• As has been explained at the outset, our Constitution has adopted the Parliamentary system of Government which effects a harmonious blending of the legislative and executive organs of the State inasmuch as the executive power Is wielded by a group of members of the Legislature who command a majority in the popular Chamber of the Legislature and remain in power so long as they retain that majority. The functions of Parliament as the legislative organ follow from the above feature of the Parliamentary system:

    1. 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, membership of the Cabinet is not necessarily restricted to that Chamber and some of the members are usually taken from the upper Chamber.

    2. 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 Art. 75(3) of our Constitution.

    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.

    4. Criticism of the Cabinet : and of individual Ministers. In modem time both the executive and legislative policies are initiated by the cabinet and the Importance of the legislative function of Parliament has, to at extent, diminished from the historical point of view.

    5. 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.

    6. In this function, both the houses participate but the task of bringing in a no confidence motion is essentially of the lower house only.

    7. As an organ of information, Parliament is more powerful than the press or any other private agency. For Parliament secures the information authoritatively, from those in the know of things. This is done by debates and 'Questions' to ministers.

    8. The next function of the Legislature is that of making laws [Arts. 107-108;245] which belongs to the Legislature equally under the Presidential and Parliamentary forms of government.

    9. In India, since the inauguration of the Constitution the volume of legislation is steadily rising in order to carry out the manifold development and other measures necessary to establish a welfare State

    10. Parliament has the sole power not only to authorise expenditure for the public services and to specify the purposes to which that money shall be appropriated, but also to provide the ways and means to raise the revenue required, by means of taxes and other impositions and also to ensure that the money that was granted has been spent for the authorised purposes. Lower house has a dominant role here.

  • While the system of proportional representation was abandoned by the constitution, the system of proportional representation was partially adopted for the second chamber in parliament and state legislatures.

  • As regards the Council of States, proportional representation by single transferable vole has been adopted for the indirect election by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of each State, in order to give some representation to minority communities and parties

  • Similarly proportional representation has been proposed for election to the legislative council of a state by electorates consisting of municipalities, district boards, local authorities, graduates and teachers of three years standing resident in the state.

  • he reasons for not adopting proportional representation for the House of the PeopTe were thus explained In the Constituent Assembly-

    1. Proportional representation presupposes literacy on a large scale. It presupposes that every voter should be a literate, at least to the extent of being in a position to know the numerals and mark them on the ballot paper. Having regard to the position of literacy in this country at present, such a presumption would be extravagant

    2. Proportional representation is ill-suited to the Parliamentary system of government laid down by the Constitution. One or the disadvantages of proportional representation is the fragmentation of parliament into a number of small groups.

    3. Although the British Parliament appointed a Royal commission in 1910 to consider the advisability of introducing proportional representation and the Commission recommended It.

    4. Parliament did not eventually accept the recommendations of the Commissron on the ground that the proportional representation would not permit a stable Government.

    5. Parliament would be divided into small groups, and every time something would displease them these groups would split and the government would fall.

    6. What India needed during independence was a stable Govemment and, therefore, proportion representation in the lower House to which the Government would be responsible could not be accepted.

  • The President has power-{a) to summon either House, (b) to prorogue either House, and (c) to dissolve the House of the People

  • As regards summoning, the Constitution imposes a duty upon the President, namely, that he must summon each House at such intervals that six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session.

  • The net result of this provision Is that Parliament must meet at least twice a year and not more than six months shall elapse between the date on which a House is prorogued and the commencement of its next session.

  • It would, in this context, be useful to distinguish prorogation and dissolution from adjournment.

  • A 'session' Is the period of time between the first meeting of a Parliament, and its prorogation or dissolution.

  • The period between the prorogation of Parliament and its re-assembly in a new session is termed recess.

  • Within a session, there are a number of daily 'sittings' separated by adjournments which postpone the further consideration of business for a specified time - hours, days and weeks.

  • The sitting of a House may be terminated by (a) dissolution, (b) prorogation, or (c) adjournment.

  • As stated already, only the Lok sabha is subject to dissolution, Dissolution may take by efflux of time, ie., on the expiry of its term five years or terms as extended during a Proclamation of Emergency or by an exercise of the President's power under An. 85(2).

  • While the powers of dissolution and prorogation are exercised by the President on the advice of his Council of MInisters, the power to adjournment the daily sittings of the House of the People and the Council of States belongs to the Speaker and the Chairman, respectively.

