No. of MPs in Fifteenth Lok Sabha
544 (as on 21.12.2009)
No. of MPs in each party
List enclosed (Annexure I)
No. of male MPs
No. of woman MPs
Das, Shri Ram Sundar – 88 (9.1.1921)
Sayeed, Shri Hamdullah – 27 (11.4.1982)
About Lok Sabha and its History
Question 7. When was the Lok Sabha (the House of the People) first constituted?
Answer. The Lok Sabha (House of the People) was duly constituted for the first time on 17 April 1952 after the first General Elections held from 25 October 1951 to 21 February 1952.
Question 8. When was the first Session of the Lok Sabha held?
Answer. The first Session of the First Lok Sabha commenced on 13 May 1952.
Question 9. Why is the Lok Sabha called the popular chamber?
Answer. The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage. That is why it is called the popular chamber.
Question 10. How many General Elections to the Lok Sabha have been held till date?
Answer. As many as fifteen General Elections to the Lok Sabha have been held till date. The first General Elections were held from 25 October 1951 to 21 February 1952; the second from 24 February to 14 March 1957; the third from 19 to 25 February 1962; the fourth from 17 to 21 February 1967; the fifth from 1 to 10 March 1971; the sixth from 16 to 20 March 1977; the seventh from 3 to 6 January 1980; the eighth from 24 to 28 December 1984; the ninth from 22 to 26 November 1989; the tenth from 20 May to 15 June 1991; the eleventh from 27 April to 30 May 1996; the twelfth from 16 to 23 February 1998; the thirteenth from 5 September to 6 October 1999; the fourteenth from 20 April to 10 May 2004; and the fifteenth General Elections from 16 April to 13 May 2009.
Question 11.Who was the first Speaker of Lok Sabha?
Answer. Shri G.V. Mavalankar was the first Speaker of Lok Sabha (15 May 1952- 27 February 1956).
Question 12.Who was the first Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha?
Answer. Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar was the first Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha (30 May 1952-7 March 1956).
Questions on the Composition of Lok Sabha
Question 13.What is the strength of the Lok Sabha as prescribed in the Constitution?
Answer. The Lok Sabha, as per the Constitution, consists of not more than five hundred and thirty members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the States, not more than twenty members to represent the Union Territories [Article 81] and not more than two members of the Anglo-Indian Community to be nominated by the President, if he/she is of the opinion that the Anglo-Indian Community is not adequately represented in the Lok Sabha [Article 331]. The limit on the maximum number of members chosen directly from territorial constituencies in States may be exceeded if such an increase is incidental to the reorganisation of States by an Act of Parliament.
Question 14.What is the life of the Lok Sabha?
Answer. Unless sooner dissolved by the President, the Lok Sabha continues for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer, as the expiration of the period of five years operates as a dissolution of the House. However, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not exceeding in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate.
Question 15. What is the quorum to constitute a sitting of the Lok Sabha?
Answer. The quorum to constitute a sitting of the House is one-tenth of the total number of members of the House under article 100(3) of the Constitution.
Question 16. Which is the party having the largest number of members in the Fifteenth Lok Sabha?
Answer. The Indian National Congress is the party having the largest number of members (206) in the Fifteenth Lok Sabha followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (116). (as on 21.12.2009)
Questions on the Officers of Lok Sabha
Question 17. Who is the Presiding Officer of the Lok Sabha?
Answer. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are the Presiding Officers of the Lok Sabha.
Question 18. What is the term of Office of the Speaker?
Answer. The Speaker holds office from the date of his/her election till the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after the dissolution of the one to which he/she was elected.
Question 19. Who presides over the Lok Sabha when the Speaker is absent from the sitting of the House?
Answer. The Deputy Speaker presides over the Lok Sabha when the Speaker is absent from the sitting of the House.
Question 20. Who presides over the Lok Sabha when both the Speaker's and the Deputy Speaker's offices fall vacant?
Answer. When the Offices of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker fall vacant, the duties of the Office of the Speaker are performed by such member of the Lok Sabha as the President may appoint for the purpose. The person so appointed is known as the Speaker pro tem.
Question 21. Who presides over the House in the absence of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker?
Answer. The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha provide that at the commencement of the House or from time to time, as the case may be, the Speaker shall nominate from amongst the members a Panel of not more than ten Chairmen, any one of whom may preside over the House in the absence of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker when so requested by the Speaker or, in his/her absence, by the Deputy Speaker. A Chairman so nominated, holds office until a new Panel of Chairmen is nominated, unless he/she resigns earlier from the Panel or is appointed a Minister or elected as Deputy Speaker. Generally, a Chairman from the Panel holds Office for one year but the same person may be renominated from time to time.
Question 22. Who is the present Speaker of the Lok Sabha?
Answer. Smt. Meira Kumar.
Question 23. Who is the present Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha?
Answer Shri Kariya Munda.
Question 24. Who is the Leader of the House in the Fifteenth Lok Sabha?
Answer. Shri Pranab Mukherjee.
Question 25. Who is the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha?
