Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 826

To

my wife
M Vidya

PREFACE TO THE
FOURTH EDITION

am pleased to place before the readers a thoroughly revised, enlarged and updated edition of this
widely read book on Indian Polity.
In 2011 and 2013, the UPSC changed the pattern and syllabus of the preliminary and main
examinations, respectively. In both the changes, the scope of Indian Polity has been considerably
increased. Hence, this new edition of the book is more relevant now and is aimed to meet the
expanded needs of the aspirants.
In the course of revision and updation of this edition of the book, the various new developments
related to the subject like recent constitutional amendments, parliamentary legislations, executive
decisions and supreme court judgments have been taken into account.
Changes in this Edition:
1. Addition of 8 new chapters.
2. Addition of 3 new appendices.
3. Inclusion of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 preliminary questions with answers.
4. Inclusion of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 mains questions.
5. Updation of the year-wise break-up of the UPSC questions in the preliminary and main
examinations.
6. Inclusion of additional updated information on a number of topics.
7. List of Articles included at the end of each chapter.
8. New items included in various chapters.
New Chapters:
1. Basic Structure of the Constitution
2. Cabinet Committees
3. Parliamentary Committees
4. Parliamentary Forums
5. Central Bureau of Investigation
6. Cooperative Societies
7. Special Provisions Relating to Certain Classes
8. Electoral Reforms
New Appendices:

1. Flag Code of India


2. Allied Amending Acts at a Glance
3. Model Code of Conduct Relating to Elections
I firmly believe that this is now a very comprehensive and updated manual. It is a matter of immense
satisfaction that the previous three editions of this book have received an overwhelming response
from readers. I am confident that readers would continue to repose their faith in this edition as well.
Constructive comments and concrete suggestions to further improve the book are welcome and shall
be gratefully acknowledged.

M . LAXMIKANTH

PREFACE TO THE
FIRST EDITION

have great pleasure in placing this book before the aspirants of the top administrative services.
The book has been written to meet the growing requirements of the candidates appearing for the
Civil Services Examinations (Preliminary and Main) conducted by the Union Public Service
Commission. It directly and fully covers the Indian Polity section of the paper on General Studies and
is also useful for certain optional subjects like Public Administration, Political Science, Law,
Sociology and Anthropology.
This comprehensive volume would enable the readers to acquire a complete and detailed
understanding of the subject. It covers all dimensions (constitutional, non-constitutional, political and
administrative) of the subject. My first-hand experience of coaching the candidates for the Civil
Services Examinations has been a great source of inspiration and has helped me immensely in writing
this book.
An effort has been made to make the contents of the book relevant, authentic, and up-to-date. The
constitutional provisions are explained in the light of the debates of the Constituent Assembly of India
as well as the judgements of the Supreme Court and the high courts. I have also used tables to make
the presentation more clear. The Appendices, provided at the end of the book, serve as a reference
section.
I welcome all constructive comments and concrete suggestions from the readers of this book.

M . LAXMIKANTH

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

uring the course of writing this book, I have received the help, encouragement and assistance
from my teachers, students, family members, colleagues, friends, library staff and others. I
am thankful to all of them.
I am particularly grateful to my wife Smt. M Vidya for her encouragement and support that she
provided during the preparation of the book.
I am deeply indebted to the eminent political scientists and constitutional experts (Granville Austin,
Moris Jones, K C Wheare, Rajni Kothari, Paul Appleby, K Santhanam, N A Palkhivala, Soli Sorabji,
D D Basu, V N Shukla, M P Jain, Subhash Kashyap) and other scholars of repute whose valuable
works have been highly useful in writing this book.
My thanks are also due to Mr Tanmoy Roychowdhury, Mr K N Prakash, Ms Anubha Srivastava and
Ms Medha Arora of McGraw Hill Education India Private Limited for their unstinted cooperation in
bringing out this updated edition on time.

M . LAXMIKANTH

Year-wise Break-up of the UPSC Marks on Indian Polity (General


StudiesMains)

Sl.No.

Year

No. of Marks Allotted

1.

1993

89

2.

1994

89

3.

1995

89

4.

1996

89

5.

1997

89

6.

1998

89

7.

1999

89

8.

2000

130

9.

2001

100

10.

2002

130

11.

2003

100

12.

2004

100

13.

2005

100

14.

2006

100

15.

2007

100

16.

2008

130

17.

2009

66

18.

2010

66

19.

2011

111

20.

2012

47

Note: In 2013, the UPSC changed the pattern and syllabus of the Main Examination. In the new
scheme, a separate and full paper on Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and
International Relations has been introduced. It carries 250 marks.

Year-Wise Break-up of the UPSC Questions on Indian Polity


(General StudiesPrelims)

Sl.No.

Year

No. of Questions Asked

1.

1993

14

2.

1994

14

3.

1995

17

4.

1996

10

5.

1997

12

6.

1998

05

7.

1999

09

8.

2000

12

9.

2001

12

10.

2002

19

11.

2003

19

12.

2004

22

13.

2005

10

14.

2006

13

15.

2007

12

16.

2008

13

17.

2009

14

18.

2010

10

19.

2011

12

20.

2012

20

21.

2013

18

Note: In 2011, the UPSC changed the pattern and syllabus of the Preliminary Examination. In the new
scheme, the Indian Polity section has been renamed as Indian Polity and Governance. It covers

Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc. Also, now each
question carries two marks (previously one mark).

About the Civil Services Examination

The Civil Services examination comprises two successive stages:


(i)

Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for
Main Examination; and
(ii) Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for
the various services and posts.
Scheme and subjects for the Preliminary and Main Examination.

A. P RELIMINARY EXAMINATION
The Examination shall comprise two compulsory Papers of 200 marks each.
Note:
(i) Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple choice questions).
(ii) The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English. However, questions relating to
English Language Comprehension Skills of Class X level will be tested through passages
from English language only without providing Hindi translation thereof in the question paper.

B . MAIN EXAMINATION
The written examination will consist of the following papers:
Qualifying Papers:
Paper A: (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the candidate from the Languages included in
the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution).
300 Marks
Paper B: English
300 Marks
The papers on Indian Languages and English (Paper A and Paper B) will be of Matriculation or
equivalent standard and will be of qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be
counted for ranking.
Papers to be counted for merit
Paper I: Essay
250 Marks
Paper II: General StudiesI
250 Marks

(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Paper III: General Studies II
250 Marks
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations)
Paper IV: General Studies III
250 Marks
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster
Management)
Paper V: General Studies IV
250 Marks
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Paper VI: Optional Subject Paper 1
250 Marks
Paper VII: Optional Subject Paper 2
250 Marks
Sub Total (Written test):
1750 Marks
Personality Test:
275 Marks
Grand Total:
2025 Marks
Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects from amongst the list of subjects given
below:
List of optional subjects for Main Examination:

ii)

ii)
v)
v)
vi)
vii)
viii)
x)
x)
xi)
xii)
xiii)
xiv)
xv)
xvi)

Agriculture
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
Anthropology
Botany
Chemistry
Civil Engineering
Commerce and Accountancy
Economics
Electrical Engineering
Geography
Geology
History
Law
Management
Mathematics
Mechanical Engineering
Medical Science
Philosophy
Physics
Political Science and International Relations
Psychology
Public Administration
Sociology
Statistics
Zoology
Literature of any one of the following

Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili,
Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu,

Urdu and English.

LIST OF TABLES

Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table

1.1
1.2
2.1
2.2
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
6.1
6.2
7.1
7.2
7.3
7.4
8.1
8.2
12.1
13.1
14.1
14.2
14.3
15.1
15.2
15.3
16.1
16.2
16.3
17.1
17.2
17.3
18.1
18.2

Interim Government (1946)


First Cabinet of Free India (1947)
Statewise Membership of the Constituent Assembly of India as on December 31, 1947
Sessions of the Constituent Assembly at a Glance
The Constitution of India at a Glance
Important Articles of the Constitution at a Glance
Schedules of the Constitution at a Glance
Sources of the Constitution at a Glance
Territory of India in 1950
Territory of India in 1956
Territory of India in 2002
Articles Related to Union and its Territory at a Glance
Comparing the PIO Card Holder and OCI
Articles Related to Citizenship at a Glance
Fundamental Rights at a Glance
Fundamental Rights (FR) of Foreigners
Martial Law Vs National Emergency
Articles Related to Fundamental Rights at a Glance
Distinction Between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
Articles Related to Directive Principles of State Policy at a Glance
Comparing Parliamentary and Presidential Systems
Comparing Features of Federal and Unitary Governments
Articles Related to Centre-State Legislative Relations at a Glance
Articles Related to Centre-State Administrative Relations at a Glance
Articles Related to Centre-State Financial Relations at a Glance
Inter-State Water Dispute Tribunals Set-up So Far
Zonal Councils at a Glance
Articles Related to Inter-State Relations at a Glance
Comparing National Emergency and Presidents Rule
Imposition of Presidents Rule (1951-2000)
Articles Related to Emergency Provisions at a Glance
Elections of the Presidents (1952-2012)
Veto Power of the President at a Glance
Articles Related to President at a Glance
Elections of the Vice-Presidents (19522012)
Articles Related to Vice-President at a Glance

Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table

19.1
20.1
20.2
22.1
22.2
22.3
22.4
22.5
22.6
22.7
22.8
22.9
23.1
25.1
25.2
26.1
26.2
26.3
26.4
27.1
28.1
29.1
29.2
29.3
29.4
30.1
30.2
33.1
34.1
34.2
34.3
34.4
35.1
35.2
35.3
35.4
36.1
36.2
36.3
37.1
37.2
39.1
40.1
41.1
41.2
45.1
46.1

Articles Related to Prime Minister at a Glance


Distinction Between Council of Ministers and Cabinet
Articles Related to Central Council of Ministers at a Glance
Adjournment vs Prorogation
Censure Motion vs No Confidence Motion
Public Bill vs Private Bill
Ordinary Bill Vs Money Bill
Allocation of Seats in Parliament
Seats Reserved for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha
Durations of the Lok Sabha
Speakers of the Lok Sabha
Articles Related to Parliament at a Glance
Departmental Standing Committees
Comparing Indian and American Supreme Courts
Articles Related to Supreme Court at a Glance
Comparing Veto Powers of President and Governor
Comparing Ordinance-Making Power of President and Governor
Comparing Pardoning Powers of President and Governor
Articles Related to Governor at a Glance
Articles Related to Chief Minister at a Glance
Articles Related to State Council of Ministers at a Glance
Comparing Legislative Procedure in the Parliament and State Legislature
Strength of State Legislatures
Seats Reserved for SCs and STs in the Legislative Assemblies
Articles Related to State Legislature at a Glance
Name and Jurisdiction of High Courts
Articles Related to High Courts at a Glance
Articles Related to Special Provisions for some States at a Glance
Study Teams and Committees on Panchayati Raj
Articles Related Panchayats at a Glance
Name and Number of Panchayats (2010)
Milestones in the Evolution of Panchayati Raj
Committees and Commissions on Urban Local Governments
Classification of Cantonment Boards
Articles Related to Municipalities at a Glance
Name and Number of Municipalities (2010)
Administrative System of Union Territories at a Glance
Comparing States and Union Territories
Articles Related to Union Territories at a Glance
Tribal Areas at a Glance (2013)
Articles Related to Scheduled and Tribal Areas at a Glance
Articles Related to UPSC at a Glance
Articles Related to SPSC at a Glance
Finance Commissions Appointed so far
Articles Related to Finance Commission at a Glance
Articles Related to Comptroller and Auditor-General of India at a Glance
Articles Related to Attorney-General of India at a Glance

Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table
Table

47.1
47.2
48.1
52.1
56.1
57.1
58.1
59.1
60.1
60.2
60.3
61.1
63.1
64.1
64.2
64.3
64.4
65.1
65.2
65.3
65.4
65.5
65.6
66.1
69.1

Articles Related to Advocate-General of the state at a Glance


Articles Related to Constitutional Bodies at a Glance
Technical Divisions of the Planning Commission
National Commissions / Central Bodies and the Related Ministries
Establishment of Lokayukta in States (Chronological Order)
Articles Related to Co-operative Societies at a Glance
Articles Related to Official Language at a Glance
Articles Related to Public Services at a Glance
Name and Jurisdiction of Benches of CAT
Circuit Sittings of Benches of CAT
Articles Related to Tribunals at a Glance
Articles Related to Rights and Liabilities of the Government at a Glance
Articles Related to Special Provisions for Certain Classes at a Glance
Recognised National Parties and State Parties (First to Fifteenth General Elections)
Recognised National Parties and their Symbols (2013)
Recognised State Parties and their Symbols (2013)
Formation of Political Parties (Chronological Order)
Results of Lok Sabha Elections
Participation in Lok Sabha Elections
Women in Lok Sabha Elections
Cost of Lok Sabha Elections
Largest and Smallest (Area-wise) Lok Sabha Constituencies in General Elections (2004)
Articles Related to Elections at a Glance
Limit on Election Expenditure
Meetings of the National Integration Council

CONTENTS

Preface to the Fourth Edition


Preface to the First Edition
Acknowledgements
Year-wise Break-up of the UPSC Marks on Indian Polity (General StudiesMains)
Year-Wise Break-up of the UPSC Questions on Indian Polity (General StudiesPrelims)
About the Civil Services Examination
List of Tables

P ART I
Constitutional Framework
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

Historical Background
Making of the Constitution
Salient Features of the Constitution
Preamble of the Constitution
Union and its Territory
Citizenship
Fundamental Rights
Directive Principles of State Policy
Fundamental Duties
Amendment of the Constitution
Basic Structure of the Constitution

P ART II
System of Government
12.
13.
14.
15.

Parliamentary System
Federal System
CentreState Relations
Inter-State Relations

16. Emergency Provisions

P ART III
Central Government
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.

President
Vice-President
Prime Minister
Central Council of Ministers
Cabinet Committees
Parliament
Parliamentary Committees
Parliamentary Forums
Supreme Court

P ART IV
State Government
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.

Governor
Chief Minister
State Council of Ministers
State Legislature
High Court
Subordinate Courts
Special Status of Jammu & Kashmir
Special Provisions for Some States

P ART V
Local Government
34. Panchayati Raj
35. Municipalities

P ART VI
Union Territories and Special Areas
36. Union Territories
37. Scheduled and Tribal Areas

P ART VII
Constitutional Bodies

38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.

Election Commission
Union Public Service Commission
State Public Service Commission
Finance Commission
National Commission for SCs
National Commission for STs
Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities
Comptroller and Auditor General of India
Attorney General of India
Advocate General of the State

P ART VIII
Non-Constitutional Bodies
48.
49.
50.
51.
52.
53.
54.
55.
56.

Planning Commission
National Development Council
National Human Rights Commission
State Human Rights Commission
Central Information Commission
State Information Commission
Central Vigilance Commission
Central Bureau of Investigation
Lokpal and Lokayuktas

P ART IX
Other Constitutional Dimensions
57.
58.
59.
60.
61.
62.
63.

Co-operative Societies
Official Language
Public Services
Tribunals
Rights and Liabilities of the Government
Authoritative Text of the Constitution in Hindi Language
Special Provisions Relating to Certain Classes

P ART X
Political Dynamics
64. Political Parties
65. Elections

66.
67.
68.
69.
70.

Electoral Reforms
Anti-Defection Law
Pressure Groups
National Integration
Foreign Policy

P ART XI
Working of the Constitution
71. National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution
Appendix I

Articles of the Constitution (1395)

Appendix II

Subjects of Union, State and Concurrent Lists

Appendix III

Table of Precedence

Appendix IV

Oath by the Constitutional and Other Authorities

Appendix V

Definitions Under the Constitution

Appendix VI

Constitutional Amendments at a Glance

Appendix VII Allied Amending Acts at a Glance


Appendix VIII Model Code of Conduct Relating to Elections
Appendix IX

Flag Code of India

Appendix X

Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc.

Appendix XI

UPSC Questions on Indian Polity (General StudiesPrelims)

Appendix XII Practice Questions on Indian Polity (General StudiesPrelims)


Appendix XIII UPSC Questions on Indian Polity (General StudiesMains)
Appendix XIV Practice Questions on Indian Polity (General StudiesMains)

he British came to India in 1600 as traders, in the form of East India Company, which had the
exclusive right of trading in India under a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I. In 1765, the
Company, which till now had purely trading functions obtained the diwani (i.e., rights over
revenue and civil justice) of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.1 This started its career as a territorial power.
In 1858, in the wake of the sepoy mutiny, the British Crown assumed direct responsibility for the
governance of India. This rule continued until India was granted independence on August 15, 1947.
With Independence came the need of a Constitution. As suggested by M N Roy (a pioneer of
communist movement in India and an advocate of Radical Democratism) in 1934, a Constituent
Assembly was formed for this purpose in 1946 and on January 26, 1950, the Constitution came into
being. However, various features of the Indian Constitution and polity have their roots in the British
rule. There are certain events in the British rule that laid down the legal framework for the
organisation and functioning of government and administration in British India. These events have
greatly influenced our constitution and polity. They are explained here in a chronological order:

THE COMPANY RULE (17731858)


Regulating Act of 1773
This act is of great constitutional importance as (a) it was the first step taken by the British
Government to control and regulate the affairs of the East India Company in India; (b) it recognised,
for the first time, the political and administrative functions of the Company; and (c) it laid the
foundations of central administration in India.
Features of the Act
1.

It designated the Governor of Bengal as the Governor-General of Bengal and created an


Executive Council of four members to assist him. The first such Governor-General was Lord
Warren Hastings.

2.

3.
4.
5.

It made the governors of Bombay and Madras presidencies subordinate to the governorgeneral of Bengal, unlike earlier, when the three presidencies were independent of one
another.
It provided for the establishment of a Supreme Court at Calcutta (1774) comprising one chief
justice and three other judges.
It prohibited the servants of the Company from engaging in any private trade or accepting
presents or bribes from the natives.
It strengthened the control of the British Government over the Company by requiring the Court
of Directors (governing body of the Company) to report on its revenue, civil, and military
affairs in India.

Pitts India Act of 1784


In a bid to rectify the defects of the Regulating Act of 1773, the British Parliament passed the
Amending Act of 1781, also known as the Act of Settlement. The next important act was the Pitts
India Act2 of 1784.
Features of the Act
1.
2.

It distinguished between the commercial and political functions of the Company.


It allowed the Court of Directors to manage the commercial affairs but created a new body
called Board of Control to manage the political affairs. Thus, it established a system of
double government.
3. It empowered the Board of Control to supervise and direct all operations of the civil and
military government or revenues of the British possessions in India.
Thus, the act was significant for two reasons: first, the Companys territories in India were for the
first time called the British possessions in India; and second, the British Government was given the
supreme control over Companys affairs and its administration in India.

Charter Act of 1833


This Act was the final step towards centralisation in British India.
Features of the Act
1.

2.

3.

It made the Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India and vested in him
all civil and military powers. Thus, the act created, for the first time, a Government of India
having authority over the entire territorial area possessed by the British in India. Lord
William Bentick was the first governor-general of India.
It deprived the governor of Bombay and Madras of their legislative powers. The GovernorGeneral of India was given exclusive legislative powers for the entire British India. The laws
made under the previous acts were called as Regulations while laws made under this act
were called as Acts.
It ended the activities of the East India Company as a commercial body, which became a
purely administrative body. It provided that the companys territories in India were held by it

4.

in trust for His Majesty, His heirs and successors.


The Charter Act of 1833 attempted to introduce a system of open competition for selection of
civil servants, and stated that the Indians should not be debarred from holding any place,
office and employment under the Company. However, this provision was negated after
opposition from the Court of Directors.

Charter Act of 1853


This was the last of the series of Charter Acts passed by the British Parliament between 1793 and
1853. It was a significant constitutional landmark.
Features of the Act
1.

2.

3.

4.

It separated, for the first time, the legislative and executive functions of the GovernorGenerals council. It provided for addition of six new members called legislative councillors
to the council. In other words, it established a separate Governor-Generals legislative
council which came to be known as the Indian (Central) Legislative Council. This legislative
wing of the council functioned as a mini-Parliament, adopting the same procedures as the
British Parliament. Thus, legislation, for the first time, was treated as a special function of the
government, requiring special machinery and special process.
It introduced an open competition system of selection and recruitment of civil servants. The
covenanted civil service3 was thus thrown open to the Indians also. Accordingly, the
Macaulay Committee (the Committee on the Indian Civil Service) was appointed in 1854.
It extended the Companys rule and allowed it to retain the possession of Indian territories on
trust for the British Crown. But, it did not specify any particular period, unlike the previous
Charters. This was a clear indication that the Companys rule could be terminated at any time
the Parliament liked.
It introduced, for the first time, local representation in the Indian (Central) Legislative
Council. Of the six new legislative members of the governor-generals council, four members
were appointed by the local (provincial) governments of Madras, Bombay, Bengal and Agra.

THE CROWN RULE (18581947)


Government of India Act of 1858
This significant Act was enacted in the wake of the Revolt of 1857also known as the First War of
Independence or the sepoy mutiny. The act known as the Act for the Good Government of India,
abolished the East India Company, and transferred the powers of government, territories and revenues
to the British Crown.
Features of the Act
1.

It provided that India henceforth was to be governed by, and in the name of, Her Majesty. It
changed the designation of the Governor-General of India to that of Viceroy of India. He
(viceroy) was the direct representative of the British Crown in India. Lord Canning thus
became the first Viceroy of India.

2.

It ended the system of double government by abolishing the Board of Control and Court of
Directors.
3. It created a new office, Secretary of State for India, vested with complete authority and
control over Indian administration. The secretary of state was a member of the British cabinet
and was responsible ultimately to the British Parliament.
4. It established a 15-member Council of India to assist the secretary of state for India. The
council was an advisory body. The secretary of state was made the chairman of the council.
5. It constituted the secretary of state-in-council as a body corporate, capable of suing and being
sued in India and in England.
The Act of 1858 was, however, largely confined to the improvement of the administrative machinery
by which the Indian Government was to be supervised and controlled in England. It did not alter in
any substantial way the system of government that prevailed in India4.

Indian Councils Act of 1861, 1892 and 1909


After the great revolt of 1857, the British Government felt the necessity of seeking the cooperation of
the Indians in the administration of their country. In pursuance of this policy of association, three acts
were enacted by the British Parliament in 1861, 1892 and 1909. The Indian Councils Act of 1861 is
an important landmark in the constitutional and political history of India.
Features of the Act of 1861
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

It made a beginning of representative institutions by associating Indians with the law-making


process. It thus provided that the viceroy should nominate some Indians as non-official
members of his expanded council. In 1862, Lord Canning, the then viceroy, nominated three
Indians to his legislative councilthe Raja of Benaras, the Maharaja of Patiala and Sir
Dinkar Rao.
It initiated the process of decentralisation by restoring the legislative powers to the Bombay
and Madras Presidencies. It thus reversed the centralising tendency that started from the
Regulating Act of 1773 and reached its climax under the Charter Act of 1833. This policy of
legislative devolution resulted in the grant of almost complete internal autonomy to the
provinces in 1937.
It also provided for the establishment of new legislative councils for Bengal, North-Western
Frontier Province (NWFP) and Punjab, which were established in 1862, 1866 and 1897
respectively.
It empowered the Viceroy to make rules and orders for the more convenient trans-action of
business in the council. It also gave a recognition to the portfolio system, introduced by Lord
Canning in 1859. Under this, a member of the Viceroys council was made in-charge of one or
more departments of the government and was authorised to issue final orders on behalf of the
council on matters of his department(s).
It empowered the Viceroy to issue ordinances, without the concurrence of the legislative
council, during an emergency. The life of such an ordinance was six months.

Features of the Act of 1892

1.

It increased the number of additional (non-official) members in the Central and provincial
legislative councils, but maintained the official majority in them.
2. It increased the functions of legislative councils and gave them the power of discussing the
budget5 and addressing questions to the executive.
3. It provided for the nomination of some non-official members of the (a) Central Legislative
Council by the viceroy on the recommendation of the provincial legislative councils and the
Bengal Chamber of Commerce, and (b) that of the Provincial legislative councils by the
Governors on the recommendation of the district boards, municipalities, universities, trade
associations, zamindars and chambers.
The act made a limited and indirect provision for the use of election in filling up some of the nonofficial seats both in the Central and provincial legislative councils. The word election was,
however, not used in the act. The process was described as nomination made on the recommendation
of certain bodies6.
Features of the Act of 1909 This Act is also known as Morley-Minto Reforms (Lord Morley was
the then Secretary of State for India and Lord Minto was the then Viceroy of India).
1.

2.
3.

4.

5.

6.

It considerably increased the size of the legislative councils, both Central and provincial. The
number of members in the Central Legislative Council was raised from 16 to 60. The number
of members in the provincial legislative councils was not uniform.
It retained official majority in the Central Legislative Council but allowed the provincial
legislative councils to have non-official majority.
It enlarged the deliberative functions of the legislative councils at both the levels. For
example, members were allowed to ask supplementary questions, move resolutions on the
budget, and so on.
It provided (for the first time) for the association of Indians with the executive Councils of the
Viceroy and Governors. Satyendra Prasad Sinha became the first Indian to join the
Viceroys Executive Council. He was appointed as the law member.
It introduced a system of communal representation for Muslims by accepting the concept of
separate electorate. Under this, the Muslim members were to be elected only by Muslim
voters. Thus, the Act legalised communalism and Lord Minto came to be known as the
Father of Communal Electorate.
It also provided for the separate representation of presidency corporations, chambers of
commerce, universities and zamindars.

Government of India Act of 1919


On August 20, 1917, the British Government declared, for the first time, that its objective was the
gradual introduction of responsible government in India7.
The Government of India Act of 1919 was thus enacted, which came into force in 1921. This Act is
also known as Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms (Montagu was the Secretary of State for India and Lord
Chelmsford was the Viceroy of India).

Features of the Act


1.

It relaxed the central control over the provinces by demarcating and separating the central and
provincial subjects. The central and provincial legislatures were authorised to make laws on
their respective list of subjects. However, the structure of government continued to be
centralised and unitary.
2. It further divided the provincial subjects into two partstransferred and reserved. The
transferred subjects were to be administered by the governor with the aid of ministers
responsible to the legislative Council. The reserved subjects, on the other hand, were to be
administered by the governor and his executive council without being responsible to the
legislative Council. This dual scheme of governance was known as dyarchya term
derived from the Greek word di-arche which means double rule. However, this experiment
was largely unsuccessful.
3. It introduced, for the first time, bicameralism and direct elections in the country. Thus, the
Indian Legislative Council was replaced by a bicameral legislature consisting of an Upper
House (Council of State) and a Lower House (Legislative Assembly). The majority of
members of both the Houses were chosen by direct election.
4. It required that the three of the six members of the Viceroys executive Council (other than the
commander-in-chief) were to be Indian.
5. It extended the principle of communal representation by providing separate electorates for
Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans.
6. It granted franchise to a limited number of people on the basis of property, tax or education.
7. It created a new office of the High Commissioner for India in London and transferred to him
some of the functions hitherto performed by the Secretary of State for India.
8. It provided for the establishment of a public service commission. Hence, a Central Public
Service Commission was set up in 1926 for recruiting civil servants8.
9. It separated, for the first time, provincial budgets from the Central budget and authorised the
provincial legislatures to enact their budgets.
10. It provided for the appointment of a statutory commission to inquire into and report on its
working after ten years of its coming into force.
Simon Commission In November 1927 itself (i.e., 2 years before the schedule), the British
Government announced the appointment a seven-member statutory commission under the
chairmanship of Sir John Simon to report on the condition of India under its new Constitution. All the
members of the commission were British and hence, all the parties boycotted the commission. The
commission submitted its report in 1930 and recommended the abolition of dyarchy, extension of
responsible government in the provinces, establishment of a federation of British India and princely
states, continuation of communal electorate and so on. To consider the proposals of the commission,
the British Government convened three round table conferences of the representatives of the British
Government, British India and Indian princely states. On the basis of these discussions, a White
Paper on Consitutional Reforms was prepared and submitted for the consideration of the Joint Select
Committee of the British Parliament. The recommendations of this committee were incorporated

(with certain changes) in the next Government of Inida Act of 1935.


Communal Award In August 1932, Ramsay MacDonald, the British Prime Minister, announced a
scheme of representation of the minorities, which came to be known as the Communal Award. The
award not only continued separate electorates for the Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, AngloIndians and Europeans but also extended it to the depressed classes (scheduled castes). Gandhiji was
distressed over this extension of the principle of communal representation to the depressed classes
and undertook fast unto death in Yeravada Jail (Poona) to get the award modified. At last, there was
an agreement between the leaders of the Congress and the depressed classes. The agreement, known
as Poona Pact, retained the Hindu joint electorate and gave reserved seats to the depressed classes.

Government of India Act of 1935


The Act marked a second milestone towards a completely responsible government in India. It was a
lengthy and detailed document having 321 Sections and 10 Schedules.
Features of the Act
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

It provided for the establishment of an All-India Federation consisting of provinces and


princely states as units. The Act divided the powers between the Centre and units in terms of
three listsFederal List (for Centre, with 59 items), Provincial List (for provinces, with 54
items) and the Concurrent List (for both, with 36 items). Residuary powers were given to the
Viceroy. However, the federation never came into being as the princely states did not join it.
It abolished dyarchy in the provinces and introduced provincial autonomy in its place. The
provinces were allowed to act as autonomous units of administration in their defined spheres.
Moreover, the Act introduced responsible governments in provinces, that is, the governor was
required to act with the advice of ministers responsible to the provincial legislature. This
came into effect in 1937 and was discontinued in 1939.
It provided for the adoption of dyarchy at the Centre. Consequently, the federal subjects were
divided into reserved subjects and transferred subjects. However, this provision of the Act
did not come into operation at all.
It introduced bicameralism in six out of eleven provinces. Thus, the legislatures of Bengal,
Bombay, Madras, Bihar, Assam and the United Provinces were made bicameral consisting of
a legislative council (upper house) and a legislative assembly (lower house). However, many
restrictions were placed on them.
It further extended the principle of communal representation by providing separate electorates
for depressed classes (scheduled castes), women and labour (workers).
It abolished the Council of India, established by the Government of India Act of 1858. The
secretary of state for India was provided with a team of advisors.
It extended franchise. About 10 per cent of the total population got the voting right.
It provided for the establishment of a Reserve Bank of India to control the currency and credit
of the country.
It provided for the establishment of not only a Federal Public Service Commission but also a
Provincial Public Service Commission and Joint Public Service Commission for two or more

provinces.
10. It provided for the establishment of a Federal Court, which was set up in 1937.

Indian Independence Act of 1947


On February 20, 1947, the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee declared that the British rule in India
would end by June 30,1948; after which the power would be transferred to responsible Indian hands.
This announcement was followed by the agitation by the Muslim League demanding partition of the
country. Again on June 3, 1947, the British Government made it clear that any Constitution framed by
the Constituent Assembly of India (formed in 1946) cannot apply to those parts of the country which
were unwilling to accept it. On the same day (June 3, 1947), Lord Mountbatten, the viceroy of India,
put forth the partition plan, known as the Mountbatten Plan. The plan was accepted by the Congress
and the Muslim League. Immediate effect was given to the plan by enacting the Indian Independence
Act9 (1947).
Features of the Act
1.

It ended the British rule in India and declared India as an independent and sovereign state
from August 15,1947.
2. It provided for the partition of India and creation of two independent dominions of India and
Pakistan with the right to secede from the British Commonwealth.
3. It abolished the office of viceroy and provided, for each dominion, a governor-general, who
was to be appointed by the British King on the advice of the dominion cabinet. His Majestys
Government in Britain was to have no responsibility with respect to the Government of India
or Pakistan.
4. It empowered the Constituent Assemblies of the two dominions to frame and adopt any
constitution for their respective nations and to repeal any act of the British Parliament,
including the Independence act itself.
5. It empowered the Constituent Assemblies of both the dominions to legislate for their
respective territories till the new constitutions were drafted and enforced. No Act of the
British Parliament passed after August 15, 1947 was to extend to either of the new dominions
unless it was extended thereto by a law of the legislature of the dominion.
6. It abolished the office of the secretary of state for India and transferred his functions to the
secretary of state for Commonwealth Affairs.
7. It proclaimed the lapse of British paramountcy over the Indian princely states and treaty
relations with tribal areas from August 15,1947.
8. It granted freedom to the Indian princely states either to join the Dominion of India or
Dominion of Pakistan or to remain independent.
9. It provided for the governance of each of the dominions and the provinces by the Government
of India Act of 1935, till the new Constitutions were framed. The dominions were however
authorised to make modifications in the Act.
10. It deprived the British Monarch of his right to veto bills or ask for reservation of certain bills
for his approval. But, this right was reserved for the Governor-General. The Governor-

General would have full power to assent to any bill in the name of His Majesty.
11. It designated the Governor-General of India and the provincial governors as constitutional
(nominal) heads of the states. They were made to act on the advice of the respective council
of ministers in all matters.
12. It dropped the title of Emperor of India from the royal titles of the king of England.
13. It discontinued the appointment to civil services and reservation of posts by the secretary of
state for India. The members of the civil services appointed before August 15, 1947 would
continue to enjoy all benefits that they were entitled to till that time.
At the stroke of midnight of 1415 August, 1947, the British rule came to an end and power was
transferred to the two new independent Dominions of India and Pakistan10. Lord Mountbatten became
the first governor-general of the new Dominion of India. He swore in Jawaharlal Nehru as the first
prime minister of independent India. The Constituent Assembly of India formed in 1946 became the
Parliament of the Indian Dominion.
Table 1.1 Interim Government (1946)
Sl. No.

Members

Portfolios Held

1.

Jawaharlal Nehru

External Affairs & Commonwealth Relations

2.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Home, Information & Broadcasting

3.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad

Food & Agriculture

4.

Dr. John Mathai

Industries & Supplies

5.

Jagjivan Ram

Labour

6.

Sardar Baldev Singh

Defence

7.

C.H. Bhabha

Works, Mines & Power

8.

Liaquat Ali Khan

Finance

9.

Abdur Rab Nishtar

Posts & Air

10.

Asaf Ali

Railways & Transport

11.

C. Rajagopalachari

Education & Arts

12.

I.I. Chundrigar

Commerce

13.

Ghaznafar Ali Khan

Health

14.

Joginder Nath Mandal

Law

Note: The members of the interim government were members of the Viceroys Executive Council. The Viceroy continued to be the
head of the Council. But, Jawaharlal Nehru was designated as the Vice-President of the Council.

Table 1.2 First Cabinet of Free India (1947)


Sl. No.

Members

Portfolios Held

1.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Prime Minister; External Affairs & Commonwealth Relations; Scientific Research

2.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Home, Information & Broadcasting; States

3.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad

Food & Agriculture

4.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

Education

5.

Dr. John Mathai

Railways & Transport

6.

R.K. Shanmugham Chetty

Finance

7.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Law

8.

Jagjivan Ram

Labour

9.

Sardar Baldev Singh

Defence

10.

Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur

Health

11.

C.H. Bhabha

Commerce

12.

Rafi Ahmed Kidwai

Communication

13.

Dr. Shyam Prasad Mukherji

Industries & Supplies

14.

V.N. Gadgil

Works, Mines & Power

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

The Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam, granted Diwani to the Company after its victory in the
Battle of Buxar (1764).
2. It was introduced in the British Parliament by the then Prime Minister, William Pitt.
3. At that time, the Civil Services of the company were classified into covenanted civil services
(higher civil services) and uncovenan-ted civil services (lower civil services). The former
was created by a law of the Company, while the later was created otherwise.
4. Subhash C. Kashyap, Our Constitution, National Book Trust, Third Edition, 2001, P. 14.
5. The system of Budget was introduced in British India in 1860.
6. V. N. Shukla, The Constitution of India, Eastern Book Company, Tenth Edition, 2001, P. A10.
7. The declaration thus stated: The policy of His Majestys Government is that of the increasing
association of Indians in every branch of the administration, and the gradual development of
self-government institutions, with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible
government in India as an integral part of the British Empire.
8. This was done on the recommendation of the Lee Commission on Superior Civil Services in
India (192324).
9. The Indian Independence Bill was introduced in the British Parliament on July 4, 1947 and
received the Royal Assent on July 18, 1947. The act came into force on August 15, 1947.
10. The boundaries between the two Dominions were determined by a Boundary Commission
headed by Radcliff. Pakistan included the provinces of West Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan, East
Bengal, North-Western Frontier Province and the district of Sylhet in Assam. The referendum

in the North-Western Frontier Province and Sylhet was in favour of Pakistan.

t was in 1934 that the idea of a Constituent Assembly for India was put forward for the first time
by M. N. Roy, a pioneer of communist movement in India and an advocate of radical
democratism. In 1935, the Indian National Congress (INC), for the first time, officially demanded
a Constituent Assembly to frame the Constitution of India. In 1938, Jawaharlal Nehru, on behalf the
INC declared that the Constitution of free India must be framed, without outside interference, by a
Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise.
The demand was finally accepted in principle by the British Government in what is known as the
August Offer of 1940. In 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps, a member of the cabinet, came to India with a
draft proposal of the British Government on the framing of an independent Constitution to be adopted
after the World War II. The Cripps Proposals were rejected by the Muslim League which wanted
India to be divided into two autonomous states with two separate Constituent Assemblies. Finally, a
Cabi-net Mission1 was sent to India. While it rejected the idea of two Constituent Assemblies, it put
forth a scheme for the Constituent Assembly which more or less satisfied the Muslim League.

COMPOSITION OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY


The Constituent Assembly was constituted in November 1946 under the scheme formulated by the
Cabinet Mission Plan. The features of the scheme were:
1. The total strength of the Constituent Assembly was to be 389. Of these, 296 seats were to be
allotted to British India and 93 seats to the Princely States. Out of 296 seats allotted to the
British India, 292 members were to be drawn from the eleven governors provinces 2 and four
from the four chief commissioners provinces3, one from each.
2. Each province and princely state (or group of states in case of small states) were to be
allotted seats in proportion to their respective population. Roughly, one seat was to be
allotted for every million population.
3. Seats allocated to each British province were to be decided among the three principal

communitiesMuslims, Sikhs and general (all except Muslims and Sikhs), in proportion to
their population.
4. The representatives of each community were to be elected by members of that community in
the provincial legislative assembly and voting was to be by the method of proportional
representation by means of single transferable vote.
5. The representatives of princely states were to be nominated by the heads of the princely
states.
It is thus clear that the Constituent Assembly was to be a partly elected and partly nominated body.
Moreover, the members were to be indirectly elected by the members of the provincial assemblies,
who themselves were elected on a limited franchise4.
The elections to the Constituent Assembly (for 296 seats allotted to the British Indian Provinces)
were held in JulyAugust 1946. The Indian National Congress won 208 seats, the Muslim League 73
seats, and the small groups and independents got the remaining 15 seats. However, the 93 seats
allotted to the princely states were not filled as they decided to stay away from the Constituent
Assembly.
Although the Constituent Assembly was not directly elected by the people of India on the basis of
adult franchise, the Assembly comprised representatives of all sections of Indian SocietyHindus,
Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, AngloIndians, Indian Christians, SCs, STs including women of all these
sections. The Assembly included all important personalities of India at that time, with the exception
of Mahatma Gandhi and M A Jinnah.

WORKING OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY


The Constituent Assembly held its first meeting on December 9, 1946. The Muslim League boycotted
the meeting and insisted on a separate state of Pakistan. The meeting was thus attended by only 211
members. Dr Sachchidan-and Sinha, the oldest member, was elected as the temporary President of
the Assembly, following the French practice.
Later, on December 11, 1946, Dr Rajendra Prasad and H C Mukherjee were elected as the President
and Vice-President of the Assembly respectively. Sir B N Rau was appointed as the Constitutional
advisor to the Assembly.

Objectives Resolution
On December 13, 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru moved the historic Objectives Resolution in the
Assembly. It laid down the fundamentals and philosophy of the constitutional structure. It read:
1. This Constituent Assembly declares its firm and solemn resolve to proclaim India as an
Independent Sovereign Republic and to draw up for her future governance a Constitution:
2. Wherein the territories that now comprise British India, the territories that now form the
Indian States, and such other parts of India as are outside India and the States as well as other
territories as are willing to be constituted into the independent sovereign India, shall be a
Union of them all; and
3. wherein the said territories, whether with their present boundaries or with such others as may

be determined by the Constituent Assembly and thereafter according to the law of the
Constitution, shall possess and retain the status of autonomous units together with residuary
powers and exercise all powers and functions of Government and administration save and
except such powers and functions as are vested in or assigned to the Union or as are inherent
or implied in the Union or resulting therefrom; and
4. wherein all power and authority of the Sovereign Independent India, its constituent parts and
organs of Government are derived from the people; and
5. wherein shall be guaranteed and secured to all the people of India justice, social, economic
and political; equality of status of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought,
expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action, subject to law and public
morality; and
6. wherein adequate safeguards shall be provided for minorities, backward and tribal areas, and
depressed and other backward classes; and
7. whereby shall be maintained the integrity of the territory of the Republic and its sovereign
rights on land, sea and air according to justice and the law of civilized nations; and
8. This ancient land attains its rightful and honoured place in the world and makes its full and
willing contribution to the promotion of world peace and the welfare of mankind.
This Resolution was unanimously adopted by the Assembly on January 22, 1947. It influenced the
eventual shaping of the constitution through all its subsequent stages. Its modified version forms the
Preamble of the present Constitution.

Changes by the Independence Act


The representatives of the princely states, who had stayed away from the Constituent Assembly,
gradually joined it. On April 28, 1947, representatives of the six states 5 were part of the Assembly.
After the acceptance of the Mountbatten Plan of June 3, 1947 for a partition of the country, the
representatives of most of the other princely states took their seats in the Assembly. The members of
the Muslim League from the Indian Dominion also entered the Assembly.
The Indian Independence Act of 1947 made the following three changes in the position of the
Assembly:
1. The Assembly was made a fully sovereign body, which could frame any Constitution it
pleased. The act empowered the Assembly to abrogate or alter any law made by the British
Parliament in relation to India.
2. The Assembly also became a legislative body. In other words, two separate functions were
assigned to the Assembly, that is, making of a constitution for free India and enacting of
ordinary laws for the country. These two tasks were to be performed on separate days. Thus,
the Assembly became the first Parliament of free India (Dominion Legislature). Whenever the
Assembly met as the Constituent body it was chaired by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and when it met
as the legislative body6, it was chaired by G V Mavlankar. These two functions continued till
November 26, 1949, when the task of making the Constitution was over.
3.

The Muslim League members (hailing from the areas7 included in the Pakistan) withdrew
from the Constituent Assembly for India. Consequently, the total strength of the Assembly

came down to 299 as against 389 originally fixed in 1946 under the Cabinet Mission Plan.
The strength of the Indian provinces (formerly British Provinces) was reduced from 296 to
229 and those of the princely states from 93 to 70. The state-wise membership of the
Assembly as on December 31, 1947, is shown in Table 2.1 at the end of this chapter.

Other Functions Performed


In addition to the making of the Constitution and enacting of ordinary laws, the Constituent Assembly
also performed the following functions:
1. It ratified the Indias membership of the Commonwealth in May 1949.
2. It adopted the national flag on July 22, 1947.
3. It adopted the national anthem on January 24, 1950.
4. It adopted the national song on January 24, 1950.
5. It elected Dr Rajendra Prasad as the first President of India on January 24, 1950.
In all, the Constituent Assembly had 11 sessions over two years, 11 months and 18 days. The
Constitution-makers had gone through the constitutions of about 60 countries, and the Draft
Constitution was considered for 114 days. The total expenditure incurred on making the Constitution
amounted to ` 64 lakh.
On January 24, 1950, the Constituent Assembly held its final session. It, however, did not end, and
continued as the provisional parliament of India from January 26, 1950 till the formation of new
Parliament8 after the first general elections in 195152.

COMMITTEES OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY


The Constituent Assembly appointed a number of committees to deal with different tasks of
constitution-making. Out of these, eight were major committees and the others were minor
committees. The names of these committees and their chairmen are given below :

Major Committees
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Union Powers Committee Jawaharlal Nehru


Union Constitution Committee Jawaharlal Nehru
Provincial Constitution Committee Sardar Patel
Drafting Committee Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas
Sardar Patel. This committee had the following sub-committes:
(a) Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee J.B. Kripalani
(b) Minorities Sub-Committee H.C. Mukherjee
(c) North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam Excluded & Partially Excluded Areas SubCommittee Gopinath Bardoloi
(d) Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (Other than those in Assam) Sub-Committee
A.V. Thakkar

6.
7.
8.

Rules of Procedure Committee Dr. Rajendra Prasad


States Committee (Committee for Negotiating with States) Jawaharlal Nehru
Steering Committee Dr. Rajendra Prasad

Minor Committees
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.

Committee on the Functions of the Constituent Assembly G.V. Mavalankar


Order of Business Committee Dr. K.M. Munshi
House Committee B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
Ad-hoc Committee on the National Flag Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Special Committee to Examine the Draft Constitution Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar
Credentials Committee Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar
Finance and Staff Committee Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
Hindi Translation Committee
Urdu Translation Committee
Press Gallery Committee
Committee to Examine the Effect of Indian Independence Act of 1947
Committee on Chief Commissioners Provinces B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya.
Commission on Linguistic Provinces
Expert Committee on Financial Provisions
Ad-hoc Committee on the Supreme Court S. Varadachariar.

Drafting Committee
Among all the committees of the Constituent Assembly, the most important committee was the
Drafting Committee set up on August 29, 1947. It was this committee that was entrusted with the task
of preparing a draft of the new Constitution. It consisted of seven members. They were:
1. Dr B R Ambedkar (Chairman)
2. N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar
3. Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar
4. Dr K M Munshi
5. Syed Mohammad Saadullah
6. N Madhava Rau (He replaced B L Mitter who resigned due to ill-health)
7. T T Krishnamachari (He replaced D P Khaitan who died in 1948)
The Drafting Committee, after taking into consideration the proposals of the various committees,
prepared the first draft of the Constitution of India, which was published in February 1948. The
people of India were given eight months to discuss the draft and propose amendments. In the light of
the public comments, criticisms and suggestions, the Drafting Committee prepared a second draft,
which was published in October 1948.
The Drafting Committee took less than six months to prepare its draft. In all it sat only for 141 days.

ENACTMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION


Dr B R Ambedkar introduced the final draft of the Constitution in the Assembly on November 4, 1948
(first reading). The Assembly had a general discussion on it for five days (till November 9, 1948).
The second reading (clause by clause consid-eration) started on November 15, 1948 and end-ed on
October 17, 1949. During this stage, as many as 7653 amendments were proposed and 2473 were
actually discussed in the Assembly.
The third reading of the draft started on November 14, 1949. Dr B R Ambedkar moved a motion
the Constitution as settled by the Assembly be passed. The motion on Draft Constitution was
declared as passed on November 26, 1949, and received the signatures of the members and the
president. Out of a total 299 members of the Assembly, only 284 were actually present on that day
and signed the Constitution. This is also the date mentioned in the Preamble as the date on which the
people of India in the Constituent Assembly adopted, enacted and gave to themselves this
Constitution.
The Constitution as adopted on November 26, 1949, contained a Preamble, 395 Articles and 8
Schedules. The Preamble was enacted after the entire Constitution was already enacted.
Dr B R Ambedkar, the then Law Minister, piloted the Draft Constitution in the Assembly. He took a
very prominent part in the deliberations of the Assembly. He was known for his logical, forceful and
persuasive arguments on the floor of the Assembly. He is recognised as the Father of the Constitution
of India. This brilliant writer, constitutional expert, undisputed leader of the scheduled castes and the
chief architect of the Constitution of India is also known as a Modern Manu.

ENFORCEMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION


Some provisions of the Constitution pertaining to citizenship, elections, provisional parliament,
temporary and transitional provisions, and short title contained in Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 324, 366,
367, 379, 380, 388, 391, 392 and 393 came into force on November 26, 1949 itself.
The remaining provisions (the major part) of the Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950.
This day is referred to in the Constitution as the date of its commencement, and celebrated as the
Republic Day.
January 26 was specifically chosen as the date of commencement of the Constitution because of its
historical importance. It was on this day in 1930 that Purna Swaraj day was celebrated, following
the resolution of the Lahore Session (December 1929) of the INC.
With the commencement of the Constitution, the Indian Independence Act of 1947 and the Government
of India Act of 1935, with all enactments amending or supplementing the latter Act, were repealed.
The Abolition of Privy Council Jurisdiction Act (1949) was however continued.

CRITICISM OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY


The critics have criticised the Constituent Assembly on various grounds. These are as follows:
1. Not a Representative Body: The critics have argued that the Constituent Assembly was not a
representative body as its members were not directly elected by the people of India on the

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

basis of universal adult franchise.


Not a Sovereign Body: The critics maintained that the Constituent Assembly was not a
sovereign body as it was created by the proposals of the British Government. Further, they
said that the Assembly held its sessions with the permission of the British Government.
Time Consuming: According to the critics, the Constituent Assembly took unduly long time to
make the Constitution. They stated that the framers of the American Constitution took only four
months to complete their work.
Dominated by Congress: The critics charged that the Constituent Assembly was dominated by
the Congress party. Granville Austin, a British Constitutional expert, remarked: The
Constituent Assembly was a one-party body in an essentially one-party country. The
Assembly was the Congress and the Congress was India9.
LawyerPolitician Domination: It is also maintained by the critics that the Constituent
Assembly was dominated by lawyers and politicians. They pointed out that other sections of
the society were not sufficiently represented. This, to them, is the main reason for the
bulkiness and complicated language of the Constitution.
Dominated by Hindus: According to some critics, the Constituent Assembly was a Hindu
dominated body. Lord Viscount Simon called it a body of Hindus. Similarly, Winston
Churchill commented that the Constituent Assembly represented only one major community in
India.

Table 2.1 Statewise Membership of the Constituent Assembly of India as on December 31, 1947
S.No.
A.

B.

Name

No. of Members

Provinces (Indian Provinces)229


1. Madras

49

2. Bombay

21

3. West Bengal

19

4. United Provinces

55

5. East Punjab

12

6. Bihar

36

7. C.P. and Berar

17

8. Assam

9. Orissa

10. Delhi

11. Ajmer-Merwara

12. Coorg

Indian States (Princely States)70

1. Alwar

2. Baroda

3. Bhopal

4. Bikaner

5. Cochin

6. Gwalior

7. Indore

8. Jaipur

9. Jodhpur

10. Kolhapur

11. Kotah

12. Mayurbhanj

13. Mysore

14. Patiala

15. Rewa

16. Travancore

17. Udaipur

18. Sikkim and Cooch Behar Group

19. Tripura, Manipur and Khasi States Group

20. U.P. States Group

21. Eastern Rajputana States Group

22. Central India States Group (including Bundelkhand and Malwa)

23. Western India States Group

24. Gujarat States Group

25. Deccan and Madras States Group

26. Punjab States Group

27. Eastern States Group I

28. Eastern States Group II

29. Residuary States Group

4
Total 299

Table 2.2 Sessions of the Constituent Assembly at a Glance

Sessions

Period

First Session

923 December, 1946

Second Session

2025 January, 1947

Third Session

28 April2 May, 1947

Fourth Session

1431 July, 1947

Fifth Session

1430 August, 1947

Sixth Session

27 January, 1948

Seventh Session

4 November, 19488 January, 1949

Eighth Session

16 May16 June, 1949

Ninth Session

30 July18 September, 1949

Tenth Session

617 October, 1949

Eleventh Session

1426 November, 1949

Note: The Assembly met once again on 24 January, 1950, when the members appended their signatures to the Constitution of India.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

The Cabinet Mission consisting of three members (Lord Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford
Cripps and A V Alexander) arrived in India on March 24, 1946. The Cabinet Mission
published its plan on May 16, 1946.
These include Madras, Bombay, U P , Bihar, Central Provinces, Orissa, Punjab, NWFP,
Sindh, Bengal and Assam.
These include Delhi, AjmerMerwara, Coorg and British Baluchistan.
The Government of India Act of 1935 granted limited franchise on the basis of tax, property
and education.
These include Baroda, Bikaner, Jaipur, Patiala, Rewa and Udaipur.
For the first time, the Constituent Assembly met as Dominion Legislature on November 17,
1947 and elected G V Mavlankar as its speaker.
These are West Punjab, East Bengal, NWFP, Sindh, Baluchistan and Sylhet District of Assam.
A separate Constituent Assembly was set up for Pakistan.
The Provisional Parliament ceased to exist on April 17, 1952. The first elected Parliament
with the two Houses came into being in May 1952.
Granville Austin, The Indian ConstitutionCornerstone of a Nation, Oxford, 1966, P. 8.

INTRODUCTION

he Indian Constitution is unique in its contents and spirit. Though borrowed from almost every
constitution of the world, the constitution of India has several salient features that distinguish
it from the constitutions of other countries.
It should be noted at the outset that a number of original features of the Constitution (as adopted in
1949) have undergone a substantial change, on account of several amendments, particularly 7th, 42nd,
44th, 73rd and 74th Amendments. In fact, the 42nd Amendment Act (1976) is known as MiniConstitution due to the important and large number of changes made by it in various parts of the
Constitution. However, in the Kesavananda Bharati case1 (1973), the Supreme Court ruled that the
constituent power of Parliament under Article 368 does not enable it to alter the basic structure of
the Constitution.

SALIENT F EATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION


The salient features of the Constitution, as it stands today, are as follows:

1. Lengthiest Written Constitution


Constitutions are classified into written, like the American Constitution, or unwritten, like the British
Constitution. The Constitution of India is the lengthiest of all the written constitutions of the world. It
is a very comprehensive, elaborate and detailed document.
Originally (1949), the Constitution contained a Preamble, 395 Articles (divided into 22 Parts) and 8
Schedules. Presently (2013), it consists of a Preamble, about 465 Articles (divided into 25 Parts) and
12 Schedules2. The various amendments carried out since 1951 have deleted about 20 Articles and
one Part (VII) and added about 85 Articles, four Parts (IVA, IXA, IXB and XIVA) and four Schedules
(9, 10, 11 and 12). No other Constitution in the world has so many Articles and Schedules3.
Four factors have contributed to the elephantine size of our Constitution. They are:

(a) Geographical factors, that is, the vastness of the country and its diversity.
(b) Historical factors, e.g., the influence of the Government of India Act of 1935, which was
bulky.
(c) Single Constitution for both the Centre and the states except Jammu and Kashmir4.
(d) Dominance of legal luminaries in the Constituent Assembly.
The Constitution contains not only the fundamental principles of governance but also detailed
administrative provisions. Further, those matters which in other modern democratic countries have
been left to the ordinary legislation or established political conventions have also been included in
the constitutional document itself in India.

2. Drawn From Various Sources


The Constitution of India has borrowed most of its provisions from the constitutions of various other
countries as well as from the Government of India Act5 of 1935. Dr B R Ambedkar proudly
acclaimed that the Constitution of India has been framed after ransacking all the known Constitutions
of the World6.
The structural part of the Constitution is, to a large extent, derived from the Government of India Act
of 1935. The philosophical part of the Constitution (the Fundamental Rights and the Directive
Principles of State Policy) derive their inspiration from the American and Irish Constitutions
respectively. The political part of the Constitution (the principle of Cabinet Government and the
relations between the executive and the legislature) have been largely drawn from the British
Constitution7.
The other provisions of the Constitution have been drawn from the constitutions of Canada, Australia,
Germany, USSR (now Russia), France, South Africa, Japan, and so on8.
However, the criticism that the Indian Constitution is a borrowed Constitution, a patchwork and
contains nothing new and original is unfair and illogical. This is because, the framers of the
Constitution made necessary modifications in the features borrowed from other constitutions for their
suitability to the Indian conditions, at the same time avoiding their faults9.

3. Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility


Constitutions are also classified into rigid and flexible. A rigid Constitution is one that requires a
special procedure for its amendment, as for example, the American Constitution. A flexible
constitution, on the other hand, is one that can be amended in the same manner as the ordinary laws
are made, as for example, the British Constitution.
The Constitution of India is neither rigid nor flexible but a synthesis of both. Article 368 provides for
two types of amendments:
(a) Some provisions can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament, i.e., a two-third
majority of the members of each House present and voting, and a majority (that is, more than
50 per cent), of the total membership of each House.
(b) Some other provisions can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament and with the
ratification by half of the total states.

At the same time, some provisions of the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the
Parliament in the manner of ordinary legislative process. Notably, these amendments do not come
under Article 368.

4. Federal System with Unitary Bias


The Constitution of India establishes a federal system of government. It contains all the usual features
of a federation, viz., two government, division of powers, written Constitution, super-macy of
Constitution, rigidity of Constitution, independent judiciary and bicameralism.
However, the Indian Constitution also contains a large number of unitary or non-federal features, viz.,
a strong Centre, single Constitution, single citizenship, flexibility of Constitution, integrated judiciary,
appointment of state governor by the Centre, all-India services, emergency provisions, and so on.
Moreover, the term Federation has nowhere been used in the Constitution. Article 1, on the other
hand, describes India as a Union of States which implies two things: one, Indian Federation is not
the result of an agreement by the states; and two, no state has the right to secede from the federation.
Hence, the Indian Constitution has been variously described as federal in form but unitary in spirit,
quasi-federal by K C Wheare, bargaining federalism by Morris Jones, co-operative federalism
by Granville Austin, federation with a centralising tendency by Ivor Jennings, and so on.

5. Parliamentary Form of Government


The Constitution of India has opted for the British parliamentary System of Government rather than
American Presidential System of Government. The parliamentary system is based on the principle of
cooperation and co-ordination between the legislative and executive organs while the presidential
system is based on the doctrine of separation of powers between the two organs.
The parliamentary system is also known as the Westminster 10 model of government, res-ponsible
government and cabinet government. The Constitution establishes the parliamentary system not only at
the Centre but also in the states. The features of parliamentary government in India are:
(a) Presence of nominal and real executives;
(b) Majority party rule,
(c) Collective responsibility of the executive to the legislature,
(d) Membership of the ministers in the legislature,
(e) Leadership of the prime minister or the chief minister,
(f) Dissolution of the lower House (Lok Sabha or Assembly).
Even though the Indian Parliamentary System is largely based on the British pattern, there are some
fundamental differences between the two. For example, the Indian Parliament is not a sovereign body
like the British Parliament. Further, the Indian State has an elected head (republic) while the British
State has hereditary head (monarchy).
In a parliamentary system whether in India or Britain, the role of the Prime Minister has become so
significant and crucial that the political scientists like to call it a Prime Ministerial Government.

6. Synthesis of Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy

The doctrine of sovereignty of Parliament is associated with the British Parliament while the
principle of judicial supremacy with that of the American Supreme Court.
Just as the Indian parliamentary system differs from the British system, the scope of judicial review
power of the Supreme Court in India is narrower than that of what exists in US. This is because the
American Constitution provides for due process of law against that of procedure established by
law contained in the Indian Constitution (Article 21).
Therefore, the framers of the Indian Constitution have preferred a proper synthesis between the
British principle of parliamentary sovereignty and the American principle of judicial supremacy. The
Supreme Court, on the one hand, can declare the parliamentary laws as unconstitutional through its
power of judicial review. The Parliament, on the other hand, can amend the major portion of the
Constitution through its constituent power.

7. Integrated and Independent Judiciary


The Indian Constitution establishes a judicial system that is integrated as well as independent.
The Supreme Court stands at the top of the integrated judicial system in the country. Below it, there
are high courts at the state level. Under a high court, there is a hierarchy of subordinate courts, that is,
district courts and other lower courts. This single system of courts enforces both the central laws as
well as the state laws, unlike in USA, where the federal laws are enforced by the federal judiciary
and the state laws are enforced by the state judiciary.
The Supreme Court is a federal court, the highest court of appeal, the guarantor of the fundamental
rights of the citizens and the guardian of the Constitution. Hence, the Constitution has made various
provisions to ensure its independencesecurity of tenure of the judges, fixed service conditions for
the judges, all the expenses of the Supreme Court charged on the Consolidated Fund of India,
prohibition on discussion on the conduct of judges in the legislatures, ban on practice after retirement,
power to punish for its contempt vested in the Supreme Court, separation of the judiciary from the
executive, and so on.

8. Fundamental Rights
Part III of the Indian Constitution guarantees six11 fundamental rights to all the citizens:
(a) Right to Equality (Articles 1418),
(b) Right to Freedom (Articles 1922),
(c) Right against Exploitation (Articles 2324),
(d) Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 2528),
(e) Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 2930), and
(f) Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32).
The Fundamental Rights are meant for promoting the idea of political democracy. They operate as
limitations on the tyranny of the executive and arbitrary laws of the legislature. They are justiciable in
nature, that is, they are enforceable by the courts for their violation. The aggrieved person can
directly go to the Supreme Court which can issue the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition,
certiorari and quo warranto for the restoration of his rights.

However, the Fundamental Rights are not absolute and subject to reasonable restrictions. Further,
they are not sacrosanct and can be curtailed or repealed by the Parliament through a constitutional
amendment act. They can also be suspended during the operation of a National Emergency except the
rights guaranteed by Articles 20 and 21.

9. Directive Principles of State Policy


According to Dr B R Ambedkar, the Directive Principles of State Policy is a novel feature of the
Indian Constitution. They are enumerated in Part IV of the Constitution. They can be classified into
three broad categoriessocialistic, Gandhian and liberalintellectual.
The directive principles are meant for promoting the ideal of social and economic democracy. They
seek to establish a welfare state in India. However, unlike the Funda-mental Rights, the directives
are non-justiciable in nature, that is, they are not enforceable by the courts for their violation. Yet, the
Const-itution itself declares that these principles are fundamental in the governance of the country
and it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws. Hence, they impose a
moral obligation on the state author-ities for their application. But, the real force (sanction) behind
them is political, that is, public opinion.
In the Minerva Mills case12 (1980), the Supreme Court held that the Indian Constitution is founded
on the bedrock of the balance between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles.

10. Fundamental Duties


The original constitution did not provide for the fundamental duties of the citizens. These were added
during the operation of internal emergency (197577) by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of
1976 on the recommendation of the Swaran Singh Committee. The 86th Constitutional Amendment
Act of 2002 added one more fundamental duty.
The Part IV-A of the Constitution (which consists of only one Article51-A) specifies the eleven
Fundamental Duties viz., to respect the Constitution, national flag and national anthem; to protect the
sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country; to promote the spirit of common brotherhood amongst
all the people; to preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture and so on.
The fundamental duties serve as a reminder to citizens that while enjoying their rights, they have also
to be quite conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society and to their fellow-citizens.
However, like the Directive Principles, the duties are also non-justiciable in nature.

11. A Secular State


The Constitution of India stands for a secular state. Hence, it does not uphold any particular religion
as the official religion of the Indian State. The following provisions of the Constitution reveal the
secular character of the Indian State:
(a) The term secular was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd
Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
(b) The Preamble secures to all citizens of India liberty of belief, faith and worship.
(c) The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws
(Article 14).

(d) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on the ground of religion (Article 15).
(e) Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of public employment (Article 16).
(f) All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess,
practice and propagate any religion (Article 25).
(g) Every religious denomination or any of its section shall have the right to manage its religious
affairs (Article 26).
(h) No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion of a particular religion
(Article 27).
(i) No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution maintained by the
State (Article 28).
(j) Any section of the citizens shall have the right to conserve its distinct language, script or
culture (Article 29).
(k) All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their
choice (Article 30).
(l) The State shall endeavour to secure for all the citizens a Uniform Civil Code (Article 44).
The Western concept of secularism connotes a complete separation between the religion (the church)
and the state (the politics). This negative concept of secularism is inapplicable in the Indian situation
where the society is multireligious. Hence, the Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of
secularism, i.e., giving equal respect to all religions or protecting all religions equally.
Moreover, the Constitution has also abolished the old system of communal representation13, that is,
reservation of seats in the legislatures on the basis of religion. However, it provides for the
temporary reservation of seats for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to ensure adequate
representation to them.

12. Universal Adult Franchise


The Indian Constitution adopts universal adult franchise as a basis of elections to the Lok Sabha and
the state legislative assemblies. Every citizen who is not less than 18 years of age has a right to vote
without any discrimination of caste, race, religion, sex, literacy, wealth, and so on. The voting age
was reduced to 18 years from 21 years in 1989 by the 61st Constitutional Amendment Act of 1988.
The introduction of universal adult franchise by the Constitution-makers was a bold experiment and
highly remarkable in view of the vast size of the country, its huge population, high poverty, social
inequality and overwhelming illiteracy.14
Universal adult franchise makes democracy broad-based, enhances the self-respect and prestige of
the common people, upholds the principle of equality, enables minorities to protect their interests and
opens up new hopes and vistas for weaker sections.

13. Single Citizenship


Though the Indian Constitution is federal and envisages a dual polity (Centre and states), it provides
for only a single citizenship, that is, the Indian citizenship.
In countries like USA, on the other hand, each person is not only a citizen of USA but also a citizen of

the particular state to which he belongs. Thus, he owes allegiance to both and enjoys dual sets of
rightsone conferred by the National government and another by the state government.
In India, all citizens irrespective of the state in which they are born or reside enjoy the same political
and civil rights of citizenship all over the country and no discrimination is made between them
excepting in few cases like tribal areas, Jammu and Kashmir, and so on.
Despite the constitutional provision for a single citizenship and uniform rights for all the people,
India has been witnessing the communal riots, class conflicts, caste wars, linguistic clashes and
ethnic disputes. This means that the cherished goal of the Constitution-makers to build an united and
integrated Indian nation has not been fully realised.

14. Independent Bodies


The Indian Constitution not only provides for the legislative, executive and judicial organs of the
government (Central and state) but also establishes certain independent bodies. They are envisaged
by the Constitution as the bulworks of the democratic system of Government in India. These are:
(a) Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections to the Parliament, the state legislatures,
the office of President of India and the office of Vice-president of India.
(b) Comptroller and Auditor-General of India to audit the accounts of the Central and state
governments. He acts as the guardian of public purse and comments on the legality and
propriety of government expenditure.
(c) Union Public Service Commission to conduct examinations for recruitment to all-India
services15 and higher Central services and to advise the President on disciplinary matters.
(d) State Public Service Commission in every state to conduct examinations for recruitment to
state services and to advice the governor on disciplinary matters.
The Constitution ensures the independence of these bodies through various provisions like security of
tenure, fixed service conditions, expenses being charged on the Consolidated Fund of India, and so
on.

15. Emergency Provisions


The Indian Constitution contains eleborate emergency provisions to enable the President to meet any
extraordinary situation effectively. The rationality behind the incorporation of these provisions is to
safeguard the sovereignty, unity, integrity and security of the country, the democratic political system
and the Constitution.
The Constitution envisages three types of emergencies, namely:
(a) National emergency on the ground of war or external aggression or armed rebellion16 (Article
352);
(b) State emergency (Presidents Rule) on the ground of failure of Constitutional machinery in the
states (Article 356) or failure to comply with the directions of the Centre (Article 365); and
(c) Financial emergency on the ground of threat to the financial stability or credit of India (Article
360).
During an emergency, the Central Government becomes all-powerful and the states go into the total

control of the centre. It converts the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment of
the Constitution. This kind of transformation of the political system from federal (during normal
times) to unitary (during emergency) is a unique feature of the Indian Constitution.

16. Three-tier Government


Originally, the Indian Constitution, like any other federal constitution, provided for a dual polity and
contained provisions with regard to the organisation and powers of the Centre and the states. Later,
the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts (1992) have added a third-tier of government (i.e.,
local) which is not found in any other Constitution of the world.
The 73rd Amendment Act of 1992 gave constitutional recognition to the panchayats (rural local
governments) by adding a new Part IX17 and a new Schedule 11 to the Constitution. Similarly, the
74th Amendment Act of 1992 gave constitutional. recognition to the municipalities (urban local
governments) by adding a new Part IX-A18 and a new Schedule 12 to the Constitution.
Table 3.1 The Constitution of India at a Glance
Parts

Subject Matter
I The Union and its territory
II Citizenship

Articles Covered
1 to 4
5 to 11

III Fundamental Rights

12 to 35

IV Directive Principles of State Policy

36 to 51

IV-A Fundamental Duties


V The Union Government

51-A
52 to 151

Chapter I The Executive

52 to 78

Chapter II Parliament

79 to 122

Chapter III Legislative Powers of President

123

Chapter IV The Union Judiciary

124 to 147

Chapter V Comptroller and Auditor-General of India

148 to 151

VI The State Governments

152 to 237

Chapter I General

152

Chapter II The Executive

153 to 167

Chapter III The State Legislature

168 to 212

Chapter IV Legislative Powers of Governor

213

Chapter V The High Courts

214 to 232

Chapter VI Subordinate Courts

233 to 237

VIII The Union Territories

239 to 242

IX The Panchayats

243 to 243-0

IX-A The Municipalities

243-P to 243-ZG

IX-B The Co-operative Societies

243-ZH to 243-ZT

X The Scheduled and Tribal Areas


XI Relations between the Union and the States

244 to 244-A
245 to 263

Chapter I Legislative Relations

245 to 255

Chapter II Administrative Relations

256 to 263

XII Finance, Property, Contracts and Suits

264 to 300-A

Chapter I Finance

264 to 291

Chapter II Borrowing

292 to 293

Chapter III Property, Contracts, Rights, Liabilities, Obligations and Suits

294 to 300

Chapter IV Right to Property

300-A

XIII Trade, Commerce and Intercourse within the Territory of India

301 to 307

XIV Services under the Union and the States

308 to 323

Chapter I Services

308 to 314

Chapter II Public Service Commissions

315 to 323

XIV-A Tribunals
XV Elections
XVI Special Provisions relating to Certain Classes
XVII Official Language

323-A to 323-B
324 to 329-A
330 to 342
343 to 351

Chapter I Language of the Union

343 to 344

Chapter II Regional Languages

345 to 347

Chapter IIILanguage of the Supreme Court, High Courts, and so on

348 to 349

Chapter IVSpecial Directives

350 to 351

XVIII Emergency Provisions


XIX Miscellaneous
XX Amendment of the Constitution
XXI Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions
XXII Short title, Commencement, Authoritative Text in Hindi and Repeals

352 to 360
361 to 367
368
369 to 392
393 to 395

Note: Part VII (dealing with Part-B states) was deleted by the 7th Amendment Act (1956). On the other hand, both Part IV-A and Part
XIV-A were added by the 42nd Amendment Act (1976), while Part IX-A was added by the 74th Amendment Act (1992), and Part IX-B
was added by the 97th Amendment Act (2011).

Table 3.2 Important Articles of the Constitution at a Glance


Articles

Deals with

1 Name and territory of the Union


3 Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states
13 Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights
14 Equality before law
16 Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
17 Abolition of untouchability
19 Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.
21 Protection of life and personal liberty
21A Right to elementary education
25 Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
30 Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
31C Saving of laws giving effect to certain directive principles
32 Remedies for enforcement of fundamental rights including writs
38 State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people
40 Organisation of village panchayats
44 Uniform civil code for the citizens
45 Provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of 6 years.
46 Promotion of educational and economic interests of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections
50 Separation of judiciary from executive
51 Promotion of international peace and security
51A Fundamental duties
72 Power of president to grant pardons, etc., and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases
74 Council of ministers to aid and advise the president
78 Duties of prime minister as respects the furnishing of information to the president, etc.
110 Definition of Money Bills
112 Annual financial statement (Budget)
123 Power of president to promulgate ordinances during recess of Parliament
143 Power of president to consult Supreme Court
155 Appointment of governor

161 Power of governor to grant pardons, etc., and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases
163 Council of ministers to aid and advise the governor
167 Duties of chief minister with regard to the furnishing of information to governor, etc.
169 Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states
200 Assent to bills by governor (including reservation for President)
213 Power of governor to promulgate ordinances during recess of the state legislature
226 Power of high courts to issue certain writs
239AA Special provisions with respect to Delhi
249 Power of Parliament to legislate with respect to a matter in the State List in the national interest
262 Adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-state rivers or river valleys
263 Provisions with respect to an inter-state council
265 Taxes not to be imposed save by authority of law
275 Grants from the Union to certain states
280 Finance Commission
300 Suits and proceedings
300A Persons not to be deprived of property save by authority of law (Right to property)
311 Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a state.
312 All-India Services
315 Public service commissions for the Union and for the states
320 Functions of Public service commissions
323-A Administrative tribunals
324 Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission
330 Reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the House of the People
335 Claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to services and posts
352 Proclamation of Emergency (National Emergency)
356 Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in states (Presidents Rule)
360 Provisions as to financial emergency.
365 Effect of failure to comply with, or to give effect to, directions given by the Union (Presidents Rule)
368 Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefor
370 Temporary provisions with respect to the state of Jammu and Kashmir

Table 3.3 Schedules of the Constitution at a Glance

Numbers Subjext Matter

Articles
Covered

1.
First
Schedule

1 and 4

2.

Names of the States and their territorial jurisdiction.


Names of the Union Territories and their extent.

Provisions relating to the emoluments, allowances, privileges and so on of:


Second
Schedule

1.

The President of India

2.

The Governors of States

3.

The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha

4.

The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha

5.

The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in the states

6.

The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council in the states

7.

The Judges of the Supreme Court

8.

The Judges of the High Courts

9.

The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India

Forms of Oaths or Affirmations for:


Third
Schedule

1.

The Union ministers

2.

The candidates for election to the Parliament

3.

The members of Parliament

4.

The judges of the Supreme Court

5.

The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India

6.

The state ministers

7.

The candidates for election to the state legislature

8.

The members of the state legislature

9.

The judges of the High Courts

59, 65,
75, 97,
125, 148,
158, 164,
186 &
221

75, 84,
99, 124,
146, 173,
188 and
219

Allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the states and the union territories.
Fourth
Schedule

4 and 80

Provisions relating to the administration and control of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.
Fifth
Schedule

244

Provisions relating to the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. 244 and
Sixth
275
Schedule
Seventh Division of powers between the Union and the States in terms of List I (Union List), List II (State List) and List
Schedule III (Concurrent List). Presently, the Union List contains 100 subjects (originally 97), the state list contains 61
subjects (originally 66) and the concurrent list contains 52 subjects (originally 47).

246

Languages recognized by the Constitution. Originally, it had 14 languages but presently there are 22 languages.
Eighth
Schedule They are: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri (Dongri), Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Mathili
(Maithili), Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and

344 and
351

Urdu. Sindhi was added by the 21st Amendment Act of 1967; Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were added by the
71st Amendment Act of 1992; and Bodo, Dongri, Maithili and Santhali were added by the 92nd Amendment Act
of 2003.
Ninth
Acts and Regulations (originally 13 but presently 282)19 of the state legislatures dealing with land reforms and
Schedule abolition of the zamindari system and of the Parliament dealing with other matters. This schedule was added by

31-B

the 1st Amendment (1951) to protect the laws included in it from judicial scrutiny on the ground of violation of
fundamental rights. However, in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the laws included in this schedule after
April 24, 1973, are now open to judicial review.
Provisions relating to disqualification of the members of Parliament and State Legislatures on the ground of
Tenth
Schedule defection. This schedule was added by the 52nd Amendment Act of 1985, also known as Anti-defection Law.

102 and
191

Eleventh Specifies the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats. It has 29 matters. This schedule was added
Schedule by the 73rd Amendment Act of 1992.

243-G

Twelfth Specifies the powers, authority and responsibilities of Municipalities. It has 18 matters. This schedule was added 243-W
Schedule by the 74th Amendment Act of 1992.

Table 3.4 Sources of the Constitution at a Glance


Sources

Features Borrowed

1.

Government of India
Act of 1935

Federal Scheme, Office of governor, Judiciary, Public Service Commissions, Emergency provisions and
administrative details.

2.

British Constitution

Parliamentary government, Rule of Law, legislative procedure, single citizenship, cabinet system,
prerogative writs, parliamentary privileges and bicameralism.

3.

US Constitution

Fundamental rights, independence of judiciary, judicial review, impeachment of the president, removal of
Sup-reme Court and high court judges and post of vice-president.

4.

Irish Constitution

Directive Principles of State Policy, nomination of mem-bers to Rajya Sabha and method of election of
president.

5.

Canadian Constitution

Federation with a strong Centre, vesting of residuary powers in the Centre, appointment of state
governors by the Centre, and advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

6.

Australian Constitution

Concurrent List, freedom of trade, commerce and inter-course, and joint sitting of the two Houses of
Parliament.

7.

Weimar Constitution of
Germany

Suspension of Fundamental Rights during Emergency.

8.

Soviet Constitution
(USSR, now Russia)

Fundamental duties and the ideal of justice (social, economic and political) in the Preamble.

9.

French Constitution

Republic and the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in the Preamble.

10. South African


Constitution

Procedure for amendment of the Constitution and election of members of Rajya Sabha.

11. Japanese Constitution

Procedure established by Law.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

10.
11.

12.
13.
14.

Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973)


For details on Parts, important Articles and Schedules, see Tables 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 at the end
of this chapter.
The American Constitution originally consisted of only 7 Articles, the Australian 128, the
Chinese 138, and the Canadian 147.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir has its own Constitution and thus, enjoys a special status by
virtue of Article 370 of the Constitution of India.
About 250 provisions of the 1935 Act have been included in the Constitution.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, P. 3538.
P M Bakshi, The Constitution of India, Universal, Fifth Edition, 2002, P. 4.
See Table 3.4 at the end of this chapter.
In this context, Dr B R Ambedkar said: One likes to ask whether there can be anything new in
a Constitution framed at this hour in the history of the world. More than hundred years have
rolled over when the first written Constitution was drafted. It has been followed by many
countries reducing their constitutions to writing. What the scope of a constitution should be
has long been settled. Similarly, what are the fundamentals of a constitution are recognised all
over the world. Given these facts, all Constitutions in their main provisions must look similar.
The only new things if there can be any, in a Constitution framed so late in the day are the
variations made to remove the faults and to accommodate it to the needs of the country. The
charge of producing a blind copy of the Constitutions of other countries is based, I am sure, on
an inadequate study of the Constitution. As to the accusation that the draft Constitution. has
produced a good part of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, I make no
apologies. There is nothing to be ashamed of in borrowing. It involves no plagiarism. Nobody
holds any patent rights in the fundamental ideas of a Constitution. (Constituent Assembly
Debates, Volume VII, p. (3538).
Westminster is a place in London where the British Parliament is located. It is often used as a
symbol/synonym of the British Parliament.
Originally, the Constitution provided for seven Fundamental Rights. However, the Right to
Property (Article 31) was deleted from the list of Fundamental Rights by the 44th Amendment
Act of 1978. It is made a legal right under Article 300-A in Part XII of the constitution.
Minerva Mills v. Union of India, (1980).
The 1909, 1919, and 1935 Acts provided for communal representation.
Even in the western countries, the right to vote was extended only gradually. For example,

15.

16.
17.
18.

19.

USA gave franchise to women in 1920, Britain in 1928, USSR (now Russia) in 1936, France
in 1945, Italy in 1948 and Switzerland in 1971.
At present, there are three All-India services, namely Indian Administrative Service (IAS),
Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS). In 1947, Indian Civil Service
(ICS) was replaced by IAS and the Indian Police (IP) was replaced by IPS and were
recognised by the Constitution as All-India Services. In 1963, IFS was created and it came
into existence in 1966.
The 44th Amendment Act (1978) has replaced the original term internal disturbance by the
new term armed rebellion.
Part IX of the Constitution provides for a three-tier system of panchayati raj in every state,
that is, panchayats at the village, intermediate and district levels.
Part IX-A of the Constitution provides for three types of municipalities in every state, that is,
nagar panchayat for a transitional area, municipal council for a smaller urban area and
municipal corporation for a larger urban area.
Though the last entry is numbered 284, the actual total number is 282. This is because, three
entries (87,92 and 130) have been deleted and one entry is numbered as 257-A.

he American Constitution was the first to begin with a Preamble. Many countries, including
India, followed this practice. The term preamble refers to the introduction or preface to the
Constitution. It contains the summary or essence of the Constitution. N A Palkhivala, an
eminent jurist and constitutional expert, called the Preamble as the identity card of the Constitution.
The Preamble to the Indian Constitution is based on the Objectives Resolution, drafted and moved
by Pandit Nehru, and adopted by the Constituent Assembly1. It has been amended by the 42nd
Constitutional Amendment Act (1976), which added three new wordssocialist, secular and
integrity.

TEXT OF THE P REAMBLE


The Preamble in its present form reads:
We, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN
SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, Social, Economic and Political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all;
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY
ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

INGREDIENTS OF THE P REAMBLE


The Preamble reveals four ingredients or components:
1. Source of authority of the Constitution: The Preamble states that the Constitution derives its
authority from the people of India.

2.
3.
4.

Nature of Indian State: It declares India to be of a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic and
republican polity.
Objectives of the Constitution: It specifies justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as the
objectives.
Date of adoption of the Constitution: It stipulates November 26, 1949 as the date.

K EY WORDS IN THE P REAMBLE


Certain key wordsSovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, Justice, Liberty, Equality
and Fraternityare explained as follows:

1. Sovereign
The word sovereign implies that India is neither a dependency nor a dominion of any other nation,
but an independent state2. There is no authority above it, and it is free to conduct its own affairs (both
internal and external).
Though in 1949, India declared the continuation of her full membership of the Commonwealth of
Nations and accepted the British Crown as the head of the Commonwealth, this extra-constitutional
declaration does not affect Indias sovereignty in any manner 3. Further, Indias membership of the
United Nations Organisation (UNO) also in no way constitutes a limitation on her sovereignty4.
Being a sovereign state, India can either acquire a foreign territory or cede a part of its territory in
favour of a foreign state.

2. Socialist
Even before the term was added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, the Constitution had a socialist
content in the form of certain Directive Principles of State Policy. In other words, what was hitherto
implicit in the Constitution has now been made explicit. Moreover, the Congress party itself adopted
a resolution5 to establish a socialistic pattern of society in its Avadi session as early as in 1955 and
took measures accordingly.
Notably, the Indian brand of socialism is a democratic socialism and not a communistic socialism
(also known as state socialism) which involves the nationalisation of all means of production and
distribution and the abolition of private property. Democratic socialism, on the other hand, holds faith
in a mixed economy where both public and private sectors co-exist side by side 6. As the Supreme
Court says, Democratic socialism aims to end poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of
opportunity7. Indian socialism is a blend of Marxism and Gandhism, leaning heavily towards
Gandhian socialism8.
The new economic policy (1991) of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation has, however,
diluted the socialist credentials of the Indian State.

3. Secular
The term secular too was added by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976. However, as
the Supreme Court said in 1974, although the words secular state9 were not expressedly mentioned

in the Constitution, there can be no doubt that Constitution-makers wanted to establish such a state and
accordingly Articles 25 to 28 (guaranteeing the fundamental right to freedom of religion) have been
included in the constitution.
The Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of secularism ie, all religions in our country
(irrespective of their strength) have the same status and support from the state10.

4. Democratic
A democratic11 polity, as stipulated in the Preamble, is based on the doctrine of popular sovereignty,
that is, possession of supreme power by the people.
Democracy is of two typesdirect and indirect. In direct democracy, the people exercise their
supreme power directly as is the case in Switzerland. There are four devices of direct democracy,
namely, Referendum, Initiative, Recall and Plebiscite 12. In indirect democracy, on the other hand,
the representatives elected by the people exercise the supreme power and thus carry on the
government and make the laws. This type of democracy, also known as representative democracy, is
of two kindsparliamentary and presidential.
The Indian Constitution provides for rep-resentative parliamentary democracy under which the
executive is responsible to the legislature for all its policies and actions. Universal adult franchise,
periodic elections, rule of law, independence of judiciary, and absence of discrimination on certain
grounds are the manifestations of the democratic character of the Indian polity.
The term democratic is used in the Preamble in the broader sense embracing not only political
democracy but also social and economic democracy.
This dimension was stressed by Dr. Ambedkar in his concluding speech in the Constituent Assembly
on November 25, 1949, in the following way:
Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy. What does
social democracy mean ? It means a way of life which recognises liberty, equality and fraternity. The
principles of liberty, equality and fraternity are not to be treated as separate items in a trinity. They
form a union of trinity in the sense that to divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of
democracy. Liberty cannot be divorced from equality, equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor
can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the
supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty, would kill individual initiative.12a
In the same context, the Supreme Court observed in 1997 that: The Constitution envisions to
establish an egalitarian social order rendering to every citizen social, economic and political justice
in a social and economic democracy of the Bharat Republic.

5. Republic
A democratic polity can be classified into two categoriesmonarchy and republic. In a monarchy,
the head of the state (usually king or queen) enjoys a hereditary position, that is, he comes into office
through succession, eg, Britain. In a republic, on the other hand, the head of the state is always elected
directly or indirectly for a fixed period, eg, USA.
Therefore, the term republic in our Preamble indicates that India has an elected head called the
president. He is elected indirectly for a fixed period of five years.

A republic also means two more things: one, vesting of political sovereignty in the people and not in
a single individual like a king; second, the absence of any privileged class and hence all public
offices being opened to every citizen without any discrimination.

6. Justice
The term justice in the Preamble embraces three distinct formssocial, economic and political,
secured through various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.
Social justice denotes the equal treatment of all citizens without any social distinction based on caste,
colour, race, religion, sex and so on. It means absence of privileges being extended to any particular
section of the society, and improvement in the conditions of backward classes (SCs, STs and OBCs)
and women.
Economic justice denotes the non-discrimination between people on the basis of economic factors. It
involves the elimination of glaring in-equalities in wealth, income and property. A combination of
social justice and economic justice denotes what is known as distributive justice.
Political justice implies that all citizens should have equal political rights, equal access to all
political offices and equal voice in the government.
The ideal of justicesocial, economic and politicalhas been taken from the Russian Revolution
(1917).

7. Liberty
The term liberty means the absence of restraints on the activities of individuals, and at the same
time, providing opportunities for the development of individual personalities.
The Preamble secures to all citizens of India liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship,
through their Fundamental Rights, enforceable in court of law, in case of violation.
Liberty as elaborated in the Preamble is very essential for the successful functioning of the Indian
democratic system. However, liberty does not mean license to do what one likes, and has to be
enjoyed within the limitations mentioned in the Constitution itself. In brief, the liberty conceived by
the Preamble or fundamental rights is not absolute but qualified.
The ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in our Preamble have been taken from the French
Revolution (17891799).

8. Equality
The term equality means the absence of special privileges to any section of the society, and the
provision of adequate opportunities for all individuals without any discrimination.
The Preamble secures to all citizens of India equality of status and opportunity. This provision
embraces three dimensions of equalitycivic, political and economic.
The following provisions of the chapter on Fundamental Rights ensure civic equality:
(a) Equality before the law (Article 14).
(b) Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth (Article
15).

(c) Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment (Article 16).


(d) Abolition of untouchability (Article 17).
(e) Abolition of titles (Article 18).
There are two provisions in the Constitution that seek to achieve political equality. One, no person is
to be declared ineligible for inclusion in electoral rolls on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex
(Article 325). Two, elections to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies to be on the basis of adult
suffrage (Article 326).
The Directive Principles of State Policy (Article 39) secures to men and women equal right to an
adequate means of livelihood and equal pay for equal work.

9. Fraternity
Fraternity means a sense of brotherhood. The Constitution promotes this feeling of fraternity by the
system of single citizenship. Also, the Fundamental Duties (Article 51-A) say that it shall be the duty
of every citizen of India to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the
people of India transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversities.
The Preamble declares that fraternity has to assure two thingsthe dignity of the individual and the
unity and integrity of the nation. The word integrity has been added to the preamble by the 42nd
Constitutional Amendment (1976).
According to K M Munshi, a member of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly, the
phrase dignity of the individual signifies that the Constitution not only ensures material betterment
and maintain a democratic set-up, but that it also recognises that the personality of every individual is
sacred. This is highlighted through some of the provisions of the Fundamental Rights and Directive
Principles of State Policy, which ensure the dignity of individuals. Further, the Fundamental Duties
(Article 51A) also protect the dignity of women by stating that it shall be the duty of every citizen of
India to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women, and also makes it the duty of every
citizen of India to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
The phrase unity and integrity of the nation embraces both the psychological and territorial
dimensions of national integration. Article 1 of the Constitution describes India as a Union of States
to make it clear that the states have no right to secede from the Union, implying the indestructible
nature of the Indian Union. It aims at overcoming hindrances to national integration like communalism,
regionalism, casteism, linguism, secessionism and so on.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE P REAMBLE


The Preamble embodies the basic philosophy and fundamental valuespolitical, moral and religious
on which the Constitution is based. It contains the grand and noble vision of the Constituent
Assembly, and reflects the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of the Constitution. In the
words of Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer, a member of the Constituent Assembly who played a
significant role in making the Constitution, The Preamble to our Constitution expresses what we had
thought or dreamt so long.
According to K M Munshi, a member of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly, the
Preamble is the horoscope of our sovereign democratic republic.

Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava, another member of the Constituent Assembly, summed up the
importance of the Preamble in the following words: The Preamble is the most precious part of the
Constitution. It is the soul of the Constitution. It is a key to the Constitution. It is a jewel set in the
Constitution. It is a proper yardstick with which one can measure the worth of the Constitution.
Sir Ernest Barker, a distinguished English political scientist, paid a glowing tribute to the political
wisdom of the authors of the Preamble. He described the Preamble as the key-note13 to the
Constitution. He was so moved by the text of the preamble that he quoted14 it at the opening of his
popular book, Principles of Social and Political Theory (1951).
M Hidayatullah, a former Chief Justice of India, observed, Preamble resembles the Declaration of
Independence of the United States of America, but is more than a declaration. It is the soul of our
Constitution, which lays down the pattern of our political society. It contains a solemn resolve, which
nothing but a revolution can alter15.

P REAMBLE AS P ART OF THE CONSTITUTION


One of the controversies about the Preamble is as to whether it is a part of the Constitution or not.
In the Berubari Union16 case (1960), the Supreme Court said that the Preamble shows the general
purposes behind the several provisions in the Constitution, and is thus a key to the minds of the
makers of the Constitution. Further, where the terms used in any article are ambiguous or capable of
more than one meaning, some assistance at interpretation may be taken from the objectives enshrined
in the Preamble. Despite this recognition of the significance of the Preamble, the Supreme Court
specifically opined that Preamble is not a part of the Constitution.
In the Kesavananda Bharati case17 (1973), the Supreme Court rejected the earlier opinion and held
that Preamble is a part of the Constitution. It observed that the Preamble is of extreme importance and
the Constitution should be read and interpreted in the light of the grand and noble vision expressed in
the Preamble. In the LIC of India case18 (1995) also, the Supreme Court again held that the Preamble
is an integral part of the Constitution.
Like any other part of the Constitution, the Preamble was also enacted by the Constituent Assembly,
but, after the rest of the Constitution was already enacted. The reason for inserting the Preamble at the
end was to ensure that it was in conformity with the Constitution as adopted by the Constituent
Assembly. While forwarding the Preamble for votes, the president of the Constituent Assembly said,
The question is that Preamble stands part of the Constitution19. The motion was then adopted.
Hence, the current opinion held by the Supreme Court that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution,
is in consonance with the opinion of the founding fathers of the Constitution.
However, two things should be noted:
1. The Preamble is neither a source of power to legislature nor a prohibition upon the powers of
legislature.
2. It is non-justiciable, that is, its provisions are not enforceable in courts of law.

AMENDABILITY OF THE P REAMBLE


The question as to whether the Preamble can be amended under Article 368 of the Constitution arose

for the first time in the historic case of Kesavananda Bharati (1973). It was urged that the Preamble
cannot be amended as it is not a part of the Constitution. The petitioner contended that the amending
power in Article 368 cannot be used to destroy or damage the basic elements or the fundamental
features of the Constitution, which are enshrined in the Preamble.
The Supreme Court, however, held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution. The Court stated
that the opinion tendered by it in the Berubari Union (1960) in this regard was wrong, and held that
the Preamble can be amended, subject to the condition that no amendment is done to the basic
features. In other words, the Court held that the basic elements or the fundamental features of the
Constitution as contained in the Preamble cannot be altered by an amendment under Article 36820.
The Preamble has been amended only once so far, in 1976, by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment
Act, which has added three new wordsSocialist, Secular and Integrityto the Preamble. This
amendment was held to be valid.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.

3.

4.
5.

6.

7.
8.
9.