  • A dissolution brings the House of the People to an end (so that there must be a fresh election), while prorogation merely terminates a session.

  • Adjournment does not put an end to the existence of a session of Parliament but merely postpones the further transaction of business for a specified time, hours, days or weeks.

  • A dissolution ends the very life of the existing House of the People so that all matters pending before the House lapse with the dissolution.

  • If these matters have to be pursued they must be re-introduced in the new house after re-election. All bills such as those which are introduced in the house and pending before the council of states or those that originated in the council and are pending before the house , motions, notices shall lapse.

  • But bills that were originated in council but not yet been passed by the house shall not lapse. A dissolution also doesnt affect the joint sitting if it was notified before the dissolution.

  • Though in England prorogation also wipes all business pending at the date of prorogation, in India, all Bills pending in Parliament are expressly saved by Art. 107(3). In the result, the only effect of a prorogation is that pending notices, motions and resolutions lapse, but Bills remain unaffected.

  • Adjournment has no such effect on pending business.


Parliament consists of:

  1. President
  2. Council of state [ Rajya Sabha or upper house]
  3. House of people [Lok Sabha or lower house]

Houses of Parliament

Rajya Sabha: 

It has a strength of maximum 250 out of which maximum 238 are members of states and UT’s elected indirectly and 12 are nominated by the president.

Representatives of states in the Rajya Sabha are elected by only the elected members of state legislative assemblies. Proportional representation is the system of election and seats are allocated on basis of population. For UT’s a special electoral college elects the representatives by indirect election. Proportional system of election is used.

Only Delhi and Puducherry have representation in the Rajya Sabha.

12 members to Rajya Sabha are nominated by president having special knowledge in field of arts, science, social service and literature.

The Council of States thus reflects a federal character by representing the Units of the federation. But It does not follow the American principle of equality in State representation In the Second Chamber. In India, the number of representatives of the States to the Council of States varies from 1 (Nagaland) to 31 (Uttar Pradesh).

Features of Rajya Sabha:

It is a permanent body and can’t be dissolved. Every two years one third of its members retire and at beginning of every third year their seats are filled by presidential nominations and re-elections.

A person can be re-elected and renominated any number of times.

The constitution has left to parliament to decide the term of office of a Rajya Sabha MP and the order of retirement of MP’s.

Special powers of the Rajya Sabha:

  1. It allows the parliament to make laws on matters in the state list.
  2. It allows parliament to create a new all India service common to centre and states.


Lok Sabha:

It can have maximum 550 elected and 2 nominated members. Out of which 530 are from states and 20 from UT’s. These are elected on universal adult franchise.

The voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 yrs by 61st amendment. Constitution has empowered parliament to decide how the representatives of UT can be chosen [election or otherwise].

But the parliament chose direct election. Lok Sabha automatically dissolves after 5 years from the date of its first sitting in normal circumstances.

Features of the Lok Sabha:

The constitution wants to ensure uniformity of representation between different states and within a state between different constituencies. After every census delimitation exercise id done to decide representation to each state and territorial constituencies in each state.

However the allocation of seats for states were frozen till the year 2026 [census: 1971] for encouraging population control measures. Currently 2001 census is used for delimitation but the numbers of seats of states aren’t altered. Only the numbers of SC and ST seats in a state are changed in accordance with the census.


Qualifications to become an MP:

1.      citizen of India

2.      not less than 30 yrs in case of Rajya Sabha and 25 yrs in case of Lok Sabha

3.      any other qualification as prescribed by parliament

4.      he must be registered as a voter in any parliamentary constituency

5.      He must be a member of SC/ST in any state or UT if he wishes to contest in reserved seats. However he can also contest from unreserved seats too.



1.      holds an office of profit under union or state government only [not local]

2.      unsound mind, undischarged insolvent and not a citizen of India

3.      been found guilty of electoral offences and corrupt practices in elections

4.      sentenced for more than 2 yrs imprisonment for a crime

5.      holds an office of profit in a company where govt holding is 25% and above

6.      has interest in government contracts, works

7.      Has been convicted of preaching social crimes like untouchability, dowry and sati.

8.      doesn’t lodge election expense on time

9.      has been convicted of promoting enmity between groups or bribery

10.  Has been dismissed from government service for disloyalty to state or corruption.

President decision on disqualification on these matters is final but he has to obtain advice of election commission on this matters.