Answer. Smt. Sushma Swaraj.
Question 26. Who is the Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha?
Answer. Shri T. K. Viswanathan.
Questions on members of Lok Sabha
Question 27. How are the members of the Lok Sabha elected?
Answer. The members of the Lok Sabha are elected through General Elections, held on the basis of universal adult suffrage. Parliament, from time to time, by law makes provision with respect to all matters relating to, or in connection with, elections to the Lok Sabha, including the preparation of electoral rolls, the delimitation of constituencies and all other matters necessary for securing the due constitution of the Lok Sabha. When the seat of a member elected to the House becomes vacant or is declared vacant, or his/her election is declared void, the same is filled through bye-election.
Question 28.What are the qualifications to become a member of the Lok Sabha?
Answer. To become a member of the Lok Sabha, a person should be a citizen of India, not less than 25 years of age and possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament [Art. 84]
Question 29. Who are the nominated members of the Fifteenth Lok Sabha?
Answer. In the Fifteenth Lok Sabha, two members, i.e. Smt. Ingrid Mcleod and Shri Charles Dias are the nominated members.
Question 30. Who is the longest serving member in the Fifteenth Lok Sabha?
Answer. Shri Basudeb Acharia and Shri Manikrao Hodlya Gavit are the longest serving members in the Lok Sabha.
Question 31. Which member of the Lok Sabha has become the Speaker of the House in his very first term?
Answer. The members of the Lok Sabha who became the Speaker of the House in their first term itself are:
Name of the Speaker
Shri Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar
15.5.1952 to 27.2.1956
Shri M.Ananthasayanam Ayyangar
8.3.1956 to 10.5.1957
Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
17.3.1967 to 19.7.1969
Dr. Gurdial Singh Dhillon
8.8.1969 to 19.3.1971
Shri Kawdoor Sadananda Hegde
21.7.1977 to 21.1.1980
Dr. Bal Ram Jakhar
22.1.1980 to 15.1.1985
Shri Manohar Joshi
* Shri M.A. Ayyangar became the Speaker in the first Lok Sabha due to the sudden demise of the then Speaker, Shri G.V. Mavalankar
** Following the resignation of the then Speaker Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy to contest the Presidential elections, Dr.G.S. Dhillon was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha on 8 August 1969.
Questions on Role and Functions of Lok Sabha
Question 32. What are the powers of Lok Sabha relating to Money Bills?
Answer. A Bill is deemed to be a 'Money Bill' if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters: (a) the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax; (b) the regulation of the borrowing of money or giving of any guarantee by the Government of India, or the amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of India; (c) the custody of the Consolidated Fund or the Contingency Fund of India, the payment of moneys into or the withdrawal of moneys from any such Fund; (d) the appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India; (e) the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure; (f) 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; or (g) any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f) [Art.110].
A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments in a Money Bill passed by the Lok Sabha and transmitted to it. It can, however, recommend amendments in a Money Bill. It is open to the Lok Sabha to accept or reject any or all of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha with regard to a Money Bill. If the Lok Sabha accepts any of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses with amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha and accepted by the Lok Sabha and if the Lok Sabha does not accept any of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses in the form in which it was passed by the Lok Sabha without any of the amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha. If a Money Bill passed by the Lok Sabha and transmitted to the Rajya Sabha is not returned to the Lok Sabha within the said period of fourteen days, it is deemed to have been passed by both Houses at the expiration of the said period in the form in which it was passed by the Lok Sabha.
Question 33.What is the legislative relationship between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha?
Answer. In legislative matters, both the Houses enjoy almost equal powers except in the case of Money Bills. The main function of both the Houses is to pass laws. Every Bill has to be passed by both the Houses and assented to by the President before it becomes law. In case of Money Bills, the Lok Sabha has overriding powers.
Question 34. Is any deadlock between the two Houses possible?
Answer. Yes. In the case of Bills other than Money Bills and Constitution Amendment Bills, a disagreement between the two Houses may arise when a Bill passed by one House is rejected by the other House; or the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the Bill; or more than six months have elapsed from the date of receipt of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it.
Question 35. What is the mechanism for resolving such a deadlock between the two Houses?
Answer. A joint sitting of both Houses is convened by the President for this purpose. [Article 108]
Question 36. How many joint sittings of the Houses have been convened so far?
Answer. So far, joint sittings of the two Houses have taken place on three occasions. The first joint sitting was held on 6 May 1961 following a disagreement between the two Houses over certain amendments to the Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1959. This was followed by another sitting on 9 May 1961 when the Bill, as amended, was finally passed. The second joint sitting was held on 16 May 1978, following the rejection by the Rajya Sabha of the Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977 and the Bill was passed. The third joint sitting was held on 26 March 2002 when the motion to consider the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002, seeking to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) as passed by the Lok Sabha was rejected by the Rajya Sabha. At this sitting held for the purpose of deliberating and voting on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002, the Bill was passed.
Question 37. Who presides over the joint sitting of the two Houses?
Answer. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over the joint sitting of the two Houses. [Article 118(4)]
Question 38. Does the Speaker have the right to vote?
