After a long colonial rule of the British and a fierce freedom struggle, our country finally became independent on August 15, 1947. The tyrannies of the British rule and the unjust laws spurred the freedom movement until they could achieve self-rule. Therefore, the newly set up government and the Constitution makers decided to opt for a democratic nature where the policymakers will be chosen “by the people, for the people, of the people. So there is a need for Parliament for the smooth functioning of democracy.
Need for the Parliament in a Democracy
A democratic government cannot do whatever it wants. It has to be sensitive to the needs of the people and make laws that are beneficial for them. The main idea of democracy is based on the idea of consent, that is, the desire, approval, and active participation of the citizens. Therefore, to protect this democracy, a parliamentary form of government was set up.
So, what is the Parliament? Why do we need it?
A Parliament is a system of government elected by its people. Such a government is chosen through elections where people choose their representatives by casting their votes. All the elected representatives form the government. Through this process, the people actively participate in the decision-making procedures, thus helping to create a healthy, working democracy.
The Parliament of India and its Functions
The Parliament of India possessed absolute legislative authority. It has immense powers as it is the representative body of the citizens, but many methods help keep a check on them. The Parliament has two houses: The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha is the lower house, and it represents the house of people. The Rajya Sabha is the upper house, and it represents the council of states.
Some of the functions of the Parliament are:
1. Legislative Functions
The main functions of the Parliament are to make laws that are beneficial for the citizens. Laws can be made under the subjects of the union, state, or concurrent lists, as established by the constitution. The Parliament has the responsibility to make laws under the union (and sometimes) the concurrent list. It can also make laws on state subjects when:
- Under national emergency
- Under Presidential rule
2. Executive Functions
The Constitution of India provides the Parliament with the power to keep a check on the members of the cabinet. As it is formed by both the representatives of the people and the council of the states, several important portfolios are held by some of the members, like defense, finance, etc. The parliament exercises control and checks over the cabinet through various methods like zero hours, question hours, etc. The cabinet ministers are collectively responsible for their actions to the Parliament.
The opposition party in the parliament has to ensure that they act as a critique of the ruling party. While discussing matters of importance, the opposition should always try to put forward better suggestions and ideas for healthy decision-making in the house.
The financial functions of the Parliament include enacting the budget and scrutinizing the judicious use of taxes. This is inspected by the two standing committees under the Parliament: the Public Accounts Committee and The Estimates Committee.
This function includes passing laws and amending the constitution when required.
Some of the Parliament’s Judiciary functions are Impeachment of the President for violation of the constitution. It can also impeach the Vice President, the judges of the Supreme Court, and the High Courts. It can also punish members of the houses if they insult or defame the house.
Members of the Parliament participates in the election of the President and Vice President of India. They are also responsible for the election of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, and the Deputy Chairman.