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The Lok Sabha (House of the People) is the lower house of India's bicameral Parliament, with the upper house being the Rajya Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by adult universal suffrage and a first-past-the-post system to represent their respective constituencies, and they hold their seats for five years or until the body is dissolved by the President on the advice of the council of ministers. The house meets in the Lok Sabha Chambers of the Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi.

The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is 552, which is made up by election of upto 530 members to represent the States, upto 20 members to represent the Union Territories. The total elective membership is distributed among the States in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and the population of the State is, so far as practicable, the same for all States.

Functions of Parliament

The functions of the Parliament are mentioned in the Indian Constitution in Chapter II of Part V. The functions of the Parliament can be classified under several heads. They are discussed below:

Legislative Functions

  • The Parliament legislates on all matters mentioned in the Union List and the Concurrent List.

  • In the case of the Concurrent List, where the state legislatures and the Parliament have joint jurisdiction, the union law will prevail over the states unless the state law had received the earlier presidential assent. However, the Parliament can any time, enact a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing a law made by a state legislature.

  • The Parliament can also pass laws on items in the State List under the following circumstances:

    • If Emergency is in operation, or any state is placed under President’s Rule (Article 356), the Parliament can enact laws on items in the State List as well.

    • As per Article 249, the Parliament can make laws on items in the State List if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by ⅔ majority of its members present and voting, that it is necessary for the Parliament to make laws on any item enumerated in the State List, in the national interest.

    • As per Article 253, it can pass laws on the State List items if it is required for the implementation of international agreements or treaties with foreign powers.

    • According to Article 252, if the legislatures of two or more states pass a resolution to the effect that it is desirable to have a parliamentary law on any item listed in the State List, the Parliament can make laws for those states.

Executive Functions (Control over the Executive)

In the parliamentary form of government, the executive is responsible to the legislature. Hence, the Parliament exercises control over the executive by several measures. 

  • By a vote of no-confidence, the Parliament can remove the Cabinet (executive) out of power. It can reject a budget proposal or any other bill brought by the Cabinet. A motion of no-confidence is passed to remove a government from office.

  • The MPs (Members of Parliament) can ask questions to the ministers on their ommissions and commissions. Any lapses on the part of the government can be exposed in the Parliament.

  • Adjournment Motion: Allowed only in the Lok Sabha, the chief objective of the adjournment motion is to draw the attention of the Parliament to any recent issue of urgent public interest. It is considered an extraordinary tool in Parliament as the normal business is affected.

  • The Parliament appoints a Committee on Ministerial Assurances that sees whether the promises made by the ministers to the Parliament are fulfilled or not.

  • Censure Motion: A censure motion is moved by the opposition party members in the House to strongly disapprove any policy of the government. It can be moved only in the Lok Sabha. Immediately after a censure motion is passed, the government has to seek the confidence of the House. Unlike in the case of the no-confidence motion, the Council of Ministers need not resign if the censure motion is passed.

  • Cut Motion: A cut motion is used to oppose any demand in the financial bill brought by the government.

 

Financial Functions

Parliament is the ultimate authority when it comes to finances. The Executive cannot spend a single pie without parliamentary approval.

  • The Union Budget prepared by the Cabinet is submitted for approval by the Parliament. All proposals to impose taxes should also be approved by the Parliament.

  • There are two standing committees (Public Accounts Committee and Estimates Committee) of the Parliament to keep a check on how the executive spends the money granted to it by the legislature. You can also read on parliamentary committees.

  • Also see: Money Bills.

Amending Powers

The Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution of India. Both Houses of the Parliament have equal powers as far as amending the Constitution is concerned. Amendments will have to be passed in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha for them to be effective.

Read about the important amendments in the Indian Constitution here.

Electoral Functions

The Parliament takes part in the election of the President and the Vice President. The electoral college that elects the President comprises of, among others, the elected members of both Houses. The President can be removed by a resolution passed by the Rajya Sabha agreed to by the Lok Sabha.

Judicial Functions

In case of breach of privilege by members of the House, the Parliament has punitive powers to punish them. A breach of privilege is when there is an infringement of any of the privileges enjoyed by the MPs.

  • A privilege motion is moved by a member when he feels that a minister or any member has committed a breach of privilege of the House or one or more of its members by withholding facts of a case or by giving wrong or distorted facts. Read more on privilege motion.

  • In the parliamentary system, legislative privileges are immune to judicial control.

  • The power of the Parliament to punish its members is also generally not subject to judicial review.

  • Other judicial functions of the Parliament include the power to impeach the President, the Vice President, the judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts, Auditor-General, etc.