Answer. The Speaker has a casting vote in the event of a tie. It is customary for the Presiding Officer to exercise the casting vote in such a manner as to maintain the status quo.
Question 39. How many Sessions of the Lok Sabha are held in a year?
Answer. Normally three Sessions of the Lok Sabha are held in a year, viz.,
· Budget Session - February - May
· Autumn or Monsoon Session - July - August
· Winter Session - November - December
Question 40.What is meant by Adjournment, Prorogation and Dissolution of the Lok Sabha?
Answer. ‘Adjournment’ is a postponement of the sitting or proceedings of the House from one time to another specified for the reassembling of the House. During the course of a Session, the Lok Sabha may be adjourned from day to day or for more than a day. It may also be adjourned sine die which means the termination of a sitting of the House without any definite date being fixed for its next sitting.
‘Prorogation’ means the termination of a Session of the House by an order made by the President under article 85(2)(a) of the Constitution. The Prorogation of the House may take place any time, even while the House is sitting. However, usually, prorogation follows the adjournment of the sitting of the House sine die.
‘Dissolution’ of the House means the end of the life of the Lok Sabha either by an order made by the President under article 85 (2) (b) of the Constitution or on the expiration of the period of five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. Dissolution puts an end to the representative character of the individuals who at the time compose the Lok Sabha.
On adjournment of the Lok Sabha or its adjournment sine die, the pending business does not lapse. Bills pending before either House or Select/Joint Committee, Motions, Resolutions, and amendments which have already been moved and pending in the House, and business pending before a Parliamentary Committee do not lapse on prorogation whereas all business pending before the House or any of its Committee lapse on dissolution. Prorogation terminates a Session and does not constitute an interruption in the continuity of life of the Lok Sabha which is brought to an end only by dissolution.
Question 41. What are the methods of voting in the Lok Sabha?
Answer. The procedure regarding Voting and Divisions in the House is governed by article 100(1) of the Constitution and Rules 367, 367A, 367AA and 367B of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. The various methods adopted for voting in the Lok Sabha are:
(i) Voice Vote: It is a simple method for deciding a question put by the Chair on a motion made by a member. Under this method, the question before the House is determined by the `Ayes' or the `Noes', as the case may be.
(ii) Division: There are three methods of holding a Division, i.e. (a) by operating the Automatic Vote Recording Equipment; (b) by distributing `Ayes' and `Noes' slips in the House; and (c) by members going into the Lobbies. The Speaker directs the members for ‘Ayes’ to go to the right Lobby and those for ‘Noes’ to the left Lobby where their votes are recorded. However, the method of recording of votes in the Lobbies has become obsolete ever since the installation of the Automatic Vote Recording Machine.
(iii) Secret Ballot: During an 'open' voting period, the individual results are shown by the three characters 'A', 'N' and 'O' on the Individual Result Display Panel. Secret voting, if any, is on similar lines except that the Light Emitting Diode (LED) on the Individual Result Display Panel shows ‘P’ sign in amber light to show that the vote has been recorded.
(iv) Recording of votes by distribution of slips: The method of recording of votes by members on `Aye' and `No' slips is generally resorted to in the eventuality of (i) sudden failure of the working of the Automatic Vote Recording Equipment; and (ii) at the commencement of the new Lok Sabha, before the seats/division numbers have been allotted to members.
(v) Physical count of Members in their places instead of a formal division: If in the opinion of the Chair, a Division is unnecessarily claimed, he/she may ask the members who are for `Aye' and those for `No', respectively, to rise in their places and on a count being taken, he/she may declare the determination of the House. In such a case, the particulars of voting of the members are not recorded.
(vi) Casting Vote: If in a Division the number of `Ayes' and `Noes' is equal, the question is decided by the casting vote of the Chair. Under the Constitution, the Speaker or the person acting as such cannot vote in a Division; he/she has only a casting vote which he/she must exercise in the case of equality of votes.
Question 42. What is meant by the Question Hour?
Answer. Generally, the first hour of every sitting of the House, devoted to asking and answering questions, is called the `Question Hour'.
Question 43. What are the various types of Questions?
Answer. There are Starred Questions, Unstarred Questions, Short Notice Questions and Questions to Private Members. A Starred Question is one to which a member desires an oral answer in the House, which is distinguished by an asterik. To a starred question, members can put supplementaries, answers to which are given by the Minister on the floor of the House.
Unstarred Question is one to which a written answer is desired by the member and is deemed to be laid on the Table of the House by the Minister.
A Short Notice Question is a question relating to a matter of public importance asked for oral answer by a member with notice shorter than ten clear days. If the Speaker is of the opinion that the question is of an urgent nature, the Minister concerned is asked if he/she is in a position to reply to the question at a shorter notice, and if so, on which date. If the Minister concerned agrees to reply, such a question is answered on a day to be indicated by him/her immediately after the questions which appeared on the list of questions for oral answer are disposed of.