Moved by Nehru on December 13, 1946 and adopted by the Constituent Assembly on January
22, 1947.
Till the passage of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, India was a dependency (colony) of
the British Empire. From August 15, 1947 to January 26, 1950, Indias political status was
that of a dominion in the British Commonwealth of Nations. India ceased to be a British
dominion on January 26, 1950, by declaring herself a sovereign republic. However, Pakistan
continued to be a British Dominion until 1956.
To dispel the lurking fears of some members of the Constituent Assembly, Pandit Nehru said
in 1949 thus: We took pledge long ago to achieve Purna Swaraj. We have achieved it. Does
a nation lose its independence by an alliance with another country? Alliance normally means
commitments. The free association of the sovereign Commonwealth of Nations does not
involve such commitments. Its very strength lies in its flexibility and its complete freedom. It
is well-known that it is open to any member-nation to go out of the commonwealth if it so
chooses. He further stated, It is an agreement by free will, to be terminated by free will.
India became a member of the UNO in 1945.
The Resolution said: In order to realise the object of Congress and to further the objectives
stated in the Preamble and Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution of India,
planning should take place with a view to the establishment of a socialistic pattern of society,
where the principal means of production are under social ownership or control, production is
progressively speeded up and there is equaitable distribution of the national wealth.
The Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, said, We have always said that we have our own brand
of socialism. We will nationalise the sectors where we feel the necessity. Just nationali-sation
is not our type of socialism.
G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2000).
Nakara v. Union of India (1983).
On the basis of the attitude of the state towards religion, three types of states can be conceived
of:

(a) Atheistic State: The state is anti-religion and hence, condemns all religions.
(b) Theocratic State: The state is pro-religion and hence, declares one particular religion as
the state religion, as for example, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and so
on.
(c) Secular State: The state is neutral in the matter of religion and hence, does not uphold
any particular religion as the state religion, as for example, USA and India.
G S Pande, Constitutional Law of India, Allahabad Law Agency, eighth edition, 2002, P.
222.
10. The then Union Law Minister, H R Gokhale defined this concept as: There will be freedom,
liberty of faith and worship, whatever religion you belong to. The State will not have anything
to do, as a state, with any religion excepting to treat every religion equally, but the State will
not have any foundation of religion. Similarly, P B Gajendragadkar, a former Chief Justice of
India, defined secularism as in the Indian Constitution in the following way: The State does
not owe loyalty to any particular religion as such: it is not irreligious or anti-religious; it
gives equal freedom to all religions.
11. The term democracy is derived from two Greek words, namely, Demos and Kratia meaning
People and rule respectively.
12. Referendum is a procedure whereby a proposed legislation is referred to the electorate for
settlement by their direct votes.
Initiative is a method by means of which the people can propose a bill to the legislature for
enactment.
Recall is a method by means of which the voters can remove a representative or an officer
before the expiry of his term, when he fails to discharge his duties properly.
Plebiscite is a method of obtaining the opinion of people on any issue of public importance. It
is generally used to solve the territorial disputes.
12a. B. Shiva Rao, The Framing of Indian Constitution: Select Documents, Volume IV, P. 944.
13. He said that the Preamble of the Indian Constitution states in a brief and pithy form the
argument of much of the book; and it may accordingly serve as a key-note.
14. He wrote: I am all the more moved to quote it because I am proud that the people of India
should begin their independent life by sub-scribing to the principles of a political tra-dition
which we in the west call western, but which is now something more than the western.
15. M Hidayatullah, Democracy in India and the Judicial Process, p. 51.
16. Reference by the President of India under Article 143 of the Constitution on the
implementation of the Indo-Pakistan agreement relating to Berubari union and exchange of
enclaves (1960).
17. Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973).
18. LIC of India v. Consumer Education and Research Centre (1995).
19. Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume 10, P. 450456.
20. The Court observed, The edifice of our Constitution is based upon the basic elements

mentioned in the Preamble. If any of these elements are removed, the structure will not
survive and it will not be the same Constitution or it cannot maintain its identity. An amending
power cannot be interpreted so as to confer power on the Parliament to take away any of these
fundamental and basic characteristics of the polity.

rticles 1 to 4 under Part-I of the Constitution deal with the Union and its territory.

UNION OF STATES
Article 1 describes India, that is, Bharat as a Union of States rather than a Federation of States.
This provision deals with two things: one, name of the country, and two, type of polity.
There was no unanimity in the Constituent Assembly with regard to the name of the country. Some
members suggested the traditional name (Bharat) while other advocated the modern name (India).
Hence, the Constituent Assembly had to adopt a mix of both (India, that is, Bharat)
Secondly, the country is described as Union although its Constitution is federal in structure.
According to Dr B R Ambedkar, the phrase Union of States has been preferred to Federation of
States for two reasons: one, the Indian Federation is not the result of an agreement among the states
like the American Federation; and two, the states have no right to secede from the federation. The
federation is an Union because it is indestructible. The country is an integral whole and divided into
different states only for the convenience of administration1.
According to Article 1, the territory of India can be classified into three categories:
1. Territories of the states
2. Union territories
3. Territories that may be acquired by the Government of India at any time.
The names of states and union territories and their territorial extent are mentioned in the first schedule
of the Constitution. At present, there are 28 states and 7 union territories. The provisions of the
Constitution pertaining to the states are applicable to all the states (except Jammu and Kashmir)2 in
the same manner. However, the special provisions (under Part XXI) applicable to the States of
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunanchal

Pradesh and Goa override the general provisi-ons relating to the states as a class. Further, the Fifth
and Sixth Schedules contain separate provi-sions with respect to the administration of sche-duled
areas and tribal areas within the states.
Notably, the Territory of India is a wider expression than the Union of India because the latter
includes only states while the former includes not only the states but also union territories and
territories that may be acquired by the Government of India at any future time. The states are the
members of the federal system and share a distribution of powers with the Centre. The union
territories and the acquired territories, on the other hand, are directly administered by the Central
government.
Being a sovereign state, India can acquire foreign territories according to the modes recognised by
international law, i.e., cession (following treaty, purchase, gift, lease or plebiscite), occupation
(hitherto unoccupied by a recognised ruler), conquest or subjugation. For example, India acquired
several foreign territories such as Dadra and Nagar Haveli; Goa, Daman and Diu; Puducherry; and
Sikkim since the commencement of the Constitution. The acquisition of these territories are discussed
later in this chapter.
Article 2 empowers the Parliament to admit into the Union of India, or establish, new states on such
terms and conditions as it thinks fit. Thus, Article 2 grants two powers to the Parliament: (a) the
power to admit into the Union of India new states; and (b) the power to establish new states. The first
refers to the admission of states which are already in existence while the second refers to the
establishment of states which were not in existence before. Notably, Article 2 relates to the admission
or establishment of new states that are not part of the Union of India. Article 3, on the other hand,
relates to the formation of or chan-ges in the existing states of the Union of India. In other words,
Article 3 deals with the internal re-adjustment inter se of the territories of the constituent states of the
Union of India.

P ARLIAMENTS P OWER TO REORGANISE THE STATES


Article 3 authorises the Parliament to:
(a) form a new state by separation of territory from any state or by uniting two or more states or
parts of states or by uniting any territory to a part of any state,
(b) increase the area of any state,
(c) diminish the area of any state,
(d) alter the boundaries of any state, and
(e) alter the name of any state.
However, Article 3 lays down two conditions in this regard: one, a bill contemplating the above
changes can be introduced in the Parliament only with the prior recommendation of the President; and
two, before recommending the bill, the President has to refer the same to the state legistature
concerned for expressing its views within a specified period.
Further, the power of Parliament to form new states includes the power to form a new state or union
territory by uniting a part of any state or union territory to any other state or union territory3.
The President (or Parliament) is not bound by the views of the state legislature and may either accept

or reject them, even if the views are received in time. Further, it is not necessary to make a fresh
reference to the state legislature every time an amendment to the bill is moved and accepted in
Parliament4. In case of a union territory, no reference need be made to the concerned legislature to
ascertain its views and the Parliament can itself take any action as it deems fit.
It is thus clear that the Constitution authori-ses the Parliament to form new states or alter the areas,
boundaries or names of the existing states without their consent. In other words, the Parliament can
redraw the political map of India according to its will. Hence, the territorial integrity or continued
existence of any state is not guaranteed by the Constitution. Therefore, India is rightly described as
an indestructible union of destructible states. The Union government can destroy the states whereas
the state governments cannot destroy the Union. In USA, on the other hand, the territorial integrity or
continued existence of a state is guaranteed by the Constitution. The American Federal government
cannot form new states or alter the borders of existing states without the consent of the states
concerned. That is why the USA is described as an indestructible union of indestructible states.
Moreover, the Constitution (Article 4) itself declares that laws made for admission or establishment
of new states (under Article 2) and formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or
names of existing states (under Articles 3) are not to be considered as amendments of the Constitution
under Article 368. This means that such laws can be passed by a simple majority and by the ordinary
legislative process.
Does the power of Parliament to diminish the areas of a state (under Article 3) include also the
power to cede Indian territory to a foreign country? This question came up for examination before the
Supreme Court in a reference made by the President in 1960. The decision of the Central government
to cede part of a territory known as Berubari Union (West Bengal) to Pakistan led to political
agitation and controversy and thereby necessitated the Presidential reference. The Supreme Court
held that the power of Parliament to diminish the area of a state (under Article 3) does not cover
cession of Indian territory to a foreign country. Hence, Indian territory can be ceded to a foreign state
only by amending the Constitution under Article 368. Consequently, the 9th Constitutional Amendment
Act (1960) was enacted to transfer the said territory to Pakistan.
On the other hand, the Supreme Court in 1969 ruled that, settlement of a boundary dispute between
India and another country does not require a constitutional amendment. It can be done by executive
action as it does not involve cession of Indian territory to a foreign country.

EVOLUTION OF STATES AND UNION TERRITORIES


Integration of Princely States
At the time of independence, India com-prised two categories of political units, namely, the British
provinces (under the direct rule of British government) and the princely states (under the rule of
native princes but subject to the para-mountcy of the British Crown). The Indian Independence Act
(1947) created two independent and separate dominions of India and Pakistan and gave three options
to the princely states viz., joining India, joining Pakistan or remaining independent. Of the 552
princely states situated within the geogra-phical boundaries of India, 549 joined India and the
remaining 3 (Hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir) refused to join India. However, in course of time,
they were also integrated with IndiaHyderabad by means of police action, Junagarh by means of

referendum and Kashmir by the Instrument of Accession.


In 1950, the Constitution contained a four-fold classification of the states of the Indian UnionPart
A, Part B, Part C and Part D State5. In all, they numbered 29. Part-A states comprised nine erstwhile
governors provinces of British India. Part-B states consisted of nine erstwhile princely states with
legislatures. Part-C states consisted of erstwhile chief com-missioners provinces of British India and
some of the erstwhile princely states. These Part-C states (in all 10 in number) were centrally
administered. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands were kept as the solitary Part-D state.

Dhar Commission and JVP Committee


The integration of princely states with the rest of India has purely an ad hoc arrangement. There has
been a demand from different regions, particularly South India, for reorgani-sation of states on
linguistic basis. Accordingly, in June 1948, the Government of India appointed the Linguistic
Provinces Commission under the chairmanship of S K Dhar to examine the feasibility of this. The
commission submitted its report in December 1948 and recommended the reorganisation of states on
the basis of administrative convenience rather than linguistic factor. This created much resentment
and led to the appointment of another Linguistic Provinces Committee by the Congress in December
1948 itself to examine the whole question afresh. It consisted of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallahbhai Patel
and Pattabhi Sitaramayya and hence, was popularly known as JVP Committee 6. It submitted its report
in April 1949 and formally rejected language as the basis for reorganisation of states.
However, in October 1953, the Government of India was forced to create the first linguistic state,
known as Andhra state, by separating the Telugu speaking areas from the Madras state. This followed
a prolonged popular agitation and the death of Potti Sriramulu, a Congress person of standing, after a
56-day hunger strike for the cause.

Fazl Ali Commission


The creation of Andhra state intensified the demand from other regions for creation of states on
linguistic basis. This forced the Government of India to appoint (in December 1953) a three-member
States Reorganisation Commission under the chairmanship of Fazl Ali to re-examine the whole
question. Its other two members were K M Panikkar and H N Kunzru. It submitted its report in
September 1955 and broadly accepted language as the basis of reorganisation of states. But, it
rejected the theory of one languageone state. Its view was that the unity of India should be
regarded as the primary consideration in any redrawing of the countrys political units. It identified
four major factors that can be taken into account in any scheme of reorganisation of states:
(a) Preservation and strengthening of the unity and security of the country.
(b) Linguistic and cultural homogeneity.
(c) Financial, economic and administrative considerations.
(d) Planning and promotion of the welfare of the people in each state as well as of the nation as a
whole.
The commission suggested the abolition of the four-fold classification of states under the original
Constitution and creation of 16 states and 3 centrally administered territories. The Government of
India accepted these recommendations with certain minor modifications. By the States Reorganisation

Act (1956) and the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act (1956), the distinction between Part-A and
Part-B states was done away with and Part-C states were abolished. Some of them were merged with
adjacent states and some other were designated as union territories. As a result, 14 states and 6 union
territories were created on November 1, 1956.7

New States and Union Territories Created After 1956


Even after the large-scale reorganisation of the states in 1956, the political map of India underwent
continuous change due to the pressure of popular agitations and political conditions. The demand for
the creation of some more states on the basis of language or cultural homogeneity resulted in the
bifurcation of existing states.
Maharashtra and Gujarat In 1960, the bilingual state of Bombay was divided8 into two separate
statesMaharashtra for Marathi-speaking people and Gujarat for Gujarati-speaking people. Gujarat
was established as the 15th state of the Indian Union.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli The Portuguese ruled this territory until its liberation in 1954.
Subsequently, the administration was carried on till 1961 by an administrator chosen by the people
themselves. It was converted into a union territory of India by the 10th Constitutional Amendment Act,
1961.
Goa, Daman and Diu India acquired these three territories from the Portuguese by means of a police
action in 1961. They were constituted as a union territory by the 12th Constitutional Amendment Act,
1962. Later, in 1987, Goa was conferred a statehood. 9 Consequently, Daman and Diu was made a
separate union territory.
Puducherry The territory of Puducherry comprises the former French establishments in India known
as Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. The French handed over this territory to India in 1954.
Subsequently, it was administered as an acquired territory, till 1962 when it was made a union
territory by the 14th Constitutional Amendment Act.
Nagaland In 1963, the State of Nagaland was formed10 by taking the Naga Hills and Tuensang area
out of the state of Assam. This was done to satisfy the movement of the hostile Nagas. However,
before giving Nagaland the status of the 16th state of the Indian Union, it was placed under the control
of governor of Assam in 1961.
Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh In 1966, the State of Punjab was bifurcated11 to create
Haryana, the 17th state of the Indian Union, and the union territory of Chandigarh. This followed the
demand for a separate Sikh Homeland (Punjabi Subha) raised by the Akali Dal under the
leadership of Master Tara Singh. On the recommendation of the Shah Commission (1966), the
punjabi- speaking areas were constituted into the unilingual state of Punjab, the Hindi-speaking areas
were constituted into the State of Haryana and the hill areas were merged with the adjoining union
territory of Himachal Pradesh. In 1971, the union territory of Himachal Pradesh was elevated12 to the
status of a state (18th state of the Indian Union).
Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya In 1972, the political map of Northeast India underwent a major
change.13 Thus, the two Union Territories of Manipur and Tripura and the Sub-State of Meghalaya got

statehood and the two union territories of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh (originally known as
North-East Frontier AgencyNEFA) came into being. With this, the number of states of the Indian
Union increased to 21 (Manipur 19th, Tripura 20th and Meghalaya 21st). Initially, the 22nd
Constitutional Amendment Act (1969) created Meghalaya as an autonomous state or sub-state
within the state of Assam with its own legislature and council of ministers. However, this did not
satisfy the aspirations of the people of Meghalaya. The union territories of Mizoram and Arunachal
Pradesh were also formed out of the territories of Assam.
Sikkim Till 1947, Sikkim was an Indian princely state ruled by Chogyal. In 1947, after the lapse of
British paramountcy, Sikkim became a protectorate of India, whereby the Indian Government
assumed responsibility for the defence, external affairs and communications of Sikkim. In 1974,
Sikkim expressed its desire for greater association with India. Accordingly, the 35 th Constitutional
Amendment Act (1974) was enacted by the parliament. This amendment introduced a new class of
statehood under the constitution by conferring on Sikkim the status of an associate state of the Indian
Union. For this purpose, a new Article 2A and a new schedule (Tenth Schedule conseriving the terms
and conditions of association) were inserted in the Constitution. This experiment, however, did not
last long as it could not fully satisfy the aspirations of the people of Sikkim. In a referendum held in
1975, they voted for the abolition of the institution of Chogyal and Sikkim becoming an integral part
of India. Consequently, the 36th Constitutional Amendment Act (1975) was enacted to make Sikkim a
full-fledged state of the Indian Union (the 22nd state). This amendment amended the First and the
Fourth Schedules to the Constitution and added a new Article 371-F to provide for certain special
provisions with respect to the administration of Sikkim. It also repealed Article 2A and the Tenth
Schedule that were added by the 35th Amendment Act of 1974.
Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa In 1987, three new States of Mizoram,14 Arunachal
Pradesh15 and Goa16 came into being as the 23rd, 24th and 25th states of the Indian Union
respectively. The Union Territory of Mizoram was conferred the status of a full state as a sequel to
the signing of a memorandum of settlement (Mizoram Peace Accord) in 1986 between the Central
government and the Mizo National Front, ending the two-decade-old insurgency. Arunachal Pradesh
had also been a union territory from 1972. The State of Goa was created by separating the territory of
Goa from the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu.
Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand In 2000, three more new States of Chhattisgarh,17
Uttarakhand18 and Jharkhand19 were created out of the territories of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh
and Bihar respectively. These became the 26th, 27th and 28th states of the Indian Union respectively.
Thus, the number of states and union territories increased from 14 and 6 in 1956 to 28 and 7 in 2000
respectively.20
Change of Names The names of some states and union territories have also been changed. The
United Provinces was the first state to have a new name. It was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950. In
1969, Madras was renamed21 Tamil Nadu. Similarly, in 1973, Mysore was renamed 22 Karnataka.
In the same year, Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands were renamed23 Lakshadweep. In 1992,
the Union Territory of Delhi was redesignated as the National Capital Territory of Delhi (without
being conferred the status of a full-fledged state) by the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1991. 24

In 2006, Uttaranchal was renamed25 as Uttarakhand. In the same year, Pondicherry was renamed 26
as Puducherry.
In 2011, Orissa was renamed27 as Odisha.
Table 5.1 Territory of India in 1950
States in Part-A

States in Part-B

States in Part-C

States in Part-D

1.

Assam

1.

Hyderabad

1.

Ajmer

1.

2.

Bihar

2.

Jammu and Kashmir

2.

Bhopal

3.

Bombay

3.

Madhya Bharat

3.

Bilaspur

4.

Madhya Pradesh

4.

Mysore

4.

Cooch-Behar

5.

Madras

5.

Patiala and East Punjab

5.

Coorg

6.

Odisha

6.

Rajasthan

6.

Delhi

7.

Punjab

7.

Saurashtra

7.

Himachal Pradesh

8.

United Provinces

8.

Travancore-Cochin

8.

Kutch

9.

West Bengal

9.

Vindhya Pradesh

9.

Manipur

10. Tripura

Table 5.2 Territory of India in 1956


States

Union Territories

1.

Andra Pradesh

1.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

2.

Assam

2.

Delhi

3.

Bihar

3.

Himachal Pradesh

4.

Bombay

4.

Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands

5.

Jammu and Kashmir

5.

Manipur

6.

Kerala

6.

Tripura

7.

Madhya Pradesh

8.

Madras

9.

Mysore

10. Odisha
11. Punjab
12. Rajasthan
13. Uttar Pradesh
14. West Bengal

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Table 5.3 Territory of India in 2002


States

Union Territories

1.

Andhra Pradesh

1.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

2.

Arunachal Pradesh

2.

Chandigarh

3.

Assam

3.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

4.

Bihar

4.

Daman and Diu

5.

Chhattisgarh

5.

Delhi (National Capital Territory)

6.

Goa

6.

Lakshadweep

7.

Gujarat

7.

Puducherry

8.

Haryana

9.

Himachal Pradesh

10. Jammu and Kashmir


11. Jharkhand
12. Karnataka
13. Kerala
14. Madhya Pradesh
15. Maharashtra
16. Manipur
17. Meghalaya
18. Mizoram
19. Nagaland
20. Odisha
21. Punjab
22. Rajasthan
23. Sikkim
24. Tamil Nadu
25. Tripura
26. Uttarakhand
27. Uttar Pradesh
28. West Bengal

Table 5.4 Articles Related to Union and its Territory at a Glance

Article
No.

Subject-matter

1.

Name and territory of the Union

2.

Admission or establishment of new states

2A.

Sikkim to be associated with the Union(Repealed)

3.

Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states

4.

Laws made under Articles 2 and 3 to provide for the amendment of the First and the Fourth Schedules and supplemental,
incidental and consequential matters.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.

Constituent Assembly Debates, volume 7, P, 43.


The State of Jammu and Kashmir enjoys a special position by virtue of Article 370 of the
Indian Constitution. It has its own separate State Constitution.
Added by the 18th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1966.
Babulal v. State of Bombay (1960).
See Table 5.1 at the end of this chapter.
It had no chairman or convenor.
See Table 5.2 at the end of this chapter.
By the Bombay Reorganisation Act, 1960.
By the Goa, Daman and Diu Reorganisation Act, 1987.
By the State of Nagaland Act, 1962, with effect from December 1, 1963.
By Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.
By the State of Himachal Pradesh Act, 1970, with effect from January 25, 1971.
By the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, with effect from January 21, 1972.
By the State of Mizoram Act, 1986, with effect from February 20, 1987.
By the State of Arunachal Pradesh Act, 1986, with effect from February 20, 1987.
By the Goa, Daman and Diu Reorganisation Act, 1987.
By the Madhya Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2000.
By the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2000.
By the Bihar Reorganisation Act, 2000.
See Table 5.3 at the end of this chapter.
By the Madras State (Alteration of Name) Act, 1968, with effect from January 14, 1969.
By the Mysore State (Alteration of Name) Act, 1973.
By the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands (Alteration of Name) Act, 1973.
With effect from February 1, 1992.
By the Uttaranchal (Alteration of Name) Act, 2006.

26. By the Pondicherry (Alteration of Name) Act, 2006.


27. By the Orissa (Alteration of Name) Act, 2011.

MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE

ike any other modern state, India has two kinds of peoplecitizens and aliens. Citizens are
full members of the Indian State and owe allegiance to it. They enjoy all civil and political
rights. Aliens, on the other hand, are the citizens of some other state and hence, do not enjoy
all the civil and political rights. They are of two categoriesfriendly aliens or enemy aliens.
Friendly aliens are the subjects of those countries that have cordial relations with India. Enemy
aliens, on the other hand, are the subjects of that country that is at war with India. They enjoy lesser
rights than the friendly aliens, eg, they do not enjoy protection against arrest and detention (Article
22).
The Constitution confers the following rights and privileges on the citizens of India (and denies the
same to aliens):
1. Right against discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth (Article
15).
2. Right to equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment (Article 16).
3. Right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association, movement, residence and
profession (Article 19).
4. Cultural and educational rights (Articles 29 and 30).
5. Right to vote in elections to the Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly.
6. Right to contest for the membership of the Parliament and the state legislature.
7. Eligibility to hold certain public offices, that is, President of India, Vice-President of India,
judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts, governor of states, attorney general of India
and advocate general of states.
Along with the above rights, the citizens also owe certain duties towards the Indian State, as for
example, paying taxes, respecting the national flag and national anthem, defending the country and so

on.
In India both a citizen by birth as well as a naturalised citizen are eligible for the office of President
while in USA, only a citizen by birth and not a naturalised citizen is eligible for the office of
President.

CONSTITUTIONAL P ROVISIONS
The Constitution deals with the citizenship from Articles 5 to 11 under Part II. However, it contains
neither any permanent nor any elaborate provisions in this regard. It only identifies the persons who
became citizens of India at its commencement (i.e., on January 26, 1950). It does not deal with the
problem of acquisition or loss of citizenship subsequent to its commencement. It empowers the
Parliament to enact a law to provide for such matters and any other matter relating to citizenship.
Accordingly, the Parliament has enacted the Citizenship Act, 1955, which has been amended in 1986,
1992, 2003 and 2005.
According to the Constitution, the following four categories of persons became the citizens of India at
its commencement i.e., on 26 January, 1950:
1. A person who had his domicile in India and also fulfilled any one of the three conditions, viz.,
if he was born in India; or if either of his parents was born in India; or if he has been
ordinarily resident in India for five years immediately before the commencement of the
Constitution, became a citizen of India (Article 5).
2. A person who migrated to India from Pakistan became an Indian citizen if he or either of his
parents or any of his grandparents was born in undivided India and also fulfilled any one of
the two conditions viz., in case he migrated to India before July 19, 19481, he had been
ordinarily resident in India since the date of his migration; or in case he migrated to India on
or after July 19, 1948, he had been registered as a citizen of India. But, a person could be so
registered only if he had been resident in India for six months preceding the date of his
application for registration (Article 6).
3. A person who migrated to Pakistan from India after March 1, 1947, but later returned to India
for resettlement could become an Indian citizen. For this, he had to be resident in India for six
months preceding the date of his application for registration2 (Article 7).
4. A person who, or any of whose parents or grandparents, was born in undivided India but who
is ordinarily residing outside India shall become an Indian citizen if he has been registered as
a citizen of India by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country of his
residence, whether before or after the commencement of the Constitution. Thus, this provision
covers the overseas Indians who may want to acquire Indian citizenship (Article 8).
To sum up, these provisions deal with the citizenship of (a) persons domiciled in India; (b) persons
migrated from Pakistan; (c) persons migrated to Pakistan but later returned; and (d) persons of Indian
origin residing outside India.
The other constitutional provisions with respect to the citizenship are as follows:
1. No person shall be a citizen of India or be deemed to be a citizen of India, if he has
voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any foreign state (Article 9).

2.
3.

Every person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India shall continue to be such citizen,
subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament (Article 10).
Parliament shall have the power to make any provision with respect to the acquisition and
termination of citizenship and all other matters relating to citizenship (Article 11).

CITIZENSHIP ACT, 1955


The Citizenship Act (1955) provides for acquisition and loss of citizenship after the commencement
of the Constitution. This Act has been amended so far four times by the following Acts:
1. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1986.
2. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1992.
3. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003.
4. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005.
Originally, the Citizenship Act (1955) also provided for the Commonwealth Citizenship. But, this
provision was repealed by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003.

Acquisition of Citizenship
The Citizenship Act of 1955 prescribes five ways of acquiring citizenship, viz, birth, descent,
registration, naturalisation and incorporation of territory:
1. By Birth A person born in India on or after 26 th January 1950 but before 1st July 1987 is a citizen
of India by birth irrespective of the nationality of his parents.
A person born in India on or after 1 st July 1987 is considered as a citizen of India only if either of his
parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
Further, those born in India on or after 3 rd December 2004 are considered citizens of India only if
both of their parents are citizens of India or one of whose parents is a citizen of India and the other is
not an illegal migrant at the time of their birth.
The children of foreign diplomats posted in India and enemy aliens cannot acquire Indian citizenship
by birth.
2. By Descent A person born outside India on or after 26 th January 1950 but before 10th December
1992 is a citizen of India by descent, if his father was a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
A person born outside India on or after 10 th December 1992 is considered as a citizen of India if
either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
From 3rd December 2004 onwards, a person born outside India shall not be a citizen of India by
descent, unless his birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth or
with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period. An application, for
registration of the birth of a minor child, to an Indian consulate shall be accompanied by an
undertaking in writing from the parents of such minor child that he or she does not hold the passport of
another country.
3. By Registration The Central Government may, on an application, register as a citizen of India any

person (not being an illegal migrant) if he belongs to any of the following categories, namely:(a) a person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an
application for registration;
(b) a person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided
India;
(c) a person who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident in India for seven years
before making an application for registration;
(d) minor children of persons who are citizens of India;
(e) a person of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as citizens of India;
(f) a person of full age and capacity who, or either of his parents, was earlier citizen of
independent India, and has been residing in India for one year immediately before making an
application for registration;
(g) a person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an overseas citizen of India for
five years, and who has been residing in India for one year before making an application for
registration.
An applicant shall be deemed to be ordinarily resident in India if
(i) he has resided in India throughout the period of twelve months immediately before
making an application for registration; and
(ii) he has resided in India during the eight years immediately preceding the said period of
twelve months for a period of not less than six years.
A person shall be deemed to be of Indian origin if he, or either of his parents, was born in undivided
India or in such other territory which became part of India after the 15th August, 1947.
All the above categories of persons must take an oath of allegiance before they are registered as
citizens of India. The form of the oath is as follows:
I, A/B. do solemnly affirm (or swear) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the
Constitution of India as by law established, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of India and
fulfill my duties as a citizen of India.
4. By Naturalisation The Central Government may, on an application, grant a certificate of
naturalisation to any person (not being an illegal migrant) if he possesses the following qualifications:
(a) that he is not a subject or citizen of any country where citizens of India are prevented from
becoming subjects or citizens of that country by naturalisation;
(b) that, if he is a citizen of any country, he undertakes to renounce the citizenship of that country
in the event of his application for Indian citizenship being accepted;
(c) that he has either resided in India or been in the service of a Government in India or partly the
one and partly the other, throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the
date of the application;
(d) that during the fourteen years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months, he has
either resided in India or been in the service of a Government in India, or partly the one and
partly the other, for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than eleven years;

(e) that he is of good character;


(f) that he has an adequate knowledge of a language specified in the Eighth Schedule to the
Constitution3, and
(g) that in the event of a certificate of naturalisation being granted to him, he intends to reside in
India, or to enter into or continue in, service under a Government in India or under an
international organisation of which India is a member or under a society, company or body of
persons established in India.
However, the Government of India may waive all or any of the above conditions for naturalisation in
the case of a person who has rendered distinguished service to the science, philosophy, art, literature,
world peace or human progress. Every naturalised citizen must take an oath of allegiance to the
Constitution of India.
5. By Incorporation of Territory If any foreign territory becomes a part of India, the Government of
India specifies the persons who among the people of the territory shall be the citizens of India. Such
persons become the citizens of India from the notified date. For example, when Pondicherry became a
part of India, the Government of India issued the Citizenship (Pondicherry) Order, 1962, under the
Citizenship Act, 1955.

Loss of Citizenship
The Citizenship Act, 1955, prescribes three ways of losing citizenship whether acquired under the
Act or prior to it under the Constitution, viz, renunciation, termination and deprivation:
1. By Renunciation Any citizen of India of full age and capacity can make a declaration renouncing
his Indian citizenship. Upon the registration of that declaration, that person ceases to be a citizen of
India. However, if such a declaration is made during a war in which India is engaged, its registration
shall be withheld by the Central Government.
Further, when a person renounces his Indian citizenship, every minor child of that person also loses
Indian citizenship. However, when such a child attains the age of eighteen, he may resume Indian
citizenship.
2. By Termination When an Indian citizen voluntarily (consciously, knowingly and without duress,
undue influence or compulsion) acquires the citizenship of another country, his Indian citizenship
automatically terminates. This provision, however, does not apply during a war in which India is
engaged.
3. By Deprivation It is a compulsory termination of Indian citizenship by the Central government, if:
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

the citizen has obtained the citizenship by fraud:


the citizen has shown disloyalty to the Constitution of India:
the citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war;
the citizen has, within five years after registration or naturalisation, been imprisoned in any
country for two years; and

(e) the citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for seven years continuously.4

SINGLE CITIZENSHIP
Though the Indian Constitution is federal and envisages a dual polity (Centre and states), it provides
for only a single citizenship, that is, the Indian citizenship. The citizens in India owe allegiance only
to the Union. There is no separate state citizenship. The other federal states like USA and
Switzerland, on the other hand, adopted the system of double citizenship.
In USA, each person is not only a citizen of USA but also of the particular state to which he belongs.
Thus, he owes allegiance to both and enjoys dual sets of rightsone set conferred by the national
government and another by the state government. This system creates the problem of discrimination,
that is, a state may discriminate in favour of its citizens in matters like right to vote, right to hold
public offices, right to practice professions and so on. This problem is avoided in the system of single
citizenship prevalent in India.
In India, all citizens irrespective of the state in which they are born or reside enjoy the same political
and civil rights of citizenship all over the country and no discrimination is made between them.
However, this general rule of absence of discrimination is subject to some exceptions, viz,
1. The Parliament (under Article 16) can prescribe residence within a state or union territory as
a condition for certain employments or appointments in that state or union territory, or local
authority or other authority within that state or union territory. Accordingly, the Parliament
enacted the Public Employment (Requirement as to Residence) Act, 1957 and thereby
authorised the Government of India to prescribe residential qualification only for appointment
to non-Gazetted posts in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura. As this
Act expired in 1974, there is no such provision for any state except Andhra Pradesh.5
2. The Constitution (under Article 15) prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of
religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth and not on the ground of residence. This means that
the state can provide special benefits or give preference to its residents in matters that do not
come within the purview of the rights given by the Constitution to the Indian citizens. For
example, a state may offer concession in fees for education to its residents.
3. The freedom of movement and residence (under Article 19) is subjected to the protection of
interests of any schedule tribe. In other words, the right of outsiders to enter, reside and settle
in tribal areas is restricted. Of course, this is done to protect the distinctive culture, language,
customs and manners of schedule tribes and to safeguard their traditional vocation and
property against exploitation.
4. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the state legislature is empowered to define the persons
who are permanent residents of the state and confer any special rights and privileges in
matters of employment under the state government, acquisition of immovable property in the
state, settlement in the state and scholarships and such other forms of aid provided by the state
government.6
The Constitution of India, like that of Canada, has introduced the system of single citi-zenship and
provided uniform rights (except in few cases) for the people of India to promote the feeling of
fraternity and unity among them and to build an integrated Indian nation. Despite this, India has been
witnessing the communal riots, class conflicts, caste wars, linguistic clashes and ethnic disputes.
Thus, the cherished goal of the founding fathers and the Constitution-makers to build an united and

integrated Indian nation has not been fully realised.


Table 6.1 Comparing the PIO Card Holder and OCI
Elements of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card Holder
Comparison

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)

1.

Who?

A person registered as PIO card holder under the Ministry of A person registered as Overseas Citizen of India
Home Affairs scheme dated 19-08-2002.
(OCI) under the Citizenship Act, 1955. The OCI
scheme is operational from 02-12-2005.

2.

Who is
eligible?

Any person (i) who at any time held an Indian passport; or (ii)
he or either of his parents or grand parents or great grand
parents was born in and was permanently resident in India as
defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 and other
territories that became part of India thereafter provided
neither was at any time a citizen of Afghanistan, Bangladesh,
Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; or (iii) he is a
spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin as
mentioned above.

A foreign national who (i) was eligible to become a


citizen of India on 26-01-1950; or (ii) was a citizen
of India on or at any time after 26-01-1950; or (iii)
belonged to a territory that became part of India
after 15-08-1947; or (iv) his/her children and grand
children; or (v) minor children of such person.
However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen
of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be
eligible for OCI.

3.

What is the
Fees?

Rs.15000/- or equivalent in local currency for adults. For the


children upto the age of 18 years, the fee is Rs.7500/- or
equivalent in local currency.

US $ 275 or equivalent in local currency. In case of


PIO card holders, it is US $ 25 or equivalent in
local currency.

4.

Which
PIOs of all countries except Afghanistan, Bangladesh,
nationals are Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
eligible?

PIOs of all countries except Pakistan and


Bangladesh.

5.

What
benefits one
is entitled
to?

(1) A multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa for


visiting India.
(2) Exemption from registration with local police
authority for any length of stay in India.
(3) Parity with NRIs in respect of economic,
financial and educational fields except in relation to
the acquisition of agricultural or plantation
properties.

(1) Shall not require a separate visa to visit India.


(2) Will be exempt from the requirements of registration if
his/her stay on any single visit in India does not exceed 180
days. In the event of continuous stay in India exceeding 180
days, he/she shall have to get himself/ herself registered
within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned
FRRO/FRO.
(3) Parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities available to the
latter in the economic, financial and educational fields except
in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural / plantation
properties.
No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.

No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political


rights.

6.

Does he/she Can visit India without visa for 15 years from the date of
require visa issue of PIO card.
for visiting
India?

Can visit India without visa for life long.

7.

Is he
Yes one time when the stay in India exceeds 180 days for
required to
the first time.
register with
local police
authorities in
India?

No

8.

What
All activities except mountaineering, missionary, research
activities can work and visiting protected / restricted areas which require
be under
specific permit.
taken in

All activities except mountaineering, missionary,


research work and visiting protected / restricted
areas which require specific permit.

India?
How can
one acquire
Indian
citizenship?

9.

10. Can it be
cancelled?

He/she has to reside in India for minimum 7 years before


making application for granting Indian citizenship.

He/she may be granted Indian citizenship after 5


years from date of registration provided he/she
stays for one year in India before making
application.

Yes on certain grounds

Yes on certain grounds

Note 1: The provision for Commonwealth Citizenship was omitted by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003.
Note 2: In 2011, the Government of India announced its decision to merge the PIO card and OCI card schemes into a single scheme.
This new scheme is proposed to be called as the Overseas Indian Card Holders Scheme. In this regard, the Citizenship (Amendment)
Bill, 2011, is under consideration of the Parliament.

Table 6.2 Articles Related to Citizenship at a Glance


Article No.

Subject-matter
5. Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution
6. Rights of citizenship of certain persons who have migrated to India from Pakistan
7. Rights of citizenship of certain migrants to Pakistan
8. Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India
9. Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens

10. Continuance of the rights of citizenship


11. Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.

3.
4.

5.
6.

On this date, the permit system for such migration was introduced.
This provision refers to migration after 1 March, 1947 but before 26 January, 1950. The
question of citizenship of persons who migrated after 26 January, 1950, has to be decided
under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
The 8th Schedule of the Constitution recognises presently 22 (originally 14) languages.
This will not apply if he is a student abroad, or is in the service of a government in India or an
international organisation of which India is a member, or has registered annually at an Indian
consulate his intention to retain his Indian citizenship.
By virtue of Article 371-D inserted by the 32nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1973.
Article 35-A in the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954. This was
issued by the President of India under powers conferred on him by Article 370 of the
Constitution.

he Fundamental Rights are enshrined in Part III of the Constitution from Articles 12 to 35. In
this regard, the framers of the Constitution derived inspiration from the Constitution of USA
(i.e., Bill of Rights).

Part III of the Constitution is rightly described as the Magna Carta of India.1 It contains a very long
and comprehensive list of justiciable Fundamental Rights. In fact, the Fundamental Rights in our
Constitution are more elaborate than those found in the Constitution of any other country in the world,
including the USA.
The Fundamental Rights are guaranteed by the Constitution to all persons without any discrimination.
They uphold the equality of all individuals, the dignity of the individual, the larger public interest and
unity of the nation.
The Fundamental Rights are meant for promoting the ideal of political democracy. They prevent the
establishment of an authoritarian and despotic rule in the country, and protect the liberties and
freedoms of the people against the invasion by the State. They operate as limitations on the tyranny of
the executive and arbitrary laws of the legislature. In short, they aim at establishing a government of
laws and not of men.
The Fundamental Rights are named so because they are guaranteed and protected by the Constitution,
which is the fundamental law of the land. They are fundamental also in the sense that they are most
essential for the all-round development (material, intellectual, moral and spiritual) of the individuals.
Originally, the Constitution provided for seven Fundamental Rights viz,
1. Right to equality (Articles 1418)
2. Right to freedom (Articles 1922)
3. Right against exploitation (Articles 2324)
4. Right to freedom of religion (Articles 2528)
5. Cultural and educational rights (Articles 2930)

6. Right to property (Article 31)


7. Right to constitutional remedies (Article 32)
However, the right to property was deleted from the list of Fundamental Rights by the 44th
Amendment Act, 1978. It is made a legal right under Article 300-A in Part XII of the Constitution. So
at present, there are only six Fundamental Rights.

F EATURES OF F UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS


The Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution are characterised by the following:
1. Some of them are available only to the citizens while others are available to all persons
whether citizens, foreigners or legal persons like corporations or companies.
2. They are not absolute but qualified. The state can impose reasonable restrictions on them.
However, whether such res-trictions are reasonable or not is to be decided by the courts.
Thus, they strike a balance between the rights of the individual and those of the society as a
whole, between individual liberty and social control.
3. Most of them are available against the arbitrary action of the State, with a few exceptions like
those against the States action and against the action of private individuals. When the rights
that are available against the States action only are violated by the private individuals, there
are no constitutional remedies but only ordinary legal remedies.
4. Some of them are negative in character, that is, place limitations on the authority of the State,
while others are positive in nature, conferring certain privileges on the persons.
5. They are justiciable, allowing persons to move the courts for their enforcement, if and when
they are violated.
6. They are defended and guaranteed by the Supreme Court. Hence, the aggrieved person can
directly go to the Supreme Court, not necessarily by way of appeal against the judgement of
the high courts.
7. They are not sacrosanct or permanent. The Parliament can curtail or repeal them but only by a
constitutional amendment act and not by an ordinary act. Moreover, this can be done without
affecting the basic structure of the Constitution. (The amendability of fundamental rights is
explained in detail in Chapter 11).
8. They can be suspended during the operation of a National Emergency except the rights
guaranteed by Articles 20 and 21. Further, the six rights guaranteed by Article 19 can be
suspended only when emergency is declared on the grounds of war or external aggression
(i.e., external emergency) and not on the ground of armed rebellion (i.e., internal emergency).
(The suspension of fundamental rights during a national Emergency is explained in detail in
Chapter 16).
9. Their scope of operation is limited by Article 31A (saving of laws providing for acquisition
of estates, etc.), Article 31B (validation of certain acts and regulations included in the 9th
Schedule) and Article 31C (saving of laws giving effect to certain directive principles).
10. Their application to the members of armed forces, para-military forces, police forces,
intelligence agencies and analogous services can be restricted or abrogated by the Parliament

(Article 33).
11. Their application can be restricted while martial law is in force in any area. Martial law
means military rule imposed under abnormal circumstances to restore order (Article 34). It
is different from the imposition of national emergency.
12. Most of them are directly enforceable (self-executory) while a few of them can be enforced
on the basis of a law made for giving effect to them. Such a law can be made only by the
Parliament and not by state legislatures so that uniformity throughout the country is maintained
(Article 35).

DEFINITION OF STATE
The term State has been used in different provisions concerning the fundamental rights. Hence,
Article 12 has defined the term for the purposes of Part III. According to it, the State includes the
following:
(a) Government and Parliament of India, that is, executive and legislative organs of the Union
government.
(b) Government and legislature of states, that is, executive and legislative organs of state
government.
(c) All local authorities, that is, municipalities, panchayats, district boards, improvement trusts,
etc.
(d) All other authorities, that is, statutory or non-statutory authorities like LIC, ONGC, SAIL, etc.
Thus, State has been defined in a wider sense so as to include all its agencies. It is the actions of
these agencies that can be challenged in the courts as violating the Fundamental Rights.
According to the Supreme Court, even a private body or an agency working as an instrument of the
State falls within the meaning of the State under Article 12.

LAWS INCONSISTENT WITH F UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS


Article 13 declares that all laws that are inconsistent with or in derogation of any of the fundamental
rights shall be void. In other words, it expressively provides for the doctrine of judicial review. This
power has been conferred on the Supreme Court (Article 32) and the high courts (Article 226) that
can declare a law unconstitutional and invalid on the ground of contravention of any of the
Fundamental Rights.
The term law in Article 13 has been given a wide connotation so as to include the following:
(a) Permanent laws enacted by the Parliament or the state legislatures;
(b) Temporary laws like ordinances issued by the president or the state governors;
(c) Statutory instruments in the nature of delegated legislation (executive legislation) like order,
bye-law, rule, regulation or notification; and
(d) Non-legislative sources of law, that is, custom or usage having the force of law.
Thus, not only a legislation but any of the above can be challenged in the courts as violating a
Fundamental Right and hence, can be declared as void.

Further, Article 13 declares that a constitutional amendment is not a law and hence cannot be
challenged. However, the Supreme Court held in the Kesavananda Bharati case2 (1973) that a
Constitutional amendment can be challenged on the ground that it violates a fundamental right that
forms a part of the basic structure of the Constitution and hence, can be declared as void.
Table 7.1 Fundamental Rights at a Glance
Category

Consists of

1.

Right to equality
(Articles 1418)

(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)

2.

Right to freedom
(Articles 1922)

(a) Protection of six rights regarding freedom of: (i) speech and expression, (ii) assembly, (iii) association,
(iv) movement, (v) residence, and (vi) profession (Article 19).
(b) Protection in respect of conviction for offences (Article 20).
(c) Protection of life and personal liberty (Article 21).
(d) Right to elementary education (Article 21A).
(e) Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases (Article 22).

3.

Right against
exploitation (Articles
2324)

(a) Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour (Article 23).
(b) Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. (Article 24).

4.

Right to freedom of
religion (Article 25
28)

(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

5.

Cultural and
educational rights
(Articles 2930)

(a) Protection of language, script and culture of minorities (Article 29).


(b) Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions (Article 30).

6.

Right to constitutional Right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights including the writs of (i)
remedies (Article 32) habeas corpus, (ii) mandamus, (iii) prohibition, (iv) certiorari, and (v) quo war-rento (Article 32).

Equality before law and equal protection of laws (Article 14).


Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth (Article 15).
Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment (Article 16).
Abolition of untouchability and prohibition of its practice (Article 17).
Abolition of titles except military and academic (Article 18).

Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion (Article 25).
Freedom to manage religious affairs (Article 26).
Freedom from payment of taxes for promotion of any religion (Article 27).
Freedom from attending religious instruction or worship in certain educational institutions (Article 28).

Table 7.2 Fundamental Rights (FR) of Foreigners


FR available only to citizens and not to foreigners

FR available to both citizens and foreigners


(except enemy aliens)

1.

Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place


of birth (Article 15).

1.

Equality before law and equal protection of


laws (Article 14).

2.

Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment (Article 16).

2.

Protection in respect of conviction for


offences (Article 20).

3.

Protection of six rights regarding freedom of : (i) speech and expression, (ii)
assembly, (iii) association, (iv) movement, (v) residence, and (vi) profession
(Article 19).

3.

