificate are of two classes (Art. 117):
(a) A Bill which contains any of the matters specified in Art. 110 but does not consist solely of those matters. It can be introduced in Lok Sabha only on the recommendation of President. Rajya Sabha can amend or reject such Bills.
(b) Any Ordinary Bill which contains provisions involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund {Ref.: Art. 117(3)}.

Joint Sittings

» The President can summon Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for a joint sitting in case of disagreement between the two Houses in following ways :
If, after a Bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other House—
  ★ the Bill is rejected by the other House
  ★ the Houses have finally disagreed about the amendments to be made in the Bill
  ★ more than six months have elapsed from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it.

» The Speaker presides the joint sitting. In the absence of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker or Chairman of Rajya Sabha or Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha or a person chosen by the MPs may preside {Art. 118(4)} in the same order.

Financial legislation in Parliament

» At the beginning of every financial year, on behalf of the President of India, a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India for that year is laid before both the Houses of Parliament.
» This is known as the 'annual financial statement' (i.e., the 'Budget') [Ref. Art. 112]
» It also states the ways and means of meeting the estimated expenditure.
» The Annual Financial Statement or the Budget contains :
  ★ Estimates of expenditure.
  ★ Ways and means to raise the revenue.
  ★ An analysis of the actual receipts and expenditures of the closing year and the causes of any surplus or deficit in relation to such year.
  ★ An explanation of the economic policy and spending programme of the Government in the coming year and the prospects of revenue.
  ★ Estimates relating to expenditure charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India are not put to vote of Parliament but each House can discuss any of these estimates.
  ★ Estimates of other expenditure are submitted in the form of demands for grants to the Lok Sabha and it has the power to assent, or to refuse to assent to any demand.

» No demand for a grant can be made except on the recommendation of the President. [Ref. Art. 113]
» The scrutiny of budget proposals is done by the Parliament's Committee on Estimates in order to :
  ★ Report to the House about the effect on economy, improvements in organization, administrative reform etc.
  ★ Suggest alternative policies.
  ★ Examine whether the money is well laid out.
  ★ Suggest the form in which estimates are to be presented to Parliament.
  ★ The report of the Estimates Committee is not debated in the House.

» The Comptroller and Auditor General is the guardian of the public purse and it is his function to see that not a paisa is spent without the authority of Parliament.
  ★ The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General laid before the Parliament, is examined by the Public Accounts Committee.
  ★ Public Accounts Committee is a committee of the Lok Sabha (having 15 members from that House ), but seven members of the Rajya Sabha are also associated with this Committee, in order to strengthen it.

Public Accounts Committee examines that:
  ★ The money disbursed was legally available and used for the right purpose.
  ★ The expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it.
  ★ Every re-appropriation has been made in accordance with the rules framed by competent authority.