Tenth Schedule – Anti defection 

The speaker of Lok Sabha or chairman of Rajya Sabha decides on matters of disqualification of MP’s if.

1.      he resigns from membership of party on whose ticket he contested elections

2.      he votes or abstains from voting contrary to directions given by party

3.      independently elected member joins any party

4.      nominated member joins any party after expiry of 6 months of the period on which he joined.



(a) If a member goes out of his party as a result of a merger of the party with another party. A merger takes place when two-thirds of the members of the party have agreed to such merger.

(b) If a member, after being elected as the presiding officer of the House,voluntarily gives up the Membership of his party or rejoins it after he ceases to hold that office. This exemption has been provided in view of the dignity and impartiality of this office.

Rules against double membership

Double membership isn’t allowed so if a person is elected to both houses he must tell which house he wants to serve otherwise his seat in RS becomes vacant.

If a member of one house is elected to second house his seat in first house becomes vacant. If a person is elected to two seats in the house he must resign from one or else his both seats become vacant.

A person if elected to parliament and state legislature then he must decide in 14 days where to serve else his seat in parliament is vacated.

An MP can resign in writing anytime to the chairman of RS or speaker of LS depending on his membership. Matters regarding election of disqualified persons to parliament are handled by the H.C.

A person is liable for a penalty of Rs.500 per day if he sits and votes in house proceeding without taking an oath.

Q. The main advantage of the parliamentary form of government is that (UPSC CSAT 2017)

  1. the executive and legislature work independently.

  2. it provides continuity of policy and is more efficient.

  3. the executive remains responsible to the legislature

  4. the head of the government cannot be changed without election

Ans . C

  1. It provides for collective responsibility of the executive to the legislature.

Q. Out of the following statements, choose the one that brings out the principle underlying the Cabinet form of Government: (UPSC CSAT 2017)

  1. An arrangement for minimizing the criticism against the Government whose responsibilities are complex and hard to carry out to the satisfaction of all.

  2. A mechanism for speeding up the activities of the Government whose responsibilities are increasing day by day.

  3. A mechanism of parliamentary democracy for ensuring collective responsibility of the Government to the people.

  4. A device for strengthening the hands of the head of the Government whose hold over the people is in a state of decline

Ans . C

  1. Collectively responsible to the parliament

Q. The Parliament of India exercises control over the functions of the Council of Ministers through
1. Adjournment motion
2. Question hour
3. Supplementary questions
Select the correct answer using the code given below: (UPSC CSAT 2017)

  1. 1 only

  2. 2 and 3 only

  3. 1 and 3 only

  4. 1, 2 and 3

Ans . D

  1. The Parliament exercises control over the ministers through various devices like question hour, discussions, adjournment motion, no confidence motion

Q.Which of the following statements is/are correct? 1. A Bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses on its prorogation. 2. A Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, which has not been passed by the Lok Sabha, shall not lapse on dissolution of the Lok Sabha. Select the correct answer using the code given below. (UPSC CSAT 2016)

  1. 1 only

  2. 2 only

  3. Both 1 and 2

  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans . B

  1. Prorogation doesn’t affect the bills of any other business pending before the house.A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha does not lapse

Q.The Parliament of India acquires the power to legislate on any item in the State List in the national interest if a resolution to that effect is passed by the (UPSC CSAT 2016)

  1. Lok Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership

  2. Lok Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its total membership

  3. Rajya Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership

  4. Rajya Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting

Ans . D

  1. When Rajya Sabha Passes a Resolution If the Rajya Sabha declares that it is necessary in the national interest that Parliament should make laws on a matter in the State List, then the Parliament becomes competent to make laws on that matter. Such a resolution must be supported by two-thirds of the members present and voting

Q.There is a Parliamentary System of Government in India because the (UPSC CSAT 2015)

  • Lok Sabha is elected directly by the people

  • Parliament can amend the constitution

  • Rajya Sabha cannot be dissolved

  • Council of Ministers is responsible to the Lok Sabha

Ans . D

  1. Option A points to a democratic system. It does not necessarily mean a Parliamentary Democratic system. For e.g. in USA the Congress is also elected, but it is a Presidential Democracy.

  2. Option D is correct because “Collective responsibility” of the council of ministers to the Lok Sabha (Article 75) lies at the heart of a Parliamentary democracy.


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