Protection of life and personal liberty (Article


21).

4.

Protection of language, script and culture of minorities (Article 29).

4.

Right to elementary education (Article 21A).

5.

Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions (Article

5.

Protection against arrest and detention in

30).

certain cases (Article 22).


6.

Prohibition of traffic in human beings and


forced labour (Article 23).

7.

Prohibition of employment of children in


factories etc., (Article 24).

8.

Freedom of conscience and free profession,


practice and propagation of religion (Article
25).

9.

Freedom to manage religious affairs (Article


26).

10. Freedom from payment of taxes for promotion


of any religion (Article 27).
11. Freedom from attending religious instruction or
worship in certain educational institutions
(Article 28).

RIGHT TO EQUALITY
1. Equality before Law and Equal Protection of Laws
Article 14 says that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal
protection of the laws within the territory of India. This provision confers rights on all persons
whether citizens or foreigners. Moreover, the word person includes legal persons, viz, statutory
corporations, companies, registered societies or any other type of legal person.
The concept of equality before law is of British origin while the concept of equal protection of
laws has been taken from the American Constitution. The first concept connotes: (a) the absence of
any special privileges in favour of any person, (b) the equal subjection of all persons to the ordinary
law of the land administered by ordinary law courts, and (c) no person (whether rich or poor, high or
low, official or non-official) is above the law.
The second concept, on the other hand, connotes: (a) the equality of treatment under equal
circumstances, both in the privileges conferred and liabilities imposed by the laws, (b) the similar
application of the same laws to all persons who are similarly situated, and (c) the like should be
treated alike without any discrimination. Thus, the former is a negative concept while the latter is a
positive concept. However, both of them aim at establishing equality of legal status, opportunity and
justice.
The Supreme Court held that where equals and unequals are treated differently, Article 14 does not
apply. While Article 14 forbids class legislation, it permits reasonable classification of persons,
objects and transactions by the law. But the classification should not be arbitrary, artificial or
evasive. Rather, it should be based on an intelligible differential and substantial distinction.
Rule of Law The concept of equality before law is an element of the concept of Rule of Law,
propounded by A.V. Dicey, the British jurist. His concept has the following three elements or
aspects:

(i) Absence of arbitrary power, that is, no man can be punished except for a breach of law.
(ii) Equality before the law, that is, equal subjection of all citizens (rich or poor, high or low,
official or non-official) to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary law
courts3.
(iii) The primacy of the rights of the individual, that is, the constitution is the result of the rights of
the individual as defined and enforced by the courts of law rather than the constitution being
the source of the individual rights.
The first and the second elements are applicable to the Indian System and not the third one. In the
Indian System, the constitution is the source of the individual rights.
The Supreme Court held that the Rule of Law as embodied in Article 14 is a basic feature of the
constitution. Hence, it cannot be destroyed even by an amendment.
Exceptions to Equality The rule of equality before law is not absolute and there are constitutional
and other exceptions to it. These are mentioned below:
1.

2.

3.
4.

5.

6.

The President of India and the Governor of States enjoy the following immunities (Article
361):
(i) The President or the Governor is not answerable to any court for the exercise and
performance of the powers and duties of his office.
(ii) No criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against the President or the
Governor in any court during his term of office.
(iii) No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the President or the Governor shall be
issued from any court during his term of office.
(iv) No civil proceedings against the President or the Governor shall be instituted during his
term of office in any court in respect of any act done by him in his personal capacity,
whether before or after he entered upon his office, until the expiration of two months next
after notice has been delivered to him.
No person shall be liable to any civil or criminal proceedings in any court in respect of the
publication in a newspaper (or by radio or television) of a substantially true report of any
proceedings of either House of Parliament or either House of the Legislature of a State
(Article 361-A).
No member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of
anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof (Article 105).
No member of the Legislature of a state shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in
respect of anything said or any vote given by him in the Legislature or any committee thereof
(Article 194).
Article 31-C is an exception to Article 14. It provides that the laws made by the state for
implementing the Directive Principles contained in clause (b) or clause (c) of Article 39
cannot be challenged on the ground that they are violative of Article 14. The Supreme Court
held that where Article 31-C comes in, Article 14 goes out.
The foreign sovereigns (rulers), ambassadors and diplomats enjoy immunity from criminal

7.

and civil proceedings.


The UNO and its agencies enjoy the diplomatic immunity.

2. Prohibition of Discrimination on Certain Grounds


Article 15 provides that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of
religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The two crucial words in this provision are
discrimination and only. The word discrimination means to make an adverse distinction with
regard to or to distinguish unfavourably from others. The use of the word only connotes that
discrimination on other grounds is not prohibited.
The second provision of Article 15 says that no citizen shall be subjected to any disability, liability,
restriction or condition on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth with regard to
(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or (b) the use of
wells, tanks, bathing ghats, road and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly by State
funds or dedicated to the use of general public. This provision prohibits discrimination both by the
State and private individuals, while the former provision prohibits discrimination only by the State.
There are three exceptions to this general rule of non-discrimination:
(a) The state is permitted to make any special provision for women and children. For example,
reservation of seats for women in local bodies or provision of free education for children.
(b) The state is permitted to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and
educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes4.
For example, reservation of seats or fee concessions in public educational institutions.
(c) The state is empowered to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially
and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes or the scheduled
tribes regarding their admission to educational institutions including private educational
institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, except the minority educational institutions.
The last provision was added by the 93rd Amendment Act of 2005. In order to give effect to this
provision, the Centre enacted the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act,
2006, providing a quota of 27% for candidates belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in
all central higher educational institutions including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the
Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). In April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of both,
the Amendment Act and the OBC Quota Act. But, the Court directed the central government to exclude
the creamy layer (advanced sections) among the OBCs while implementing the law.
Creamy Layer The children of the following different categories of people belong to creamy layer
among OBCs and thus will not get the quota benefit :
1.
2.

3.

Persons holding constitutional posts like President, Vice-President, Judges of SC and HCs,
Chairman and Members of UPSC and SPSCs, CEC, CAG and so on.
Group A / Class I and Group B / Class II Officers of the All India, Central and State
Services; and Employees holding equivalent posts in PSUs, Banks, Insurance Organisations,
Universities etc., and also in private employment.
Persons who are in the rank of colonel and above in the Army and equivalent posts in the

4.
5.
6.
7.

Navy, the Air Force and the Paramilitary Forces.


Professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineers, artists, authors, consultants and so on.
Persons engaged in trade, business and industry.
People holding agricultural land above a certain limit and vacant land or buildings in urban
areas.
Persons having gross annual income of more than `4.5 lakhs or possessing wealth above the
exemption limit. In 1993, when the creamy layer ceiling was introduced, it was `1 lakh. It
was subsequently revised to `2.5 lakh in 2004 and `4.5 lakh in 2008. Presently (2013), the
proposal to raise creamy layer ceiling to `6 lakh a year is under consideration of the
government.

3. Equality of Opportunity in Public Employment


Article 16 provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of employment or
appointment to any office under the State. No citizen can be discriminated against or be ineligible for
any employment or office under the State on grounds of only religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place
of birth or residence.
There are three exceptions to this general rule of equality of opportunity in public employment:
(a) Parliament can prescribe residence as a condition for certain employment or appointment in a
state or union territory or local authority or other authority. As the Public Employment
(Requirement as to Residence) Act of 1957 expired in 1974, there is no such provision for
any state except Andhra Pradesh.5
(b) The State can provide for reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward
class that is not adequately represented in the state services.
(c) A law can provide that the incumbent of an office related to religious or denominational
institution or a member of its governing body should belong to the particular religion or
denomination.
Mandal Commission and Aftermath In 1979, the Morarji Desai Government appointed the Second6
Backward Classes Commission under the chairmanship of B P Mandal, a Member of Parliament, in
terms of Article 340 of the Constitution to investigate the conditions of the socially and educationally
backward classes and suggest measures for their advancement. The commission submitted its report
in 1980 and identified as many as 3743 castes as socially and educationally backward classes. They
constitute nearly 52% component of the population, excluding the scheduled castes (SCs) and the
scheduled tribes (STs). The commission recommended for reservation of 27% government jobs for
the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) so that the total reservation for all ((SCs, STs and OBCs)
amounts to 50%.7 It was after ten years in 1990 that the V P Singh Government declared reser-vation
of 27% government jobs for the OBCs. Again in 1991, the Narasimha Rao Government introduced
two changes: (a) preference to the poorer sections among the OBCs in the 27% quota, i.e., adoption
of the economic criteria in granting reservation, and (b) reservation of another 10% of jobs for poorer
(economically backward) sections of higher castes who are not covered by any existing schemes of
reservation.

In the famous Mandal case8 (1992), the scope and extent of Article 16(4), which provides for
reservation of jobs in favour of backward classes, has been examined thoroughly by the Supreme
Court. Though the Court has rejected the additional reservation of 10% for poorer sections of higher
castes, it upheld the constitutional validity of 27% reservation for the OBCs with certain conditions,
viz,
(a) The advanced sections among the OBCs (the creamy layer) should be excluded from the list of
beneficiaries of reservation.
(b) No reservation in promotions; reservation should be confined to initial appointments only.
Any existing reservation in promotions can continue for five years only (i.e., upto 1997).
(c) The total reserved quota should not exceed 50% except in some extraordinary situations. This
rule should be applied every year.
(d) The carry forward rule in case of unfilled (backlog) vacancies is valid. But it should not
violate 50% rule.
(e) A permanent statutory body should be established to examine complaints of over-inclusion
and under-inclusion in the list of OBCs.
With regard to the above rulings of the Supreme Court, the government has taken the following
actions:
(a) Ram Nandan Committee was appointed to identify the creamy layer among the OBCs. It
submitted its report in 1993, which was accepted.
(b) National Commission for Backward Classes was established in 1993 by an act of Parliament.
It considers inclusions in and exclusions from the lists of castes notified as backward for the
purpose of job reservation.
(c) In order to nullify the ruling with regard to reservation in promotions, the 77th Amendment
Act was enacted in 1995. It added a new provision in Article 16 that empowers the State to
provide for reservation in promotions of any services under the State in favour of the SCs and
STs that are not adequately represented in the state services. Again, the 85th Amendment Act
of 2001 provides for consequential seniority in the case of promotion by virtue of rule of
reservation for the government servants belonging to the SCs and STs with retrospective
effect from June 1995.
(d) The ruling with regard to backlog vacancies was nullified by the 81st Amendment Act of
2000. It added another new provision in Article 16 that empowers the State to consider the
unfilled reserved vacancies of a year as a separate class of vaccancies to be filled up in any
succeeding year or years. Such class of vacancies are not to be combined with the vacancies
of the year in which they are being filled up to determine the ceiling of 50% reservation on
total number of vacancies of that year. In brief, it ends the 50% ceiling on reservation in
backlog vacancies.
(e) The 76th Amendment Act of 1994 has placed the Tamil Nadu Reservations Act 9 of 1994 in
the Ninth Schedule to protect it from judicial review as it provided for 69 per cent of
reservation, far exceeding the 50 per cent ceiling.

4. Abolition of Untouchability

Article 17 abolishes untouchability and forbids its practice in any form. The enforcement of any
disability arising out of untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
In 1976, the Untouchability (Offences ) Act, 1955 has been comprehensively amended and renamed
as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 to enlarge the scope and make penal provisions more
stringent. The act defines civil right as any right accruing to a person by reason of the abolition of
untouchability by Article 17 of the Constitution.
The term untouchability has not been defined either in the Constitution or in the Act. However, the
Mysore High Court held that the subject matter of Article 17 is not untouchability in its literal or
grammatical sense but the practice as it had developed historically in the country. It refers to the
social disabilities imposed on certain classes of persons by reason of their birth in certain castes.
Hence, it does not cover social boycott of a few individuals or their exclusion from religious
services, etc.
Under the Protection of Civil Rights Act (1955), the offences committed on the ground of
untouchability are punishable either by imprisonment up to six months or by fine upto `500 or both. A
person convicted of the offence of untouchability is disqualified for election to the Parliament or
state legislature. The act declares the following acts as offences:
(a) preventing any person from entering any place of public worship or from worshipping therein;
(b) justifying untouchability on traditional, religious, philosophical or other grounds;
(c) denying access to any shop, hotel or places of public entertainment;
(d) insulting a person belonging to scheduled caste on the ground of untouchability;
(e) refusing to admit persons in hospitals, educational institutions or hostels established for
public benefit;
(f) preaching untouchability directly or indirectly; and
(g) refusing to sell goods or render services to any person.
The Supreme Court held that the right under Article 17 is available against private individuals and it
is the constitutional obligation of the State to take necessary action to ensure that this right is not
violated.

5. Abolition of Titles
Article 18 abolishes titles and makes four provisions in that regard:
(a) It prohibits the state from conferring any title (except a military or academic distinction) on
any body, whether a citizen or a foreigner.
(b) It prohibits a citizen of India from accepting any title from any foreign state.
(c) A foreigner holding any office of profit or trust under the state cannot accept any title from any
foreign state without the consent of the president.
(d) No citizen or foreigner holding any office of profit or trust under the State is to accept any
present, emolument or office from or under any foreign State without the consent of the
president.
From the above, it is clear that the hereditary titles of nobility like Maharaja, Raj Bahadur, Rai
Bahadur, Rai Saheb, Dewan Bahadur, etc, which were conferred by colonial States are banned by

Article 18 as these are against the principle of equal status of all.


In 199610, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the National AwardsBharat
Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Sri. It ruled that these awards do not amount to
titles within the meaning of Article 18 that prohibits only hereditary titles of nobility. Therefore,
they are not violative of Article 18 as the theory of equality does not mandate that merit should not be
recognised. However, it also ruled that they should not be used as suffixes or prefixes to the names of
awardees. Otherwise, they should forfeit the awards.
These National Awards were instituted in 1954. The Janata Party government headed by Morarji
Desai discontinued them in 1977. But they were again revived in 1980 by the Indira Gandhi
government.

RIGHT TO F REEDOM
1. Protection of Six Rights
Article 19 guarantees to all citizens the six rights. These are:
(i) Right to freedom of speech and expression.
(ii) Right to assemble peaceably and without arms.
(iii) Right to form associations or unions or co-operative societies.10a
(iv) Right to move freely throughout the territory of India.
(v) Right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.
(vi) Right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
Originally, Article 19 contained seven rights. But, the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property
was deleted by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.
These six rights are protected against only state action and not private individuals. Moreover, these
rights are available only to the citizens and to shareholders of a company but not to foreigners or legal
persons like companies or corporations, etc.
The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the enjoyment of these six rights only on the
grounds mentioned in the Article 19 itself and not on any other grounds.
Freedom of Speech and Expression It implies that every citizen has the right to express his views,
opinions, belief and convictions freely by word of mouth, writing, printing, picturing or in any other
manner. The Supreme Court held that the freedom of speech and expression includes the following:
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)
(g)

Right to propagate ones views as well as views of others.


Freedom of the press.
Freedom of commercial advertisements.
Right against tapping of telephonic conversation.
Right to telecast, that is, government has no monopoly on electronic media.
Right against bundh called by a political party or organisation.
Right to know about government activities.

(h) Freedom of silence.


(i) Right against imposition of pre-censorship on a newspaper.
(j) Right to demonstration or picketing but not right to strike.
The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of speech and expression
on the grounds of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with
foreign states, public order, decency or morality, contempt of court, defamation, and incitement to an
offence.
Freedom of Assembly Every citizen has the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. It
includes the right to hold public meetings, demonstrations and take out processions. This freedom can
be exercised only on public land and the assembly must be peaceful and unarmed. This provision
does not protect violent, disorderly, riotous assemblies, or one that causes breach of public peace or
one that involves arms. This right does not include the right to strike.
The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of right of assembly on two grounds,
namely, sovereignty and integrity of India and public order including the maintenance of traffic in the
area concerned.
Under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (1973), a magistrate can restrain an assembly,
meeting or procession if there is a risk of obstruction, annoyance or danger to human life, health or
safety or a disturbance of the public tranquillity or a riot or any affray.
Under Section 141 of the Indian Penal Code, as assembly of five or more persons becomes unlawful
if the object is (a) to resist the execution of any law or legal process; (b) to forcibly occupy the
property of some person; (c) to commit any mischief or criminal trespass; (d) to force some person to
do an illegal act; and (e) to threaten the government or its officials on exercising lawful powers.
Freedom of Association All citizens have the right to form associations or unions or co-operative
societies10b. It includes the right to form political parties, companies, partnership firms, societies,
clubs, organisations, trade unions or any body of persons. It not only includes the right to start an
association or union but also to continue with the association or union as such. Further, it covers the
negative right of not to form or join an association or union.
Reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the exercise of this right by the State on the grounds of
sovereignty and integrity of India, public order and morality. Subject to these restrictions, the citizens
have complete liberty to form associations or unions for pursuing lawful objectives and purposes.
However, the right to obtain recognition of the association is not a fundamental right.
The Supreme Court held that the trade unions have no guaranteed right to effective bargaining or right
to strike or right to declare a lock-out. The right to strike can be controlled by an appropriate
industrial law.
Freedom of Movement This freedom entitles every citizen to move freely throughout the territory of
the country. He can move freely from one state to another or from one place to another within a state.
This right underline the idea that India is one unit so far as the citizens are concerned. Thus, the
purpose is to promote national feeling and not parochialism.
The grounds of imposing reasonable restrictions on this freedom are two, namely, the interests of

general public and the protection of interests of any scheduled tribe. The entry of outsiders in tribal
areas is restricted to protect the distinctive culture, language, customs and manners of scheduled
tribes and to safeguard their traditional vocation and properties against exploitation.
The Supreme Court held that the freedom of movement of prostitutes can be restricted on the ground
of public health and in the interest of public morals. The Bombay High Court validated the
restrictions on the movement of persons affected by AIDS.
The freedom of movement has two dimensions, viz, internal (right to move inside the country) and
external (right to move out of the country and right to come back to the country). Article 19 protects
only the first dimension. The second dimension is dealt by Article 21 (right to life and personal
liberty).
Freedom of Residence Every citizen has the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of
the country. This right has two parts: (a) the right to reside in any part of the country, which means to
stay at any place temporarily, and (b) the right to settle in any part of the country, which means to set
up a home or domicile at any place permanently.
This right is intended to remove internal barriers within the country or between any of its parts. This
promotes nationalism and avoids narrow mindedness.
The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right on two grounds, namely, the
interest of general public and the protection of interests of any scheduled tribes. The right of outsiders
to reside and settle in tribal areas is restricted to protect the distinctive culture, language, customs and
manners of scheduled tribes and to safeguard their traditional vocation and properties against
exploitation. In many parts of the country, the tribals have been permitted to regulate their property
rights in accordance with their customary rules and laws.
The Supreme Court held that certain areas can be banned for certain kinds of persons like prostitutes
and habitual offenders.
From the above, it is clear that the right to residence and the right to movement are overlapping to
some extent. Both are complementary to each other.
Freedom of Profession, etc. All citizens are given the right to practise any profession or to carry on
any occupation, trade or business. This right is very wide as it covers all the means of earning ones
livelihood.
The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right in the interest of the general
public. Further, the State is empowered to:
(a) prescribe professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or
carrying on any occupation, trade or business; and
(b) carry on by itself any trade, business, industry or service whether to the exclusion (complete
or partial) of citizens or otherwise.
Thus, no objection can be made when the State carries on a trade, business, industry or service either
as a monopoly (complete or partial) to the exclusion of citizens (all or some only) or in competition
with any citizen. The State is not required to justify its monopoly.
This right does not include the right to carry on a profession or business or trade or occupation that is

immoral (trafficking in women or children) or dangerous (harmful drugs or explosives, etc,). The
State can absolutely prohibit these or regulate them through licencing.

2. Protection in Respect of Conviction for Offences


Article 20 grants protection against arbitrary and excessive punishment to an accused person, whether
citizen or foreigner or legal person like a company or a corporation. It contains three provisions in
that direction:
(a) No ex-post-facto law: No person shall be (i) convicted of any offence except for violation of
a law in force at the time of the commission of the act, nor (ii) subjected to a penalty greater
than that prescribed by the law in force at the time of the commission of the act.
(b) No double jeopardy: No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more
than once.
(c) No self-incrimination: No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness
against himself.
An ex-post-facto law is one that imposes penalties restrospectively (retroactively), that is, upon acts
already done or which increases the penalties for such acts. The enactment of such a law is prohibited
by the first provision of Article 20. However, this limitation is imposed only on criminal laws and
not on civil laws or tax laws. In other words, a civil liability or a tax can be imposed retrospectively.
Further, this provision prohibits only conviction or sentence under an ex-post-facto criminal law and
not the trial thereof. Finally, the protection (immunity) under this provision cannot be claimed in case
of preventive detention or demanding security from a person.
The protection against double jeopardy is available only in proceedings before a court of law or a
judicial tribunal. In other words, it is not available in proceedings before departmental or
administrative authorities as they are not of judicial nature.
The protection against self-incrimination extends to both oral evidence and documentary evidence.
However, it does not extend to (i) compulsory production of material objects, (ii) compulsion to give
thumb impression, specimen signature, blood specimens, and (iii) compulsory exhibition of the body.
Further, it extends only to criminal proceedings and not to civil proceedings or proceedings which
are not of criminal nature.

3. Protection of Life and Personal Liberty


Article 21 declares that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to
procedure established by law. This right is available to both citizens and non-citizens.
In the famous Gopalan case11 (1950), the Supreme Court has taken a narrow interpretation of the
Article 21. It held that the protection under Article 21 is available only against arbitrary executive
action and not from arbitrary legislative action. This means that the State can deprive the right to life
and personal liberty of a person based on a law. This is because of the expression procedure
established by law in Article 21, which is different from the expression due process of law
contained in the American Constitution. Hence, the validity of a law that has prescribed a procedure
cannot be questioned on the ground that the law is unreasonable, unfair or unjust. Secondly, the
Supreme Court held that the personal liberty means only liberty relating to the person or body of the

individual. But, in Menaka case12 (1978), the Supreme Court overruled its judgement in the Gopalan
case by taking a wider interpretation of the Article 21. Therefore, it ruled that the right to life and
personal liberty of a person can be deprived by a law provided the procedure prescribed by that law
is reasonable, fair and just. In other words, it has introduced the American expression due process of
law. In effect, the protection under Article 21 should be available not only against arbitrary
executive action but also against arbitrary legislative action. Further, the court held that the right to
life as embodied in Article 21 is not merely confined to animal existence or survival but it includes
within its ambit the right to live with human dignity and all those aspects of life which go to make a
mans life meaningful, complete and worth living. It also ruled that the expression Personal Liberty
in Article 21 is of the widest amplitude and it covers a variety of rights that go to constitute the
personal liberties of a man.
The Supreme Court has reaffirmed its judgement in the Menaka case in the subsequent cases. It has
declared the following rights as part of Article 21:
(a) Right to live with human dignity.
(b) Right to decent environment including pollution free water and air and protection against
hazardous industries.
(c) Right to livelihood.
(d) Right to privacy.
(e) Right to shelter.
(f) Right to health.
(g) Right to free education up to 14 years of age.
(h) Right to free legal aid.
(i) Right against solitary confinement.
(j) Right to speedy trial.
(k) Right against handcuffing.
(l) Right against inhuman treatment.
(m) Right against delayed execution.
(n) Right to travel abroad.
(o) Right against bonded labour.
(p) Right against custodial harassment.
(q) Right to emergency medical aid.
(r) Right to timely medical treatment in government hospital.
(s) Right not to be driven out of a state.
(t) Right to fair trial.
(u) Right of prisoner to have necessities of life.
(v) Right of women to be treated with decency and dignity.
(w) Right against public hanging.
(x) Right to hearing.

(y) Right to information.


(z) Right to reputation.

4. Right to Education
Article 21 A declares that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the
age of six to fourteen years in such a manner as the State may determine. Thus, this provision makes
only elementary education a Fundamental Right and not higher or professional education.
This provision was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002. This amendment is a
major milestone in the countrys aim to achieve Education for All. The government described this
step as the dawn of the second revolution in the chapter of citizens rights.
Even before this amendment, the Constitution contained a provision for free and compulsory
education for children under Article 45 in Part IV. However, being a directive principle, it was not
enforceable by the courts. Now, there is scope for judicial intervention in this regard.
This amendment changed the subject matter of Article 45 in directive principles. It now readsThe
state shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they
complete the age of six years. It also added a new fundamental duty under Article 51A that reads
It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to provide opportunities for education to his child or
ward between the age of six and fourteen years.
In 1993 itself, the Supreme Court recognised a Fundamental Right to primary education in the right to
life under Article 21. It held that every child or citizen of this country has a right to free education
until he completes the age of 14 years. Thereafter, his right to education is subject to the limits of
economic capacity and development of the state. In this judgement, the Court overruled its earlier
judgement (1992) which declared that there was a fundamental right to education up to any level
including professional education like medicine and engineering.
In pursuance of Article 21A, the Parliament enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory
Education (RTE) Act, 2009. This Act seeks to provide that every child has a right to be provided full
time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies
certain essential norms and standards. This legislation is anchored in the belief that the values of
equality, social justice and democracy and the creation of a just and humane society can be achieved
only through provision of inclusive elementary education to all.12a

5. Protection Against Arrest and Detention


Article 22 grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained. Detention is of two types,
namely, punitive and preventive. Punitive detention is to punish a person for an offence committed
by him after trial and conviction in a court. Preventive detention, on the other hand, means detention
of a person without trial and conviction by a court. Its purpose is not to punish a person for a past
offence but to prevent him from committing an offence in the near future. Thus, preventive detention is
only a precautionary measure and based on suspicion.
The Article 22 has two partsthe first part deals with the cases of ordinary law and the second part
deals with the cases of preventive detention law.
(a) The first part of Article 22 confers the following rights on a person who is arrested or

detained under an ordinary law:


(i) Right to be informed of the grounds of arrest.
(ii) Right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner.
(iii) Right to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, excluding the journey time.
(iv) Right to be released after 24 hours unless the magistrate authorises further detention.
These safeguards are not available to an alien or a person arrested or detained under a
preventive detention law.
The Supreme Court also ruled that the arrest and detention in the first part of Article 22 do not
cover arrest under the orders of a court, civil arrest, arrest on failure to pay the income tax,
and deportation of an alien. They apply only to an act of a criminal or quasi-criminal nature or
some activity prejudicial to public interest.
(b) The second part of Article 22 grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained under
a preventive detention law. This protection is available to both citizens as well as aliens and
includes the following:
(i) The detention of a person cannot exceed three months unless an advisory board reports
sufficient cause for extended detention. The board is to consist of judges of a high court.
(ii) The grounds of detention should be communicated to the detenu. However, the facts
considered to be against the public interest need not be disclosed.
(iii) The detenu should be afforded an opportunity to make a representation against the
detention order.
Article 22 also authorises the Parliament to prescribe (a) the circumstances and the classes of cases
in which a person can be detained for more than three months under a preventive detention law
without obtaining the opinion of an advisory board; (b) the maximum period for which a person can
be detained in any classes of cases under a preventive detention law; and (c) the procedure to be
followed by an advisory board in an inquiry.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 has reduced the period of detention without obtaining the opinion
of an advisory board from three to two months. However, this provision has not yet been brought into
force, hence, the original period of three months still continues.
The Constitution has divided the legislative power with regard to preventive detention between the
Parliament and the state legislatures. The Parliament has exclusive authority to make a law of
preventive detention for reasons connected with defence, foreign affairs and the security of India.
Both the Parliament as well as the state legislatures can concurrently make a law of preventive
detention for reasons connected with the security of a state, the maintenance of public order and the
maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community.
The preventive detention laws made by the Parliament are:
(a) Preventive Detention Act, 1950. Expired in 1969.
(b) Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), 1971. Repealed in 1978.
(c) Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA),
1974.

(d) National Security Act (NASA), 1980.


(e) Prevention of Blackmarketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act
(PBMSECA), 1980.
(f) Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), 1985. Repealed in 1995.
(g) Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act
(PITNDPSA), 1988.
(h) Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), 2002. Repealed in 2004.
It is unfortunate to know that no democratic country in the world has made preventive detention as an
integral part of the Constitution as has been done in India. It is unknown in USA. It was resorted to in
Britain only during first and second world war time. In India, preventive detention existed even
during the British rule. For example, the Bengal State Prisoners Regulation of 1818 and the Defence
of India Act of 1939 provided for preventive detention.

RIGHT AGAINST EXPLOITATION


1. Prohibition of Traffic in Human Beings and Forced Labour
Article 23 prohibits traffic in human beings, begar (forced labour) and other similar forms of forced
labour. Any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
This right is available to both citizens and non-citizens. It protects the individual not only against the
State but also against private persons.
The expression traffic in human beings include (a) selling and buying of men, women and children
like goods; (b) immoral traffic in women and children, including prostitution; (c) devadasis; and (d)
slavery. To punish these acts, the Parliament has made the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act13, 1956.
The term begar means compulsory work without remuneration. It was a peculiar Indian system
under which the local zamindars sometimes used to force their tenants to render services without any
payment. In addition to begar, the Article 23 prohibits other similar forms of forced labour like
bonded labour. The term forced labour means compelling a person to work against his will. The
word force includes not only physical or legal force but also force arising from the compulsion of
economic circumstances, that is, working for less than the minimum wage. In this regard, the Bonded
Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976; the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Contract Labour Act, 1970
and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 were made.
Article 23 also provides for an exception to this provision. It permits the State to impose compulsory
service for public purposes, as for example, military service or social service, for which it is not
bound to pay. However, in imposing such service, the State is not permitted to make any
discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste or class.

2. Prohibition of Employment of Children in Factories, etc.


Article 24 prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in any factory, mine or
other hazardous activities like construction work or railway. But it does not prohibit their
employment in any harmless or innocent work.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regula-tion) Act, 1986, is the most important law in this

direction. In addition, the Employment of Children Act, 1938; the Factories Act, 1948; the Mines Act,
1952; the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958; the Plantation Labour Act, 1951; the Motor Transport
Workers Act, 1951; Apprentices Act, 1961; the Bidi and Cigar Workers Act, 1966; and other similar
acts prohibit the employment of children below certain age.
In 1996, the Supreme Court directed the establishment of Child Labour Rehabilitation Welfare Fund
in which the offending employer should deposit a fine of `20,000 for each child employed by him. It
also issued directions for the improvement of education, health and nutrition of children.
The Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 was enacted to provide for the
establishment of a National Commission and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights and
Childrens Courts for providing speedy trial of offences against children or of violation of child
rights.
In 2006, the government banned the employment of children as domestic servants or workers in
business establishments like hotels, dhabas, restaurants, shops, factories, resorts, spas, tea-shops and
so on. It warned that anyone employing children below 14 years of age would be liable for
prosecution and penal action.
Total Ban on Child Labour
In August 2012, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal to completely ban employment of children
below 14 years in all occupations and processes.
The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, will be amended to incorporate the changes
and will be renamed a Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition) Act. Giving more teeth to the Act,
offences under it have been made cognizable and the punishment has been increased.
Presently, children under the age of 14 are prohibited from employment in hazardous occupations
and processes while their conditions of work in non-hazardous occupations and processes are
merely regulated.
The amendments include increasing the age of prohibition for employment of children and adolescents
in hazardous occupations, such as mining, from 14 to 18. Employment of children below 14 years is
presently prohibited in 18 occupations and 65 processes.
The maximum punishment for offences under the Act has been increased from one year to two years of
imprisonment and from `20,00 to `50,000 fine or both. For repeated offences, it has been raised to
three years of imprisonment.

RIGHT TO F REEDOM OF RELIGION


1. Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of
Religion
Article 25 says that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely
profess, practice and propagate religion. The implications of these are:
(a) Freedom of conscience: Inner freedom of an individual to mould his relation with God or
Creatures in whatever way he desires.
(b) Right to profess: Declaration of ones religious beliefs and faith openly and freely.

(c) Right to practice: Performance of religious worship, rituals, ceremonies and exhibition of
beliefs and ideas.
(d) Right to propagate: Transmission and dissemination of ones religious beliefs to others or
exposition of the tenets of ones religion. But, it does not include a right to convert another
person to ones own religion. Forcible conversions impinge on the freedom of conscience
guaranteed to all the persons alike.
From the above, it is clear that Article 25 covers not only religious beliefs (doctrines) but also
religious practices (rituals). Moreover, these rights are available to all personscitizens as well as
non-citizens.
However, these rights are subject to public order, morality, health and other provisions relating to
fundamental rights. Further, the State is permitted to:
(a) regulate or restrict any economic, financial, political or other secular activity associated with
religious practice; and
(b) provide for social welfare and reform or throw open Hindu religious institutions of a public
character to all classes and sections of Hindus.
Article 25 also contains two explanations: one, wearing and carrying of kirpans is to be included in
the profession of the Sikh religion; and two, the Hindus, in this context, include Sikhs, Jains and
Buddhists.14

2. Freedom to Manage Religious Affairs


According to Article 26, every religious denomination or any of its section shall have the following
rights:
(a) Right to establish and maintain institu-tions for religious and charitable purposes;
(b) Right to manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
(c) Right to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and
(d) Right to administer such property in accordance with law.
Article 25 guarantees rights of individuals, while Article 26 guarantees rights of religious
denominations or their sections. In other words, Article 26 protects collective freedom of religion.
Like the rights under Article 25, the rights under Article 26 are also subject to public order, morality
and health but not subject to other provisions relating to the Fundamental Rights.
The Supreme Court held that a religious denomination must satisfy three conditions:
(a) It should be a collection of individuals who have a system of beliefs (doctrines) which they
regard as conductive to their spiritual well-being;
(b) It should have a common organisation; and
(c) It should be designated by a distinctive name.
Under the above criteria, the Supreme Court held that the Ramakrishna Mission and Ananda
Marga are religious denominations within the Hindu religion. It also held that Aurobindo Society is
not a religious denomination.

3. Freedom from Taxation for Promotion of a Religion

Article 27 lays down that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion or
maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination. In other words, the State should not
spend the public money collected by way of tax for the promotion or maintenance of any particular
religion. This provision prohibits the State from favouring, patronising and supporting one religion
over the other. This means that the taxes can be used for the promotion or maintenance of all
religions.
This provision prohibits only levy of a tax and not a fee. This is because the purpose of a fee is to
control secular administration of religious institutions and not to promote or maintain religion. Thus, a
fee can be levied on pilgrims to provide them some special service or safety measures. Similarly, a
fee can be levied on religious endowments for meeting the regulation expenditure.

4. Freedom from Attending Religious Instruction


Under Article 28, no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly
maintained out of State funds. However, this provision shall not apply to an educational institution
administered by the State but established under any endowment or trust, requiring imparting of
religious instruction in such institution.
Further, no person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of
State funds shall be required to attend any religious instruction or worship in that institution without
his consent. In case of a minor, the consent of his guardian is needed.
Thus, Article 28 distinguishes between four types of educational institutions:
(a) Institutions wholly maintained by the State.
(b) Institutions administered by the State but established under any endowment or trust.
(c) Institutions recognised by the State.
(d) Institutions receiving aid from the State.
In (a) religious instruction is completely prohibited while in (b), religious instruction is permitted. In
(c) and (d), religious instruction is permitted on a voluntary basis.

CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS


1. Protection of Interests of Minorities
Article 29 provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct
language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same. Further, no citizen
shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out
of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, or language.
The first provision protects the right of a group while the second provision guarantees the right of a
citizen as an individual irrespective of the community to which he belongs.
Article 29 grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities. However, the
Supreme Court held that the scope of this article is not necessarily restricted to minorities only, as it
is commonly assumed to be. This is because of the use of words section of citizens in the Article
that include minorities as well as majority.

The Supreme Court also held that the right to conserve the language includes the right to agitate for the
protection of the language. Hence, the political speeches or promises made for the conservation of the
language of a section of the citizens does not amount to corrupt practice under the Representation of
the People Act, 1951.

2. Right of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions


Article 30 grants the following rights to minorities, whether religious or linguistic:
(a) All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their
choice.
(b) The compensation amount fixed by the State for the compulsory acquisition of any property of
a minority educational institution shall not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed to them.
This provision was added by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 to protect the right of
minorities in this regard. The Act deleted the right to property as a Fundamental Right (Article
31).
(c) In granting aid, the State shall not discriminate against any educational institution managed by
a minority.
Thus, the protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does
not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29). However, the term minority has not been
defined anywhere in the Constitution.
The right under Article 30 also includes the right of a minority to impart education to its children in
its own language.
Minority educational institutions are of three types:
(a) institutions that seek recognition as well as aid from the State;
(b) institutions that seek only recognition from the State and not aid; and
(c) institutions that neither seek recognition nor aid from the State.
The institutions of first and second type are subject to the regulatory power of the state with regard to
syllabus prescription, academic standards, discipline, sanitation, employment of teaching staff and so
on. The institutions of third type are free to administer their affairs but subject to operation of general
laws like contract law, labour law, industrial law, tax law, economic regulations, and so on.

RIGHT TO CONSTITUTIONAL REMEDIES


A mere declaration of fundamental rights in the Constitution is meaningless, useless and worthless
without providing an effective machinery for their enforcement, if and when they are violated. Hence,
Article 32 confers the right to remedies for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of an aggrieved
citizen. In other words, the right to get the Fundamental Rights protected is in itself a fundamental
right. This makes the fundamental rights real. That is why Dr Ambedkar called Article 32 as the most
important article of the Constitutionan Article without which this constitution would be a nullity. It
is the very soul of the Constitution and the very heart of it. The Supreme Court has ruled that Article
32 is a basic feature of the Constitution. Hence, it cannot be abridged or taken away even by way of
an amendment to the Constitution. It contains the following four provisions:

(a) The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the
Fundamental Rights is guaranteed.
(b) The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs for the
enforcement of any of the fundamental rights. The writs issued may include habeas corpus,
mandamus, prohibition, certiorari and quo-warranto.
(c) Parliament can empower any other court to issue directions, orders and writs of all kinds.
However, this can be done without prejudice to the above powers conferred on the Supreme
Court. Any other court here does not include high courts because Article 226 has already
conferred these powers on the high courts.
(d) The right to move the Supreme Court shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for
by the Constitution. Thus the Constitution provides that the President can suspend the right to
move any court for the enforcement of the fundamental rights during a national emergency
(Article 359).
It is thus clear that the Supreme Court has been constituted as the defender and guarantor of the
fundamenetal rights of the citizens. It has been vested with the original and wide powers for that
purpose. Original, because an aggrieved citizen can directly go to the Supreme Court, not necessarily
by way of appeal. Wide, because its power is not restricted to issuing of orders or directions but also
writs of all kinds.
The purpose of Article 32 is to provide a guaranteed, effective, expedious, inexpensive and summary
remedy for the protection of the fundamental rights. Only the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the
Constitution can be enforced under Article 32 and not any other right like non-fundamental
constitutional rights, statutory rights, customary rights and so on. The violation of a fundamental right
is the sine qua non for the exercise of the right conferred by Article 32. In other words, the Supreme
Court, under Article 32, cannot determine a question that does not involve Fundamental Rights.
Article 32 cannot be invoked simply to determine the constitutionality of an executive order or a
legislation unless it directly infringes any of the fundamental rights.
In case of the enforcement of Fundamental Rights, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is original but
not exclusive. It is concurrent with the jurisdiction of the high court under Article 226. It vests
original powers in the high court to issue directions, orders and writs of all kinds for the enforcement
of the Fundamental Rights. It means when the Fundamental Rights of a citizen are violated, the
aggrieved party has the option of moving either the high court or the Supreme Court directly.
Since the right guaranteed by Article 32 (ie, the right to move the Supreme Court where a fundamental
right is infringed) is in itself a fundamental right, the availability of alternate remedy is no bar to
relief under Article 32. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that where relief through high court is
available under Article 226, the aggrieved party should first move the high court.

WRITSTYPES AND SCOPE


The Supreme Court (under Article 32) and the high courts (under Article 226) can issue the writs of
habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari and quo-warranto. Further, the Parliament (under
Article 32) can empower any other court to issue these writs. Since no such provision has been made
so far, only the Supreme Court and the high courts can issue the writs and not any other court. Before

1950, only the High Courts of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras had the power to issue the writs. Article
226 now empowers all the high courts to issue the writs.
These writs are borrowed from English law where they are known as prerogative writs. They are
so called in England as they were issued in the exercise of the prerogative of the King who was, and
is still, described as the fountain of justice. Later, the high court started issuing these writs as
extraordinary remedies to uphold the rights and liberties of the British people.
The writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court differs from that of a high court in three respects:
1. The Supreme Court can issue writs only for the enforcement of fundamental rights whereas a
high court can issue writs not only for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights but also for any
other purpose. The expression for any other purpose refers to the enforcement of an ordinary
legal right. Thus, the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, in this respect, is narrower than
that of high court.
2. The Supreme Court can issue writs aga-inst a person or government throughout the territory of
India whereas a high court can issue writs against a person residing or against a government
or authority located within its territorial jurisdiction only or outside its territorial jurisdiction
only if the cause of action arises within its territorial jurisdiction.15 Thus, the territorial
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for the purpose of issuing writs is wider than that of a high
court.
3. A remedy under Article 32 is in itself a Fundamental Right and hence, the Supreme Court may
not refuse to exercise its writ jurisdiction. On the other hand, a remedy under Article 226 is
discretionary and hence, a high court may refuse to exercise its writ jurisdiction. Article 32
does not merely confer power on the Supreme Court as Article 226 does on a high court to
issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights or other rights as part of its general
jurisdiction. The Supreme Court is thus constituted as a defender and guarantor of the
fundamental rights.
Now, we will proceed to understand the meaning and scope of different kinds of writs mentioned in
Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution:

Habeas Corpus
It is a Latin term which literally means to have the body of. It is an order issued by the court to a
person who has detained another person, to produce the body of the latter before it. The court then
examines the cause and legality of detention. It would set the detained person free, if the detention is
found to be illegal. Thus, this writ is a bulwark of individual liberty against arbitrary detention.
The writ of habeas corpus can be issued against both public authorities as well as private
individuals. The writ, on the other hand, is not issued where the (a) detention is lawful, (b) the
proceeding is for contempt of a legislature or a court, (c) detention is by a competent court, and (d)
detention is outside the jurisdiction of the court.

Mandamus
It literally means we command. It is a command issued by the court to a public official asking him to
perform his official duties that he has failed or refused to perform. It can also be issued against any

public body, a corporation, an inferior court, a tribunal or government for the same purpose.
The writ of mandamus cannot be issued (a) against a private individual or body; (b) to enforce
departmental instruction that does not possess statutory force; (c) when the duty is discretionary and
not mandatory; (d) to enforce a contractual obligation; (e) against the president of India or the state
governors; and (f) against the chief justice of a high court acting in judicial capacity.

Prohibition
Literally, it means to forbid. It is issued by a higher court to a lower court or tribunal to prevent the
latter from exceeding its jurisdiction or usurping a jurisdiction that it does not possess. Thus, unlike
mandamus that directs activity, the prohibition directs inactivity.
The writ of prohibition can be issued only against judicial and quasi-judicial authorities. It is not
available against administrative authorities, legislative bodies, and private individuals or bodies.

Certiorari
In the literal sense, it means to be certified or to be informed. It is issued by a higher court to a
lower court or tribunal either to transfer a case pending with the latter to itself or to squash the order
of the latter in a case. It is issued on the grounds of excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction or
error of law. Thus, unlike prohibition, which is only preventive, certiorari is both preventive as well
as curative.
Till recently, the writ of certiorari could be issued only against judicial and quasi-judicial
authorities and not against administrative authories. However, in 1991, the Supreme Court ruled that
the certiorari can be issued even against administrative authorities affecting rights of individuals.
Like prohibition, certiorari is also not available against legislative bodies and private individuals or
bodies.

Quo-Warranto
In the literal sense, it means by what authority or warrant. It is issued by the court to enquire into the
legality of claim of a person to a public office. Hence, it prevents illegal usurpation of public office
by a person.
The writ can be issued only in case of a substantive public office of a permanent character created by
a statute or by the Constitution. It cannot be issued in cases of ministerial office or private office.
Unlike the other four writs, this can be sought by any interested person and not necessarily by the
aggrieved person.

ARMED F ORCES AND F UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS


Article 33 empowers the Parliament to restrict or abrogate the fundamental rights of the members of
armed forces, para-military forces, police forces, intelligence agencies and analogous forces. The
objective of this provision is to ensure the proper discharge of their duties and the maintenance of
discipline among them.
The power to make laws under Article 33 is conferred only on Parliament and not on state
legislatures. Any such law made by Parliament cannot be challenged in any court on the ground of

contravention of any of the fundamental rights.


Accordingly, the Parliament has enacted the Army Act (1950), the Navy Act (1950), the Air Force
Act (1950), the Police Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966, the Border Security Force Act and
so on. These impose restrictions on their freedom of speech, right to form associations, right to be
members of trade unions or political associations, right to communicate with the press, right to attend
public meetings or demonstrations, etc.
The expressionmembers of the armed forces also covers such employees of the armed forces as
barbers, carpenters, mechanics, cooks, chowkidars, bootmakers, tailors who are non-combatants.
A parliamentary law enacted under Article 33 can also exclude the court martials (tribunals
established under the military law) from the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the high
courts, so far as the enforcement of Fundamental Rights is concerned.

MARTIAL LAW AND F UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS


Article 34 provides for the restrictions on fundamental rights while martial law is in force in any area
within the territory of India. It empowers the Parliament to indemnify any government servant or any
other person for any act done by him in connection with the maintenance or restoration of order in any
area where martial law was in force. The Parliament can also validate any sentence passed,
punishment inflicted, forfeiture ordered or other act done under martial law in such area.
The Act of Indemnity made by the Parliament cannot be challenged in any court on the ground of
contravention of any of the fundamental rights.
The concept of martial law has been borrowed in India from the English common law. However, the
expression martial law has not been defined anywhere in the Constitution. Literally, it means
military rule. It refers to a situation where civil administration is run by the military authorities
according to their own rules and regulations framed outside the ordinary law. It thus imply the
suspension of ordinary law and the government by military tribunals. It is different from the military
law that is applicable to the armed forces.
There is also no specific or express provision in the Constitution that authorises the executive to
declare martial law. However, it is implicit in Article 34 under which martial law can be declared in
any area within the territory of India. The martial law is imposed under the extraordinary
circumstances like war, invasion, insurrection, rebellion, riot or any violent resistance to law. Its
justification is to repel force by force for maintaining or restoring order in the society.
During the operation of martial law, the military authorities are vested with abnormal powers to take
all necessary steps. They impose restrictions and regulations on the rights of the civilians, can punish
the civilians and even condemn them to death.
The Supreme Court held that the declaration of martial law does not ipso facto result in the
suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.
The declaration of a martial law under Article 34 is different from the declaration of a national
emergency under Article 352. The differences between the two are summarised in Table 7.3.
Table 7.3 Martial Law Vs National Emergency
Martial Law

National Emergency

1.