A question may also be addressed to a Private Member provided the subject matter of the question relates to some Bill, Resolution or other matter connected with the business of the House for which that member is responsible. The procedure in regard to such questions is the same as that followed in the case of questions addressed to a Minister with such variations as the Speaker may consider necessary or convenient. Supplementary questions are not generally permitted on such questions. On being asked, clarifications may, however, be permitted.
Question 44. What is the maximum number of Questions admitted for a particular day?
Answer. The maximum number of Questions to be placed on the list of Questions for oral answers (Starred Question) on a particular day is 20, while the maximum number of questions to be placed on the list of Unstarred Question is 230. However, the number may exceed by a maximum of 25 Questions pertaining to State/States under President’s Rule.
Question 45. Is there any restriction regarding the number of notices that each member may give with regard to Questions?
Answer. Under the Rules, there is no restriction on the number of notices of Starred and Unstarred Questions which a member can give. But not more than five admitted questions, both Starred and Unstarred combined, by one member are placed on the list of questions for any one day. Out of these 5 questions, not more than one question distinguished by the member with asterisk* as Starred is placed on the list of questions for oral answer. This limit of one question for oral answer does not include any short notice question of the member which may have been admitted for answer on that day. Also, a member can have more than one Starred question in the list if another question from any other day is transferred to the list on transfer or postponement.
Question 46. Who decides the admissibility of Questions?
Answer. Admissibility of questions is governed by Rules, Directions by the Speaker as also precedents. The Speaker, Lok Sabha, decides whether a question or a part thereof, is or is not admissible under the Rules. He/she may disallow any question, or a part thereof, when in his/her opinion, it is an abuse of the right of questioning or is calculated to obstruct or prejudicially affect the procedure of the House or is in contravention of the Rules. The right to ask a question is governed by certain conditions like it should be pointed, specific and confined to one issue only. It should not contain arguments, inferences, ironical expressions, imputations, epithets or defamatory statements.
Question 47. How many types of Committees are there in the Lok Sabha?
Answer By nature, Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds: Ad hoc Committees and Standing Committees.
Ad hoc Committees are constituted by the House or by the Presiding Officers, singly or jointly, for a specific purpose and cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report. The usual Ad hoc committees are the Select/Joint Committees on Bills and others like the Railway Convention Committee, set up to review the rate of dividend payable by Railways to the General Revenues, and those constituted to enquire into and report on specific subjects.
Standing Committees are those Committees which are either elected by the House or nominated by the Presiding Officer(s) (i.e., the Speaker in the case of the Lok Sabha and the Chairman in the case of the Rajya Sabha) periodically and are permanent in nature. The Standing Committees of the Lok Sabha are: the Business Advisory Committee, Committee of Privileges, Committee on Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House, Committee on Government Assurances, Committee on Papers Laid on the Table, Petitions Committee, Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions, Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Estimates Committee, General Purposes Committee, House Committee, and Rules Committee.
Some of the Standing Committees of Lok Sabha are Joint Committees as members of both the Houses of Parliament are nominated/elected to them. Such Committees include: Committee on Empowerment of Women, Committee on Public Undertakings, Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Joint Committee on Offices of Profit, Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament, Library Committee, and Public Accounts Committee.
Besides, there are Departmentally related Standing Committees (DRSCs).
Question 48.What are Departmentally-related Standing Committee (DRSCs)?
Answer. The DRSC System, introduced in April 1993, brings all the Ministries /Departments of the Government of India under their purview.
There are 24 such Committees, each consisting of not more than 31 members, out of which 21 members are nominated by the Speaker, Lok Sabha, and 10 members are nominated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha. Of the 24 DRSCs, 16 Committees function under the administrative control of the Speaker, Lok Sabha, and 8 Committees under the administrative control of the Chairman, Rajya Sabha.
Question 49.What are the functions of the DRSCs?
Answer. With reference to the Ministries/Departments under their purview, the functions of the Departmentally Related Standing Committees are: (a) consideration of Demands for Grants; (b) examination of Bills referred to them by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, or the Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be; (c) consideration of Annual Reports; and (d) consideration of national, basic, long-term policy documents presented to the House and referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, or the Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be. These Committees do not generally consider matters related to the day-to-day administration of the Ministries/Departments concerned and matters which are under consideration by other Parliamentary Committees.
Question 50.Which are the Departmentally related Standing Committees attached to the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha?
Answer. The sixteen Departmentally related Standing Committees functioning under the administrative control of the Speaker, Lok Sabha, are: Committee on Agriculture; Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers; Committee on Coal and Steel; Committee on Defence; Committee on Energy; Committee on External Affairs; Committee on Finance; Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution; Committee on Information Technology; Committee on Labour; Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas; Committee on Railways; Committee on Rural Development; Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment; Committee on Urban Development; and Committee on Water Resources.
The eight DRSCs functioning under the administrative control of the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, are: Committee on Commerce; Committee on Health & Family Welfare; Committee on Home Affairs; Committee on Human Resource Development; Committee on Industry; Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law & Justice; Committee on Science & Technology, and Environment & Forests; and Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture.
Question 51. What are Parliamentary Forums and what are their objectives?
