India Information >> Polity >> Legislature

The Parliament is the legislative arm of the Union. It is bicameral, consisting of two houses: the directly-elected 545-member Lok Sabha ("House of the People"), the lower house, and the 250-member indirectly-elected and appointed Rajya Sabha ("Council of States"), the upper house. All the members of the Council of Ministers as well as the Prime Minister are members of Parliament. If they are not, they must be elected within a period of six months from the time they assume their respective office. The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are responsible to the Lok Sabha, individually as well as collectively.

The Lok Sabha (also titled the House of the People, by the Constitution) is the directly elected lower house of the Parliament of India. So far, there have been fourteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India. Each Lok Sabha is formed for a five-year term, after which it is automatically dissolved, unless extended by a Proclamation of Emergency which may extend the term in one-year increments. Allbills to be made into law require the consent of both the houses of parliament. However, in case of money bills, the Lok Sabha is the supreme authority. Similarly, m against the government can only be introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha (meaning the "Council of States") is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are nominated by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature, science, and social services. The members of the Rajya Sabha from each state are elected by the members of the Legislature or the Legislative Assembly of that state by means of proportional representation through the Single Transferable Vote System. The representatives of the Union Territories are chosen in such manner as may be decided or prescribed by the Parliament from time to time. Terms of office are for six years, with one third of the members facing re-election every two years.The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous session and, unlike the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, is not subject to dissolution.

The functions of Parliament are not only varied in nature, but considerable in volume. The time at its disposal is limited. It cannot make very detailed scrutiny of all legislative and other matters that come up before it. A good deal of its business is, therefore, transacted in committees. Both Houses of Parliament have a similar committee structure, with a few exceptions. Their appointment, terms of office, functions and procedure of conducting business are also more or less similar, and are regulated under rules made by the two Houses under Article 118(1) of the Constitution. Broadly, parliamentary committees are of two kinds-standing committees and ad hoc committees. The former are elected or appointed every year or periodically and their work goes on, more or less, on a continuous basis. The latter are appointed on an ad hoc basis as need arises, and they cease to exist as soon as they complete the task assigned to them. 

More about the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha can be viewed respectively at 

In some states also, there are two legislative bodies - the legislative assembly and the legislative council. However, most states have unicameral legislature consisting only of a legislative assembly. For the Legislative assembly, direct elections are held and the majority political party forms the government in the state. Under the Constitution, Parliament has the power to make laws for the whole of or any part of the territory of India. The State Legislatures have the power to make laws for the States. The subjects on which legislation can be enacted are specified in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. Parliament has the exclusive right to legislate in respect of items appearing in List I, called the "Union List". This list includes areas such as defence, foreign affairs, currency, income tax, excise duty, railways, shipping, posts and telegraphs, etc. State Legislatures have the exclusive power to make laws in relation to items appearing in List II called the "State List". This includes items like public order, police, public health, communications, agriculture, lotteries, taxes on entertainment and wealth, sales tax, octroi etc. Both Parliament and the State Legislatures have the power to legislate in items appearing in List III of the Constitution which is known as "Concurrent List". This list includes items like electricity, newspapers, criminal law, marriage and divorce, stamp duties, trade unions, price controls etc.

Details of state legislative bodies can be found in

http://goidirectory.nic.in/legislature_subcategory.php?ct=L004

ArrowTop