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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Parliament of India: Important Facts

•    The President is an integral part of the Parliament as it takes part in the legislative process.
•    The first elections to the Lok Sabha were held in 1952 and the first Parliament under the new Constitution was constituted in May, 1952. However, from the date of commencement of the new Constitution e.g. January 26, 1950 till the formation of new elected Parliament e.g. May 1952, the Constituent Assembly acted as the provisional Parliament. Also it should be noted that the Constituent Assembly resolved on August 27, 1947 that the Constituent Assembly shall act as the Union Legislature till the date of Commencement of new Constitution.
Accordingly, the Constituent Assembly met, for the first time as a legislative body on November 17, 1947 and continued to perform legislative function till the commencement of the new Constitution. In its legislative capacity, the Constituent Assembly elected G.V. Mavlankar as its first Speaker on November 17, 1947 itself. Mavlankar presided over the meetings of the Constituent Assembly whenever it acted as legislative body. However in Constitution making functions, the meetings of the Constituent Assembly were presided over by Dr. Rajendraa Prasad.

•    In post-independence period, G.V. Mavlankar was the first Speaker of the newly elected Lok Sabha from May 15, 1952 to February 27, 1956. But before that the Speaker of Constituent Assembly as a legislative body from November 17, 1947 to January 25, 1950 as well as Speaker of Provisional Parliament from January 26, 1950 to May 15, 1952.

•    The posts of Speaker and Dy Speaker in the Central Legislature were created in the year 1921 under the provisions of Government of India Act 1919. While Sir Frederick Whyte was the first Speaker of the Central Legislative Assembly from 1921 to 1925, Vithalbhai Patel was the first Indian Speaker of Central Legislative Assembly from 1925 to 1930.

•    Sachhidanand Sinha was the first Dy Speaker of the Central Legislative Assembly from February 1921 to September 1921 in pre-Independence period and Ananthasayanam Ayyangar was the first Dy Speaker from 1952 to 1956 in the Post-Independence period.

•    Unlike American federalism, States in India do not have equal representation in the Rajya Sabha. Their number of seats in the Rajya Sabha depends upon their total population. The allocation of seats to different States in the Rajya Sabha is mentioned in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution, which is as follows :

Name of State
Seats in Rajya Sabha
Name of State
Seats in Rajya Sabha
Andhra Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Tamil Nadu
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
Jammu and Kashmir
Himachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh
Delhi (UT)
Pondicherry (UT)

•    Only two Union Territories–Delhi and Pondicherry–have representation in the Rajya Sabha and other UTs have no representation in this House.

•    The Rajya Sabha was first constituted on April 3, 1952 after the Independence and in order to maintain the rotation of seats, at the first instance, one-third members were elected for a term of two years another one-third for a four year term and rest of the one-third for a term of six years Accordingly, the retirement of first batch of one-third members took place after just two years on April 2, 1952.

•    Under the new Constitution, the elections to the first Lok Sabha were held in the winter of 1951-52 and its first meeting was held on May 13, 1952. At present, the maximum strength of the Lok Sabha can be 552; out of which 530 members are elected from States, 20 members are elected from Union Territories and two members may be nominated by the President from Anglo-Indian community if this community is not adequately represented in the House. However, at present, the effective strength of the Lok Sabha is 543 excluding the two members of Anglo-Indian community.

•    According to provisions of Article 82 of the Constitution, the allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to different States and division of each state into territorial constituencies is adjusted on the completion of each Census. The adjustment to the allocation of seats and territorial constituencies is done by the Delimitation Commission constituted under the laws made by the Parliament. However, in order to implement the population control policy, it was provided by the 42nd Constitution Amendment, 1976 that no change in the allocation of seats to different States shall be made till the completion of 2001 Census. Again the ban on the allocation of seats to different States has been extended till the completion of 2026 Census vides 84th Constitution Amendment Act, 2001.

•    It should be noted that the Government of India appointed the Fourth Delimitation Commission under the Chairmanship of Justice Kuldip Singh in 2002 with a mandate to redraw the constituencies of the Lok Sabha without increasing the number of seats of different States. The newly appointed Delimitation Commission has effected changes in the areas of 499 Lok Sabha constituencies on the basis of population figures of 2001 Census without affecting the total number of seats of different States in order to ensure the equal distribution of population in different constituencies throughout the country. The Commission has also effected the rotation of constituencies reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. As a result of this delimination, the reserved category seats for SC/ST have been increased from 120 to 131. The seats for Scheduled Castes have been increased from 79 to 84 and those of Scheduled Tribes from 41 to 47. Correspondingly, the seats of General category have come down from 423 to 412. The notification implementing the proposals of the Commission was issued by the President on February 19, 2008. The four north-east States namely Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland were not included in the delimitation process. Earlier three Delimitation Commissions were appointed in 1952, 1962 and 1973.

•    Article 330 makes the provision for the reservation of seats in favour of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha in different States in proportion to the population of these Castes/Tribes in the State. After delimitation, 84 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 47 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Tribe. Again, there is a move to reserve one-third seats in Lok Sabha and State legislative Assemblies. A Bill to make reservation in favour of women was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 1996. Though the Bill has been examined by the Margaret Alva Committee of Parliament, it is still pending before the present Parliament due to lack of consensus among different political parties on the point whether the women belonging to OBC/SC/ST classes should be given horizontal reservation under this category or not.

•    The four States with highest number of seats in the Lok Sabha are—Uttar Pradesh–80, Maharashtra–48, Andhra Pradesh–42, and West Bengal–42.

•    The principle of allocation of seats to different states in Lok Sabha and demarcation of constituencies within the States is given in Article 81(2). Accordingly, each State is allotted seats in such manner that the ratio between the number of seats and population is same to all States. Again, each State is divided in territorial constituencies in such manner that the population of each is nearly same throughout the state.

•    The salary and other allowances of the presiding officers of Parliament have been revised in January 2009. At present, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha and Speaker of Lok Sabha both get a monthly salary of Rs. 125000 per month along with other admissible allowances.

•    Similarly, the salary, allowances and pension of the members of Parliament were also revised in 2006. Thus, their salary has been increased from Rs. 12000 to Rs. 16000 per month and daily allowance, during the session of Parliament from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1000 per day. Besides, they are entitled for Rs. 8000 per month as pension, Rs. 20000 as constituency allowance, Rs. 23000 as office expenditure, and family pension to the families of deceased members.

•    The 15th Lok Sabha was constituted on 19th May, 2009 and the first meeting of the 15th Lok Sabha was held on 2nd June, 2009. The senior most parliamentarian Manikrao Gavit was appointed pro-tem Speaker by the President to preside over the first meeting in which Meira Kumar (Congress-I) was selected the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Meira Kumar is the first woman to become the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Karia Munda of the BJP has been selected as the Dy Speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha.

•    Under Article 88 of the Constitution, the Union Ministers and the Attorney-General of India shall have the power to take part in the proceedings of either House of Parliament or its Committees but they shall not be entitled to vote, if they are not the member of the House.

•    The Quorum required for each House of Parliament is 1/10th of the total membership of the concerned House. Quorum means the minimum number of members who should be present to hold the sitting of the House.