Other powers/functions of the Parliament

  • Issues of national and international importance are discussed in the Parliament. The opposition plays an important role in this regard and ensures that the country is aware of alternate viewpoints.

  • A Parliament is sometimes talked of as a ‘nation in miniature’. 

  • In a democracy, the Parliament plays the vital function of deliberating matters of importance before laws or resolutions are passed.

  • The Parliament has the power to alter, decrease or increase the boundaries of states/UTs.

  • The Parliament also functions as an organ of information. The ministers are bound to provide information in the Houses when demanded by the members.

Rules & Procedures –BBMUN- Lok Sabha

  1. This being the Lower House of the Indian Parliament, we shall try and follow the Lok Sabha Rules of Procedure to the maximum extent possible.

  2. We’ll begin with the Roll call wherein the Parliamentarians will unmute themselves and mark their presence. Remember, there is no concept of PRESENT & VOTING in Lok Sabha.

  3. Majority shall be established after the Roll call which would be used for voting (Simple Majority = 50% +1 of the total strength).

  4. Post the roll call, the committee will enter into the round of Opening Statements. The default time for opening statements shall be 60 seconds. Opening statements are speeches which are used to clarify your stance on the agenda at hand.

  5. Opening statements are recommended to be given by everyone, though not obligatory. By default, the Prime Minister will have the first opening statement while the Leader of Opposition will be the last speaker.

  6. We’ll be taking Points of Information after each opening statement. POIs are questions asked by other parliamentarians in context of the speech made by the parliamentarian.

  7. After the Opening Statements, the House can move into a Short Duration/Long Duration Discussion.

  8. Discussion sessions are used to discuss the various sub-agendas under the main agenda. You all are requested to decide upon the sub-agendas before hand so that no time gets wasted in deciding them tomorrow in the session.

  9. After atleast 2 Discussion sessions, the house can move into a Question Hour or a Zero Hour.

  10. A Question Hour basically is used to make the treasury accountable by the medium of questions but for facilitating debate, we would encourage questions from the ruling to the opposition as well.

  11. For a question hour, we will allow questions from everyone to everyone. One person can send two questions in writing which are called as starred questions.

  12. Starred Questions deserve a verbal response and will have to be sent to the Speaker by the end of Day 1, so that the same could be answered on Day 2. The mechanism for the same shall be explained during the committee proceedings.

  13. The question hour shall be restricted to questions pertaining to the main agenda only.

  14. As for the Zero Hour, it is used to discuss an issue of immediate national importance. So if the Parliamentarians feel that there is an issue different from the main agenda which requires attention, the same can be taken up for discussion. However, the rights of approval of the agenda shall vest with the Speaker.

  15. For a lobbying session, a motion for adjournment can be raised.

  16. Documentation shall not be a necessity in the simulation. If time remains, the same shall be clarified in the meeting itself.

 

How will you be recognized?

In order to get recognized, you can click the option of ‘Raise hand’, but remember to lower it down once you are recognized.

Points in the Forum

Point of personal privilege : Any barrier/issue in the speech of any other parliamentarian or any repetition required in the speech of any parliamentarian – to be raised verbally or via the chat option in platform.

Point of Parliamentary Enquiry : Any doubt pertaining to the Rules of Procedure or any question (apart from substantive doubts) to be asked to the Speaker – to be raised verbally or via chat option in platform.

Point of Order : Any error committed by the Speaker in conduct of the proceedings may be pointed out by this – to be raised verbally.

Point of Information : A question pertaining to the speech made by the other parliamentarians – to be raised verbally or via chit on WhatsApp Group

Breach of Privilege : If the House is misled by wrong facts stated by a Member, the other member who catches that error may correct the same in writing – Speaker’s personal WhatsApp.

POI/Reply

Via EB @Speaker @Deputy Speaker

From :

To:

Content

 

 

 

*The limit for the POI chits for one member stands to be 15 (excluding the replies)*

 

Breach of Privilege

From:

To:

Quote “…..”

Fact “……”

  • POIs (verbal) may be entertained in the moderated sessions depending upon the time left in the speech

  • Opening statements will have a mandatory POI (verbal), can be more than one if more time left

  • Equal recognition will be ensured

  • Substantive intervention on the discretion of the participating members

  • Try not speaking out your name/point when you are being recognized, just raise your hand so as to avoid chaos

  • Average marking will be done in respect of replies to POI chits since its not mandatory that everyone gets a POI chit.

 

For any further queries, feel free to ping.

 

Mayank Singhal

+919716143676

BBMUN 21

Blue Bells Model School,
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