Answer. Parliamentary Forums have been constituted with the objective of equipping members with information and knowledge on specific issues of national concern and in assisting them to adopt a result-oriented approach towards related issues. These Forums provide an opportunity to members to come together and discuss a particular issue and its wider ramifications.
Question 52. How many Parliamentary Forums have been constituted so far?
Answer. The first Parliamentary Forum – on Water Conservation and Management – was constituted by the Speaker, Lok Sabha, on 12 August 2005. Subsequently, four more Parliamentary Forums were constituted, namely the Parliamentary Forum on Youth, which has four sub-Forums, viz. on Sports and Youth Development, on Health, on Education, and on Employment; Parliamentary Forum on Children; Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health; and Parliamentary Forum on Global Warming and Climate Change.
Question 53. What is the structure of the Parliamentary Forums?
Answer. Each Parliamentary Forum consists of not more than 31 members, excluding the Speaker of Lok Sabha, who is the ex officio President, and the Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, the Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, the Ministers-in-charge of the Ministries concerned with the subject and the Chairman of the Departmentally Related Standing Committee concerned who are the ex officio Vice-Presidents. Each Forum has 21 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 members from the Rajya Sabha.
Questions relating to Legislation
Question 54. What is a Bill?
Answer. A Bill is the draft of a legislative proposal brought before the House for its approval.
Question 55. What are the different types of Bills?
Answer. Bills initiated by Ministers are called Government Bills and those introduced by members who are not Ministers are known as Private Members' Bills. Depending on their contents, Bills may further be classified broadly into (a) Original Bills (Bills embodying new proposals, ideas or policies); (b) Amending Bills (Bills which seek to modify, amend or revise the existing Acts); (c) Consolidating Bills (Bills which seek to consolidate existing laws on a particular subject; (d) Expiring Laws (Continuance) Bills (Bills to continue an expiring Act); (e) Repealing Bills (Bills seeking to repeal existing Acts); (f) Bills to replace Ordinances; (g) Constitution (Amendment) Bills; and (h) Money and Financial Bills.
Question 56. Who decides whether a Bill is an ordinary Bill or a Money Bill?
Answer. In case any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker, Lok Sabha, thereon, is final. When a Bill is held by the Speaker to be a Money Bill, he/she endorses a certificate thereon signed by him/her to that effect that it is a Money Bill before the bill is sent to the Rajya Sabha or presented to the President for assent.
Question 57. What is the difference between a Bill and an Act?
Answer A Bill is a draft legislative proposal before the House. It becomes an Act only when passed by both the Houses of Parliament and assented to by the President.
Question 58. What are the various steps involved in the passage of a Bill?
Answer. A Bill while being considered has to undergo three stages in each House of Parliament. The first stage consists of the introduction of the Bill which is done on a motion moved by either a Minister or a member.
During the second stage, any of the following motions can be moved: that the Bill be taken into consideration; that it be referred to a Select Committee of the House; that it be referred to a Joint Committee of the two Houses; or that it be circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon. Thereafter, the Bill is taken up for clause-by-clause consideration as introduced or as reported by the Select/Joint Committee.
The third stage is confined to the discussion on the motion that the Bill be passed and the Bill is passed/rejected either by voting or voice vote (or returned to the Lok Sabha by the Rajya Sabha in the case of a Money Bill).
Question 59. What is Budget?
Answer. Budget is the `Annual Financial Statement' or the Statement of the Estimated Receipts and Expenditure of the Government of India in respect of each financial year, presented to the Lok Sabha on such day as the President may direct. A copy of the Budget is laid in the Rajya Sabha soon after its presentation in the Lok Sabha. The preparation and presentation of the Budget for the approval of the Legislature is a constitutional obligation on the part of the Government, both at the Centre and in the States.
Question 60. When is the Budget Session of Parliament held?
Answer. The Budget Session of Parliament is normally held during February to May of the year. During this period, the Budget comes before the Parliament for its deliberation, voting and approval; the Departmentally related Standing Committees consider the Demands for Grants of Ministries/Departments and report on the same to the Houses of Parliament.
Question 61. Who presents the Budget in the House?
Answer. Two types of Budgets are usually presented in the House namely, the General Budget and the Railway Budget. The General Budget is presented by the Minister of Finance and the Railway Budget by the Minister of Railways.
Procedural Devices for raising matters of public interest
Question 62. What is a Calling Attention ?
Answer. Under this procedural device, a member may, with the prior permission of the Speaker, call the attention of a Minister to any matter of urgent public importance and the Minister may make a brief statement or ask for time to make a statement later. There can be no debate on such a statement at the time it is made. But, brief clarifications can be sought from the Minister by the member who has initiated the Calling Attention and other members who are called by the Speaker. Only those matters which are primarily the concern of the Union Government can be raised through a Calling Attention notice. The Calling Attention procedure is an Indian innovation which combines asking a question with supplementaries and making brief comments; the Government also gets adequate opportunity to state its case. The Calling Attention matter is not subject to the vote of the House.
Question 63. What is a Motion?