It affects only Fundamental


Rights.

1.

It affects not only Fundamental Rights but also Centrestate relations, distribution of
revenues and legislative powers between centre and states and may extend the tenure of
the Parliament.

2.

It suspends the government and


ordinary law courts.

2.

It continues the government and ordinary law courts.

3.

It is imposed to restore the


breakdown of law and order due
to any reason.

3.

It can be imposed only on three groundswar, external aggression or armed rebellion.

4.

It is imposed in some specific


area of the country.

4.

It is imposed either in the whole country or in any part of it.

5.

It has no specific provision in the


Constitution. It is implicit.

5.

It has specific and detailed provision in the Constitution. It is explicit.

EFFECTING CERTAIN F UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS


Article 35 lays down that the power to make laws, to give effect to certain specified fundamental
rights shall vest only in the Parliament and not in the state legislatures. This provision ensures that
there is uniformity throughout India with regard to the nature of those fundamental rights and
punishment for their infringement. In this direction, Article 35 contains the following provisions:
1. The Parliament shall have (and the legislature of a state shall not have) power to make laws with
respect to the following matters:
(a) Prescribing residence as a condition for certain employments or appointments in a state or
union territory or local authority or other authority (Article 16).
(b) Empowering courts other than the Supreme Court and the high courts to issue directions,
orders and writs of all kinds for the enforcement of fundamental rights (Article 32).
(c) Restricting or abrogating the application of Fundamental Rights to members of armed forces,
police forces, etc. (Article 33).
(d) Indemnifying any government servant or any other person for any act done during the operation
of martial law in any area (Article 34).
2. Parliament shall have (and the legislature of a state shall not have) powers to make laws for
prescribing punishment for those acts that are declared to be offences under the fundamental rights.
These include the following:
(a) Untouchability (Article 17).
(b) Traffic in human beings and forced labour (Article 23).
Further, the Parliament shall, after the commencement of the Constitution, make laws for prescribing
punishment for the above acts, thus making it obligatory on the part of the Parliament to enact such
laws.
3. Any law in force at the commencement of the Constitution with respect to any of the matters
specified above is to continue in force until altered or repealed or amended by the Parliament.
It should be noted that Article 35 extends the competence of the Parliament to make a law on the
matters specified above, even though some of those matters may fall within the sphere of the state

legislatures (i.e., State List).

P RESENT P OSITION OF RIGHT TO P ROPERTY


Originally, the right to property was one of the seven fundamental rights under Part III of the
Constitution. It was dealt by Article 19(1)(f) and Article 31. Article 19(1)(f) guaranteed to every
citizen the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property. Article 31, on the other hand, guaranteed to
every person, whether citizen or non-citizen, right against deprivation of his property. It provided that
no person shall be deprived of his property except by authority of law. It empowered the State to
acquire or requisition the property of a person on two conditions: (a) it should be for public purpose,
and (b) it should provide for payment of compensation (amount) to the owner.
Since the commencement of the Constitution, the Fundamental Right to Property has been the most
controversial. It has caused confrontations between the Supreme Court and the Parliament. It has led
to a number of Constitutional amendments, that is, 1st, 4th, 7th, 25th, 39th, 40th and 42nd
Amendments. Through these amendments, Articles 31A, 31B and 31C have been added and modified
from time to time to nullify the effect of Supreme Court judgements and to protect certain laws from
being challenged on the grounds of contravention of Fundamental Rights. Most of the litigation
centred around the obligation of the state to pay compensation for acquisition or requisition of private
property.
Therefore, the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 abolished the right to property as a Fundamental Right by
repealing Article 19(1)(f) and Article 31 from Part III. Instead, the Act inserted a new Article 300A
in Part XII under the heading Right to Property. It provides that no person shall be deprived of his
property except by authority of law. Thus, the right to property still remains a legal right or a
constitutional right, though no longer a fundamental right. It is not a part of the basic structure of the
Constitution.
The right to property as a legal right (as distinct from the Fundamental Rights) has the following
implications:
(a) It can be regulated ie, curtailed, abridged or modified without constitutional amendment by an
ordinary law of the Parliament.
(b) It protects private property against executive action but not against legislative action.
(c) In case of violation, the aggrieved person cannot directly move the Supreme Court under
Article 32 (right to constitutional remedies including writs) for its enforcement. He can move
the High Court under Article 226.
(d) No guaranteed right to compensation in case of acquisition or requisition of the private
property by the state.
Though the Fundamental Right to Property under Part III has been abolished, the Part III still carries
two provisions which provide for the guaranteed right to compensation in case of acquisition or
requisition of the private property by the state. These two cases where compensation has to be paid
are:
(a) When the State acquires the property of a minority educational institution (Article 30); and
(b) When the State acquires the land held by a person under his personal cultivation and the land

is within the statutory ceiling limits (Article 31 A).


The first provision was added by the 44th Amendment Act (1978), while the second provision was
added by the 17th Amendment Act (1964).
Further, Articles 31A, 31B and 31C have been retained as exceptions to the fundamental rights.

EXCEPTIONS TO F UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS


1. Saving of Laws Providing for Acquisition of Estates, etc.
Article 31A16 saves five categories of laws from being challenged and invalidated on the ground of
contravention of the fundamental rights conferred by Article 14 (equality before law and equal
protection of laws) and Article 19 (protection of six rights in respect of speech, assembly, movement,
etc.). They are related to agricultural land reforms, industry and commerce and include the following:
(a) Acquisition of estates17 and related rights by the State;
(b) Taking over the management of properties by the State;
(c) Amalgamation of corporations;
(d) Extinguishment or modification of rights of directors or shareholders of corporations; and
(e) Extinguishment or modification of mining leases.
Article 31A does not immunise a state law from judicial review unless it has been reserved for the
presidents consideration and has received his assent.
This Article also provides for the payment of compensation at market value when the state acquires
the land held by a person under his personal cultivation and the land is within the statutory ceiling
limit.

2. Validation of Certain Acts and Regulations


Article 31B saves the acts and regulations included in the Ninth Schedule18 from being challenged
and invalidated on the ground of contravention of any of the fundamental rights. Thus, the scope of
Article 31B is wider than Article 31A. Article 31B immunises any law included in the Ninth
Schedule from all the fundamental rights whether or not the law falls under any of the five categories
specified in Article 31A.
However, in a significant judgement delivered in January 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that there
could not be any blanket immunity from judicial review of laws included in the Ninth Schedule. The
court held that judicial review is a basic feature of the constitution and it could not be taken away
by putting a law under the Ninth Schedule. It said that the laws placed under the Ninth Schedule after
April 24, 1973, are open to challenge in court if they violated fundamentals rights guaranteed under
Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 or the basic structure of the constitution. It was on April 24, 1973, that
the Supreme Court first propounded the doctrine of basic structure or basic features of the
constitution in its landmark verdict in the Kesavananda Bharati Case.19
Originally (in 1951), the Ninth Schedule contained only 13 acts and regulations but at present (in
2013) their number is 282.20 Of these, the acts and regulations of the state legislature deal with land
reforms and abolition of the zamindari system and that of the Parliament deal with other matters.

3. Saving of Laws Giving Effect to Certain Directive Principles


Article 31C, as inserted by the 25th Amendment Act of 1971, contained the following two provisions:
(a) No law that seeks to implement the socialistic directive principles specified in Article
39(b)21 or (c)22 shall be void on the ground of contravention of the fundamental rights
conferred by Article 14 (equality before law and equal protection of laws) or Article 19
(protection of six rights in respect of speech, assembly, movement, etc.)
(b) No law containing a declaration that it is for giving effect to such policy shall be questioned
in any court on the ground that it does not give effect to such a policy.
In the Kesavananda Bharati case23 (1973), the Supreme Court declared the above second provision
of Article 31C as unconstitutional and invalid on the ground that judicial review is a basic feature of
the Constitution and hence, cannot be taken away. However, the above first provision of Article 31C
was held to be constitutional and valid.
The 42nd Amendment Act (1976) extended the scope of the above first provision of Article 31C by
including within its protection any law to implement any of the directive principles specified in Part
IV of the Constitution and not merely in Article 39 (b) or (c). However, this extention was declared
as unconstitutional and invalid by the Supreme Court in the Minerva Mills case24 (1980).

CRITICISM OF F UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS


The Fundamental Rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution have met with a wide and varied
criticism. The arguments of the critics are:

1. Excessive Limitations
They are subjected to innumerable exceptions, restrictions, qualifications and explanations. Hence,
the critics remarked that the Constitution grants Fundamental Rights with one hand and takes them
away with the other. Jaspat Roy Kapoor went to the extent of saying that the chapter dealing with the
fundamental rights should be renamed as Limitaions on Fundamental Rights or Fundamental Rights
and Limitations Thereon.

2. No Social and Economic Rights


The list is not comprehensive as it mainly consists of political rights. It makes no provision for
important social and economic rights like right to social security, right to work, right to employment,
right to rest and leisure and so on. These rights are made available to the citizens of advanced
democratic countries. Also, the socialistic constitutions of erstwhile USSR or China provided for
such rights.

3. No Clarity
They are stated in a vague, indefinite and ambiguous manner. The various phrases and words used in
the chapter like public order, minorities, reasonable restriction, public interest and so on are
not clearly defined. The language used to describe them is very complicated and beyond the
comprehension of the common man. It is alleged that the Constitution was made by the lawyers for the
lawyers. Sir Ivor Jennings called the Constitution of India a paradise for lawyers.

4. No Permanency
They are not sacrosanct or immutable as the Parliament can curtail or abolish them, as for example,
the abolition of the fundamental right to property in 1978. Hence, they can become a play tool in the
hands of politicians having majority support in the Parliament. The judicially innovated doctrine of
basic structure is the only limitation on the authority of Parliament to curtail or abolish the
fundamental right.

5. Suspension During Emergency


The suspension of their enforcement during the operation of National Emergency (except Articles 20
and 21) is another blot on the efficacy of these rights. This provision cuts at the roots of democratic
system in the country by placing the rights of the millions of innocent people in continuous jeopardy.
According to the critics, the Fundamental Rights should be enjoyable in all situationsEmergency or
no Emergency.

6. Expensive Remedy
The judiciary has been made responsible for defending and protecting these rights against the
interference of the legislatures and executives. However, the judicial process is too expensive and
hinders the common man from getting his rights enforced through the courts. Hence, the critics say that
the rights benefit mainly the rich section of the Indian Society.

7. Preventive Detention
The critics assert that the provision for preventive detention (Article 22) takes away the spirit and
substance of the chapter on fundamental rights. It confers arbitrary powers on the State and negates
individual liberty. It justifies the criticism that the Constitution of India deals more with the rights of
the State against the individual than with the rights of the individual against the State. Notably, no
democratic country in the world has made preventive detention as an integral part of their
Constitutions as has been made in India.

8. No Consistent Philosophy
According to some critics, the chapter on fundamental rights is not the product of any philosophical
principle. Sir Ivor Jennings expressed this view when he said that the Fundamental Rights proclaimed
by the Indian Constitution are based on no consistent philosophy. 25 The critics say that this creates
difficulty for the Supreme Court and the high courts in interpreting the fundamental rights.

SIGNIFICANCE OF F UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS


In spite of the above criticism and shortcomings, the Fundamental Rights are significant in the
following respects:
1. They constitute the bedrock of democratic system in the country.
2. They provide necessary conditions for the material and moral protection of man.
3. They serve as a formidable bulwark of individual liberty.

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

They facilitate the establishment of rule of law in the country.


They protect the interests of minorities and weaker sections of society.
They strengthen the secular fabric of the Indian State.
They check the absoluteness of the authority of the government.
They lay down the foundation stone of social equality and social justice.
They ensure the dignity and respect of individuals.
They facilitate the participation of people in the political and administrative process.

RIGHTS OUTSIDE P ART III


Besides the Fundamental Rights included in Part III, there are certain other rights contained in other
parts of the Constitution. These rights are known as constitutional rights or legal rights or nonfundamental rights. They are:
1. No tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law (Article 265 in Part XII).
2. No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law (Article 300-A in Part
XII).
3. Trade, commerce and intercourse throughout the territory of India shall be free (Article 301 in
Part XIII).
4. The elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assembly shall be on the basis of
adult suffrage (Article 326 in Part XV).
Even though the above rights are also equally justiciable, they are different from the Fundamental
Rights. In case of violation of a Fundamental Right, the aggrieved person can directly move the
Supreme Court for its enforcement under Article 32, which is in itself a fundamental right. But, in
case of violation of the above rights, the aggrieved person cannot avail this constitutional remedy. He
can move the High Court by an ordinary suit or under Article 226 (writ jurisdiction of high court).
Table 7.4 Articles Related to Fundamental Rights at a Glance
Article No.

Subject-matter
General

12. Definition of State


13. Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the Fundamental Rights
Right to Equality
14. Equality before law
15. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
16. Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
17. Abolition of untouchability
18. Abolition of titles

Right to Freedom
19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.
20. Protection in respect of conviction for offences
21. Protection of life and personal liberty
21A. Right to education
22. Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases
Right against Exploitation
23. Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour
24. Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.
Right to Freedom of Religion
25. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
26. Freedom to manage religious affairs
27. Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion
28. Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions.
Cultural and Educational Rights
29. Protection of interests of minorities
30. Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
31. Compulsory acquisition of property(Repealed)
Saving of Certain Laws
31A. Saving of laws providing for acquisition of estates, etc.
31B. Validation of certain Acts and Regulations
31C. Saving of laws giving effect to certain directive principles
31D. Saving of laws in respect of anti-national activities(Repealed)
Right to Constitutional Remedies
32. Remedies for enforcement of rights conferred by this part
32A. Constitutional validity of State laws not to be considered in proceedings under Article 32(Repealed)
33. Power of Parliament to modify the rights conferred by this part in their application to forces, etc.
34. Restriction on rights conferred by this part while martial law is in force in any area
35. Legislation to give effect to the provisions of this part

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

Magna Carta is the Charter of Rights issued by King John of England in 1215 under pressure

from the barons. This is the first written document relating to the Fundamental Rights of
citizens.
2. Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala, (1973).
3. Dicey observe: No man is above the law, but every man, whatever be his rank or condition,
is subject to the ordinary law of the realm and amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary
tribunals. Every official from the Prime Minister down to a constable or a collector of taxes,
is under the same responsibility for every act done without legal justification as any other
citizen. (A V Dicey, Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, Macmillan,
1931 Edition P. 183191).
4. This second provision was added by the first Amendment Act of 1951.
5. By virtue of Article 371D inserted by the 32nd Amendment Act of 1973.
6. The first Backward Classes Commission was appointed in 1953 under the chairmanship of
Kaka Kalelkar. It submitted its report in 1955.
7. In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that more than 50% reservation of jobs in a single year
would be unconstitutional.
8. Indra Sawhney v. Union of India, (1992).
9. The Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of
seats in educational institutions and of appointments or posts in the services under the state)
Act, 1994.
10. Balaji Raghavan v. Union of India, (1996).
10a. The provision for co-operative societies was made by the 97th Constitutional Amendment
Act of 2011.
10b. Ibid
11. A K Gopalan v. State of Madras, (1950).
12. Menaka Gandhi v. Union of India, (1978).
12a. The Constitution (Eighty-sixth amendment) Act, 2002 and the Right of Children to Free and
Compulsory Education Act, 2009 have come into force w.e.f. 1 April 2010.
13. Originally known as the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956.
14. In this clause, the reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons
professing the Sikh, Jaina and Buddhist relig-ion and the reference to Hindu religious
institutions shall be construed accordingly (Article 25).
15. The second provision was added by the 15th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1963.
16. Added by the 1st Constitutional Amendment Act of 1951 and amended by the 4th, 17th and
44th Amendments.
17. The expression estate includes any jagir, inam, muafi or other similar grant, any janmam
right in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and any land held for agricultural purposes.
18. Article 31B along with the Ninth Schedule was added by the 1st Constitutional Amendment
Act of 1951.
19. Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973).

20. Though the last entry is numbered 284, the actual total number is 282. This is because, the
three entries (87, 92 and 130) have been deleted and one entry is numbered as 257A.
21. Article 39 (b) saysThe State shall direct its policy towards securing that the ownership and
control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the
common good.
22. Article 39 (c) saysThe state shall direct its policy towards securing that the operation of the
economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the
common detriment.
23. Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973).
24. Minerva Mills v. Union of India, (1980).
25. Sir Ivor Jennings wrote: A thread of nineteenth century liberalism runs through it; there
are consequences of the political problems of Britain in it; there are relics of the bitter
experience in opposition to British rule; and there is evidence of a desire to reform some of
the social institutions which time and circumstances have developed in India. The result is
a series of complex formulae, in twenty-four articles, some of them lengthy, which must
become the basis of a vast and complicated case law.

he Directive Principles of State Policy are enumerated in Part IV of the Constitution from
Articles 36 to 511. The framers of the Constitution borrowed this idea from the Irish
Constitution of 1937, which had copied it from the Spanish Constitution. Dr B R Ambedkar
described these principles as novel features of the Indian Constitution. The Directive Principles
along with the Fundamental Rights contain the philosophy of the Constitution and is the soul of the
Constitution. Granville Austin has described the Directive Principles and the Fundamental Rights as
the Conscience of the Constitution2.

F EATURES OF THE DIRECTIVE P RINCIPLES


1.

2.

3.

The phrase Directive Principles of State Policy denotes the ideals that the State should keep
in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws. These are the constitutional instructions
or recommendations to the State in legislative, executive and administrative matters.
According to Article 36, the term State in Part IV has the same meaning as in Part III dealing
with Fundamental Rights. Therefore, it includes the legislative and executive organs of the
central and state governments, all local authorities and all other public authorities in the
country.
The Directive Principles resemble the Instrument of Instructions enumerated in the
Government of India Act of 1935. In the words of Dr B R Ambedkar, the Directive
Principles are like the instrument of instructions, which were issued to the Governor-General
and to the Governors of the colonies of India by the British Government under the Government
of India Act of 1935. What is called Directive Principles is merely another name for the
instrument of instructions. The only difference is that they are instructions to the legislature
and the executive.
The Directive Principles constitute a very comprehensive economic, social and political
programme for a modern democratic State. They aim at realising the high ideals of justice,
liberty, equality and fraternity as outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution. They embody

4.

5.

the concept of a welfare state and not that of a police state, which existed during the
colonial era3. In brief, they seek to establish economic and social democracy in the country.
The Directive Principles are non-justiciable in nature, that is, they are not legally enforceable
by the courts for their violation. Therefore, the government (Central, state and local) cannot be
compelled to implement them. Nevertheless, the Constitution (Article 37) itself says that these
principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State
to apply these principles in making laws.
The Directive Principles, though non-justiciable in nature, help the courts in examining and
determining the constitutional validity of a law. The Supreme Court has ruled many a times
that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court finds that the law in question
seeks to give effect to a Directive Principle, it may consider such law to be reasonable in
relation to Article 14 (equality before law) or Article 19 (six freedoms) and thus save such
law from unconstitutionality.

CLASSIFICATION OF THE DIRECTIVE P RINCIPLES


The Constitution does not contain any classification of Directive Principles. However, on the basis of
their content and direction, they can be classified into three broad categories, viz, socialistic,
Gandhian and liberalintellectual.

Socialistic Principles
These principles reflect the ideology of socialism. They lay down the framework of a democratic
socialist state, aim at providing social and economic justice, and set the path towards welfare state.
They direct the state:
1. To promote the welfare of the people by securing a social order permeated by justice
social, economic and politicaland to minimise inequalities in income, status, facilities and
opportunities4 (Article 38).
2. To secure (a) the right to adequate means of livelihood for all citizens; (b) the equitable
distribution of material resources of the community for the common good; (c) prevention of
concentration of wealth and means of production; (d) equal pay for equal work for men and
women; (e) preservation of the health and strength of workers and children against forcible
abuse; and (f) opportunities for healthy development of children5 (Article 39).
3.
4.
5.

To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor6 (Article 39 A).
To secure the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment,
old age, sickness and disablement (Article 41).
To make provision for just and humane conditions for work and maternity relief (Article 42).

6.

To secure a living wage 7, a decent standard of life and social and cultural opportunities for
all workers (Article 43).

7.

To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries 8 (Article
43 A).
To raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of people and to improve public

8.

health (Article 47).

Gandhian Principles
These principles are based on Gandhian ideology. They represent the programme of reconstruction
enunciated by Gandhi during the national movement. In order to fulfil the dreams of Gandhi, some of
his ideas were included as Directive Principles. They require the State:
1. To organise village panchayats and endow them with necessary powers and authority to
enable them to function as units of self-government (Article 40).
2. To promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operation basis in rural areas (Article
43).
3. To promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional
management of co-operative societies8a (Article 43B).
4. To promote the educational and economic interests of SCs, STs, and other weaker sections of
the society and to protect them from social injustice and exploitation (Article 46).
5. To prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health
(Article 47).
6. To prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves and other milch and draught cattle and to improve
their breeds (Article 48).

LiberalIntellectual Principles
The principles included in this category repre-sent the ideology of liberalism. They direct the state:
1. To secure for all citizens a uniform civil code throughout the country (Article 44).
2. To provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of
six years9 (Article 45).
3. To organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines (Article 48).
4.
5.
6.
7.

To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wild life 10 (Article 48
A).
To protect monuments, places and objects of artistic or historic interest which are declared to
be of national importance (Article 49).
To separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State (Article 50).
To promote international peace and security and maintain just and honourable relations
between nations; to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations, and to
encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration (Article 51).

NEW DIRECTIVE P RINCIPLES


The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 added four new Directive Principles to the original list. They
require the State:
1. To secure opportunities for healthy development of children (Article 39).
2. To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor (Article 39 A).

3.

To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries (Article
43 A).
4. To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wild life (Article 48 A).
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 added one more Directive Principle, which requires the State to
minimise inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities (Article 38).
Again, the 86th Amendment Act of 2002 changed the subject-matter of Article 45 and made
elementary education a fundamental right under Article 21 A. The amended directive requires the
State to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six
years.
The 97th Amendment Act of 2011 added a new Directive Principle relating to co-operative societies.
It requires the state to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and
professional management of co-operative societies (Article 43B).

SANCTION B EHIND DIRECTIVE P RINCIPLES


Sir B N Rau, the Constitutional Advisor to the Constituent Assembly, recommended that the rights of
an individual should be divided into two categoriesjusticiable and non-justiciable, which was
accepted by the Drafting Committee. Consequently, the Fundamental Rights, which are justiciable in
nature, are incorporated in Part III and the Directive Principles, which are non-justiciable in nature,
are incorporated in Part IV of the Constitution.
Though the Directive Principles are non-justiciable, the Constitution (Article 37) make it clear that
these principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the state
to apply these principles in making laws. Thus, they impose a moral obligation on the state
authorities for their application, but the real force behind them is political, that is, public opinion. As
observed by Alladi Krishna Swamy Ayyar, no ministry responsible to the people can afford lightheartedly to ignore the provisions in Part IV of the Constitution. Similarly, Dr B R Ambedkar said in
the Constituent Assembly that a government which rests on popular vote can hardly ignore the
Directive Principles while shaping its policy. If any government ignores them, it will certainly have
to answer for that before the electorate at the election time.11
The framers of the Constitution made the Directive Principles non-justiciable and legally nonenforceable because:
1. The country did not possess sufficient financial resources to implement them.
2. The presence of vast diversity and backwardness in the country would stand in the way of
their implementation.
3. The newly born independent Indian State with its many preoccupations might be crushed
under the burden unless it was free to decide the order, the time, the place and the mode of
fulfilling them.
The Constitution makers, therefore, taking a pragmatic view, refrained from giving teeth to these
principles. They believed more in an awakened public opinion rather than in court procedures as the
ultimate sanction for the fulfilment of these principles12.

CRITICISM OF THE DIRECTIVE P RINCIPLES


The Directive Principles of State Policy have been criticised by some members of the Constituent
Assembly as well as other constitutional and political experts on the following grounds:

1. No Legal Force
The Directives have been criticised mainly because of their non-justiciable character. While K T
Shah dubbed them as pious superfluities and compared them with a cheque on a bank, payable only
when the resources of the bank permit13, Nasiruddin contended that these principles are no better
than the new years resolutions, which are broken on the second of January. Even as T T
Krishnamachari descri-bed the Directives as a veritable dust-bin of sentiments, K C Wheare called
them as a ma-nifesto of aims and aspirations and opined that they serve as mere moral homily, and
Sir Ivor Jennings thought they are only as pious aspirations.

2. Illogically Arranged
Critics opine that the Directives are not arranged in a logical manner based on a consistent
philosophy. According to N Srinivasan, the Directives are neither properly classified nor logically
arranged. The declaration mixes up relatively unimportant issues with the most vital economic and
social questions. It combines rather incongruously the modern with the old and provisions suggested
by the reason and science with provisions based purely on sentiment and prejudice14. Sir Ivor
Jennings too pointed out that these principles have no consistent philosophy.

3. Conservative
According to Sir Ivor Jennings, the Directives are based on the political philosophy of the 19th
century England. He remarked: The ghosts of Sydney Webb and Beatrice Webb stalk through the
pages of the text. Part IV of the Constitution expresses Fabian Socialism without the socialism. He
opined that the Directives are deemed to be suitable in India in the middle of the twentieth century.
The question whether they are suitable for the twenty-first century cannot be answered; but it is quite
probable that they will be entirely out moded.15

4. Constitutional Conflict
K Santhanam has pointed out that the Directives lead to a constitutional conflict (a) between the
Centre and the states, (b) between the President and the Prime Minister, and (c) between the governor
and the chief minister. According to him, the Centre can give directions to the states with regard to the
implementation of these principles, and in case of non-compliance, can dismiss the state government.
Similarly, when the Prime Minister gets a bill (which violates the Directive Principles) passed by the
Parliament, the president may reject the bill on the ground that these principles are fundamental to the
governance of the country and hence, the ministry has no right to ignore them. The same constitutional
conflict may occur between the governor and the chief minister at the state level.

UTILITY OF DIRECTIVE P RINCIPLES


In spite of the above criticisms and shortcomings, the Directive Principles are not an unnecessary

appendage to the Constitution. The Constitution itself declares that they are fundamental to the
governance of the country. According to L M Singhvi, an eminent jurist and diplomat, the Directives
are the life giving provisions of the Constitution. They constitute the stuff of the Constitution and its
philosophy of social justice16. M C Chagla, former Chief Justice of India, is of the opinion that, if
all these principles are fully carried out, our country would indeed be a heaven on earth. India would
then be not only democracy in the political sense, but also a welfare state looking after the welfare of
its citizens17. Dr B R Ambedkar had pointed out that the Directives have great value because they lay
down that the goal of Indian polity is economic democracy as distinguished from political democracy. Granville Austin opined that the Directive Principles are aimed at furthering the goals of the
social revolution or to foster this revolution by establishing the conditions necessary for its
achivement18. Sir B N Rau, the constitutional advisor to the Constituent As-sembly, stated that the
Directive Principles are intended as moral precepts for the authorities of the state. They have at least
an educative value.
According to M C Setalvad, the former Attorney General of India, the Directive Principles, although
confer no legal rights and creates no legal remedies, are significant and useful in the following ways:
1. They are like an Instrument of Instructions or general recommendations addressed to all
authorities in the Indian Union. They remind them of the basic principles of the new social and
economic order, which the Constitution aims at building.
2. They have served as useful beacon-lights to the courts. They have helped the courts in
exercising their power of judicial review, that is, the power to determine the constitutional
validity of a law.
3. They form the dominating background to all State action, legislative or executive and also a
guide to the courts in some respects.
4. They amplify the Preamble, which solemnly resolves to secure to all citizens of India justice,
liberty, equality and fraternity.
The Directives also play the following roles:
1. They facilitate stability and continuity in domestic and foreign policies in political, economic
and social spheres in spite of the changes of the party in power.
2. They are supplementary to the fundamental rights of the citizens. They are intended to fill in
the vacuum in Part III by providing for social and economic rights.
3. Their implementation creates a favourable atmosphere for the full and proper enjoyment of the
fundamental rights by the citizens. Political democracy, without economic democracy, has no
meaning.
4. They enable the opposition to exercise influence and control over the operations of the
government. The Opposition can blame the ruling party on the ground that its activities are
opposed to the Directives.
5. They serve as a crucial test for the performance of the government. The people can examine
the policies and programmes of the government in the light of these constitutional
declarations.
6. They serve as common political manifesto. A ruling party, irrespective of its political

ideology, has to recognise the fact that these principles are intended to be its guide,
philosopher and friend in its legislative and executive acts19.

CONFLICT B ETWEEN F UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DIRECTIVE P RINCIPLES


The justiciability of Fundamental Rights and non-justiciability of Directive Principles on the one hand
and the moral obligation of State to implement Directive Principles (Article 37) on the other hand
have led to a conflict between the two since the commencement of the Constitution. In the
Champakam Dorairajan case20 (1951), the Supreme Court ruled that in case of any conflict between
the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles, the former would prevail. It declared that the
Directive Principles have to conform to and run as subsidiary to the Fundamental Rights. But, it also
held that the Fundamental Rights could be amended by the Parliament by enacting constitutional
amendments acts. As a result, the Parliament made the First Amendment Act (1951), the Fourth
Amendment Act (1955) and the Seventeenth Amendment Act (1964) to implement some of the
Directives.
The above situation underwent a major change in 1967 following the Supreme Courts judgement in
the Golaknath case21 (1967). In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Parliament cannot take
away or abridge any of the Fundamental Rights, which are sacrosanct in nature. In other words, the
Court held that the Fundamental Rights cannot be amended for the implementation of the Directive
Principles.
The Parliament reacted to the Supreme Courts judgement in the Golaknath Case (1967) by enacting
the 24th Amendment Act (1971) and the 25th Amendment Act (1971). The 24th Amendment Act
declared that the Parliament has the power to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights by
enacting Constitutional Amendment Acts. The 25th Amendment Act inserted a new Article 31C which
contained the following two provisions:
1. No law which seeks to implement the socialistic Directive Principles specified in Article 39
(b)22 and (c)23 shall be void on the ground of contravention of the Fundamental Rights
conferred by Article 14 (equality before law and equal protection of laws), Article 19
(protection of six rights in respect of speech, assembly, movement, etc) or Article 31 (right to
property).
Table 8.1 Distinction Between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
Fundamental Rights

Directive Principles

1.

These are negative as they prohibit the


State from doing certain things.

1.

These are positive as they require the State to do certain things.

2.

These are justiciable, that is, they are


legally enforceable by the courts in case
of their violation.

2.

These are non-justiciable, that is, they are not legally enforceable by the courts for
their violation.

3.

They aim at establishing political


democracy in the country.

3.

They aim at establishing social and economic democracy in the country.

4.

These have legal sanctions.

4.

These have moral and political sanctions.

5.

They promote the welfare of the

5.

They promote the welfare of the community. Hence, they are societarian and

individual. Hence, they are personal and


individualistic.

socialistic.

6.

They do not require any legislation for


their implementation. They are
automatically enforced.

6.

They require legislation for their implementation. They are not automatically
enforced.

7.

The courts are bound to declare a law


violative of any of the Fundamental
Rights as unconstitutional and invalid.

7.

The courts cannot declare a law violative of any of the Directive Principles as
unconstitutional and invalid. However, they can uphold the validity of a law on the
ground that it was enacted to give effect to a directive.

2.

No law containing a declaration for giving effect to such policy shall be questioned in any
court on the ground that it does not give effect to such a policy.

In the Kesavananda Bharati case24 (1973), the Supreme Court declared the above second provision
of Article 31C as unconstitutional and invalid on the ground that judicial review is a basic feature of
the Constitution and hence, cannot be taken away. However, the above first provision of Article 31C
was held to be constitutional and valid.
Later, the 42nd Amendment Act (1976) extended the scope of the above first provision of Article 31C
by including within its protection any law to implement any of the Directive Principles and not merely
those specified in Article 39 (b) and (c). In other words, the 42nd Amendment Act accorded the
position of legal primacy and supremacy to the Directive Principles over the Fundamental Rights
conferred by Articles 14, 19 and 31. However, this extension was declared as unconstitutional and
invalid by the Supreme Court in the Minerva Mills case25 (1980). It means that the Directive
Principles were once again made subordinate to the Fundamental Rights. But the Fundamental Rights
conferred by Article 14 and Article 19 were accepted as subordinate to the Directive Principles
specified in Article 39 (b) and (c). Further, Article 31 (right to property) was abolished by the 44th
Amendment Act (1978).
In the Minerva Mills case (1980), the Supreme Court also held that the Indian Constitution is
founded on the bedrock of the balance between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles.
They together constitute the core of commitment to social revolution. They are like two wheels of a
chariot, one no less than the other. To give absolute primacy to one over the other is to disturb the
harmony of the Constitution. This harmony and balance between the two is an essential feature of the
basic structure of the Constitution. The goals set out by the Directive Principles have to be achieved
without the abrogation of the means provided by the Fundamental Rights.
Therefore, the present position is that the Fundamental Rights enjoy supremacy over the Directive
Principles. Yet, this does not mean that the Directive Principles cannot be implemented. The
Parliament can amend the Fundamental Rights for implementing the Directive Principles, so long as
the amendment does not damage or destroy the basic structure of the Constitution.

IMPLEMENTATION OF DIRECTIVE P RINCIPLES


Since 1950, the successive governments at the Centre and in the states have made several laws and
formulated various programmes for implementing the Directive Principles. These are mentioned
below:
1. The Planning Commission was established in 1950 to take up the development of the country

in a planned manner. The successive Five Year Plans aimed at securing socio-economic
justice and reducing inequalities of income, status and opportunities.
2. Almost all the states have passed land reform laws to bring changes in the agrarian society
and to improve the conditions of the rural masses. These measures include (a) abolition of
intermediaries like zamindars, jagirdars, inamdars, etc; (b) tenancy reforms like security of
tenure, fair rents, etc; (c) imposition of ceilings on land holdings; (d) distribution of surplus
land among the landless labourers; and (e) cooperative farming.
3. The Minimum Wages Act (1948), the Payment of Wages Act (1936), the Payment of Bonus
Act (1965), the Contract Labour Regulation and Abolition Act (1970), the Child Labour
Prohibition and Regulation Act (1986), the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act (1976), the
Trade Unions Act (1926), the Factories Act (1948), the Mines Act (1952), the Industrial
Disputes Act (1947), the Workmens Compensation Act (1923) and so on have been enacted
to protect the interests of the labour sections. In 2006, the government banned the child labour.
4. The Maternity Benefit Act (1961) and the Equal Remuneration Act (1976) have been made to
protect the interests of women workers.
5. Various measures have been taken to utilise the financial resources for promoting the common
good.These include nationalisation of life insurance (1956), the nationalisation of fourteen
leading commercial banks (1969), nationalisation of general insurance (1971), abolition of
Privy Purses (1971) and so on.
6. The Legal Services Authorities Act (1987) has established a nation-wide network to provide
free and competent legal aid to the poor and to organise lok adalats for promoting equal
justice. Lok adalat is a statutory forum for conciliatory settlement of legal disputes. It has been
given the status of a civil court. Its awards are enforceable, binding on the parties and final as
no appeal lies before any court against them.
7. Khadi and Village Industries Board, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Small-Scale
Industries Board, National Small Industries Corporation, Handloom Board, Handicrafts
Board, Coir Board, Silk Board and so on have been set up for the development of cottage
industries in rural areas.
8. The Community Development Programme (1952), Hill Area Development Programme (1960),
Drought-Prone Area Programme (1973), Minimum Needs Programme (1974), Integrated
Rural Development Programme (1978), Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (1989), Swarnajayanti Gram
Swarozgar Yojana (1999), Sampoorna Grameena Rozgar Yojana (2001), National Rural
Employment Guarantee Programme (2006) and so on have been launched for raising the
standard of living of people.
9. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, have been
enacted to safeguard the wildlife and the forests respectively. Further, the Water and Air Acts
have provided for the establishment of the Central and State Pollution Control Boards, which
are engaged in the protection and improvement of environment. The National Forest Policy
(1988) aims at the protection, conservation and development of forests.
10. Agriculture has been modernised by providing improved agricultural inputs, seeds, fertilisers
and irrigation facilities. Various steps have also been taken to organise animal husbandry on

modern and scientific lines.


11. Three-tier panchayati raj system (at village, taluka and zila levels) has been introduced to
translate into reality Gandhijis dream of every village being a republic. The 73rd
Amendment Act (1992) has been enacted to provide constitutional status and protection to
these panchayati raj institutions.
12. Seats are reserved for SCs, STs and other weaker sections in educational institutions,
government services and representative bodies. The Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955,
which was renamed as the Protection of Civil Rights Act in 1976 and the Scheduled Castes
and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, have been enacted to protect the
SCs and STs from social injustice and exploitation. The 65th Constitutional Amendment Act
of 1990 established the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to
protect the interests of SCs and STs. The 89 th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2003
bifurcated this combined commission into two separate bodies, namely, National Commission
for Schedule Castes and National Commission for Schedule Tribes.
13. The Criminal Procedure Code (1973) separated the judiciary from the executive in the public
services of the state. Prior to this separation, the district authorities like the collector, the subdivisional officer, the tehsildar and so on used to exercise judicial powers along with the
traditional executive powers. After the separation, the judicial powers were taken away from
these executive authorities and vested in the hands of district judicial magistrates who work
under the direct control of the state high court.
14. The Ancient and Historical Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (1951) has
been enacted to protect the monuments, places and objects of national importance.
15. Primary health centres and hospitals have been established throughout the country to improve
the public health. Also, special programmes have been launched to eradicate widespread
diseases like malaria, TB, leprosy, AIDS, cancer, filaria, kala-azar, guineaworm, yaws,
Japanese encephalitis and so on.
16. Laws to prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves, and bullocks have been enacted in some states.
17. Some states have initiated the old age pension schemes for people above 65 years.
18. India has been following the policy of non-alignment and panchsheel to promote international
peace and security.
In spite of the above steps by the Central and state governments, the Directive Principles have not
been implemented fully and effectively due to several reasons like inadequate financial resources,
unfavourable socio-economic conditions, population explosion, strained Centre-state relations and so
on.

DIRECTIVES OUTSIDE P ART IV


Apart from the Directives included in Part IV, there are some other Directives contained in other
Parts of the Constitution. They are:
1. Claims of SCs and STs to Services: The claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and
the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of

efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection


with the affairs of the Union or a State (Article 335 in Part XVI).
2. Instruction in mother tongue: It shall be the endeavour of every state and every local
authority within the state to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at
the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups (Article
350-A in Part XVII).
3. Development of the Hindi Language: It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread
of the Hindi language and to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all
the elements of the composite culture of India (Article 351 in Part XVII).
The above Directives are also non-justiciable in nature. However, they are also given equal
importance and attention by the judiciary on the ground that all parts of the constitution must be read
together.
Table 8.2 Articles Related to Directive Principles of State Policy at a Glance
Article No. Subject-matter
36. Definition of State
37. Application of the principles contained in this part
38. State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people
39. Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State
39A. Equal justice and free legal aid
40. Organisation of village panchayats
41. Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases
42. Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief
43. Living wage, etc., for workers
43A. Participation of workers in management of industries
43B. Promotion of co-operative societies
44. Uniform civil code for the citizens
45. Provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years
46. Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections
47. Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health
48. Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry
48A. Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife
49. Protection of monuments and places and objects of national importance
50. Separation of judiciary from executive
51. Promotion of international peace and security

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

2.
3.

4.
5.
6.
7.

8.

Actually, Directive Principles are mentioned in Articles 38 to 51. Article 36 deals with the
definition of State while Article 37 deals with the nature and significance of Directive
Principles.
Granville Austin, The Indian Constitution Cornerstone of a Nation, Oxford, 1966, P. 75.
A Police State is mainly concerned with the maintenance of law and order and defence of
the country against external aggression. Such a restrictive concept of state is based on the
nineteenth century theory of individualism or laissez-faire.
This second provision was added by the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1978.
The last point (f) was modified by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
This Directive was added by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
Living wage is different from minimum wage, which includes the bare needs of life like
food, shelter and clothing. In addition to these bare needs, a living wage includes education,
health , insurance, etc. A fair wage is a mean between living wage and minimum wage.
This Directive was added by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.

8a. This Directive was added by the 97th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2011.
9. This Directive was changed by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002. Originally, it
made a provision for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the
age of 14 years.
10. This Directive was added by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
11. Constituent Assembly Debates, volume VII, P. 476.
12. M P Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, Wadhwa, Third Edition (1978), P. 595.
13. Constituent Assembly Debates, volume VII, P. 470.
14. N. Srinivasan, Democratic Government in India, P. 182.
15. Sir Ivor Jennings, Some Characteristics of the Indian Constitution, 1953, P. 3133.
16. Journal of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies, June 1975.
17. M.C. Chagla, An Ambassador Speaks, P. 35.
18. Granville Austin, The Indian ConstitutionCornerstone of a Nation, Oxford, 1966, P. 50
52.
19. P B Gajendragadker, The Constitution of India (Its Philosophy and Postulates), P. 11.
20. State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan, (1951).
21. Golak Nath v. State of Punjab, (1967).
22. Article 39 (b) says: The State shall direct its policy towards securing that the ownership and
control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the
common good.
23. Article 39 (c) says: The state shall direct its policy towards securing that the operation of the
economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the
common detriment.

24. Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973).


25. Minerva Mills v. Union of India, (1980).

hough the rights and duties of the citizens are correlative and inseparable, the original
constitution contained only the fundamental rights and not the fundamental duties. In other
words, the framers of the Constitution did not feel it necessary to incorporate the fundamental
duties of the citizens in the Constitution. However, they incorporated the duties of the State in the
Constitution in the form of Directive Principles of State Polity. Later in 1976, the fundamental duties
of citizens were added in the Constitution. In 2002, one more Fundamental Duty was added.
The Fundamental Duties in the Indian Constitution are inspired by the Constitution of erstwhile USSR.
Notably, none of the Constitutions of major democratic countries like USA, Canada, France,
Germany, Australia and so on specifically contain a list of duties of citizens. Japanese Constitution is,
perhaps, the only democratic Constitution in world which contains a list of duties of citizens. The
socialist countries, on the contrary, gave equal importance to the fundamental rights and duties of their
citizens. Hence, the Constitution of erstwhile USSR declared that the citizens exercise of their rights
and freedoms was inseparable from the performance of their duties and obligations.

SWARAN SINGH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS


In 1976, the Congress Party set up the Sardar Swaran Singh Committee to make recommendations
about fundamental duties, the need and necessity of which was felt during the operation of the internal
emergency (19751977). The committee recommended the inclusion of a separate chapter on
fundamental duties in the Constitution. It stressed that the citizens should become conscious that in
addition to the enjoyment of rights, they also have certain duties to perform as well. The Congress
Government at Centre accepted these recommendations and enacted the 42nd Constitutional
Amendment Act in 1976. This amendment added a new part, namely, Part IVA to the Constitution.
This new part consists of only one Article, that is, Article 51A which for the first time specified a
code of ten fundamental duties of the citizens. The ruling Congress party declared the non-inclusion of
fundamental duties in the Constitution as a historical mistake and claimed that what the framers of the
Constitution failed to do was being done now.

Though the Swaran Singh Committee suggested the incorporation of eight Fundamental Duties in the
Constitution, the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (1976) included ten Fundamental Duties.
Interestingly, certain recommendations of the Committee were not accepted by the Congress Party and
hence, not incorporated in the Constitution. These include:
1. The Parliament may provide for the imposition of such penalty or punishment as may be
considered appropriate for any non-compliance with or refusal to observe any of the duties.
2. No law imposing such penalty or punishment shall be called in question in any court on the
ground of infringement of any of Fundamental Rights or on the ground of repugnancy to any
other provision of the Constitution.
3. Duty to pay taxes should also be a Fundamental Duty of the citizens.

LIST OF F UNDAMENTAL DUTIES


According to Article 51 A, it shall be the duty of every citizen of India:
(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the
National Anthem;
(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals that inspired the national struggle for freedom;
(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India
transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and to renounce
practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of the countrys composite culture;
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife
and to have compassion for living creatures;
(h) to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the
nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement; and
(k) to provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen
years. This duty was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002.

F EATURES OF THE F UNDAMENTAL DUTIES


Following points can be noted with regard to the characteristics of the Fundamental Duties:
1. Some of them are moral duties while others are civic duties. For instance, cherishing noble
ideals of freedom struggle is a moral precept and respecting the Constitution, National Flag
and National Anthem is a civic duty.
2. They refer to such values which have been a part of the Indian tradition, mythology, religions
and practices. In other words, they essentially contain just a codification of tasks integral to

3.

4.

the Indian way of life.


Unlike some of the Fundamental Rights which extend to all persons whether citizens or
foreigners1, the Fundamental Duties are confined to citizens only and do not extend to
foreigners.
Like the Directive Principles, the fundamental duties are also non-justiciable. The
Constitution does not provide for their direct enforcement by the courts. Moreover, there is
not legal sanction against their violation. However, the Parliament is free to enforce them by
suitable legislation.

CRITICISM OF F UNDAMENTAL DUTIES


The Fundamental Duties mentioned in Part VIA of the Constitution have been criticised on the
following grounds:
1. The list of duties is not exhaustive as it does not cover other important duties like casting
vote, paying taxes, family planning and so on. In fact, duty to pay taxes was recommended by
the Swaran Singh Committee.
2. Some of the duties are vague, ambiguous and difficult to be understood by the common man.
For example, different interpretations can be given to the phrases like noble ideals,
composite culture, scientific temper and so on2.
3. They have been described by the critics as a code of moral precepts due to their nonjusticiable character. Interestingly, the Swaran Singh Committee had suggested for penalty or
punishment for the non-performance of Fundamental Duties.
4. Their inclusion in the Constitution was described by the critics as superfluous. This is
because the duties included in the Constitution as fundamental would be performed by the
people even though they were not incorporated in the Constitution3.
5. The critics said that the inclusion of fundamental duties as an appendage to Part IV of the
Constitution has reduced their value and significance. They should have been added after Part
III so as to keep them on par with Fundamental Rights.

