By Ayushi Budholia
Published on: 18 August 2022 at 22:19 IST
The Constitution of India, 1950 has a great history behind it. The constitutional development of India is linked with the legal history of India. It is traced back to the entry of the East India Company in the 17th century. In 1858, the British government took control of India from the East India Company into its own hands. This led to the enactment of the Government of India Act, 1858.
Before 1861, India was governed at the central level by the Governor-General and his council and at the provincial level by the Governor and his council. After the Indian Council Act of 1861, some changes were made to the system.
The demand of the people for participation in the government grew after the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885. With the enactment of the Indian Council Act of 1892, Indians were included in the Legislative Council but not in the Executive Council. This did not sit well with Indians who were against tyrannical behavior towards them.
The first attempt, however, to introduce a popular element was initiated by the Morley-Minto Reforms, which sought to be implemented through the Indian Councils Act, 1909. The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms led to the enactment of the Government of India Act, 1919. However, it could not fully meet the aspirations of the people of India.
As a result, after a lot of deliberations, the Government of India Act of 1935 came into being, which introduced federation and provincial autonomy. Under the Act, the Central Legislature was still bicameral. It also had a provision for the distribution of legislative power between the centre and the provinces.
The Indian Independence Act, which came into being in 1947, resulted in the amendment of the Government of India Act, 1935. It led to the abolition of the responsibility of the British Government and Parliament for the administration of India. It also made the Governor-General and the Governors of provinces constitutional heads.
The modern-day Constitution of India introduces a parliamentary system of government. It is not a duplicate of the parliamentary system of government that exists in Britain but is similar to it in many aspects. The Constitution of India provides for a Parliament and a State Legislature.
The Parliament consists of the House of People (Lok Sabha), the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), and the President. The State Legislatures consist of the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Council, and the Governor.
It provides for a council of ministers with the Prime Minister as its head, to aid and advise the President. A similar provision is there with respect to the aid and advice given to the Governor with the Chief Minister as its head.
SPECIAL POWERS OF LOK SABHA
The Lok Sabha enjoys special powers with respect to the Collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers ( Clause 3 of Article 75) to the Lok Sabha. It also enjoys special powers in regard to the Money Bills (Articles 110 and 111).
- Collective Responsibility
The functions of the Council of Ministers are given under Articles 74 and 75 of the Indian Constitution, 1950. Article 74 of the Constitution of India talks about the power of the Council of Ministers to aid and advice the President. It states that –
“74. Council of Ministers to aid and advise President —
(1) There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice:
Provided that the President may require the Council of Ministers to reconsider such advice, either generally or otherwise, and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.
(2) The question whether any and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the President shall not be inquired into in any court.”
This section provides for a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head. The Council of Ministers has the power to aid and advise the President in the exercise of its functions. This makes the President only a constitutional head.
However, it is provided that if the President feels then he may ask the Council of Ministers to reconsider the advice given by them. The advice which is given after such reconsideration is binding on the President. Thus, he has to act in accordance with such advice.
It is further provided in the Section that the advice given to the President cannot be inquired into any court of law.
However, it is important to note that this does not bar the Courts from their power of judicial review. Thus, the material and reports on the basis of which such advice is tendered can be questioned by the Courts.
Article 75 (3) talks about the collective responsibility of the Ministers to the Lok Sabha. It states that –
“75. Other provisions as to Ministers —
“(3) The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People.”
This section provides that the Lok Sabha enjoys a special power in relation to the collective responsibility of the Ministers. Such power is not enjoyed by the Rajya Sabha.
Collective responsibility means that the Council of Ministers are responsible to the Lok Sabha not as Individuals alone. Thus, the entire Cabinet will take the responsibility of the act done even by an individual Minister.
Cabinet collective responsibility, also known as collective ministerial responsibility, is a constitutional convention in parliamentary systems that members of the cabinet must publicly support all governmental decisions made in Cabinet, even if they do not privately agree with them.
- Money Bill
The Article 110 of the Constitution of India, 1950 defines Money Bill. According to this Article, a Bill will be a Money Bill, if it deals with the –
- Imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax.
- The regulation of the borrowing of money by the Union government.
- The custody of the Consolidated Fund of India or the contingency fund of India, the payment of money into or the withdrawal of money from any such fund.
- The appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
- Declaration of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or increasing the amount of any such expenditure.
- 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.
- Any matter incidental to any of the matters specified above.
It further provides the condition in which a Bill is not a Money Bill which are as follows-
- Imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties.
- Demand or payment of fees for licenses or fees for services rendered.
- Imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax by any local authority or body for local purposes.
The Article 109 of the Constitution of India, 1950 – According to this Section, a Money Bill can only be introduced in Lok Sabha. It is sent to Rajya Sabha for its recommendation. The Rajya Sabha is required to return the Bill with its recommendation within fourteen days. If it is not returned to Lok Sabha within that time, Bill 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 Lok Sabha.
The Money Bill cannot be amended directly; it can only recommend amendments to such a bill. Lok Sabha may either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations made by Rajya Sabha. If Lok Sabha accepts any of the recommendations made by Rajya Sabha, the Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses with the amendments so recommended and accepted.
If, however, Lok Sabha does not accept any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses of Parliament in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha without any of the amendments recommended by Rajya Sabha.
SPECIAL POWERS OF RAJYA SABHA
The Rajya Sabha enjoys special powers under Article 249 and Article 312 of the Constitution of India, 1950.
Article 249 of the Constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha may pass a resolution, by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting, to the effect that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that Parliament should make a law with respect to any matter enumerated in the State List.
Then, Parliament is empowered to make a law on the subject specified in the resolution for the whole or any part of the territory of India. Such a resolution remains in force for a maximum period of one year, but this period can be extended by one year at a time by passing a further resolution.
Again, under Article 312 of the Constitution, if Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a majority of not less than two thirds of the members present and voting declaring that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest to create one or more All India Services common to the Union and the States, Parliament has the power to create by law such services.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha enjoy certain special powers given under the Constitution. The Lok Sabha enjoys the special power of having a Council of Ministers collectively responsible for it. Such collective responsibility is not towards the Rajya Sabha.
It also enjoys special powers in regards to money bills. The Rajya Sabha has no power to amend or reject the money bill. It can only return the bill once to the Lok Sabha with its recommendations within fourteen days.
The Rajya Sabha, on the other hand, enjoys special powers under Article 249 of the Constitution of India, 1950. Under this Article, it can authorise Parliament to make a law on the subject enumerated in the State List. It enjoys another special power under Article 312 of the Constitution of India, 1950, through which it can authorise Parliament to create a new All India Service common to both the Centre and States.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ayushi Budholia is a third-year, B.A.LL.B student of Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida.
- Introduction to Parliament of India
- The Government of India Act, 1919
- Parliamentary System of India
- Power & Function of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers
- Responsibility of Council of Ministers
- Two Houses of Parliament
- Cabinet Collective Responsibility
- Polity and Constitution
- Legislature Procedure in Parliament
- Money Bill
- Separation of Powers