Answer. The term `motion' in parliamentary parlance means any formal proposal made to the House by a member for the purpose of eliciting a decision of the House. It is phrased in such a way that, if adopted, it will purport to express the judgement or will of the House. Any matter of importance can be the subject matter of a motion. The mover of a motion frames it in a form in which he/she wishes it ultimately to be passed by the House and on which a vote of the House can conveniently be taken.
Question 64. What are the different types of Motion?
Answer. Motions may be classified into three broad categories, namely, substantive motions, substitute motions and subsidiary motions.
A substantive motion is a self-contained, independent proposal made in reference to a subject which the mover wishes to bring forward. All Resolutions, Motions for election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, and Motion of Thanks on the Address by the President, etc. are examples of substantive motions.
A substitute motion, as its name suggests, is moved in substitution of the original motion for taking into consideration a policy or situation or statement or any other matter. Amendments to substitute motions are not permissible.
Subsidiary motions depend upon or relate to other motions or follow up on some proceedings in the House. By itself, it has no meaning and is not capable of stating the decision of the House without reference to the original motion or the proceedings of the House.
Question 65. What is an Adjournment Motion?
Answer. Adjournment Motion is the procedure for adjournment of the business of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, which can be moved with the consent of the Speaker. The Adjournment Motion, if admitted, leads to setting aside of the normal business of the House for discussing the matter mentioned in the motion. To be in order, an adjournment motion must raise a matter of sufficient public importance to warrant interruption of normal business of the House and the question of public importance is decided on merit in each individual case. The purpose of an Adjournment Motion is to take the Government to task for a recent act of omission or commission having serious consequences. Its adoption is regarded as a sort of censure of the Government.
Question 66. What is a Motion of No-confidence?
Answer. The Government must always enjoy majority support in the popular House to remain in power. If need be, it has to demonstrate its strength on the floor of the House by moving a Motion of Confidence and winning the confidence of the House. In view of the express constitutional provision regarding collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers to the Lok Sabha, a motion expressing want of confidence in an individual Minister is out of order; under the Rules, only a motion expressing want of confidence in the Council of Ministers as a body is admissible. Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha lays down the procedure for moving a Motion of No-Confidence in the Council of Ministers. The usual format of such a motion is that "this House expresses its want of confidence in the Council of Ministers". A Motion of No-confidence need not set out any grounds on which it is based. Even when grounds are mentioned in the notice and read out in the House, they do not form part of the No-confidence Motion.
Question 67. What is a No-Day-Yet-Named Motion?
Answer If the Speaker admits notice of a motion and no date is fixed for its discussion, it is called a ‘No-Day-yet-Named Motion’ and a copy of the admitted motion is forwarded to the Minister concerned with the subject matter of the motion.
Admitted notices of such motions may be placed before the Business Advisory Committee for selecting the motions for discussion in the House according to the urgency and importance of the subject-matter thereof, and allotting time for the same.
Question 68. What is a Half-an-Hour Discussion?
Answer. The procedure regarding Half-an-hour discussion is regulated by Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and Direction 19 of the Directions by the Speaker. Under this, a member may give notice to raise a discussion on a matter of sufficient public importance which has been the subject of a recent question, Starred, Unstarred or Short Notice Question, and the answer to which needs further elucidation on a matter of fact. A notice is also required to be accompanied by an explanatory note stating the reasons for raising discussion and should also be signed. Only one notice of Half-an-hour discussion is put down for a sitting and no formal motion is moved in the House nor does voting take place. The member who has given notice makes a short statement and the members who have previously intimated the Speaker and have secured one of the four places in the ballot are permitted to put a question each for the purpose of further elucidating any matter of fact. Thereafter, the Minister concerned replies briefly. Half-an-hour discussions are held on such days as may be recommended by the Business Advisory Committee and approved by the House.
Question 69. What is meant by “Discussion under Rule 193”?
Answer. Discussion under Rule 193 does not involve a formal motion before the House. Hence no voting can take place after discussion on matters under this rule. The member who gives notice may make a short statement and such of the members as have previously intimated to the Speaker, may be permitted to take part in the discussion. The member who raises the discussion has no right of reply. At the end of the discussion, the Minister concerned gives a brief reply.
Question 70. What is a Short Duration Discussion?
Answer. In order to provide opportunities to members to discuss matters of urgent public importance, a convention was established in March 1953 which was incorporated later into the Rules of Procedure and conduct of Business in Lok Sabha under Rule 193 as Short Duration Discussion. Under this Rule, members can raise discussion for short durations without a formal motion or vote thereon.
Question 71. What is meant by matters under Rule 377?
Matters, which are not points of order can be raised by way of Special Mentions under Rule 377. This procedural device, framed in 1954, provides opportunity to the members to raise matters of general public interest. At present, the number of matters that can be raised by members under Rule 377 on a single day is 20.
Question 72. What is ‘Zero Hour’?