SIGNIFICANCE OF F UNDAMENTAL DUTIES


In spite of criticisms and opposition, the fundamental duties are considered significant from the
following viewpoints:
1. They serve as a reminder to the citizens that while enjoying their rights, they should also be
conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society and to their fellow citizens.
2. They serve as a warning against the anti-national and antisocial activities like burning the
national flag, destroying public property and so on.
3. They serve as a source of inspiration for the citizens and promote a sense of discipline and
commitment among them. They create a feeling that the citizens are not mere spectators but
active participants in the realisation of national goals.
4. They help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law. In

1992, the Supreme Court ruled that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court
finds that the law in question seeks to give effect to a fundamental duty, it may consider such
law to be reasonable in relation to Article 14 (equality before law) or Article 19 (six
freedoms) and thus save such law from unconstitutionality.
5. They are enforceable by law. Hence, the Parliament can provide for the imposition of
appropriate penalty or punishment for failure to fulfil any of them.
H R Gokhale, the then Law Minister, gave the following reason for incorporating the fundamental
duties in the Constitution after twenty- six years of its inauguration: In post-independent India,
particularly on the eve of emergency in June 1975, a section of the people showed no anxiety to fulfil
their fundamental obligations of respecting the established legal order ..... the provisions of chapter
on fundamental duties would have a sobering effect on these restless spirits who have had a host of
anti-national subversive and unconstitutional agitations in the past.
Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, justified the inclusion of fundamental duties in the
Constitution and argued that their inclusion would help to strengthen democracy. She said, the moral
value of fundamental duties would be not to smoother rights but to establish a democratic balance by
making the people conscious of their duties equally as they are conscious of their rights.
The Opposition in the Parliament strongly opposed the inclusion of fundamental duties in the
Constitution by the Congress government. However, the new Janata Government headed by Morarji
Desai in the post-emergency period did not annull the Fundamental Duties. Notably, the new
government sought to undo many changes introduced in the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act
(1976) through the 43rd Amendment Act (1977) and the 44th Amendment Act (1978). This shows that
there was an eventual consensus on the necessity and desirability of including the Fundamental Duties
in the Constitution. This is more clear with the addition of one more Fundamental Duty in 2002 by the
86th Amendment Act.

VERMA COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS


The Verma Committee on Fundamental Duties of the Citizens (1999) identified the existence of legal
provisions for the implementation of some of the Fundamental Duties. They are mentioned below:
1. The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act (1971) prevents disrespect to the
Constitution of India, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
2. The various criminal laws in force provide for punishments for encouraging enmity between
different sections of people on grounds of language, race, place of birth, religion and so on.
3.
4.
5.
6.

The Protection of Civil Rights Act4 (1955) provides for punishments for offences related to
caste and religion.
The Indian Penal Code (IPC) declares the imputations and assertions prejudicial to national
integration as punishable offences.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 provides for the declaration of a communal
organisation as an unlawful association.
The Representation of People Act (1951) provides for the disqualification of members of the
Parliament or a state legislature for indulging in corrupt practice, that is, soliciting votes on

7.
8.

the ground of religion or promoting enmity between different sections of people on grounds of
caste, race, language, religion and so on.
The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 prohibits trade in rare and endangered species.
The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 checks indiscriminate deforestation and diversion of
forest land for non-forest purposes.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.

3.

4.

The Fundamental Rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 20, 21, 21A, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28
are available to all persons whether citizens or foreigners.
D D Chawla, the then president of the National Forum of Lawyers and Legal Aid, Delhi,
observed: The duties may be spelt out in a more concrete form, one is left guessing the noble
ideals. To some even the Bhagat Singh cult may be such an ideal as inspired our national
struggle. Again what is the rich heritage of our composite culture and what is scientific
temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform? The values are beyond the ken of the
general run of the people and carry no meaning to them. Duties should be such and so worded
as to catch the imagination of the common man.
D D Chawla, The Concept of Fundamental Duties, Socialist India (New Delhi), October
23, 1976, P. 4445.
C K Daphtary, former Attorney General of India, while opposing the inclusion of fundamental
duties in the Constitution, said that more than 99.9 per cent of the citizens were law-abiding
and there was no need to tell them about their duties. He argued that as long as the people are
satisfied and contended, they willingly perform their duties. He said, To tell them what their
duties are implies that they are not content. If that is the case after 26 years, it is not their
fault. A K Sen also opposed the inclusion of fundamental duties in the Constitution and
remarked, A democratic set-up, instead of thriving on the willing cooperation and confidence
of people, is reduced to the position of a harsh school master asking the student to stand up on
the class room bench because he has not done the home work. To begin with, it were the
people of India who created the Sovereign Democratic Republic of India in 1950, but the
Republic is now claiming to be the master of the citizens enjoining habitual obedience to its
command to do his duty. The states confidence in the citizens is obviously shaken.
This Act was known as the Untouchability (Offences) Act till 1976.

ike any other written Constitution, the Constitution of India also provides for its amendment in
order to adjust itself to the changing conditions and needs. However, the procedure laid down
for its amendment is neither as easy as in Britain nor as difficult as in USA. In other words,
the Indian Constitution is neither flexible nor rigid but a synthesis of both.
Article 368 in Part XX of the Constitution deals with the powers of Parliament to amend the
Constitution and its procedure. It states that the Parliament may, in exercise of its constituent power,
amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of the Constitution in accordance with
the procedure laid down for the purpose. However, the Parliament cannot amend those provisions
which form the basic structure of the Constitution. This was ruled by the Supreme Court in the
Kesavananda Bharati case1 (1973).

P ROCEDURE FOR AMENDMENT


The procedure for the amendment of the Constitution as laid down in Article 368 is as follows:
1. An amendment of the Constitution can be initiated only by the introduction of a bill for the
purpose in either House of Parliament and not in the state legislatures.
2. The bill can be introduced either by a minister or by a private member and does not require
prior permission of the president.
3. The bill must be passed in each House by a special majority, that is, a majority (that is, more
than 50 per cent) of the total membership of the House and a majority of two-thirds of the
members of the House present and voting.
4. Each House must pass the bill separately. In case of a disagreement between the two Houses,
there is no provision for holding a joint sitting of the two Houses for the purpose of
deliberation and passage of the bill.
5. If the bill seeks to amend the federal provisions of the Constitution, it must also be ratified by
the legislatures of half of the states by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of

6.
7.
8.

the House present and voting.


After duly passed by both the Houses of Parliament and ratified by the state legislatures,
where necessary, the bill is presented to the president for assent.
The president must give his assent to the bill. He can neither withhold his assent to the bill nor
return the bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.2
After the presidents assent, the bill becomes an Act (i.e., a constitutional amen-dment act)
and the Constitution stands amended in accordance with the terms of the Act.

TYPES OF AMENDMENTS
Article 368 provides for two types of amendments, that is, by a special majority of Parliament and
also through the ratification of half of the states by a simple majority. But, some other articles provide
for the amendment of certain provisions of the Constitution by a simple majority of Parliament, that is,
a majority of the members of each House present and voting (similar to the ordinary legislative
process). Notably, these amendments are not deemed to be amendments of the Constitution for the
purposes of Article 368.
Therefore, the Constitution can be amended in three ways:
(a) Amendment by simple majority of the Parliament,
(b) Amendment by special majority of the Parliament, and
(c) Amendment by special majority of the Parliament and the ratification of half of the state
legislatures.

By Simple Majority of Parliament


A number of provisions in the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the two Houses of
Parliament outside the scope of Article 368. These provisions include:
1. Admission or establishment of new states.
2. Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states.
3. Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states.
4. Second Scheduleemoluments, allowances, privileges and so on of the president, the
governors, the Speakers, judges, etc.
5. Quorum in Parliament.
6. Salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament.
7. Rules of procedure in Parliament.
8. Privileges of the Parliament, its members and its committees.
9. Use of English language in Parliament.
10. Number of puisne judges in the Supreme Court.
11. Conferment of more jurisdiction on the Supreme Court.
12. Use of official language.
13. Citizenshipacquisition and termination.

14.
15.
16.
17.
18.

Elections to Parliament and state legislatures.


Delimitation of constituencies.
Union territories.
Fifth Scheduleadministration of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.
Sixth Scheduleadministration of tribal areas.

By Special Majority of Parliament


The majority of the provisions in the Constitution need to be amended by a special majority of the
Parliament, that is, a majority (that is, more than 50 per cent) of the total membership of each House
and a majority of two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting. The expression total
membership means the total number of members comprising the House irrespective of fact whether
there are vacancies or absentees.
Strictly speaking, the special majority is required only for voting at the third reading stage of the bill
but by way of abundant caution the requirement for special majority has been provided for in the rules
of the Houses in respect of all the effective stages of the bill3.
The provisions which can be amended by this way includes: (i) Fundamental Rights; (ii) Directive
Principles of State Policy; and (iii) All other provisions which are not covered by the first and third
categories.

By Special Majority of Parliament and Consent of States


Those provisions of the Constitution which are related to the federal structure of the polity can be
amended by a special majority of the Parliament and also with the consent of half of the state
legislatures by a simple majority. If one or some or all the remaining states take no action on the bill,
it does not matter; the moment half of the states give their consent, the formality is completed. There is
no time limit within which the states should give their consent to the bill.
The following provisions can be amended in this way:
1. Election of the President and its manner.
2. Extent of the executive power of the Union and the states.
3. Supreme Court and high courts.
4. Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the states.
5. Any of the lists in the Seventh Schedule.
6. Representation of states in Parliament.
7. Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure (Article 368 itself).

CRITICISM OF THE AMENDMENT P ROCEDURE


Critics have criticised the amendment procedure of the Constitution on the following grounds:
1. There is no provision for a special body like Constitutional Convention (as in USA) or
Constitutional Assembly for amending the Constitution. The constituent power is vested in the
Parliament and only in few cases, in the state legislatures.

2.

The power to initiate an amendment to the Constitution lies with the Parliament. Hence, unlike
in USA4, the state legislatures cannot initiate any bill or proposal for amending the
Constitution except in one case, that is, passing a resolution requesting the Parliament for the
creation or abolition of legislative councils in the states. Here also, the Parliament can either
approve or disapprove such a resolution or may not take any action on it.
3. Major part of the Constitution can be amended by the Parliament alone either by a special
majority or by a simple majority. Only in few cases, the consent of the state legislatures is
required and that too, only half of them, while in USA, it is three-fourths of the states.
4. The Constitution does not prescribe the time frame within which the state legislatures should
ratify or reject an amendment submitted to them. Also, it is silent on the issue whether the
states can withdraw their approval after according the same.
5. There is no provision for holding a joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament if there is a
deadlock over the passage of a constitutional amendment bill. On the other hand, a provision
for a joint sitting is made in the case of an ordinary bill.
6. The process of amendment is similar to that of a legislative process. Except for the special
majority, the constitutional amendment bills are to be passed by the Parliament in the same
way as ordinary bills.
7. The provisions relating to the amendment procedure are too sketchy. Hence, they leave a wide
scope for taking the matters to the judiciary.
Despite these defects, it cannot be denied that the process has proved to be simple and easy and has
succeeded in meeting the changed needs and conditions. The procedure is not so flexible as to allow
the ruling parties to change it according to their whims. Nor is it so rigid as to be incapable of
adopting itself to the changing needs. It, as rightly said by K C Wheare, strikes a good balance
between flexibility and rigidity5. In this context, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said in the Constituent
Assembly, While we want this Constitution to be as solid and permanent as we can make it, there is
no permanence in a Constitution. There should be a certain flexibility. If you make any Constitution
rigid and permanent, you stop the nations growth, the growth of a living, vital, organic people6.
Similarly, Dr B R Ambedkar observed in the Constituent Assembly that, The Assembly has not only
refrained from putting a seal of finality and infallibility upon this Constitution by denying the people
the right to amend the Constitution as in Canada or by making the amendment of the Constitution
subject to the fulfilment of extraordinary terms and conditions as in America or Australia, but has
provided for a facile procedure for amending the Constitution7.
K C Wheare has admired the variety of amendment procedures contained in the Constitution of India.
He said, this variety in the amending process is wise but rarely found. According to Granville
Austin, the amending process has proved itself one of the most ably conceived aspects of the
Constitution. Although it appears complicated, it is merely diverse.8

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.

Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973).


The 24th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1971 made it obligatory for the President to give

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

his assent to a constitutional Amendment Bill.


Subhas C. Kashyap, Our Parliament, National Book Trust, 1999, P. 168.
In USA, an amendment can also be proposed by a constitutional convention called by the
Congress (American Legislature) on the petition of two-thirds of the state legislatures.
K C Wheare, Modern Constitutions, 1966, P. 43.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. VII, P. 32223.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, P. 976.
Granville Austin, The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of a Nation, Oxford, 1966, P. 25.

EMERGENCE OF THE B ASIC STRUCTURE

he question whether Fundamental Rights can be amended by the Parliament under Article 368
came for consideration of the Supreme Court within a year of the Constitution coming into
force. In the Shankari Prasad case1 (1951), the constitutional validity of the First Amendment
Act (1951), which curtailed the right to property, was challenged. The Supreme Court ruled that the
power of the Parliament to amend the Constitution under Article 368 also includes the power to
amend Fundamental Rights. The word law in Article 13 includes only ordinary laws and not the
constitutional amendment acts (constituent laws). Therefore, the Parliament can abridge or take away
any of the Fundamental Rights by enacting a constitutional amendment act and such a law will not be
void under Article 13.
But in the Golak Nath case2 (1967), the Supreme Court reversed its earlier stand. In that case, the
constitutional validity of the Seventeenth Amendment Act (1964), which inserted certain state acts in
the Ninth Schedule, was challenged. The Supreme Court ruled that the Fundamental Rights are given a
transcendental and immutable position and hence, the Parliament cannot abridge or take away any of
these rights. A constitutional amendment act is also a law within the meaning of Article 13 and hence,
would be void for violating any of the Fundamental Rights.
The Parliament reacted to the Supreme Courts judgement in the Golak Nath case (1967) by enacting
the 24th Amendment Act (1971). This Act amended Articles 13 and 368. It declared that the
Parliament has the power to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights under Article 368
and such an act will not be a law under the meaning of Article 13.
However, in the Kesavananda Bharati case3 (1973), the Supreme Court overruled its judgement in the
Golak Nath case (1967). It upheld the validity of the 24th Amendment Act (1971) and stated that
Parliament is empowered to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights. At the same time, it
laid down a new doctrine of the basic structure (or basic features) of the Constitution. It ruled that
the constituent power of Parliament under Article 368 does not enable it to alter the basic structure

of the Constitution. This means that the Parliament cannot abridge or take away a Fundamental Right
that forms a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
Again, the Parliament reacted to this judicially innovated doctrine of basic structure by enacting the
42nd Amendment Act (1976). This Act amended Article 368 and declared that there is no limitation
on the constituent power of Parliament and no amendment can be questioned in any court on any
ground including that of the contravention of any of the Fundamental Rights.
However, the Supreme Court in the Minerva Mills case 4 (1980) invalidated this provision as it
excluded judicial review which is a basic feature of the Constitution. Applying the doctrine of
basic structure with respect to Article 368, the court held that:
Since the Constitution had conferred a limited amending power on the Parliament, the Parliament
cannot under the exercise of that limited power enlarge that very power into an absolute power.
Indeed, a limited amending power is one of the basic features of the Constitution and, therefore, the
limitations on that power cannot be destroyed. In other words, Parliament cannot, under article 368,
expand its amending power so as to acquire for itself the right to repeal or abrogate the Constitution
or to destroy its basic features. The donee of a limited power cannot by the exercise of that power
convert the limited power into an unlimited one.
Again in the Waman Rao case 5 (1981), the Supreme Court adhered to the doctrine of the basic
structure and further clarified that it would apply to constitutional amendments enacted after April
24, 1973 (i.e., the date of the judgement in the Kesavananda Bharati case).

ELEMENTS OF THE B ASIC STRUCTURE


The present position is that the Parliament under Article 368 can amend any part of the Constitution
including the Fundamental Rights but without affecting the basic structure of the Constitution.
However, the Supreme Court is yet to define or clarify as to what constitutes the basic structure of
the Constitution. From the various judgements, the following have emerged as basic features of the
Constitution or elements / components / ingredients of the basic structure of the constitution:
1. Supremacy of the Constitution
2. Sovereign, democratic and republican nature of the Indian polity
3. Secular character of the Constitution
4. Separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary
5. Federal character of the Constitution
6. Unity and integrity of the nation
7. Welfare state (socio-economic justice)
8. Judicial review
9. Freedom and dignity of the individual
10. Parliamentary system
11. Rule of law
12. Harmony and balance between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
13. Principle of equality

14.
15.
16.
17.
18.

Free and fair elections


Independence of Judiciary
Limited power of Parliament to amend the Constitution
Effective access to justice
Principle of reasonableness

19. Powers of the Supreme Court under Articles 32, 136, 141 and 1426

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Shankari Prasad v. Union of India, (1951)


Golak Nath v. State of Punjab, (1967)
Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973)
Minerva Mills v. Union of India, (1980)
Waman Rao v. Union of India, (1981)
For the subject-matter of these Articles, see Appendix-1.

he Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary form of government, both at the Centre
and in the states. Articles 74 and 75 deal with the parliamentary system at the Centre and
Articles 163 and 164 in the states.
Modern democratic governments are classified into parliamentary and presidential on the basis of
nature of relations between the executive and the legislative organs of the government. The
parliamentary system of government is the one in which the executive is responsible to the legislature
for its policies and acts. The presidential system of government, on the other hand, is one in which the
executive is not responsible to the legislature for its policies and acts, and is constitutionally
independent of the legislature in respect of its term of office.
The parliamentary government is also known as cabinet government or responsible government or
Westminster model of government and is prevalent in Britain, Japan, Canada, India among others. The
presidential government, on the other hand, is also known as non-responsible or non-parliamentary or
fixed executive system of government and is prevalent in USA, Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka among
others.
Ivor Jennings called the parliamentary system as cabinet system because the cabinet is the nucleus
of power in a parliamentary system. The parliamentary government is also known as responsible
government as the cabinet (the real executive) is accountable to the Parliament and stays in office so
long as it enjoys the latters confidence. It is described as Westminster model of government after
the location of the British Parliament, where the parliamentary system originated.
In the past, the British constitutional and political experts described the Prime Minister as primus
inter pares (first among equals) in relation to the cabinet. In the recent period, the Prime Ministers
power, influence and position have increased significantly vis-a-vis the cabinet. He has come to play
a dominant role in the British politico-administrative system. Hence, the later political analysts, like
Cross-man, Mackintosh and others have described the British system of government as prime
ministerial government. The same description holds good in the Indian context too.

F EATURES OF P ARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT


The features or principles of parliamentary government in India are:
1. Nominal and Real Executives The President is the nominal executive (de jure executive or titular
executive) while the Prime Minister is the real executive (de facto executive). Thus, the President is
head of the State, while the Prime Minister is head of the government. Article 74 provides for a
council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advise the President in the exercise of
his functions. The advice so tendered is binding on the President1.
2. Majority Party Rule The political party which secures majority seats in the Lok Sabha forms the
government. The leader of that party is appointed as the Prime Minister by the President; other
ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the prime minister. However, when no
single party gets the majority, a coalition of parties may be invited by the President to form the
government.
3. Collective Responsibility This is the bedrock principle of parliamentary government. The
ministers are collectively responsible to the Parliament in general and to the Lok Sabha in particular
(Article 75). They act as a team, and swim and sink together. The principle of collective
responsibility implies that the Lok Sabha can remove the ministry (i.e., council of ministers headed by
the prime minister) from office by passing a vote of no confidence.
4. Political Homogeneity Usually members of the council of ministers belong to the same political
party, and hence they share the same political ideology. In case of coalition government, the minister
are bound by consensus.
5. Double Membership The ministers are members of both the legislature and the executive. This
means that a person cannot be a minister without being a member of the Parliament. The Constitution
stipulates that a minister who is not a member of the Parliament for a period of six consecutive
months ceases to be a minister.
6. Leadership of the Prime Minister The Prime Minister plays the leadership role in this system of
government. He is the leader of council of ministers, leader of the Parliament and leader of the party
in power. In these capacities, he plays a significant and highly crucial role in the functioning of the
government.
7. Dissolution of the Lower House The lower house of the Parliament (Lok Sabha) can be dissolved
by the President on recommendation of the Prime Minister. In other words, the prime minister can
advise the President to dissolve the Lok Sabha before the expiry of its term and hold fresh elections.
This means that the executive enjoys the right to get the legislature dissolved in a parliamentary
system.
8. Secrecy The ministers operate on the principle of secrecy of procedure and cannot divulge
information about their proceedings, policies and decisions. They take the oath of secrecy before
entering their office. The oath of secrecy to the ministers is administered by the President.

F EATURES OF P RESIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT

Unlike the Indian Constitution, the American Constitution provides for the presidential form of
government. The features of the American presidential system of government are as follows:
(a) The American President is both the head of the State and the head of government. As the head
of State, he occupies a ceremonial position. As the head of government, he leads the executive
organ of government.
(b) The President is elected by an electoral college for a fixed tenure of four years. He cannot be
removed by the Congress except by impeachment for a grave unconstitutional act.
(c) The President governs with the help of a cabinet or a smaller body called Kitchen Cabinet.
It is only an advisory body and consists of non-elected departmental secretaries. They are
selected and appointed by him, are responsible only to him, and can be removed by him any
time.
(d) The President and his secretaries are not responsible to the Congress for their acts. They
neither possess membership in the Congress nor attend its sessions.
(e) The President cannot dissolve the House of Representativesthe lower house of the
Congress.
(f) The doctrine of separation of powers is the basis of the American presidential system. The
legislative, executive and judicial powers of the government are separated and vested in the
three independent organs of the government.

MERITS OF THE P ARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM


The parliamentary system of government has the following merits:
1. Harmony Between Legislature and Executive The greatest advantage of the parliamentary
system is that it ensures harmonious relationship and cooperation between the legislative and
executive organs of the government. The executive is a part of the legislature and both are
interdependent at work. As a result, there is less scope for disputes and conflicts between the two
organs.
2. Responsible Government By its very nature, the parliamentary system establishes a responsible
government. The ministers are responsible to the Parliament for all their acts of omission and
commission. The Parliament exercises control over the ministers through various devices like
question hour, discussions, adjournment motion, no confidence motion, etc.
3. Prevents Despotism Under this system, the executive authority is vested in a group of individuals
(council of ministers) and not in a single person. This dispersal of authority checks the dictatorial
tendencies of the executive. Moreover, the executive is responsible to the Parliament and can be
removed by a no-confidence motion.
4. Ready Alternative Government In case the ruling party loses its majority, the Head of the State
can invite the opposition party to form the government. This means an alternative government can be
formed without fresh elections. Hence, Dr Jennings says, the leader of the opposition is the
alternative prime minister.
5. Wide Representation In a parliamentary system, the executive consists of a group of individuals

(i.e., ministers who are representatives of the people). Hence, it is possible to provide representation
to all sections and regions in the government. The prime minister while selecting his ministers can
take this factor into consideration.

DEMERITS OF THE P ARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM


In spite of the above merits, the parliamentary system suffers from the following demerits:
1. Unstable Government The parliamentary system does not provide a stable government. There is
no guarantee that a government can survive its tenure. The ministers depend on the mercy of the
majority legislators for their continuity and survival in office. A no-confidence motion or political
defection or evils of multiparty coalition can make the government unstable. The Government headed
by Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, V P Singh, Chandra Sekhar, Deva Gowda and I K Gujral are some
such examples.
2. No Continuity of Policies The parliamentary system is not conductive for the formulation and
implementation of long-term policies. This is due to the uncertainty of the tenure of the government. A
change in the ruling party is usually followed by changes in the policies of the government. For
example, the Janata Government headed by Morarji Desai in 1977 reversed a large number of
policies of the previous Congress Government. The same was repeated by the Congress government
after it came back to power in 1980.
3. Dictatorship of the Cabinet When the ruling party enjoys absolute majority in the Parliament, the
cabinet becomes autocratic and exercises nearly unlimited powers. H J Laski says that the
parliamentary system gives the executive an opportunity for tyranny. Ramsay Muir, the former British
Prime Minister, also complained of the dictatorship of the cabinet 2. This phenomena was witnessed
during the era of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
4. Against Separation of Powers In the parliamentary system, the legislature and the executive are
together and inseparable. The cabinet acts as the leader of legislature as well as the executive. As
Bagehot point out, the cabinet is a hyphen that joins the buckle that binds the executive and
legislative departments together. Hence, the whole system of government goes against the letter and
spirit of the theory of separation of powers3. In fact, there is a fusion of powers.
5. Government by Amateurs The parliamentary system is not conductive to administrative
efficiency as the ministers are not experts in their fields. The Prime Minister has a limited choice in
the selection of ministers; his choice is restricted to the members of Parliament alone and does not
extend to external talent. Moreover, the ministers devote most of their time to parliamentary work,
cabinet meetings and party activities.
Now, let us compare the parliamentary and presidential systems in terms of their features, merits and
demerits.
Table 12.1 Comparing Parliamentary and Presidential Systems
Parliamentary System

Presidential System

Features:

Features:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Dual executive.
Majority party rule
Collective responsibility.
Political homogeneity
Double membership.
Leadership of prime minister.
Dissolution of Lower House.
Fusion of powers.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Single executive.
President and legislators elected separately for a fixed term.
Non-responsibility
Political homogeneity may not exist.
Single membership
Domination of president.
No dissolution of Lower House.
Separation of powers.

Merits:
1. Harmony between legislature and executive.
2. Responsible government.
3. Prevents despotism.
4. Wide representation.

Demerits:
1. Conflict between legislature and executive.
2. Non-responsible government.
3. May lead to autocracy.
4. Narrow representation.

Demerits:
1. Unstable government.
2. No continuity of policies.
3. Against separation of powers
4. Government by amateurs.

Merits:
1. Stable government.
2. Definiteness in policies.
3. Based on separation of powers.
4. Government by experts

REASONS FOR ADOPTING P ARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM


A plea was made in favour of US presidential system of government in the Constituent Assembly 4.
But, the founding fathers preferred the British parliamentary system due to the following reasons:
1. Familiarity with the System The Constitution-makers were somewhat familiar with the
parliamentary system as it had been in operation in India during the British rule. K M Munshi argued
that, For the last thirty or forty years, some kind of responsibility has been introduced in the
governance of this country. Our constitutional traditions have become Parliamentary. After this
experience, why should we go back and buy a novel experience.5
2. Preference to More Responsibility Dr B R Ambedkar pointed out in the Constituent Assembly
that a democratic executive must satisfy two conditions: stability and responsibility. Unfortunately, it
has not been possible so far to devise a system which can ensure both in equal degree. The American
system gives more stability but less responsibility. The British system, on the other hand, gives more
responsibility but less stability. The Draft Constitution in recommending the parliamentary system of
Executive has preferred more responsibility to more stability.6
3. Need to Avoid LegislativeExecutive Conflicts The framers of the Constitution wanted to avoid
the conflicts between the legislature and the executive which are bound to occur in the presidential
system prevalent in USA. They thought that an infant democracy could not afford to take the risk of a
perpetual cleavage, feud or conflict or threatened conflict between these two organs of the
government. They wanted a form of government that would be conductive to the manifold
development of the country.
4. Nature of Indian Society India is one of the most heterogeneous States and most complex plural
societies in the world. Hence, the Constitution-makers adopted the parliamentary system as it offers
greater scope for giving representation to various section, interests and regions in the government.

This promotes a national spirit among the people and builds a united India.
Whether the parliamentary system should be continued or should be replaced by the presidential
system has been a point of discussion and debate in our country since the 1970s. This matter was
considered in detail by the Swaran Singh Committee appointed by the Congress government in 1975.
The committee opined that the parliamentary system has been doing well and hence, there is no need
to replace it by the presidential system.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN INDIAN AND B RITISH MODELS


The parliamentary system of government in India is largely based on the British parliamentary system.
However, it never became a replica of the British system and differs in the following respects:
1. India has a republican system in place of British monarchical system. In other words, the
Head of the State in India (that is, President) is elected, while the Head of the State in Britain
(that is, King or Queen) enjoys a hereditary position.
2. The British system is based on the doctrine of the sovereignty of Parliament, while the
Parliament is not supreme in India and enjoys limited and restricted powers due to a written
Constitution, federal system, judicial review and fundamental rights7.
3. In Britain, the prime minister should be a member of the Lower House (House of Commons)
of the Parliament. In India, the prime minister may be a member of any of the two Houses of
Parliament.8
4. Usually, the members of Parliament alone are appointed as ministers in Britain. In India, a
person who is not a member of Parliament can also be appointed as minister, but for a
maximum period of six months.
5. Britain has the system of legal responsibility of the minister while India has no such system.
Unlike in Britain, the ministers in India are not required to countersign the official acts of the
Head of the State.
6. Shadow cabinet is an unique institution of the British cabinet system. It is formed by the
opposition party to balance the ruling cabinet and to prepare its members for future ministerial
office. There is no such institution in India.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.
3.

4.
5.
6.

The 42nd and 44th Amendment Acts of 1976 and 1978 respectively have made the ministerial
advice binding on the president.
How Britain is Governed is a popular book written by him.
This theory was propounded by Montesquieu, a French political thinker, in his book The
Spirit of Laws (1748) to promote individual liberty. He stated that concentration of powers in
one person or a body of persons would result in despotism and negate individual liberty.
K T Shah favoured the adoption of the presidential system.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, p. 2845.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, p. 32.

7.
8.

For details in this regard, see the section on the Sovereignty of Parliament in Chapter 22.
For example, three prime ministers, Indira Gandhi (1966), Deve Gowda (1996), and
Manmohan Singh (2004), were members of the Rajya Sabha.

olitical scientists have classified governments into unitary and federal on the basis of the
nature of relations between the national government and the regional governments. By
definition, a unitary government is one in which all the powers are vested in the national
government and the regional governments, if at all exist, derive their authority from the national
government. A federal government, on the other hand, is one in which powers are divided between
the national government and the regional governments by the Constitution itself and both operate in
their respective jurisdictions independently. Britain, France, Japan, China, Italy, Belgium, Norway,
Sweden, Spain and so on have the unitary model of government while the US, Switzerland, Australia,
Canada, Russia, Brazil, Argentina and so on have the federal model of government. In a federal
model, the national government is known as the Federal government or the Central government or the
Union government and the regional government is known as the state government or the provincial
government.
The specific features of the federal and unitary governments are mentioned below in a comparative
manner:
Table 13.1 Comparing Features of Federal and Unitary Governments
Federal Government

Unitary Government

1.

Dual Government (that is, national government and


regional government)

1.

Single government, that is, the national government which may create
regional governments

2.

Written Constitution

2.

Constitution may be written (France) or unwritten (Britain)

3.

Division of powers between the national and regional


government

3.

No division of powers. All powers are vested in the national


government

4.

Supremacy of the Constitution

4.

Constitution may be supreme (Japan) or may not be supreme


(Britain)

5.

Rigid Constitution

5.

Constitution may be rigid (France) or flexible (Britain)

6.

Independent judiciary

6.

Judiciary may be independent or may not be independent

7.

Bicameral legislature

7.

Legislature may be bicameral (Britain) or uni-cameral (China)

The term federation is drived from a Latin word foedus which means treaty or agreement. Thus,
a federation is a new state (political system) which is formed through a treaty or an agreement
between the various units. The units of a federation are known by various names like states (as in US)
or cantons (as in Switzerland) or provinces (as in Canada) or republics (as in Russia).
A federation can be formed in two ways, that is, by way of integration or by way of disintegration. In
the first case, a number of militarily weak or economically backward states (independent) come
together to form a big and a strong union, as for example, the US. In the second case, a big unitary
state is converted into a federation by granting autonomy to the provinces to promote regional interest
(for example, Canada). The US is the first and the oldest federation in the world. It was formed in
1787 following the American Revolution (177583). It comprises 50 states (originally 13 states) and
is taken as the model of federation. The Canadian Federation, comprising 10 provinces (originally 4
provinces) is also quite oldformed in 1867.
The Constitution of India provides for a federal system of government in the country. The framers
adopted the federal system due to two main reasonsthe large size of the country and its sociocultural diversity. They realised that the federal system not only ensures the efficient governance of
the country but also re-conciles national unity with regional autonomy.
However, the term federation has no where been used in the Constitution. Instead, Article 1 of the
Constitution describes India as a Union of States. According to Dr B R Ambedkar, the phrase
Union of States has been preferred to Federation of States to indicate two things: (i) the Indian
federation is not the result of an agreement among the states like the American federation; and (ii) the
states have no right to secede from the federation. The federation is union because it is
indestructible.1
The Indian federal system is based on the Canadian model and not on the American model. The
Canadian model differs fundamentally from the American model in so far as it establishes a very
strong centre. The Indian federation resembles the Candian federation (i) in its formation (i.e., by way
of disintegration); (ii) in its preference to the term Union (the Canadian federation is also called a
Union); and (iii) in its centralising tendency (i.e., vesting more powers in the centre vis-a-vis the
states).

F EDERAL F EATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION


The federal features of the Constitution of India are explained below:

1. Dual Polity
The Constitution establishes a dual polity consisting the Union at the Centre and the states at the
periphery. Each is endowed with sovereign powers to be exercised in the field assigned to them
respectively by the Constitution. The Union government deals with the matters of national importance
like defence, foreign affairs, currency, communication and so on. The state governments, on the other
hand, look after the matters of regional and local importance like public order, agriculture, health,

local government and so on.

2. Written Constitution
The Constitution is not only a written document but also the lengthiest Constitution of the world.
Originally, it contained a Preamble, 395 Articles (divided into 22 Parts) and 8 Schedules.2 At present
(2013), it consists of a Preamble, about 465 Articles (divided into 25 Parts) and 12 Schedules. 3 It
specifies the structure, orga-nisation, powers and functions of both the Central and state governments
and prescribes the limits within which they must operate. Thus, it avoids the misunderstandings and
disagreements between the two.

3. Division of Powers
The Constitution divided the powers between the Centre and the states in terms of the Union List,
State List and Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule. The Union List consists of 100 subjects
(originally 97), the State List 61 subjects (originally 66) and the Concurrent List 52 subjects
(originally 47). Both the Centre and the states can make laws on the subjects of the concurrent list, but
in case of a conflict, the Central law prevails. The residuary subjects (ie, which are not mentioned in
any of the three lists) are given to the Centre.

4. Supremacy of the Constitution


The Constitution is the supreme (or the highest) law of the land. The laws enacted by the Centre and
the states must confirm to its provisions. Otherwise, they can be declared invalid by the Supreme
Court or the high courts through their power of judicial review. Thus, the organs of the government
(legislative, executive and judicial) at both the levels must operate within the jurisdiction prescribed
by the Constitution.

5. Rigid Constitution
The division of powers established by the Constitution as well as the supremacy of the Constitution
can be maintained only if the method of its amendment is rigid. Hence, the Constitution is rigid to the
extent that those provisions which are concerned with the federal structure (i.e., Centrestate
relations and judicial organi-sation) can be amended only by the joint action of the Central and state
governments. Such provisions require for their amendment a special majority4 of the Parliament and
also an approval of half of the state legislatures.

6. Independent Judiciary
The Constitution establishes an independent judiciary headed by the Supreme Court for two purposes:
one, to protect the supremacy of the Constitution by exercising the power of judicial review; and two,
to settle the disputes between the Centre and the states or between the states. The Constitution
contains various measures like security of tenure to judges, fixed service conditions and so on to
make the judiciary independent of the government.

7. Bicameralism
The Constitution provides for a bicameral legislature consisting of an Upper House (Rajya Sabha)

and a Lower House (Lok Sabha). The Rajya Sabha represents the states of Indian Federation, while
the Lok Sabha represents the people of India as a whole. The Rajya Sabha (even though a less
powerful chamber) is required to maintain the federal equilibrium by protecting the interests of the
states against the undue interference of the Centre.

UNITARY F EATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION


Besides the above federal features, the Indian Constitution also possesses the following unitary or
non-federal features:

1. Strong Centre
The division of powers is in favour of the Centre and highly inequitable from the federal angle.
Firstly, the Union List contains more subjects than the State List. Secondly, the more important
subjects have been included in the Union List. Thirdly, the Centre has overriding authority over the
Concurrent List. Finally, the residuary powers have also been left with the Centre, while in the US,
they are vested in the states. Thus, the Constitution has made the Centre very strong.

2. States Not Indestructible


Unlike in other federations, the states in India have no right to territorial integrity. The Parliament can
by unilateral action change the area, boundaries or name of any state. Moreover, it requires only a
simple majority and not a special majority. Hence, the Indian Federation is an indestructible Union
of destructible states. The American Federation, on the other hand, is described as an indestructible
Union of indestructible states.

3. Single Constitution
Usually, in a federation, the states have the right to frame their own Constitution separate from that of
the Centre. In India, on the contrary, no such power is given to the states. The Constitution of India
embodies not only the Constitution of the Centre but also those of the states. Both the Centre and the
states must operate within this single-frame. The only exception in this regard is the case of Jammu
and Kashmir which has its own (state) Constitution.5

4. Flexibility of the Constitution


The process of constitutional amendment is less rigid than what is found in other federations. The
bulk of the Constitution can be amended by the unilateral action of the Parliament, either by simple
majority or by special majority. Further, the power to initiate an amendment to the Constitution lies
only with the Centre. In US, the states can also propose an amendment to the Constitution.

5. No Equality of State Representation


The states are given representation in the Rajya Sabha on the basis of population. Hence, the
membership varies from 1 to 31. In US, on the other hand, the principle of equality of representation
of states in the Upper House is fully recognised. Thus, the American Senate has 100 members, two
from each state. This principle is regarded as a safeguard for smaller states.

6. Emergency Provisions
The Constitution stipulates three types of emergenciesnational, state and financial. During an
emergency, the Central government becomes all powerful and the states go into the total control of the
Centre. It converts the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment of the
Constitution. This kind of transformation is not found in any other federation.

7. Single Citizenship
In spite of a dual polity, the Constitution of India, like that of Canada, adopted the system of single
citizenship. There is only Indian Citizenship and no separate state citizenship. All citizens
irrespective of the state in which they are born or reside enjoy the same rights all over the country.
The other federal states like US, Switzerland and Australia have dual citizenship, that is, national
citizenship as well as state citizenship.

8. Integrated Judiciary
The Indian Constitution has established an integrated judicial system with the Supreme Court at the
top and the state high courts below it. This single system of courts enforces both the Central laws as
well as the state laws. In US, on the other hand, there is a double system of courts whereby the federal
laws are enforced by the federal judiciary and the state laws by the state judiciary.

9. All-India Services
In US, the Federal government and the state governments have their separate public services. In India
also, the Centre and the states have their separate public services. But, in addition, there are all-India
services (IAS, IPS, and IFS) which are common to both the Centre and the states. The members of
these services are recruited and trained by the Centre which also possess ultimate control over them.
Thus, these services violate the principle of federalism under the Constitution.

10. Integrated Audit Machinery


The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India audits the accounts of not only the Central government
but also those of the states. But, his appointment and removal is done by the president without
consulting the states. Hence, this office restricts the financial autonomy of the states. The American
Comptroller-General, on the contrary, has no role with respect to the accounts of the states.

11. Parliaments Authority Over State List


Even in the limited sphere of authority allotted to them, the states do not have exclusive control. The
Parliament is empowered to legislate on any subject of the State List if Rajya Sabha passes a
resolution to that effect in the national interest. This means that the legislative competence of the
Parliament can be extended without amending the Constitution. Notably, this can be done when there
is no emergency of any kind.

12. Appointment of Governor


The governor, who is the head of the state, is appointed by the President. He holds office during the
pleasure of the President. He also acts as an agent of the Centre. Through him, the Centre exercises

control over the states. The American Constitution, on the contrary, provided for an elected head in
the states. In this respect, India adopted the Canadian system.

13. Integrated Election Machinery


The Election Commission conducts elections not only to the Central legislature but also to the state
legislatures. But, this body is constituted by the President and the states have no say in this matter.
The position is same with regard to the removal of its members as well. On the other hand, US has
separate machineries for the conduct of elections at the federal and state levels.

14. Veto Over State Bills


The governor is empowered to reserve certain types of bills passed by the state legislature for the
consideration of the President. The President can withhold his assent to such bills not only in the first
instance but also in the second instance. Thus, the President enjoys absolute veto (and not suspensive
veto) over state bills. But in US and Australia, the states are autonomous within their fields and there
is no provision for any such reservation.

CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE F EDERAL SYSTEM


From the above, it is clear that the Constitution of India has deviated from the traditional federal
systems like US, Switzerland and Australia and incorporated a large number of unitary or non-federal
features, tilting the balance of power in favour of the Centre. This has promoted the Constitutional
experts to challenge the federal character of the Indian Constitution. Thus, KC Wheare described the
Constitution of India as quasi-federal. He remarked that Indian Union is a unitary state with
subsidiary federal features rather than a federal state with subsidiary unitary features.6
According to K Santhanam, the two factors have been responsible for increasing the unitary bias
(tendency of centralisation) of the Constitution. These are: (i) the dominance of the Centre in the
financial sphere and the dependence of the states upon the Central grants; and (ii) the emergence of a
powerful planning commission which controls the developmental process in the states. He observed:
India has practically functioned as a unitary state though the Union and the states have tried to
function formally and legally as a federation.7
However, there are other political scientists who do not agree with the above descriptions. Thus,
Paul Appleby8 characterises the Indian system as extremely federal. Morris Jones9 termed it as a
bargaining federalism. Ivor Jennings10 has described it as a federation with a strong centralising
tendency. He observed that the Indian Constitution is mainly federal with unique safeguards for
enforcing national unity and growth. Alexandrowicz11 stated that India is a case sui generis (i.e.,
unique in character). Granville Austin12 called the Indian federalism as a cooperative federalism.
He said that though the Constitution of India has created a strong Central government, it has not made
the state governments weak and has not reduced them to the level of administrative agencies for the
execution of policies of the Central government. He described the Indian federation as a new kind of
federation to meet Indias peculiar needs.
On the nature of Indian Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar made the following observation in the
Constituent Assembly: The Constitution is a Federal Constitution in as much as it establishes a dual

polity. The Union is not a league of states, united in a loose relationship, nor are the states the
agencies of the Union, deriving powers from it. Both the Union and the states are created by the
Constitution, both derive their respective authority from the Constitution.13 He further observed:
Yet the Constitution avoids the tight mould of federalism and could be both unitary as well as
federal according to the requirements of time and circumstances.14 While replying to the criticism of
over-centralisation in the Constitution, he stated: A serious complaint is made on the ground that
there is too much centralisation and the states have been reduced to municipalities. It is clear that this
view is not only an exaggeration but is also founded on a misunderstanding of what exactly the
Constitution contrives to do. As to the relations between the Centre and the states, it is necessary to
bear in mind the fundamental principle on which it rests. The basic principle of federalism is that the
legislative and executive authority is partitioned between the Centre and the states not by any law to
be made by the Centre but by the Constitution itself. This is what the Constitution does. The states are
in no way dependent upon the Centre for their legislative or executive authority. The states and the
Centre are co-equal in this matter. It is difficult to see how such a Constitution can be called
centralism. It is, therefore, wrong to say that the states have been placed under the Centre. The Centre
cannot by its own will alter the boundary of this partition. Nor can the judiciary.15
I n Bommai case16 (1994), the Supreme Court laid down that the Constitution is federal and
characterised federalism as its basic feature. It observed: The fact that under the scheme of our
Constitution, greater power is conferred upon the Centre vis-a-vis the states does not mean that the
states are mere appendages of the Centre. The states have an independent constitutional existence.
They are not satellites or agents of the Centre. Within the sphere allotted to them, the states are
supreme. The fact that during emergency and in certain other eventualities their powers are
overridden or invaded by the Centre is not destructive of the essential federal feature of the
Constitution. They are exceptions and the exceptions are not a rule. Let it be said that the federalism
in the Indian Constitution is not a matter of administrative convenience, but one of principlethe
outcome of our own process and a recognition of the ground realities.
In fact, the federalism in India represents a compromise between the following two conflicting
considerations17:
(i) normal division of powers under which states enjoy autonomy within their own spheres; and
(ii) need for national integrity and a strong Union government under exceptional circumstances.
The following trends in the working of Indian political system reflects its federal spirit: (i) Territorial
disputes between states, for example, between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belgaum; (ii)
Disputes between states over sharing of river water, for example, between Karnataka and Tamil
Nadu over Cauvery Water; (iii) The emergence of regional parties and their coming to power in states
like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, etc.; (iv) The creation of new states to fulfil the regional
aspirations, for example, Mizoram or recently Jharkhand; (v) Demand of the states for more financial
grants from the Centre to meet their developmental needs; (vi) Assertion of autonomy by the states and
their resistance to the interference from the Centre; (vii) Supreme Courts imposition of several
procedural limitations on the use of Article 356 (Presidents Rule in the States) by the Centre.18

NOTES AND REFERENCES

1.
2.
3.

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.

Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, P. 43.


The American Constitution originally consisted only 7 Articles, the Australian 128 and the
Canadian 147.
The various amendments carried out since 1951 have deleted about 20 Articles and one Part
(VII) and added about 85 Articles, four Parts (IVA, IXA, IXB and XIVA) and four Schedules
(9,10,11 and 12).
A majority of 2/3 of the members of each House present and voting and a majority of the total
membership of each House.
Jammu and Kashmir enjoys a special status by virtue of Article 370 of the Constitution of
India.
K C Wheare: Federal Government, 1951, P. 28.
K Santhanam: Union-State Relations in India, 1960, PP. 5070.
Paul Appleby: Public Administration in India, 1953, P. 51.
Morris Jones: The Government and Politics in India, 1960, P. 14.
Ivor Jennings: Some Characteristics of the Indian Constitution, 1953, P. 1.
C H Alexandrowicz: Constitutional Development in India, 1957, PP. 15770.
Granville Austin: The Indian ConstitutionCornerstone of a Nation, Oxford, 1966,
PP. 18688.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. VIII, P. 33.
Ibid, Vol.VII, PP. 3334.
Dr B R Ambedkars speech in the Constituent Assembly on 25.11.1949 reproduced in The
Constitution and the Constituent Assembly; Lok Sabha Secretariat, 1990, P. 176.
S R Bommai v. Union of India (1994).
Subash C Kashyap: Our Parliament, National Book Trust, 1999 Edition, P. 40.
S R Bommai v. Union of India (1994). For the details of the judgement, see Presidents
Rule in Chapter 16.

he Constitution of India, being federal in structure, divides all powers (legislative, executive
and financial) between the Centre and the states. However, there is no division of judicial
power as the Constitution has established an integrated judicial system to enforce both the
Central laws as well as state laws.
Though the Centre and the states are supreme in their respective fields, the maximum harmony and
coordination between them is essential for the effective operation of the federal system. Hence, the
Constitution contains elaborate provisions to regulate the various dimensions of the relations between
the Centre and the states.
The Centre-state relations can be studied under three heads:
Legislative relations.
Administrative relations.
Financial relations.

LEGISLATIVE RELATIONS
Articles 245 to 255 in Part XI of the Constitution deal with the legislative relations between the
Centre and the states. Besides these, there are some other articles dealing with the same subject.
Like any other Federal Constitution, the Indian Constitution also divides the legislative powers
between the Centre and the states with respect to both the territory and the subjects of legislation.
Further, the Constitution provides for the parliamentary legislation in the state field under five
extraordinary situations as well as the centres control over state legislation in certain cases. Thus,
there are four aspects in the Centrestates legislative relations, viz.,
Territorial extent of Central and state legislation;
Distribution of legislative subjects;
Parliamentary legislation in the state field; and

Centres control over state legislation.

1. Territorial Extent of Central and State Legislation


The Constitution defines the territorial limits of the legislative powers vested in the Centre and the
states in the following way:
(i) The Parliament can make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India. The territory
of India includes the states, the union territories, and any other area for the time being
included in the territory of India.
(ii) A state legislature can make laws for the whole or any part of the state. The laws made by a
state legislature are not applicable outside the state, except when there is a sufficient nexus
between the state and the object.
(iii) The Parliament alone can make extra-territorial legislation. Thus, the laws of the Parliament
are also applicable to the Indian citizens and their property in any part of the world.
However, the Constitution places certain restrictions on the plenary territorial jurisdiction of the
Parliament. In other words, the laws of Parliament are not applicable in the following areas:
(i) The President can make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of the four
Union Territoriesthe Anda-man and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar
Haveli and Daman and Diu. A regulation so made has the same force and effect as an act of
Parliament. It may also repeal or amend any act of Parliament in relation to these union
territories.
(ii) The governor is empowered to direct that an act of Parliament does not apply to a scheduled
area in the state or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
(iii) The Governor of Assam may likewise direct that an act of Parliament does not apply to a
tribal area (autonomours district) in the state or apply with specified modifications and
exceptions. The President enjoys the same power with respect to tribal areas (autonomous
districts) in Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

2. Distribution of Legislative Subjects


The Constitution provides for a three-fold distribution of legislative subjects between the Centre and
the states, viz., List-I (the Union List), List-II (the State List) and List-III (the Concurrent List) in the
Seventh Schedule:
(i) The Parliament has exclusive powers to make laws with respect to any of the matters
enumerated in the Union List. This list has at present 100 subjects (originally 971 subjects)
like defence, banking, foreign affairs, currency, atomic energy, insurance, communication,
inter-state trade and commerce, census, audit and so on.
(ii) The state legislature has in normal circumstances exclusive powers to make laws with
respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List. This has at present 61 subjects
(originally 662 subjects) like public order, police, public health and sanitation, agriculture,
prisons, local government, fisheries, markets, theaters, gambling and so on.
(iii) Both, the Parliament and state legislature can make laws with respect to any of the matters

enumerated in the Concurrent List. This list has at present 52 subjects (originally 473 subjects)
like criminal law and procedure, civil procedure, marriage and divorce, population control
and family planning, electricity, labour wel-fare, economic and social planning, drugs,
newspapers, books and printing press, and others. The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976
transferred five subjects to Concurrent List from State List, that is, (a) education, (b) forests,
(c) weights and measures, (d) protection of wild animals and birds, and (e) administration of
justice; constitu-tion and organisation of all courts except the Supreme Court and the high
courts.
The power to make laws with respect to residuary subjects (i.e., the matters which are not
enumerated in any of the three lists) is vested in the Parliament. This residuary power of legisla-tion
includes the power to levy residuary taxes.
From the above scheme, it is clear that the matters of national importance and the matters which
requires uniformity of legislation nationwide are included in the Union List. The matters of regional
and local importance and the matters which permits diversity of interest are specified in the State
List. The matters on which uniformity of legislation throughout the country is desirable but not
essential are enumerated in the concurrent list. Thus, it permits diversity along with uniformity.
In US, only the powers of the Federal Government are enumerated in the Constitution and the
residuary powers are left to the states. The Australian Constitution followed the American pattern of
single enumeration of powers. In Canada, on the other hand, there is a double enumerationFederal
and Provincial, and the residuary powers are vested in the Centre.
The Government of India (GoI) Act of 1935 provided for a three-fold emumenration, viz., federal,
provincial and concurrent. The present Constitution follows the scheme of this act but with one
difference, that is, under this act, the residuary powers were given neither to the federal legislature
nor to the provincial legislature but to the governor-general of India. In this respect, India follows the
Canadian precedent.
The Constitution expressly secure the predominance of the Union List over the State List and the
Concurrent List and that of the Concurrent List over the State List. Thus, in case of overlapping
between the Union List and the State List, the former should prevail. In case of overlapping between
the Union List and the Concurrent List, it is again the former which should prevail. Where there is a
conflict between the Concurrent List and the State List, it is the former that should prevail.
In case of a conflict between the Central law and the state law on a subject enumerated in the
Concurrent List, the Central law prevails over the state law. But, there is an exception. If the state law
has been reserved for the consideration of the president and has received his assent, then the state law
prevails in that state. But, it would still be competent for the Parliament to override such a law by
subsequently making a law on the same matter.

3. Parliamentary Legislation in the State Field


The above scheme of distribution of legislative powers between the Centre and the states is to be
maintained in normal times. But, in abnormal times, the scheme of distribution is either modified or
suspended. In other words, the Constitution empowers the Parliament to make laws on any matter
enumerated in the State List under the following five extraordinary circumstances:

When Rajya Sabha Passes a Resolution If the Rajya Sabha declares that it is necessary in the
national interest that Parliament should make laws on a matter in the State List, then the Parliament
becomes competent to make laws on that matter. Such a resolution must be supported by two-thirds of
the members present and voting. The resolution remains in force for one year; it can be renewed any
number of times but not exceeding one year at a time. The laws cease to have effect on the expiration
of six months after the resolution has ceased to be in force.
This provision does not restrict the power of a state legislature to make laws on the same matter. But,
in case of inconsistency between a state law and a parliamentary law, the latter is to prevail.
During a National Emergency The Parliament acquires the power to legislate with respect to
matters in the State List, while a proclamation of national emergency is in operation. The laws
become inoperative on the expiration of six months after the emergency has ceased to operate.
Here also, the power of a state legislature to make laws on the same matter is not restricted. But, in
case of repugnancy between a state law and a parliamentary law, the latter is to prevail.
When States Make a Request When the legislatures of two or more states pass resolutions
requesting the Parliament to enact laws on a matter in the State List, then the Parliament can make
laws for regulating that matter. A law so enacted applies only to those states which have passed the
resolutions. However, any other state may adopt it afterwards by passing a resolution to that effect in
its legislature. Such a law can be amended or repealed only by the Parliament and not by the
legislatures of the concerned states.
The effect of passing a resolution under the above provision is that the Parliament becomes entitled to
legislate with respect to a matter for which it has no power to make a law. On the other hand, the state
legislature ceases to have the power to make a law with respect to that matter. The resolution
operates as abdication or surrender of the power of the state legislature with respect to that matter
and it is placed entirely in the hands of Parliament which alone can then legislate with respect to it.
Some examples of laws passed under the above provision are Prize Competition Act, 1955; Wild
Life (Protection) Act, 1972; Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Urban Land
(Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976; and Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994.
To Implement International Agreements The Parliament can make laws on any matter in the State
List for implementing the international treaties, agreements or conventions. This provision enables the
Central government to fulfil its international obligations and commitments.
Some examples of laws enacted under the above provision are United Nations (Privileges and
Immunities) Act, 1947; Geneva Convention Act, 1960; Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982 and legislations
relating to environment and TRIPS.
During Presidents Rule When the Presidents rule is imposed in a state, the Parliament becomes
empowered to make laws with respect to any matter in the State List in relation to that state. A law
made so by the Parliament continues to be operative even after the presidents rule. This means that
the period for which such a law remains in force is not co-terminus with the duration of the
Presidents rule. But, such a law can be repealed or altered or re-enacted by the state legislature.

4. Centres Control Over State Legislation

Besides the Parliaments power to legislate directly on the state subjects under the exceptional
situations, the Constitution empowers the Centre to exercise control over the states legislative
matters in the following ways:
(i) The governor can reserve certain types of bills passed by the state legislature for the
consideration of the President. The president enjoys absolute veto over them.
(ii) Bills on certain matters enumerated in the State List can be introduced in the state legislature
only with the previous sanction of the president. (For example, the bills imposing restrictions
on the freedom of trade and commerce).
(iii) The President can direct the states to reserve money bills and other financial bills passed by
the state legislature for his consideration during a financial emergency.
From the above, it is clear that the Constitution has assigned a position of superiority to the Centre in
the legislative sphere. In this context, the Sarkaria Commission on CentreState Relations (198387)
observed: The rule of federal supremacy is a technique to avoid absurdity, resolve conflict and
ensure harmony between the Union and state laws. If this principle of union supremacy is excluded, it
is not difficult to imagine its deleterious results. There will be every possibility of our two-tier
political system being stultified by interference, strife, legal chaos and confusion caused by a host of
conflicting laws, much to the bewilderment of the common citizen. Integrated legislative policy and
uniformity on basic issues of common Unionstate concern will be stymied. The federal principle of
unity in diversity will be very much a casualty. This rule of federal supremacy, therefore, is
indispensable for the successful functioning of the federal system.4

ADMINISTRATIVE RELATIONS
Articles 256 to 263 in Part XI of the Constitution deal with the administrative relations between the
Centre and the states. In addition, there are various other articles pertaining to the same matter.

Distribution of Executive Powers


The executive power has been divided between the Centre and the states on the lines of the
distribution of legislative powers, except in few cases. Thus, the executive power of the Centre
extends to the whole of India: (i) to the matters on which the Parliament has exclusive power of
legislation (i.e., the subjects enumerated in the Union List); and (ii) to the exercise of rights, authority
and jurisdiction conferred on it by any treaty or agreement. Similarly, the executive power of a state
extends to its territory in respect of matters on which the state legislature has exclusive power of
legislation (i.e., the subjects enumerated in the State List).
In respect of matters on which both the Parliament and the state legislatures have power of legislation
(i.e., the subjects enumerated in the Concurrent List), the executive power rests with the states except
when a Constitutional provision or a parliamentary law specifically confers it on the Centre.
Therefore, a law on a concurrent subject, though enacted by the Parliament, is to be executed by the
states except when the Constitution or the Parliament has directed otherwise.5

Obligation of States and the Centre


The Constitution has placed two restrictions on the executive power of the states in order to give

ample scope to the Centre for exercising its executive power in an unrestricted manner. Thus, the
executive power of every state is to be exercised in such a way (a) as to ensure compliance with the
laws made by the Parliament and any existing law which apply in the state; and (b) as not to impede
or prejudice the exercise of executive power of the Centre in the state. While the former lays down a
general obligation upon the state, the latter imposes a specific obligation on the state not to hamper
the executive power of the Centre.
In both the cases, the executive power of the Centre extends to giving of such directions to the state as
are necessary for the purpose. The sanction behind these directions of the Centre is coercive in
nature. Thus, Article 365 says that where any state has failed to comply with (or to give effect to) any
directions given by the Centre, it will be lawful for the President to hold that a situation has arisen in
which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution. It means that, in such a situation, the Presidents rule can be imposed in the state under
Article 356.

Centres Directions to the States


In addition to the above two cases, the Centre is empowered to give directions to the states with
regard to the exercise of their executive power in the following matters:
(i) the construction and maintenance of means of communication (declared to be of national or
military importance) by the state;
(ii) the measures to be taken for the protection of the railways within the state;
(iii) the provision of adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of
education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups in the state; and
(iv) the drawing up and execution of the specified schemes for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes
in the state.
The coercive sanction behind the Central directions under Article 365 (mentioned above) is also
applicable in these cases.

Mutual Delegation of Functions


The distribution of legislative powers between the Centre and the states is rigid. Consequently, the
Centre cannot delegate its legislative powers to the states and a single state cannot request the
Parliament to make a law on a state subject. The distribution of executive power in general follows
the distribution of legislative powers. But, such a rigid division in the executive sphere may lead to
occasional conflicts between the two. Hence, the Constitution pr-ovides for inter-government
delegation of executive functions in order to mitigate rigidity and avoid a situation of deadlock.
Accordingly, the President may, with the consent of the state government, entrust to that government
any of the executive functions of the Centre. Conversely, the governor of a state may, with the consent
of the Central government, entrust to that government any of the executive functions of the state.6 This
mutual delegation of administrative functions may be conditional or unconditional.
The Constitution also makes a provision for the entrustment of the executive functions of the Centre to
a state without the consent of that state. But, in this case, the delegation is by the Parliament and not by
the president. Thus, a law made by the Parliament on a subject of the Union List can confer powers

and impose duties on a state, or authorise the conferring of powers and imposition of duties by the
Centre upon a state (irrespective of the consent of the state concerned). Notably, the same thing cannot
be done by the state legislature.
From the above, it is clear that the mutual delegation of functions between the Centre and the state can
take place either under an agreement or by a legislation. While the Centre can use both the methods, a
state can use only the first method.

Cooperation Between the Centre and States


The Constitution contains the following provisions to secure cooperation and coordination between
the Centre and the states:
(i) The Parliament can provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to
the use, distribution and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley.
(ii) The President can establish (under Article 263) an Inter-State Council to investigate and
discuss subject of common interest between the Centre and the states. Such a council was set
up in 1990.7
(iii) Full faith and credit is to be given throughout the territory of India to public acts, records and
judicial proceedings of the Centre and every state.
(iv) The Parliament can appoint an appropriate authority to carry out the purposes of the
constitutional provisions relating to the interstate freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse.
But, no such authority has been appointed so far.

All-India Services
Like in any other federation, the Centre and the states also have their separate public services called
as the Central Services and the State Services respectively. In addition, there are all-India services
IAS, IPS and IFS. The members of these services occupy top positions (or key posts) under both the
Centre and the states and serve them by turns. But, they are recruited and trained by the Centre.
These services are controlled jointly by the Centre and the states. The ultimate control lies with the
Central government while the immediate control vests with the state governments.
In 1947, Indian Civil Service (ICS) was replaced by IAS and the Indian Police (IP) was replaced by
IPS and were recognised by the Constitution as All-India Services. In 1966, the Indian Forest Service
(IFS) was created as the third All-India Service. Article 312 of the Constitution authorises the
Parliament to create new All-India Services on the basis of a Rajya Sabha resolution to that effect.
Each of these three all-India services, irrespective of their division among different states, form a
single service with common rights and status and uniform scales of pay throughout the country.
Though the all-India services violate the principle of federalism under the Constitution by restricting
the autonomy and patronage of the states, they are supported on the ground that (i) they help in
maintaining high standard of administration in the Centre as well as in the states; (ii) they help to
ensure uniformity of the administrative system throughout the country; and (iii) they facilitate liaison,
cooperation, coordination and joint action on the issues of common interest between the Centre and
the states.
While justifying the institution of all-India services in the Constituent Assembly, Dr B R Ambedkar

observed that: The dual polity which is inherent in a federal system is followed in all federations by
a dual service. In all federations, there is a Federal Civil Service and a State Civil Service. The
Indian federation, though a dual polity, will have a dual service, but with one exception. It is
recognised that in every country there are certain posts in its administrative set up which might be
called strategic from the point of view of maintaining the standard of administration. There can be no
doubt that the standard of administration depends upon the calibre of the civil servants who are
appointed to the strategic posts. The Constitution provides that without depriving the states of their
rights to form their own civil services, there shall be an all-India service, recruited on an all-India
basis with common qualifications, with uniform scale of pay and members of which alone could be
appointed to those strategic posts throughout the Union.8

Public Service Commissions


In the field of public service commissions, the Centrestate relations are as follows:
(i) The Chairman and members of a state public service commission, though appointed by the
governor of the state, can be removed only by the President.
(ii) The Parliament can establish a Joint State Public Service Commission (JSPSC) for two or
more states on the request of the state legislatures concerned. The chairman and members of
the JSPSC are appointed by the president.
(iii) The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) can serve the needs of a state on the request of
the state governor and with the approval of the President.
(iv) The UPSC assists the states (when requested by two or more states) in framing and operating
schemes of joint recruitment for any services for which candidates possessing special
qualifications are required.

Integrated Judicial System


Though India has a dual polity, there is no dual system of administration of justice. The Constitution,
on the other hand, established an integrated judicial system with the Supreme Court at the top and the
state high courts below it. This single system of courts enforces both the Central laws as well as the
state laws. This is done to eliminate diversities in the remedial procedure.
The judges of a state high court are appointed by the president in consultation with the Chief Justice
of India and the governor of the state. They can also be transferred and removed by the president.
The Parliament can establish a common high court for two or more states. For example, Maharashtra
and Goa or Punjab and Haryana have a common high court.

Relations During Emergencies


(i)

During the operation of a national emergency (under Article 352), the Centre becomes entitled
to give executive directions to a state on any matter. Thus, the state governments are brought
under the complete control of the Centre, though they are not suspended.
(ii) When the Presidents Rule is imposed in a state (under Article 356), the President can assume
to himself the functions of the state government and powers vested in the Governor or any
other executive authority in the state.

(iii) During the operation of a financial emergency (under Article 360), the Centre can direct the
states to observe canons of financial propriety and the President can give other necessary
directions including the reduction of salaries of persons serving in the state and the high court
judges.

Other Provisions
The Constitution contains the following other provisions which enable the Centre to exercise control
over the state administration:
(i) Article 355 imposes two duties on the Centre: (a) to protect every state against external
aggression and internal disturbance; and (b) to ensure that the government of every state is
carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
(ii) The governor of a state is appointed by the president. He holds office during the pleasure of
the President. In addition to the Constitutional head of the state, the governor acts as an agent
of the Centre in the state. He submits periodical reports to the Centre about the administrative
affairs of the state.
(iii) The state election commissioner, though appointed by the governor of the state, can be
removed only by the President.

Extra-Constitutional Devices
In addition to the above-mentioned constitutional devices, there are extra-constitutional devices to
promote cooperation and coordination between the Centre and the states. These include a number of
advisory bodies and conferences held at the Central level.
The non-constitutional advisory bodies include the Planning Commission,9 the National Development
Council, the National Integration Council,10 the Central Council of Health, the Central Council of
Local Government and Urban Development, the Zonal Councils,11 the North-Eastern Council, the
Central Council of Indian Medicine, Central Council of Homo-eopathy, the Central Family Welfare
Council, the Transport Development Council, the University Grants Commission and so on.
The important conferences held either annually or otherwise to facilitate Centrestate consultation on
a wide range of matters are as follows: (i) The governors conference (presided over by the
President). (ii) The chief ministers conference (presided over by the prime minister). (iii) The chief
secretaries conference (presided over by the cabinet secretary). (iv) The conference of inspectorgeneral of police. (v) The chief justices conference (presided over by the chief justice of India). (vi)
The conference of vice-cancellors. (vii) The home ministers conference (presided over by the
Central home minister). (viii) The law ministers conference (presided over by the Central law
minister).

F INANCIAL RELATIONS
Articles 268 to 293 in Part XII of the Constitution deal with Centrestate financial relations. Besides
these, there are other provisions dealing with the same subject. These together can be studied under
the following heads:

Allocation of Taxing Powers


The Constitution divides the taxing powers between the Centre and the states in the following way:
The Parliament has exclusive power to levy taxes on subjects enumerated in the Union List
(which are 15 in number12).
The state legislature has exclusive power to levy taxes on subjects enumerated in the State
List (which are 20 in number13).
Both the Parliament and the state legislature can levy taxes on subjects enumerated in the
Concurrent List (which are 3 in number14).
The residuary power of taxation (that is, the power to impose taxes not enumerated in any of
the three lists) is vested in the Parliament. Under this provision, the Parliament has imposed
gift tax, wealth tax and expenditure tax.
The Constitution also draws a distinction between the power to levy and collect a tax and the power
to appropriate the proceeds of the tax so levied and collected. For example, the income-tax is levied
and collected by the Centre but its proceeds are distributed between the Centre and the states.
Further, the Constitution has placed the following restrictions on the taxing powers of the states:
(i) A state legislature can impose taxes on professions, trades, callings and employments. But, the
total amount of such taxes payable by any person should not exceed Rs. 2,500 per annum.15
(ii) A state legislature can impose taxes on the sale or purchase of goods (other than newspapers).
But, this power of the states to impose sales tax is subjected to the four restrictions: (a) no tax
can be imposed on the sale or purchase taking place outside the states; (b) no tax can be
imposed on the sale or purchase taking place in the course of import or export; (c) no tax can
be imposed on the sale or purchase taking place in the course of inter-state trade and
commerce; and (d) a tax imposed on the sale or purchase of goods declared by Parliament to
be of special importance in inter-state trade and commerce is subject to the restrictions and
conditions specified by the Parliament.16
(iii) A state legislature can impose tax on the consumption or sale of electricity. But, no tax can be
imposed on the consumption or sale of electricity which is (a) consumed by the Centre or sold
to the Centre; or (b) consumed in the construction, maintenance or operation of any railway by
the Centre or by the concerned railway company or sold to the Centre or the railway company
for the same purpose.
(iv) A state legislature can impose a tax in respect of any water or electricity stored, generated,
consumed, distributed or sold by any authority established by Parliament for regulating or
developing any inter-state river or river valley. But, such a law, to be effective, should be
reserved for the presidents consideration and receive his assent.

Distribution of Tax Revenues


The 80th Amendment of 2000 and the 88 th Amendment of 2003 have introduced major changes in the
scheme of the distribution of tax revenues between the centre and the states. The 80th Amendment was
enacted to give effect to the recommendations of the 10th Finance Commission. The Commission
recommended that out of the total income obtained from certain central taxes and duties, 29% should

go to the states. This is known as the Alternative Scheme of Devolution and came into effect
retrospectively from April 1, 1996. This amendment has brought several central taxes and duties like
Corporation Tax and Customs Duties at par with Income Tax (taxes on income other than agricultural
income) as far as their constitutionally mandated sharing with the states is concerned.17
The 88th Amendment has added a new Article 268-A dealing with service tax. It also added a new
subject in the Union List entry 92-C (taxes on services). Service tax is levied by the centre but
collected and appropriated by both the centre and the states.
After these two Amendments, the present position in this regard is as follows:
A. Taxes Levied by the Centre but Collected and Appropriated by the States (Article 268): This
category includes the following taxes and duties:
(i)

Stamp duties on bills of exchange, cheques, promissory notes, policies of insurance, transfer
of shares and others.
(ii) Excise duties on medicinal and toilet preparations containing alcohol and narcotics.
The proceeds of these duties levied within any state do not form a part of the Consolidated Fund of
India, but are assigned to that state.
B. Service Tax Levied by the Centre but Collected and Appropriated by the Centre and the
States (Article 268-A): Taxes on services are levied by the Centre. But, their proceeds are collected
as well as appropriated by both the Centre and the states. The principles of their collection and
appropriation are formulated by the Parliament.
C. Taxes Levied and Collected by the Centre but Assigned to the States (Article 269): The
following taxes fall under this category:
(i)

Taxes on the sale or purchase of goods (other than newspapers) in the course of inter-state
trade or commerce.
(ii) Taxes on the consignment of goods in the course of inter-state trade or commerce.
The net proceeds of these taxes do not form a part of the Consolidated Fund of India. They are
assigned to the concerned states in accordance with the principles laid down by the Parliament.
D. Taxes Levied and Collected by the Centre but Distributed between the Centre and the
States (Article 270): This category includes all taxes and duties referred to in the Union List except
the following:
(i) Duties and taxes referred to in Articles 268, 268-A and 269 (mentioned above);
(ii) Surcharge on taxes and duties referred to in Article 271 (mentioned below); and
(iii) Any cess levied for specific purposes.
The manner of distribution of the net proceeds of these taxes and duties is prescribed by the President
on the recommendation of the Finance Commission.
E. Surcharge on Certain Taxes and Duties for Purposes of the Centre (Article 271): The
Parliament can at any time levy the surcharges on taxes and duties referred to in Articles 269 and 270
(mentioned above). The proceeds of such surcharges go to the Centre exclusively. In other words, the

states have no share in these surcharges.


F. Taxes Levied and Collected and Retained by the States These are the taxes belonging to the
states exclusively. They are enumerated in the state list and are 20 in number. These are 18: (i) land
revenue; (ii) taxes on agricultural income, succession and estate duties in respect of agricultural land;
(iii) taxes on lands and buildings, on mineral rights, on animals and boats, on road vehicles, on
luxuries, on entertainments, and on gambling; (iv) excise duties on alcoholic liquors for human
consumption and narcotics; (v) taxes on the entry of goods into a local area, on advertisements
(except newspapers), on consumption or sale of electricity, and on goods and passengers carried by
road or on inland waterways; (vi) taxes on professions, trades, callings and employments not
exceeding Rs. 2,500 per annum; (vii) capitation taxes; (viii) tolls; (ix) stamp duty on documents
(except those specified in the Union List); (x) sales tax (other than newspaper); and (xi) fees on the
matters enumerated in the State List (except court fees).

Distribution of Non-tax Revenues


A. The Centre The receipts from the following form the major sources of non-tax revenues of the
Centre: (i) posts and telegraphs; (ii) railways; (iii) banking; (iv) broadcasting (v) coinage and
currency; (vi) central public sector enterprises; and (vii) escheat and lapse.19
B. The States The receipts from the following form the major sources of non-tax revenues of the
states: (i) irrigation; (ii) forests; (iii) fisheries; (iv) state public sector enterprise; and (v) escheat and
lapse.20

Grants-in-Aid to the States


Besides sharing of taxes between the Centre and the states, the Constitution provides for grants-in-aid
to the states from the Central resources. There are two types of grants-in-aid, viz, statutory grants and
discretionary grants:
Statutory Grants Article 275 empowers the Parliament to make grants to the states which are in
need of financial assistance and not to every state. Also, different sums may be fixed for different
states. These sums are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India every year.
Apart from this general provision, the Constitution also provides for specific grants for promoting the
welfare of the scheduled tribes in a state or for raising the level of administration of the scheduled
areas in a state including the State of Assam.
The statutory grants under Article 275 (both general and specific) are given to the states on the
recommendation of the Finance Commis-sion.
Discretionary Grants Article 282 empowers both the Centre and the states to make any grants for
any public purpose, even if it is not within their respective legislative competence. Under this
provision, the Centre makes grants to the states on the recommendations of the Planning Commission
an extra-constitutional body.
These grants are also known as discretionary grants, the reason being that the Centre is under no
obligation to give these grants and the matter lies within its discretion. These grants have a two-fold

purpose: to help the state financially to fulfil plan targets; and to give some leverage to the Centre to
influence and coordinate state action to effectuate the national plan.21
Notably, the discretionary grants form the larger part of the Central grants to the states (when
compared with that of the statutory grants). Hence, the Planning Commission has assumed greater
significance than the Finance Commission in Centre state financial relations.22
Other Grants The Constitution also provided for a third type of grants-in-aid, but for a temporary
period. Thus, a provision was made for grants in lieu of export duties on jute and jute products to the
States of Assam, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal. These grants were to be given for a period of ten
years from the commencement of the Constitution. These sums were charged on the Consolidated
Fund of India and were made to the states on the recommendation of the Finance Commission.

Finance Commission
Article 280 provides for a Finance Commission as a quasi-judicial body. It is constituted by the
President every fifth year or even earlier. It is required to make recommendations to the President on
the following matters:
The distribution of the net proceeds of taxes to be shared between the Centre and the states,
and the allocation between the states, the respective shares of such proceeds.
The principles which should govern the grants-in-aid to the states by the Centre (i.e., out of
the Consolidated Fund of India).
The measures needed to augment the Consolidated fund of a state to supplement the resources
of the panchayats and the municipalities in the state on the basis of the recommendations made
by the State Finance Commission.23
Any other matter referred to it by the President in the interests of sound finance.
Till 1960, the Commission also suggested the amounts paid to the States of Assam, Bihar, Orissa and
West Bengal in lieu of assignment of any share of the net proceeds in each year of export duty on jute
and jute products.
The Constitution envisages the Finance Commission as the balancing wheel of fiscal federalism in
India. However, its role in the Centrestate fiscal relations has been undermined by the emergence of
the planning commission, a non-constitutional and non-statutory body.

Protection of the States Interest


To protect the interest of states in the financial matters, the Constitution lays down that the following
bills can be introduced in the Parliament only on the recommendation of the President:
A bill which imposes or varies any tax or duty in which states are interested;
A bill which varies the meaning of the expression agricultural income as defined for the
purposes of the enactments relating to Indian income tax;
A bill which affects the principles on which moneys are or may be distributable to states; and
A bill which imposes any surcharge on any specified tax or duty for the purpose of the Centre.
The expression tax or duty in which states are interested means: (a) a tax or duty the whole or part
of the net proceeds whereof are assigned to any state; or (b) a tax or duty by reference to the net

proceeds whereof sums are for the time being payable, out of the Consolidated Fund of India to any
state.
The phrase net proceeds means the proceeds of a tax or a duty minus the cost of collection. The net
proceeds of a tax or a duty in any area is to be ascertained and certified by the Comptroller and
Auditor-General of India. His certificate is final.

Borrowing by the Centre and the States


The Constitution makes the following provisions with regard to the borrowing powers of the Centre
and the states:
The Central government can borrow either within India or outside upon the se-curity of the
Consolidated Fund of India or can give guarantees, but both within the limits fixed by the
Parliament. So far, no such law has been enacted by the Parliament.
Similarly, a state government can borrow within India (and not abroad) upon the security of
the Consolidated Fund of the State or can give guarantees, but both within the limits fixed by
the legislature of that state.
The Central government can make loans to any state or give guarantees in respect of loans
raised by any state. Any sums required for the purpose of making such loans are to be charged
on the Consolidated Fund of India.
A state cannot raise any loan without the consent of the Centre, if there is still out-standing any
part of a loan made to the state by the Centre or in respect of which a guarantee has been given
by the Centre.

Inter-Governmental Tax Immunities


Like any other federal Constitution, the Indian Constitution also contain the rule of immunity from
mutual taxation and makes the following provisions in this regard:
Exemption of Central Property from State Taxation The property of Centre is exempted from all
taxes imposed by a state or any authority within a state like municipalities, district boards, panchayats
and so on. But, the Parliament is empowered to remove this ban. The word property includes lands,
buildings, chattels, shares, debts, everything that has a money value, and every kind of property
movable or immovable and tangible or intangible. Further, the property may be used for sovereign
(like armed forces) or commercial purposes.
The corporations or the companies created by the Central government are not immune from state
taxation or local taxation. The reason is that a corporation or a company is a separate legal entity.
Exemption of State Property or Income from Central Taxation The property and income of a state
is exempted from Central taxation. Such income may be derived from sovereign functions or
commercial functions. But the Centre can tax the commercial operations of a state if Parliament so
provides. However, the Parliament can declare any particular trade or business as incidental to the
ordinary functions of the government and it would then not be taxable.
Notably, the property and income of local authorities situated within a state are not exempted from the
Central taxation. Similarly, the property or income of corporations and companies owned by a state

can be taxed by the Centre.


The Supreme Court, in an advisory opinion24 (1963), held that the immunity granted to a state in
respect of Central taxation does not extend to the duties of customs or duties of excise. In other
words, the Centre can impose customs duty on goods imported or exported by a state, or an excise
duty on goods produced or manufactured by a state.

Effects of Emergencies
The Centrestate financial relations in normal times (described above) undergo changes during
emergencies. These are as follows:
National Emergency While the proclamation of national emergency (under Article 352) is in
operation, the president can modify the constitutional distribution of revenues between the Centre and
the states. This means that the president can either reduce or cancel the transfer of finances (both tax
sharing and grants-in-aid) from the Centre to the states. Such modification continues till the end of the
financial year in which the emergency ceases to operate.
Financial Emergency While the proclamation of financial emergency (under Article 360) is in
operation, the Centre can give directions to the states: (i) to observe the specified canons of financial
propriety; (ii) to reduce the salaries and allowances of all class of persons serving in the state
(including the high court judges); and (iii) to reserve all money bills and other financial bills for the
consideration of the President.

TRENDS IN CENTRESTATE RELATIONS


Till 1967, the centrestate relations by and large were smooth due to one-party rule at the Centre and
in most of the states. In 1967 elections, the Congress party was defeated in nine states and its position
at the Centre became weak. This changed political scenario heralded a new era in the Centrestate
relations. The non-Congress Governments in the states opposed the increasing centralisation and
intervention of the Central government. They raised the issue of state autonomy and demanded more
powers and financial resources to the states. This caused tensions and conflicts in Centrestate
relations.

Tension Areas in Centre-State Relations


The issues which created tensions and conflicts between the Centre and states are: (1) Mode of
appointment and dismissal of governor; (2) Discriminatory and partisan role of governors; (3)
Imposition of Presidents Rule for partisan interests; (4) Deployment of Central forces in the states to
maintain law and order; (5) Reservation of state bills for the consideration of the President; (6)
Discrimination in financial allocations to the states; (7) Role of Planning Commission in approving
state projects; (8) Management of All-India Services (IAS, IPS, and IFS); (9) Use of electronic media
for political purposes; (10) Appointment of enquiry commissions against the chief ministers; (11)
Sharing of finances (between Centre and states); and (12) Encroachment by the Centre on the State
List.
The issues in Centre-State relations have been under consideration since the mid 1960s. In this
direction, the following developments have taken place:

Administrative Reforms Commission


The Central government appointed a six-member Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) in
1966 under the chairmanship of Morarji Desai (followed by K Hanumant-hayya). Its terms of
references included, among others, the examination of CentreState relations. In order to examine
thoroughly the various issues in Centrestate relations, the ARC constituted a study team under M C
Setalvad. On the basis of the report of this study team, the ARC finalised its own report and submitted
it to the Central government in 1969. It made 22 recommendations for improving the Centrestate
relations. The important recommendations are:
Establishment of an Inter-State Council under Article 263 of the Constitution.
Appointment of persons having long experience in public life and administration and nonpartisan attitude as governors.
Delegation of powers to the maximum extent to the states.
Transferring of more financial resources to the states to reduce their dependency upon the
Centre.
Deployment of Central armed forces in the states either on their request or otherwise.
No action was taken by the Central government on the recommendations of the ARC.

Rajamannar Committee
In 1969, the Tamil Nadu Government (DMK) appointed a three-member committee under the
chairmanship of Dr P V Rajamannar to examine the entire question of Centrestate relations and to
suggest amendments to the Constitution so as to secure utmost autonomy to the states.25 The committee
submitted its report to the Tamil Nadu Government in 1971.
The Committee identified the reasons for the prevailing unitary trends (tendencies of centralisation) in
the country. They include: (i) certain provisions in the Constitution which confer special powers on
the Centre; (ii) one-party rule both at the Centre and in the states; (iii) inadequacy of states fiscal
resources and consequent dependence on the Centre for financial assistance; and (iv) the institution of
Central planning and the role of the Planning Commission.
The important recommendations of the committee are as follows: (i) An Inter-State Council should be
set up immediately; (ii) Finance Commission should be made a permanent body; (iii) Planning
Commission should be disbanded and its place should be taken by a statutory body; (iv) Articles 356,
357 and 365 (dealing with Presidents Rule) should be totally omitted; (v) The provision that the state
ministry holds office during the pleasure of the governor should be omitted; (vi) Certain subjects of
the Union List and the Concurrent List should be transferred to the State List; (vii) the residuary
powers should be allocated to the states; and (viii) All-India services (IAS, IPS and IFS) should be
abolished.
The Central government completely ignored the recommendations of the Rajamannar Committee.

Anandpur Sahib Resolution


In 1973, the Akali Dal adopted a resolution containing both political and religious demands in a
meeting held at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. The resolution, generally known as Anandpur Sahib

Resolution, demanded that the Centres jurisdiction should be restricted only to defence, foreign
affairs, communications, and currency and the entire residuary powers should be vested in the states.
It stated that the Constitution should be made federal in the real sense and should ensure equal
authority and representation to all the states at the Centre.

West Bengal Memorandum


In 1977, the West Bengal Government (led by the Communists) published a memorandum on Centre
state relations and sent to the Central government. The memorandum inter alia suggested the
following: (i) The word union in the Constitution should be replaced by the word federal; (ii) The
jurisdiction of the Centre should be confined to defence, foreign affairs, currency, communications
and economic co-ordination; (iii) All other subjects including the residuary should be vested in the
states; (iv) Articles 356 and 357 (Presidents Rule) and 360 (financial emergency) should be
repealed; (v) States consent should be made obligatory for formation of new states or reorganisation
of existing states; (vi) Of the total revenue raised by the Centre from all sources, 75 per cent should
be allocated to the states; (vii) Rajya Sabha should have equal powers with that of the Lok Sabha; and
(viii) There should be only Central and state services and the all-India services should be abolished.
The Central government did not accept the demands made in the memorandum.

Sarkaria Commission
In 1983, the Central government appointed a three-member Commission on Centrestate relations
under the chairmanship of R S Sarkaria, a retired judge of the Supreme Court.26 The commission was
asked to examine and review the working of existing arrangements between the Centre and states in
all spheres and recommend appropriate changes and measures. It was initially given one year to
complete its work, but its term was extended four times. The final report was submitted in October
1987, and the summary was later officially released in January 1988.
The Commission did not favour structural changes and regarded the existing constitutional
arrangements and principles relating to the institutions basically sound. But, it emphasised on the need
for changes in the functional or operational aspects. It observed that federalism is more a functional
arrangement for co- operative action than a static institutional concept. It outrightly rejected the
demand for curtailing the powers of the Centre and stated that a strong Centre is essential to safeguard
the national unity and integrity which is being threatened by the fissiparious tendencies in the body
politic. However, it did not equate strong Centre with centralisation of powers. It observed that overcentralisation leads to blood pressure at the centre and anemia at the pheriphery.
The Commission made 247 recommendations to improve Centrestate relations. The important
recommendations are mentioned below:
1. A permanent Inter-State Council called the Inter-Governmental Council should be set up under
Article 263.
2. Article 356 (Presidents Rule) should be used very sparingly, in extreme cases as a last resort
when all the available alternatives fail.
3. The institution of All-India Services should be further strengthened and some more such
services should be created.

4.

The residuary powers of taxation should continue to remain with the Parliament, while the
other residuary powers should be placed in the Concurrent List.
5. When the president withholds his assent to the state bills, the reasons should be communicated
to the state government.
6. The National Development Council (NDC) should be renamed and reconstituted as the
National Economic and Development Council (NEDC).
7. The zonal councils should be constituted afresh and reactivated to promote the spirit of
federalism.
8. The Centre should have powers to deploy its armed forces, even without the consent of states.
However, it is desirable that the states should be consulted.
9. The Centre should consult the states before making a law on a subject of the Concurrent List.
10. The procedure of consulting the chief minister in the appointment of the state governor should
be prescribed in the Constitution itself.
11. The net proceeds of the corporation tax may be made permissibly shareable with the states.
12. The governor cannot dismiss the council of ministers so long as it commands a majority in the
assembly.
13. The governors term of five years in a state should not be disturbed except for some extremely
compelling reasons.
14. No commission of enquiry should be set up against a state minister unless a demand is made
by the Parliament.
15. The surcharge on income tax should not be levied by the Centre except for a specific purpose
and for a strictly limited period.
16. The present division of functions between the Finance Commission and the Planning
Commission is reasonable and should continue.
17. Steps should be taken to uniformly implement the three language formula in its true spirit.
18. No autonomy for radio and television but decentralisation in their operations.
19. No change in the role of Rajya Sabha and Centres power to reorganise the states.
20. The commissioner for linguistic minorities should be activated.
Till December 2011, the Central government has implemented 180 (out of 247) recommendations of
the Sarkaria Commission.27 The most important is the establishment of the Inter-State Council in
1990.

Punchhi Commission
The Second commission on Centre-State Relations was set-up by the Government of India in April
2007 under the Chairmanship of Madan Mohan Punchhi, former Chief Justice of India.28 It was
required to look into the issues of Centre-State relations keeping in view the sea-changes that have
taken place in the polity and economy of India since the Sarkaria Commission had last looked at the
issue of Centre-State relations over two decades ago.
The terms of reference of the Commission were as follows:

(i)

The Commission was required to examine and review the working of the existing
arrangements between the Union and States as per the Constitution of India, the healthy
precedents being followed, various pronouncements of the Courts in regard to powers,
functions and responsibilities in all spheres including legislative relations, administrative
relations, role of governors, emergency provisions, financial relations, economic and social
planning, Panchayati Raj institutions, sharing of resources including inter-state river water
and recommend such changes or other measures as may be appropriate keeping in view the
practical difficulties.
(ii) In examining and reviewing the working of the existing arrangements between the Union and
States and making recommendations as to the changes and measures needed, the Commission
was required to keep in view the social and economic developments that have taken place
over the years, particularly over the last two decades and have due regard to the scheme and
framework of the Constitution. Such recommendations were also needed to address the
growing challenges of ensuring good governance for promoting the welfare of the people
whilst strengthening the unity and integrity of the country, and of availing emerging
opportunities for sustained and rapid economic growth for alleviating poverty and illiteracy in
the early decades of the new millennium.
(iii) While examining and making its recommendations on the above, the Commission was
required to have particular regard, but not limit its mandate to the following:(a) The role, responsibility and jurisdiction of the Centre vis--vis States during major and
prolonged outbreaks of communal violence, caste violence or any other social conflict
leading to prolonged and escalated violence.
(b) The role, responsibility and jurisdiction of the Centre vis--vis States in the planning and
implementation of the mega projects like the inter-linking of rivers, that would normally
take 1520 years for completion and hinge vitally on the support of the States.
(c) The role, responsibility and jurisdiction of the Centre vis--vis States in promoting
effective devolution of powers and autonomy to Panchayati Raj Institutions and Local
Bodies including the Autonomous Bodies under the sixth Schedule of the Constitution
within a specified period of time.
(d) The role, responsibility and jurisdiction of the Centre vis--vis States in promoting the
concept and practice of independent planning and budgeting at the District level.
(e) The role, responsibility and jurisdiction of the Centre vis--vis States in linking Central
assistance of various kinds with the performance of the States.
(f) The role, responsibility and jurisdiction of the Centre in adopting approaches and
policies based on positive discrimination in favour of backward States.
(g) The impact of the recommendations made by the 8th to 12th Finance Commissions on the
fiscal relations between the Centre and the States, especially the greater dependence of
the States on devolution of funds from the Centre.
(h) The need and relevance of separate taxes on the production and on the sales of goods and
services subsequent to the introduction of Value Added Tax regime.
(i) The need for freeing inter-State trade in order to establish a unified and integrated

domestic market as also in the context of the reluctance of State Governments to adopt
the relevant Sarkaria Commissions recommendation in chapter XVIII of its report.
(j) The need for setting up a Central Law Enforcement Agency empowered to take up suo
moto investigation of crimes having inter-State and/or international ramifications with
serious implications on national security.
(k) The feasibility of a supporting legislation under Article 355 for the purpose of suo moto
deployment of Central forces in the States if and when the situation so demands.
The Commission submitted its report to the government in April 2010. In finalising the 1,456 page
report, in seven volumes, the Commission took extensive help from the Sarkaria Commission report,
the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) report and the Second
Administrative Reforms Commission report. However, in a number of areas, the Commission report
differed from the Sarkaria Commission recommendations.
After examining at length the issues raised in its Terms of Reference and the related aspects in all
their hues and shades, the Commission came to the conclusion that cooperative federalism will be
the key for sustaining Indias unity, integrity and social and economic development in future. The
principles of cooperative federalism thus may have to act as a practical guide for Indian polity and
governance.
In all, the Commission made over 310 recommendations, touching upon several significant areas in
the working of Centre-state relations. The important recommendations are mentioned below:
1. To facilitate effective implementation of the laws on List III subjects, it is necessary that some
broad agreement is reached between the Union and states before introducing legislation in
Parliament on matters in the Concurrent List.
2. The Union should be extremely restrained in asserting Parliamentary supremacy in matters
assigned to the states. Greater flexibility to states in relation to subjects in the State List and
transferred items in the Concurrent List is the key for better Centre-state relations.
3. The Union should occupy only that many of subjects in concurrent or overlapping jurisdiction
which are absolutely necessary to achieve uniformity of policy in demonstrable national
interest.
4. There should be a continuing auditing role for the Inter-state Council in the management of
matters in concurrent or overlapping jurisdiction.
5. The period of six months prescribed in Article 201 for State Legislature to act when the bill is
returned by the President can be made applicable for the President also to decide on assenting
or withholding assent to a state bill reserved for consideration of the President.
6. Parliament should make a law on the subject of Entry 14 of List I (treaty making and
implementing it through Parliamentary legislation) to streamline the procedures involved. The
exercise of the power obviously cannot be absolute or unchartered in view of the federal
structure of legislative and executive powers.
7. Financial obligations and its implications on state finances arising out of treaties and
agreements should be a permanent term of reference to the Finance Commissions constituted
from time to time.

8.

9.
10.
11.

12.

13.

14.