Answer. The time immediately following the Question Hour and laying of papers and before any listed business is taken up in the House has come to be popularly known as the `Zero Hour'. As it starts around 12 noon, this period is euphemistically termed as `Zero Hour'. For raising matters during the so-called ‘Zero Hour’ in Lok Sabha, members give notice before 10 a.m. everyday to the Speaker stating clearly the subject which they consider to be important and wish to raise in the House. It is, of course, for the Speaker to allow or not allow raising of such matters in the House. The term `Zero Hour' is not formally recognised in our parliamentary procedure.
Question 73. How many matters are allowed to be raised under ‘Zero Hour’?
Answer. At present, twenty matters per day as per their priority in the ballot are allowed to be raised during ‘Zero Hour’. The order in which the matters will be raised is decided by the Speaker at his/her discretion. In the first phase, 5 matters of urgent national and international importance, as decided by the Chair, are taken up after Question Hour and laying of papers, etc. In the second phase, the remaining admitted matters of urgent public importance are taken up after 6.00 P.M. or at the end of the regular business of the House.
Question 74. What is a Resolution?
Answer A Resolution is a formal expression of the sense, will or action of the Legislative Body. Resolutions may be broadly divided into three categories:
· Resolutions which are expression of opinion by the House – since the purpose of such a Resolution is merely to obtain an expression of opinion of the House, the Government is not bound to give effect to the opinions expressed in these Resolutions.
· Resolutions which have statutory effect – the notice of a Statutory Resolution is given in pursuance of a provision in the Constitution or an Act of Parliament. Such a Resolution, if adopted, is binding on the Government and has the force of law.
· Resolutions which the House passes in the matter of control over its own proceedings. It has the force of law and its validity cannot be challenged in any court of law. The House, by such a Resolution, evolves, sometimes, its own procedure to meet a situation not specifically provided for in the Rules.
Question 75. What is a Point of Order?
Answer: A Point of Order relates to the interpretation or enforcement of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the House or convention or such articles of the Constitution as regulate the business of the House and raises a question which is within the cognizance of the Speaker.
A Point of Order may be raised only in relation to the business before the House at the moment, provided that the Speaker may permit a member to raise a Point of Order during the interval between the termination of one item of business and the commencement of another if it relates to maintenance of order in, or arrangement of business before, the House. A member may formulate a Point of Order and the Speaker shall decide whether the point raised is a Point of Order and if so give his/her decision thereon, which is final.
Question 76. Does the Speaker have the power to adjourn the House or suspend the sitting?
Answer: Under Rule 375, in the case of a grave disorder arising in the House, the Speaker may, if he/she thinks it necessary to do so, adjourn the House or suspend any sitting for a time to be named by him/her.
Question 77. When does the President address the Parliament?
Answer. The Constitution provides for an Address by the President to either House or both Houses assembled together [Article 86(1)]. The Constitution also makes incumbent upon the President to address both Houses of Parliament assembled together at the commencement of the first Session after each General Election to the Lok Sabha and at the commencement of the first Session each year and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons. [Article 87(1)]. The matters referred to in the Address by the President to the Houses are discussed on a Motion of Thanks moved by a member and seconded by another member.
Question 78. Can members raise questions on the Address by the President?
Answer. No member can raise questions on the Address by the President. Any action on the part of a member which mars the occasion or creates disturbance is punishable by the House to which that member belongs. Discussion on matters referred to in the Address takes place on a Motion of Thanks moved by a member and seconded by another member. The scope of discussion on the Address is very wide and the functioning of the entire administration is open for discussion; the limitations inter alia are that members should not refer to matters which are not the direct responsibility of the Government of India, and the name of the President should not be brought in during the debate since the Government, and not the President, is responsible for the contents of the Address.
Parliamentary Privileges/Immunities, Salaries and Emoluments
Question 79. What are parliamentary privileges?
Answer The term `parliamentary privilege' refers to certain rights and immunities enjoyed by each House of Parliament and Committees of each House collectively, and by members of each House individually, without which they cannot discharge their functions efficiently and effectively. The object of parliamentary privileges is to safeguard the freedom, the authority and the dignity of Parliament. The powers, privileges and immunities of either House of Parliament and of its Committees and members have been laid down in article 105 of the Constitution. The House has the power to punish any person who commits a contempt of the House or a breach of any of its privileges.
Question 80. Are the parliamentary privileges codified in India?
Answer. No law has so far been enacted by Parliament in pursuance of article 105(3) of the Constitution to define the powers, privileges and immunities available to each House and its members and the Committees thereof. In the absence of any such law, the powers, privileges and immunities of the Houses of Parliament, and of the members and the Committees thereof, shall be those of that House and of its members and Committees immediately before the coming into force of section 15 of the Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978.
Question 81. What is the difference between breach of privilege and contempt of the House?
Answer. When any of the privileges, either of the members individually or of the House in its collective capacity, is disregarded or attacked by any individual or authority, the offence is called a `breach of privilege'.
Contempt of the House may be defined generally as any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any member or officers of such House in the discharge of his or her duty, or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results even though there is no precedent of the offence. Whereas all breaches of privilege are contempts of the House whose privileges are violated, a person may be guilty of a contempt of the House even though he does not violate any of the privilege of the House, e.g. when he disobeys an order to attend a Committee or publishes reflections on the character or conduct of a member in his capacity as a member.
Question 82. What is the procedure for addressing a question of privilege?
Answer. A question of privilege may either be considered and decided by the House itself or it may be referred to the Committee of Privileges for examination, investigation and report.
Question 83. What is the rule relating to 'Automatic Suspension' of a member?
Answer. Rule 374A of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha provides that in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the rules of the House persistently and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the Session, whichever is less.
Question 84. What is the MPLAD Scheme?
Answer. The Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) was introduced in December 1993. Under this Scheme, a member of Lok Sabha has the choice to suggest to the Head of the District, developmental works to the tune of Rs. two crore per year, to be taken up in his/her constituency.
Question 85. What is the current salary of a member?
Answer. At present, a member of Parliament is entitled to Rs. 16,000/- per month as salary, Rs. 20,000/- per month as Constituency Allowance, Rs.20,000/- per month as Office Expenses which include Rs. 4,000/- for stationary, Rs. 2000/- for franking letters and Rs. 14,000/- for a Personal Assistant. A member also gets daily allowance of Rs. 1,000 for the period of residence on duty. Daily allowance will be paid only when he/she signs the register maintained for the purpose.
Question 86. Are Members of Parliament entitled to any pension?
Answer. Every person who has served as a member of the Provisional Parliament or either House of Parliament for any period is entitled to a pension of Rs.8000/- per month w.e.f. 15 September 2006. Where any person has served for a period exceeding five years, he/she shall be paid an additional pension of Rs.800/- per month for every year in excess of five years. For the purpose of calculation of years for determination of additional pension, the period of nine months or more is treated as one complete year.
Cell on Parliamentary Forums
Question 87. What are Parliamentary Forums and what are their objectives?
Answer. The Parliamentary Forums have been constituted with the objective of equipping members with information and knowledge on specific issues of national concern and in assisting them to adopt a result-oriented approach towards related issues. These Forums provide a platform to members to have interaction with the Ministers concerned, experts and key officials from the nodal Ministries with a view to have a focused discussion on critical issues facing the country so as to enable them to effectively raise these issues on the floor of the House and in the meetings of the Departmentally Related Standing Committees.
Question 88. When were the Parliamentary Forums constituted?
Answer. The first Parliamentary Forum on Water Conservation and Management was constituted by the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, on 12 August, 2005. Subsequently, the following four Parliamentary Forums were constituted on the dates shown below:-
(i) Parliamentary Forum on Youth 20 February, 2006
(ii) Parliamentary Forum on Children 2 March, 2006
(iii) Parliamentary Forum on Population 26 July, 2006
and Public Health
(iv) Parliamentary Forum on Global 14 July, 2008
Warming and Climate Change
During the 15th Lok Sabha, the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha has re-constituted all the above five Parliamentary Forums on 21 January, 2010.
Question 89. What is the composition of the Parliamentary Forums?
Answer. The Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha is the President of all the Forums except the Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health wherein the Hon’ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha is the President and Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha is the Co-President. Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha; Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha; the concerned Ministers and Chairmen of Departmentally Related Standing Committees are the ex-officio Vice-Presidents of the respective Forums.
Each Forum consists of 31 Members (excluding the President and the ex-officio Vice-Presidents) out of whom not more than 21 are from Lok Sabha and not more than 10 are from Rajya Sabha. Members, other than the President and Vice-Presidents, are nominated by the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha and the Hon’ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha, as the case may be, from amongst the Leaders of Parties and Groups, or their nominees who have special knowledge/keen interest in the subject.
Secretary-General, Lok Sabha is the Secretary to the Forums.
Question 90. What is the term of the members of the Parliamentary Forums?
Answer. The term of the office of members of the Forums is co-terminus with their membership in the respective Houses.
A Member may resign from the Forum by writing under his/her hand, addressed to the Hon’ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be.
Question 91. Who conducts the meetings of the Forums?
Answer. The President of the Forum appoints a Member-Convener for each Forum to conduct regular, approved Programmes/Meetings of the Forum in consultation with the President.
Question 92. How often do the Forums meet?
Answer. The meetings of the Forums are held from time to time, as may be necessary, during Parliament Sessions.
Contacting Lok Sabha
Question 93. Where do I get more information on members of Lok Sabha?
Answer. The Lok Sabha Web Site (http://loksabha.nic.in) has a section on members which gives information about its members.
Question 94. How can I get in touch with a member of Lok Sabha?
Answer. Members can be contacted through E-mail. Permanent and Local addresses of members of Lok Sabha are also available at the Lok Sabha Web Site (http://loksabha.nic.in).
Question 95. Where do I get information on the Sessions of Lok Sabha?
Answer. The Lok Sabha Web Site (http://loksabha.nic.in) has a section on Legislation which contains information on the Sessions of the Lok Sabha.
Question 96. Who maintains the Lok Sabha website and how do I send a feedback?
Answer. The Lok Sabha Web Site is maintained by the Computer (HW&SW) Management Branch of the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The E-mail address for feed back is