While selecting Governors, the Central Government should adopt the following strict
guidelines as recommended in the Sarkaria Commission report and follow its mandate in
letter and spirit :
(i) He should be eminent in some walk of life
(ii) He should be a person from outside the state
(iii) He should be a detached figure and not too intimately connected with the local politics of
the states
(iv) He should be a person who has not taken too great a part in politics generally and
particularly in the recent past
Governors should be given a fixed tenure of five years and their removal should not be at the
sweet will of the Government at the Centre.
The procedure laid down for impeachment of President, mutatis mutandis can be made
applicable for impeachment of Governors as well.
Article 163 does not give the Governor a general discretionary power to act against or
without the advice of his Council of Ministers. In fact, the area for the exercise of discretion
is limited and even in this limited area, his choice of action should not be arbitrary or fanciful.
It must be a choice dictated by reason, activated by good faith and tempered by caution.
In respect of bills passed by the Legislative Assembly of a state, the Governor should take the
decision within six months whether to grant assent or to reserve it for consideration of the
President.
On the question of Governors role in appointment of Chief Minister in the case of an hung
assembly, it is necessary to lay down certain clear guidelines to be followed as Constitutional
conventions. These guidelines may be as follows:
(i) The party or combination of parties which commands the widest support in the
Legislative Assembly should be called upon to form the Government.
(ii) If there is a pre-poll alliance or coalition, it should be treated as one political party and
if such coalition obtains a majority, the leader of such coalition shall be called by the
Governor to form the Government.
(iii) In case no party or pre-poll coalition has a clear majority, the Governor should select the
Chief Minister in the order of preference indicated here.
(a) The group of parties which had pre-poll alliance commanding the largest number
(b) The largest single party staking a claim to form the government with the support of
others
(c) A post-electoral coalition with all partners joining the government
(d) A post-electoral alliance with some parties joining the government and the
remaining including independents supporting the government from outside
On the question of dismissal of a Chief Minister, the Governor should invariably insist on the
Chief Minister proving his majority on the floor of the House for which he should prescribe a
time limit.

15. The Governor should have the right to sanction for prosecution of a state minister against the
advice of the Council of Ministers, if the Cabinet decision appears to the Governor to be
motivated by bias in the face of overwhelming material.
16. The convention of Governors acting as Chancellors of Universities and holding other statutory
positions should be done away with. His role should be confined to the Constitutional
provisions only.
17. When an external aggression or internal disturbance paralyses the state administration creating
a situation of a potential break down of the Constitutional machinery of the state, all
alternative courses available to the Union for discharging its paramount responsibility under
Article 355 should be exhausted to contain the situation and the exercise of the power under
Article 356 should be limited strictly to rectifying a failure of the Constitutional machinery in
the state.
18. On the question of invoking Article 356 in case of failure of Constitutional machinery in
states, suitable amendments are required to incorporate the guidelines set forth in the
landmark judgement of the Supreme Court in S.R. Bommai V. Union of India (1994) . This
would remove possible misgivings in this regard on the part of states and help in smoothening
Centre-state relations.
19. Given the strict parameters now set for invoking the emergency provisions under Articles 352
and 356 to be used only as a measure of last resort, and the duty of the Union to protect
states under Article 355, it is necessary to provide a Constitutional or legal framework to deal
with situations which require Central intervention but do not warrant invoking the extreme
steps under Articles 352 and 356. Providing the framework for localised emergency would
ensure that the state government can continue to function and the Assembly would not have to
be dissolved while providing a mechanism to let the Central Government respond to the issue
specifically and locally. The imposition of local emergency is fully justified under the
mandate of Article 355 read with Entry 2A of List I and Entry 1 of List II of the Seventh
Schedule.
20. Suitable amendments to Article 263 are required to make the Inter-State Council a credible,
powerful and fair mechanism for management of inter-state and Centre-state differences.
21. The Zonal Councils should meet at least twice a year with an agenda proposed by states
concerned to maximise co-ordination and promote harmonisation of policies and action
having inter-state ramification. The Secretariat of a strengthened Inter-State Council can
function as the Secretariat of the Zonal Councils as well.
22. The Empowered Committee of Finance Ministers of States proved to be a successful
experiment in inter-state co-ordination on fiscal matters. There is need to institutionalise
similar models in other sectors as well. A forum of Chief Ministers, Chaired by one of the
Chief Minister by rotation can be similarly thought about particularly to co-ordinate policies
of sectors like energy, food, education, environment and health.
23. New all-India services in sectors like health, education, engineering and judiciary should be
created.
24. Factors inhibiting the composition and functioning of the Second Chamber as a representative

25.

26.
27.

28.

29.
30.

31.

32.

33.
34.

35.

36.
37.

forum of states should be removed or modified even if it requires amendment of the


Constitutional provisions. In fact, Rajya Sabha offers immense potential to negotiate
acceptable solutions to the friction points which emerge between Centre and states in fiscal,
legislative and administrative relations.
A balance of power between states inter se is desirable and this is possible by equality of
representation in the Rajya Sabha. This requires amendment of the relevant provisions to give
equality of seats to states in the Rajya Sabha, irrespective of their population size.
The scope of devolution of powers to local bodies to act as institutions of self-government
should be constitutionally defined through appropriate amendments.
All future Central legislations involving states involvement should provide for cost sharing
as in the case of the RTE Act. Existing Central legislations where the states are entrusted with
the responsibility of implementation should be suitably amended providing for sharing of
costs by the Central Government.
The royalty rates on major minerals should be revised at least every three years without any
delay. States should be properly compensated for any delay in the revision of royalty beyond
three years.
The current ceiling on profession tax should be completely done away with by a
Constitutional amendment.
The scope for raising more revenue from the taxes mentioned in article 268 should be
examined afresh. This issue may be either referred to the next Finance Commission or an
expert committee be appointed to look into the matter.
To bring greater accountability, all fiscal legislations should provide for an annual assessment
by an independent body and the reports of these bodies should be laid in both Houses of
Parliament/state legislature.
Considerations specified in the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Finance Commission should
be even handed as between the Centre and the states. There should be an effective mechanism
to involve the states in the finalisation of the ToR of the Finance Commissions.
The Central Government should review all the existing cesses and surcharges with a view to
bringing down their share in the gross tax revenue.
Because of the close linkages between the plan and non-plan expenditure, an expert committee
may be appointed to look into the issue of distinction between the plan and non-plan
expenditure.
There should be much better coordination between the Finance Commission and the Planning
Commission. The synchronisation of the periods covered by the Finance Commission and the
Five-Year Plan will considerably improve such coordination.
The Finance Commission division in the Ministry of Finance should be converted into a fullfledged department, serving as the permanent secretariat for the Finance Commissions.
The Planning Commission has a crucial role in the current situation. But its role should be that
of coordination rather that of micro managing sectoral plans of the Central ministries and the
states.

38. Steps should be taken for the setting up of an Inter-State Trade and Commerce Commission
under Article 307 read with Entry 42 of List-I. This Commission should be vested with both
advisory and executive roles with decision making powers. As a Constitutional body, the
decisions of the Commission should be final and binding on all states as well as the Union of
India. Any party aggrieved with the decision of the Commission may prefer an appeal to the
Supreme Court.
Table 14.1 Articles Related to Centre-State Legislative Relations at a Glance
Article No. Subject-matter
245.

Extent of laws made by Parliament and by the legislatures of states

246.

Subject-matter of laws made by Parliament and by the legislatures of states

247.

Power of Parliament to provide for the establishment of certain additional courts

248.

Residuary powers of legislation

249.

Power of Parliament to legislate with respect to a matter in the state list in the national interest

250.

Power of Parliament to legislate with respect to any matter in the state list if a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation

251.

Inconsistency between laws made by Parliament under articles 249 and 250 and laws made by the legislatures of states

252.

Power of Parliament to legislate for two or more states by consent and adoption of such legislation by any other state

253.

Legislation for giving effect to international agreements

254.

Inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and laws made by the legislatures of states

255.

Requirements as to recommendations and previous sanctions to be regarded as matters of procedure only

Table 14.2 Articles Related to Centre-State Administrative Relations at a Glance


Article No.

Subject-matter

256.

Obligation of states and the Union

257.

Control of the Union over states in certain cases

257A.
258.
258A.

Assistance to states by deployment of armed forces or other forces of the Union (Repealed)
Power of the Union to confer powers, etc., on states in certain cases
Power of the states to entrust functions to the Union

259.

Armed Forces in states in Part B of the First Schedule (Repealed)

260.

Jurisdiction of the Union in relation to territories outside India

261.

Public acts, records and judicial proceedings

262.

Adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-state rivers or river valleys

263.

Provisions with respect to an inter-state Council

Table 14.3 Articles Related to Centre-State Financial Relations at a Glance

Article No. Subject-matter


Distribution of Revenues between the Union and the States
268.
268A.

Duties levied by the Union but collected and appropriated by the states
Service tax levied by Union and collected and appropriated by the Union and the states

269.

Taxes levied and collected by the Union but assigned to the states

270.

Taxes levied and distributed between the Union and the states

271.

Surcharge on certain duties and taxes for purposes of the Union

272.

Taxes which are levied and collected by the Union and may be distributed between the Union and the states (Repealed)

273.

Grants in lieu of export duty on jute and jute products

274.

Prior recommendation of President required to bills affecting taxation in which states are interested

275.

Grants from the Union to certain states

276.

Taxes on professions, trades, callings and employments

277.

Savings

278.

Agreement with states in Part B of the First Schedule with regard to certain financial matters (Repealed)

279.

Calculation of net proceeds, etc.

280.

Finance Commission

281.

Recommendations of the Finance Commission


Miscellaneous Financial Provisions

282.

Expenditure defrayable by the Union or a state out of its revenues

283.

Custody, etc., of Consolidated Funds, Contingency Funds and moneys credited to the public accounts

284.

Custody of suitors deposits and other moneys received by public servants and courts

285.

Exemption of property of the Union from state taxation

286.

Restrictions as to imposition of tax on the sale or purchase of goods

287.

Exemption from taxes on electricity

288.

Exemption from taxation by states in respect of water or electricity in certain cases

289.

Exemption of property and income of a state from Union taxation

290.

Adjustment in respect of certain expenses and pensions

290A.
291.

Annual payment to certain Devaswom Funds


Privy purse sums of Rulers (Repealed)
Borrowing

292.

Borrowing by the Government of India

293.

Borrowing by states

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.

17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.

Even now, the last entry is numbered as 97 but the total number of entries is 100. The entries
numbered as 2A, 92A, 92B and 92C have been added and entry 33 has been omitted. See
Appendix II.
Even now, the last entry is numbered as 66 but the total number of entries is 61. The entries
numbered as 11, 19, 20, 29 and 36 have been omitted. See Appendix II.
Even now, the last entry is numbered as 47 but the total number of entries is 52. The entries
numbered as 11A, 17A, 17B, 20A and 33A have been added. See Appendix II.
Report of the Commission on centre-state Relations, Part I (Government of India, 1988) PP.
2829.
For example, under the Essential Commodities Act, made by the Parliament on a concurrent
subject, the executive power is vested in the Centre.
This provision (the power of the states to entrust functions to the Centre) was added by the 7th
Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956. Before that, only the Centre had the power.
For details in this regard, see Chapter 15.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, PP. 41-42.
For details, see Chapters 48 and 49.
For details, see Chapter 69.
For details, see Chapter 15.
Entries82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 92A, 92B, 92C and 96. See Appendix II.
Entries45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, and 66. See
Appendix II.
Entries35, 44 and 47. See Appendix II.
Originally, this limit was only Rs 250 per annum. The 60th Amendment Act of 1988 raised it
to Rs. 2,500 per annum.
The Additional Duties of Excise (Goods of Special Importance) Act of 1957, enacted by the
Parliament, has declared tobacco, sugar, silk, cotton and woolen fabrics to be goods of
special importance in inter-state trade and commerce.
This amendment deleted Article 272 (Taxes which are levied and collected by the Centre and
may be distributed between the Centre and the states).
Mentioned group-wise. Hence, reduced to 11 (from 20). See Appendix II.
See Property of the Union in Chapter 61.
See Property of the States in Chapter 61.
M P Jain: Indian Constitutional Law, Wadhwa, Fourth Edition, PP. 34243.
See Impact of Planning Commission in Chapter 41.
This function was added by the 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts of 1992 which have granted
constitutional status on the panchayats and the municipalities respectively.

24. In Re. Sea Customs Act (1963).


25. The other two members of the committee were Dr. Lakshmanswamy Mudaliar and P C
Chandra Reddy.
26. B. Sivaraman and S R Sen were two other members of the Commission.
27. Annual Report 2011-12, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, P.79.
28. The other four Members of the Commission were Dhirendra Singh (Former Secretary to the
Government of India), Vinod Kumar Duggal (Former Secretary to the Government of India),
Prof. N.R. Madhava Menon (Former Director, National Judicial Academy, Bhopal and
National Law School of India, Bangalore) and Dr. Amaresh Bagchi (Emeritus Professor,
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi). With the passing away of Dr.
Bagchi in February 2008, Vijay Shanker (Former Director, Central Bureau of Investigation,
Government of India) was appointed in his place as a Member of the Commission in October
2008.

he successful functioning of the Indian federal system depends not only on the harmonious
relations and close cooperation between the Centre and the states but also between the states
inter se. Hence, the Constitution makes the following provisions with regard to inter-state

comity:
1. Adjudication of inter-state water disputes.
2. Coordination through inter-state councils.
3. Mutual recognition of public acts, records and judicial proceedings.
4. Freedom of inter-state trade, commerce and intercourse.
In addition, the zonal councils have been established by the Parliament to promote inter-state
cooperation and coordination.

INTER-STATE WATER DISPUTES


Article 262 of the Constitution provides for the adjudication of inter-state water disputes. It makes
two provisions:
(i) Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect
to the use, distribution and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley.
(ii) Parliament may also provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to exercise
jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.
Under this provision, the Parliament has enacted two laws [the River Boards Act (1956) and the
Inter-State Water Disputes Act (1956)]. The River Boards Act provides for the establishment of river
boards for the regulation and development of inter-state river and river valleys. A river board is
established by the Central government on the request of the state governments concerned to advise
them.
The Inter-State Water Disputes Act empowers the Central government to set up an ad hoc tribunal for

the adjudication of a dispute between two or more states in relation to the waters of an inter-state
river or river valley. The decision of the tribunal would be final and binding on the parties to the
dispute. Neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to have jurisdiction in respect of any water
dispute which may be referred to such a tribunal under this Act.
The need for an extra judicial machinery to settle inter-state water disputes is as follows: The
Supreme Court would indeed have jurisdiction to decide any dispute between states in connection
with water supplies, if legal rights or interests are concerned; but the experience of most countries
has shown that rules of law based upon the analogy of private proprietary interests in water do not
afford a satisfactory basis for settling disputes between the states where the interests of the public at
large in the proper use of water supplies are involved.1
So far (2013), the Central government has set up eight inter-state water dispute tribunals. The name of
the tribunals, the years in which they were constituted and the states involved in the dispute are
mentioned below in Table 15.1:
Table 15.1 Inter-State Water Dispute Tribunals Set-up So Far
SI.
No.

Name

Set-up
in

State Involved

1.

Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal

1969

Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh

2.

Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal

1969

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa

3.

Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal

1969

Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra

4.

Ravi and Beas Water Disputes Tribunal 1986

Punjab and Haryana

5.

Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal

1990

Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry

6.

Second Krishna Water Disputes


Tribunal

2004

Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh

7.

Vansadhara Water Disputes Tribunal

2010

Odisha and Andhra Pradesh

8.

Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal

2010

Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra

INTER-STATE COUNCILS
Article 263 contemplates the establishment of an Inter-State Council to effect coordination between
the states and between Centre and states. Thus, the President can establish such a council if at any
time it appears to him that the public interest would be served by its establishment. He can define the
nature of duties to be performed by such a council and its organisation and procedure.
Even though the president is empowered to define the duties of an inter-state council, Article 263
specifies the duties that can be assigned to it in the following manner:
(a) enquiring into and advising upon disputes which may arise between states;
(b) investigating and discussing subjects in which the states or the Centre and the states have a
common interest; and
(c) making recommendations upon any such subject, and particularly for the better co-ordination

of policy and action on it.


The councils function to enquire and advice upon inter-state disputes is complementary to the
Supreme Courts jurisdiction under Article 131 to decide a legal controversy between the
governments. The Council can deal with any controversy whether legal or non-legal, but its function
is advisory unlike that of the court which gives a binding decision.2
Under the above provisions of Article 263, the president has established the following councils to
make recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action in the related subjects:
Central Council of Health.
Central Council of Local Government and Urban Development.3
Four Regional Councils for Sales Tax for the Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern Zones.
The Central Council of Indian Medicine and the Central Council of Homoeopathy were set up under
the Acts of Parliament.4

Establishment of Inter-State Council


The Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State Relations (198387) made a strong case for the
establishment of a permanent Inter-State Council under Article 263 of the Constitution. It
recommended that in order to differentiate the Inter-State Council from other bodies established under
the same Article 263, it must be called as the Inter-Governmental Council. The Commission
recommended that the Council should be charged with the duties laid down in clauses (b) and (c) of
Article 263 (see above).
In pursuance of the above recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission, the Janata Dal
Government headed by V. P. Singh established the Inter-State Council in 1990. 5 It consists of the
following members:
(i) Prime minister as the Chairman
(ii) Chief ministers of all the states
(iii) Chief ministers of union territories having legislative assemblies
(iv) Administrators of union territories not having legislative assemblies
(v) Governors of States under Presidents rule
(vi) Six Central cabinet ministers, including the home minister, to be nominated by the Prime
Minister.
Five Ministers of Cabinet rank / Minister of State (independent charge) nominated by the Chairman of
the Council (i.e., Prime Minister) are permanent invitees to the Council.
The council is a recommendatory body on issues relating to inter-state, Centrestate and Centreunion
territories relations. It aims at promoting coordination between them by examining, discussing and
deliberating on such issues. Its duties, in detail, are as follows:
investigating and discussing such subjects in which the states or the centre have a common
interest;
making recommendations upon any such subject for the better coordination of policy and
action on it; and

deliberating upon such other matters of general interest to the states as may be referred to it by
the chairman.
The Council may meet at least thrice in a year. Its meetings are held in camera and all questions are
decided by consensus.
There is also a Standing Committee of the Council. It was set up in 1996 for continuous consultation
and processing of matters for the consideration of the Council. It consists of the following members:
(i) Union Home Minister as the Chairman
(ii) Five Union Cabinet Ministers
(iii) Nine Chief Ministers
The Council is assisted by a secretariat called the Inter-State Council Secretariat. This secretariat
was set-up in 1991 and is headed by a secretary to the Government of India. Since 2011, it is also
functioning as the secretariat of the Zonal Councils.

P UBLIC ACTS, RECORDS AND JUDICIAL P ROCEEDINGS


Under the Constitution, the jurisdiction of each state is confined to its own territory. Hence, it is
possible that the acts and records of one state may not be recognised in another state. To remove any
such difficulty, the Constitution contains the Full Faith and Credit clause which lays down the
following:
(i) Full faith and credit is to be given throughout the territory of India to public acts, records and
judicial proceedings of the Centre and every state. The expression public acts includes both
legislative and executive acts of the government. The expression public record includes any
official book, register or record made by a public servant in the discharge of his official
duties.
(ii) The manner in which and the conditions under which such acts, records and proceedings are
to be proved and their effect determined would be as provided by the laws of Parliament.
This means that the general rule mentioned above is subject to the power of Parliament to lay
down the mode of proof as well as the effect of such acts, records and proceedings of one
state in another state.
(iii) Final judgements and orders of civil courts in any part of India are capable of execution
anywhere within India (without the necessity of a fresh suit upon the judgement). The rule
applies only to civil judgements and not to criminal judgements. In other words, it does not
require the courts of a state to enforce the penal laws of another state.

INTER-STATE TRADE AND COMMERCE


Articles 301 to 307 in Part XIII of the Constitution deal with the trade, commerce and intercourse
within the territory of India.
Article 301 declares that trade, commerce and intercourse throughout the territory of India shall be
free. The object of this provision is to break down the border barriers between the states and to
create one unit with a view to encourage the free flow of trade, commerce and intercourse in the
country. The freedom under this provision is not confined to inter-state trade, commerce and

intercourse but also extends to intra-state trade, commerce and intercourse. Thus, Article 301 will be
violated whether restrictions are imposed at the frontier of any state or at any prior or subsequent
stage.
The freedom guaranteed by Article 301 is a freedom from all restrictions, except those which are
provided for in the other provisions (Articles 302 to 305) of Part XIII of the Constitution itself. These
are explained below:
(i) Parliament can impose restrictions on the freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse
between the states or within a state in public interest.6 But, the Parliament cannot give
preference to one state over another or discriminate between the states except in the case of
scarcity of goods in any part of India.
(ii) The legislature of a state can impose reasonable restrictions on the freedom of trade,
commerce and intercourse with that state or within that state in public interest. But, a bill for
this purpose can be introduced in the legislature only with the previous sanction of the
president. Further, the state legislature cannot give preference to one state over another or
discriminate between the states.
(iii) The legislature of a state can impose on goods imported from other states or the union
territories any tax to which similar goods manufactured in that state are subject. This
provision prohibits the imposition of discriminatory taxes by the state.
(iv) The freedom (under Article 301) is subject to the nationalisation laws (i.e., laws providing
for monopolies in favour of the Centre or the states). Thus, the Parliament or the state
legislature can make laws for the carrying on by the respective government of any trade,
business, industry or service, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or
otherwise.
The Parliament can appoint an appropriate authority for carrying out the purposes of the above
provisions relating to the freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse and restricts on it. The
Parliament can also confer on that authority the necessary powers and duties. But, no such authority
has been appointed so far.7

ZONAL COUNCILS
The Zonal Councils are the statutory (and not the constitutional) bodies. They are established by an
Act of the Parliament, that is, States Reorganisation Act of 1956. The act divided the country into five
zones (Northern, Central, Eastern, Western and Southern) and provided a zonal council for each zone.
While forming these zones, several factors have been taken into account which include: the natural
divisions of the country, the river systems and means of communication, the cultural and linguistic
affinity and the requirements of economic development, security and law and order.
Each zonal council consists of the following members: (a) home minister of Central government. (b)
chief ministers of all the States in the zone. (c) Two other ministers from each state in the zone. (d)
Administrator of each union territory in the zone.
Besides, the following persons can be associated with the zonal council as advisors (i.e., without the
right to vote in the meetings):

(i) a person nominated by the Planning Commission; (ii) chief secretary of the government of each
state in the zone; and (iii) development commissioner of each state in the zone.
The home minister of Central government is the common chairman of the five zonal councils. Each
chief minister acts as a vice-chairman of the council by rotation, holding office for a period of one
year at a time.
The zonal councils aim at promoting cooperation and coordination between states, union territories
and the Centre. They discuss and make recommendations regarding matters like economic and social
planning, linguistic minorities, border disputes, inter-state transport, and so on. They are only
deliberative and advisory bodies.
The objectives (or the functions) of the zonal councils, in detail, are as follows:
To achieve an emotional integration of the country.
To help in arresting the growth of acute state-consciousness, regionalism, linguism and
particularistic trends.
To help in removing the after-effects of separation in some cases so that the process of
reorganisation, integration and economic advancement may synchronise.
To enable the Centre and states to cooperate with each other in social and economic matters
and exchange ideas and experience in order to evolve uniform policies.
To cooperate with each other in the successful and speedy execution of major development
projects.
To secure some kind of political equilibrium between different regions of the country.
Table 15.2 Zonal Councils at a Glance
Name

Members

Headquarters

1.

Northern Zonal
Council

Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi, and
Chandigarh

New Delhi

2.

Central Zonal Council Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh

Allahabad

3.

Eastern Zonal Council Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa

Kolkata

4.

Western Zonal
Council

Gujarat, Maharastra, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu

Mumbai

5.

Southern Zonal
Council

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry

Chennai

North-Eastern Council In addition to the above Zonal Councils, a North-Eastern Council was
created by a separate Act of Parliamentthe North-Eastern Council Act of 1971. 8 Its members
include Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunchal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Sikkim. 9
Its functions are similar to those of the zonal councils, but with few additions. It has to formulate a
unified and coordinated regional plan covering matters of common importance. It has to review from
time to time the measures taken by the member states for the maintenance of security and public order
in the region.

Table 15.3 Articles Related to Inter-State Relations at a Glance


Article No.

Subject-matter
Mutual Recognition of Public Acts, etc.

261.

Public acts, records and judicial proceedings


Disputes Relating to Waters

262.

Adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-state rivers or river valleys


Co-ordination between States

263.

Provisions with respect to an inter-state council


Inter-State Trade and Commerce

301.

Freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse

302.

Power of Parliament to impose restrictions on trade, commerce and intercourse

303.

Restrictions on the legislative powers of the Union and of the states with regard to trade and commerce

304.

Restrictions on trade, commerce and intercourse among states

305.

Saving of existing laws and laws providing for state monopolies

306.

Power of certain states in Part B of the First Schedule to impose restrictions on trade and commerce (Repealed)

307.

Appointment of authority for carrying out the purposes of Articles 301 to 304

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

7.
8.
9.

Report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee. Select Committee of the House of Lords
appointed to join with a Committee of the House of Commons to consider the future
Government of India.
M P Jain: Indian Constitutional Law, Wadhwa, Fourth Edition, P. 382.
It was originally known as the Central Council of Local Self-Government (1954).
India 2003, P. 242.
The Inter-State Council Order dated May 28, 1990.
For example, the Parliament has made the Essential Commodities Act (1955). This Act
enables the Central government to control the production, supply and distribution of certain
essential commodities like petroleum, coal, iron and steel and so on.
In USA such authority is known as the Inter-State Commerce Commission.
It came into existence on August 8, 1972.
In 2002, Sikkim was added as the eighth member of the North-Eastern Council.

he Emergency provisions are contained in Part XVIII of the Constitution, from Articles 352 to
360. These provisions enable the Central government to meet any abnormal situation
effectively. The rationality behind the incorporation of these provisions in the Constitution is
to safeguard the sovereignty, unity, integrity and security of the country, the democratic political
system, and the Constitution.
During an Emergency, the Central government becomes all powerful and the states go into the total
control of the Centre. It converts the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment
of the Constitution. This kind of transformation of the political system from federal during normal
times to unitary during Emergency is a unique feature of the Indian Constitution. In this context, Dr B
R Ambedkar observed in the Constituent Assembly that1:
All federal systems including American are placed in a tight mould of federalism. No matter
what the circumstances, it cannot change its form and shape. It can never be unitary. On the other
hand, the Constitution of India can be both unitary as well as federal according to the
requirements of time and circumstances. In normal times, it is framed to work as a federal system.
But in times of Emergency, it is so designed as to make it work as though it was a unitary system.
The Constitution stipulates three types of emergencies:
1.

2.

3.

An emergency due to war, external aggression or armed rebellion2 (Article 352). This is
popularly known as National Emergency. However, the Constitution employs the expression
proclamation of emergency to denote an emergency of this type.
An Emergency due to the failure of the constitutional machinery in the states (Article 356).
This is popularly known as Presidents Rule. It is also known by two other namesState
Emergency or constitutional Emergency. However, the Constitution does not use the word
emergency for this situation.
Financial Emergency due to a threat to the financial stability or credit of India (Article 360).

NATIONAL EMERGENCY
Grounds of Declaration
Under Article 352, the President can declare a national emergency when the security of India or a part
of it is threatened by war or external aggression or armed rebellion. It may be noted that the president
can declare a national emer-gency even before the actual occurrence of war or external aggression or
armed rebellion, if he is satisfied that there is an imminent danger.
The President can also issue different proclamations on grounds of war, external aggression, armed
rebellion, or imminent danger thereof, whether or not there is a proclamation already issued by him
and such proclamation is in operation. This provision was added by the 38th Amendment Act of
1975.
When a national emergency is declared on the ground of war or external aggression, it is known as
External Emergency. On the other hand, when it is declared on the ground of armed rebellion, it is
known as Internal Emergency.
A proclamation of national emergency may be applicable to the entire country or only a part of it. The
42nd Amendment Act of 1976 enabled the president to limit the operation of a National Emergency to
a specified part of India.
Originally, the Constitution mentioned internal disturbance as the third ground for the proclamation
of a National Emergency, but the expression was too vague and had a wider connotation. Hence, the
44th Amendment Act of 1978 substituted the words armed rebellion for internal disturbance.
Thus, it is no longer possible to declare a National Emergency on the ground of internal disturbance
as was done in 1975 by the Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi.
The President, however, can proclaim a national emergency only after receiving a written
recommendation from the cabinet3. This means that the emergency can be declared only on the
concurrence of the cabinet and not merely on the advice of the prime minister. In 1975, the then Prime
Minister, Indira Gandhi advised the president to proclaim emergency without consulting her cabinet.
The cabinet was informed of the proclamation after it was made, as a fait accompli. The 44th
Amendment Act of 1978 introduced this safeguard to eliminate any possibility of the prime minister
alone taking a decision in this regard.
The 38th Amendment Act of 1975 made the declaration of a National Emergency immune from the
judicial review. But, this provision was subsequently deleted by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.
Further, in the Minerva Mills case4, (1980), the Supreme Court held that the proclamation of a
national emergency can be challenged in a court on the ground of malafide or that the declaration was
based on wholly extraneous and irrelevant facts or is absurd or perverse.

Parliamentry Approval and Duration


The proclamation of Emergency must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within one month
from the date of its issue. Originally, the period allowed for approval by the Parliament was two
months, but was reduced by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978. However, if the proclamation of
emergency is issued at a time when the Lok Sabha has been dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok
Sabha takes place during the period of one month without approving the proclamation, then the

proclamation survives until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution,
provided the Rajya Sabha has in the meantime approved it.
If approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the emergency continues for six months, and can be
extended to an indefinite period with an approval of the Parliament for every six months. This
provision for periodical parliamentary approval was also added by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.
Before that, the emergency, once approved by the Parliament, could remain in operation as long as the
Executive (cabinet) desired. However, if the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place during the
period of six months without approving the further continuance of Emergency, then the proclamation
survives until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, provided the
Rajya Sabha has in the mean-time approved its continuation.
Every resolution approving the proclamation of emergency or its continuance must be passed by
either House of Parliament by a special majority, that is, (a) a majority of the total membership of that
house, and (b) a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that house present and voting.
This special majority provision was introduced by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978. Previously, such
resolution could be passed by a simple majority of the Parliament.

Revocation of Proclamation
A proclamation of emergency may be revoked by the President at any time by a subsequent
proclamation. Such a proclamation does not require the parliamentary approval.
Further, the President must revoke a proclamation if the Lok Sabha passes a resolution disapproving
its continuation. Again, this safeguard was introduced by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978. Before the
amendment, a proclamation could be revoked by the president on his own and the Lok Sabha had no
control in this regard.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 also provided that, where one-tenth of the total number of members
of the Lok Sabha give a written notice to the Speaker (or to the president if the House is not in
session), a special sitting of the House should be held within 14 days for the purpose of considering a
resolution disapproving the continuation of the proclamation.
A resolution of disapproval is different from a resolution approving the continuation of a
proclamation in the following two respects:
1. The first one is required to be passed by the Lok Sabha only, while the second one needs to be
passed by the both Houses of Parliament.
2. The first one is to be adopted by a simple majority only, while the second one needs to be
adopted by a special majority.

Effects of National Emergency


A proclamation of Emergency has drastic and wide ranging effects on the political system. These
consequences can be grouped into three categories:
1. Effect on the Centrestate relations,
2. Effect on the life of the Lok Sabha and State assembly, and
3. Effect on the Fundamental Rights.

Effect on the Centrestate Relations While a proclamation of Emergency is in force, the normal
fabric of the Centrestate relations undergoes a basic change. This can be studied under three heads,
namely, executive, legislative and financial.
(a) Executive During a national emergency, the executive power of the Centre extends to directing
any state regarding the manner in which its executive power is to be exercised. In normal times, the
Centre can give executive directions to a state only on certain specified matters. However, during a
national emergency, the Centre becomes entitled to give executive directions to a state on any
matter. Thus, the state governments are brought under the complete control of the Centre, though they
are not suspended.
(b) Legislative During a national emergency, the Parliament becomes empowered to make laws on
any subject mentioned in the State List. Although the legislative power of a state legislature is not
suspended, it becomes subject to the overriding power of the Parliament. Thus, the normal
distribution of the legislative powers between the Centre and states is suspended, though the state
Legislatures are not suspended. In brief, the Constitution becomes unitary rather than federal.
The laws made by Parliament on the state subjects during a National Emergency become inoperative
six months after the emergency has ceased to operate.
Notably, while a proclamation of national emergency is in operation, the President can issue
ordinances on the state subjects also, if the Parliament is not in session.
Further, the Parliament can confer powers and impose duties upon the Centre or its officers and
authorities in respect of matters outside the Union List, in order to carry out the laws made by it under
its extended jurisdiction as a result of the proclamation of a National Emergency.
The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 provided that the two consequences mentioned above (executive
and legislative) extends not only to a state where the Emergency is in operation but also to any other
state.
(c) Financial While a proclamation of national emergency is in operation, the President can modify
the constitutional distribution of revenues between the centre and the states. This means that the
president can either reduce or cancel the transfer of finances from Centre to the states. Such
modification continues till the end of the financial year in which the Emergency ceases to operate.
Also, every such order of the President has to be laid before both the Houses of Parliament.
Effect on the Life of the Lok Sabha and State Assembly While a proclamation of National
Emergency is in operation, the life of the Lok Sabha may be extended beyond its normal term (five
years) by a law of Parliament for one year at a time (for any length of time). However, this extension
cannot continue beyond a period of six months after the emergency has ceased to operate. For
example, the term of the Fifth Lok Sabha (19711977) was extended two times by one year at a time5.
Similarly, the Parliament may extend the normal tenure of a state legislative assembly (five years) by
one year each time (for any length of time) during a national emergency, subject to a maximum period
of six months after the Emergency has ceased to operate.
Effect on the Fundamental Rights Articles 358 and 359 describe the effect of a National
Emergency on the Fundamental Rights. Article 358 deals with the suspension of the Fundamental

Rights guaranteed by Article 19, while Article 359 deals with the suspension of other Fundamental
Rights (except those guaranteed by Articles 20 and 21). These two provisions are explained below:
(a) Suspension of Fundamental Rights under Article 19 According to Article 358, when a
proclamation of national emergency is made, the six Fundamental Rights under Article 19 are
automatically suspended. No separate order for their suspension is required.
While a proclamation of national emergency is in operation, the state is freed from the restrictions
imposed by Article 19. In other words, the state can make any law or can take any executive action
abridging or taking away the six Fundamental Rights guaranteed by Article 19. Any such law or
executive action cannot be challenged on the ground that they are inconsistent with the six
Fundamental Rights guaranteed by Article 19. When the National Emergency ceases to operate,
Article 19 automatically revives and comes into force. Any law made during Emergency, to the extent
of inconsistency with Article 19, ceases to have effect. However, no remedy lies for anything done
during the Emergency even after the Emergency expires. This means that the legislative and executive
actions taken during the emergency cannot be challenged even after the Emergency ceases to operate.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 restricted the scope of Article 358 in two ways. Firstly, the six
Fundamental Rights under Article 19 can be suspended only when the National Emergency is
declared on the ground of war or external aggression and not on the ground of armed rebellion.
Secondly, only those laws which are related with the Emergency are protected from being challenged
and not other laws. Also, the executive action taken only under such a law is protected.
(b) Suspension of other Fundamental Rights Article 359 authorises the presi-dent to suspend the
right to move any court for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights during a National Emergency. This
means that under Article 359, the Fundamental Rights as such are not suspended, but only their
enforcement. The said rights are theoretically alive but the right to seek remedy is suspended. The
suspension of enforcement relates to only those Fundamental Rights that are specified in the
Presidential Order. Further, the suspension could be for the period during the operation of emergency
or for a shorter period as mentioned in the order, and the suspension order may extend to the whole or
any part of the country. It should be laid before each House of Parliament for approval.
While a Presidential Order is in force, the State can make any law or can take any executive action
abridging or taking away the specified Fundamental Rights. Any such law or executive action cannot
be challenged on the ground that they are inconsistent with the specified Fundamental Rights. When
the Order ceases to operate, any law so made, to the extent of inconsistency with the specified
Fundamental Rights, ceases to have effect. But no remedy lies for anything done during the operation
of the order even after the order ceases to operate. This means that the legislative and executive
actions taken during the operation of the Order cannot be challenged even after the Order expires.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 restricted the scope of Article 359 in two ways. Firstly, the
President cannot suspend the right to move the Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights
guaranteed by Articles 20 to 21. In other words, the right to protection in respect of conviction for
offences (Article 20) and the right to life and personal liberty (Article 21) remain enforceable even
during emergency. Secondly, only those laws which are related with the emergency are protected
from being challenged and not other laws and the executive action taken only under such a law, is
protected.

Distinction Between Articles 358 and 359


The differences between Articles 358 and 359 can be summarised as follows:
1. Article 358 is confined to Fundamental Rights under Article 19 only whereas Article 359
extends to all those Fundamental Rights whose enforcement is suspended by the Presidential
Order.
2. Article 358 automatically suspends the fundamental rights under Article 19 as soon as the
emergency is declared. On the other hand, Article 359 does not automatically suspend any
Fundamental Right. It only empowers the president to suspend the enforcement of the
specified Fundamental Rights.
3. Article 358 operates only in case of Ex-ternal Emergency (that is, when the emergency is
declared on the grounds of war or external aggression) and not in the case of Internal
Emergency (ie, when the Emergency is declared on the ground of armed rebellion). Article
359, on the other hand, operates in case of both External Emergency as well as Internal
Emergency.
4. Article 358 suspends Fundamental Rights under Article 19 for the entire duration of
Emergency while Article 359 suspends the enforcement of Fundamental Rights for a period
specified by the president which may either be the entire duration of Emergency or a shorter
period.
5. Article 358 extends to the entire country whereas Article 359 may extend to the entire country
or a part of it.
6. Article 358 suspends Article 19 completely while Article 359 does not empower the
suspension of the enforcement of Articles 20 and 21.
7. Article 358 enables the State to make any law or take any executive action inconsistent with
Fundamental Rights under Article 19 while Article 359 enables the State to make any law or
take any executive action inconsistent with those Fundamental Rights whose enforcement is
suspended by the Presidential Order.
There is also a similarity between Article 358 and Article 359. Both provide immunity from
challenge to only those laws which are related with the Emergency and not other laws. Also, the
executive action taken only under such a law is protected by both.

Declarations Made So Far


This type of Emergency has been proclaimed three times so farin 1962, 1971 and 1975.
The first proclamation of National Emer-gency was issued in October 1962 on account of Chinese
aggression in the NEFA (North-East Frontier Agencynow Arunachal Pradesh), and was in force till
January 1968. Hence, a fresh proclamation was not needed at the time of war against Pakistan in
1965.
The second proclamation of national emergency was made in December 1971 in the wake of attack by
Pakistan. Even when this Emergency was in operation, a third proclamation of National Emergency
was made in June 1975. Both the second and third proclamations were revoked in March 1977.
The first two proclamations (1962 and 1971) were made on the ground of external aggression,

while the third proclamation (1975) was made on the ground of internal disturbance, that is, certain
persons have been inciting the police and the armed forces against the discharge of their duties and
their normal functioning.
The Emergency declared in 1975 (internal emergency) proved to be the most controversial. There
was widespread criticism of the misuse of Emergency powers. In the elections held to the Lok Sabha
in 1977 after the Emergency, the Congress Party led by Indira Gandhi lost and the Janta Party came to
power. This government appointed the Shah Commission to investigate the circumstances that
warranted the declaration of an Emergency in 1975. The commission did not justify the declaration of
the Emergency. Hence, the 44th Amendment Act was enacted in 1978 to introduce a number of
safeguards against the misuse of Emergency provisions.

P RESIDENTS RULE
Grounds of Imposition
Article 355 imposes a duty on the Centre to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in
accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. It is this duty in the performance of which the
Centre takes over the government of a state under Article 356 in case of failure of constitutional
machinery in state. This is popularly known as Presidents Rule. It is also known as State
Emergency or Con-stitutional Emergency.
The Presidents Rule can be proclaimed un-der Article 356 on two groundsone mentioned in
Article 356 itself and another in Article 365:
1. Article 356 empowers the President to issue a proclamation, if he is satisfied that a situation
has arisen in which the government of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with the
provisions of the Constitution. Notably, the president can act either on a report of the governor
of the state or otherwise too (ie, even without the governors report).
2. Article 365 says that whenever a state fails to comply with or to give effect to any direction
from the Centre, it will be lawful for the president to hold that a situation has arisen in which
the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution.

Parliamentary Approval and Duration


A proclamation imposing Presidents Rule must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within
two months from the date of its issue. However, if the proclamation of Presidents Rule is issued at a
time when the Lok Sabha has been dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place during
the period of two months without approving the proclamation, then the proclamation survives until 30
days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, provided the Rajya Sabha approves
it in the mean time.
If approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the Presidents Rule continues for six months 6. It can
be extended for a maximum period of three years7 with the approval of the Parliament, every six
months. However, if the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place during the period of six months
without approving the further continuation of the Presidents Rule, then the proclamation survives

until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, provided the Rajya Sabha
has in the meantime approved its continuance.
Every resolution approving the proclamation of Presidents Rule or its continuation can be passed by
either House of Parliament only by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of that House
present and voting.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 introduced a new provision to put restraint on the power of
Parliament to extend a proclamation of Presidents Rule beyond one year. Thus, it provided that,
beyond one year, the Presidents Rule can be extended by six months at a time only when the
following two conditions are fulfilled:
1. a proclamation of National Emergency should be in operation in the whole of India, or in the
whole or any part of the state; and
2. the Election Commission must certify that the general elections to the legislative assembly of
the concerned state cannot be held on account of difficulties.
A proclamation of Presidents Rule may be revoked by the President at any time by a subsequent
proclamation. Such a proclamation does not require the parliamentary approval.

Consequences of Presidents Rule


The President acquires the following extraordinary powers when the Presidents Rule is imposed in a
state:
1. He can take up the functions of the state government and powers vested in the governor or any
other executive authority in the state.
2. He can declare that the powers of the state legislature are to be exercised by the Parliament.
3. He can take all other necessary steps including the suspension of the constitutional provisions
relating to any body or authority in the state.
Therefore, when the Presidents Rule is imposed in a state, the President dismisses the state council
of ministers headed by the chief minister. The state governor, on behalf of the President, carries on
the state administration with the help of the chief secretary of the state or the advisors appointed by
the President. This is the reason why a proclamation under Article 356 is popularly known as the
imposition of Presidents Rule in a state. Further, the President either suspends or dissolves the
state legislative assembly8. The Parliament passes the state legislative bills and the state budget.
When the state legislature is thus suspended or dissolved:
1. the Parliament can delegate the power to make laws for the state to the President or to any
other authority specified by him in this regard,
2. the Parliament or in case of delegation, the President or any other specified authority can
make laws conferring powers and imposing duties on the Centre or its officers and authorities,
3. the President can authorise, when the Lok Sabha is not in session, expenditure from the state
consolidated fund pending its sanction by the Parliament, and
4. the President can promulgate, when the Parliament is not in session, ordinances for the
governance of the state.

Table 16.1 Comparing National Emergency and Presidents Rule


National Emergency (Article 352)

Presidents Rule (Article 356)

1.

It can be proclaimed only when the security of India 1.


or a part of it is threatened by war, external
aggression or armed rebellion.

It can be proclaimed when the government of a state cannot be carried


on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution due to reasons
which may not have any connection with war, external aggression or
armed rebellion.

2.

During its operation, the state executive and


legislature continue to function and exercise the
powers assigned to them under the Constitution. Its
effect is that the Centre gets concurrent powers of
administration and legislation in the state.

During its operation, the state executive is dismissed and the state
legislature is either suspended or dissolved. The president administers
the state through the governor and the Parliament makes laws for the
state. In brief, the executive and legislative powers of the state are
assumed by the Centre.

3.

Under this, the Parliament can make laws on the


3.
subjects enumerated in the State List only by itself,
that is, it cannot delegate the same to any other body
or authority.

Under this, the Parliament can delegate the power to make laws for the
state to the President or to any other authority specified by him. So far,
the practice has been for the president to make laws for the state in
consultation with the members of Parliament from that state. Such laws
are known as Presidents Acts.

4.

There is no maximum period prescribed for its


operation. It can be continued indefinitely with the
approval of Parliament for every six months.

There is a maximum period prescribed for its operation, that is, three
years. Thereafter, it must come to an end and the normal constitutional
machinery must be restored in the state.

5.

Under this, the relationship of the Centre with all the 5.


states undergoes a modification.

Under this, the relationship of only the state under emergency with the
Centre undergoes a modification.

6.

Every resolution of Parliament approving its


6.
proclamation or its continuance must be passed by a
special majority.

Every resolution of Parliament approving its proclamation or its


continuance can be passed only by a simple majority.

7.

It affects fundamental rights of the citizens.

7.

It has no effect on Fundamental Rights of the citizens.

8.

Lok Sabha can pass a resolution for its revocation.

8.

There is no such provision. It can be revoked by the President only on


his own.

2.

4.

A law made by the Parliament or president or any other specified authority continues to be operative
even after the Presidents Rule. This means that the period for which such a law remains in force is
not co-terminous with the duration of the proclamation. But it can be repealed or altered or re-enacted
by the state legislature.
It should be noted here that the President cannot assume to himself the powers vested in the concerned
state high court or suspend the provisions of the Constitution relating to it. In other words, the
constitutional position, status, powers and functions of the concerned state high court remain same
even during the Presidents Rule.

Use of Article 356


Since 1950, the Presidents Rule has been imposed on more than 100 occasions, that is, on an average
twice a year. Further, on a number of occasions, the Presidents Rule has been imposed in an
arbitrary manner for political or personal reasons. Hence, Article 356 has become one of the most
controversial and most criticised provision of the Constitution.
For the first time, the Presidents Rule was imposed in Punjab in 1951. By now, all most all the states

have been brought under the Presidents Rule, once or twice or more. The details in this regard are
given in Table 16.2 at the end of this chapter.
When general elections were held to the Lok Sabha in 1977 after the internal emergency, the ruling
Congress Party lost and the Janta Party came to power. The new government headed by Morarji
Desai imposed Presidents Rule in nine states 9 (where the Congress Party was in power) on the
ground that the assemblies in those states no longer represented the wishes of the electorate. When the
Congress Party returned to power in 1980, it did the same in nine states10 on the same ground.
In 1992, Presidents Rule was imposed in three BJP-ruled states (Madhya Pradesh, Himachal
Pradesh and Rajasthan) by the Congress Party on the ground that they were not implementing
sincerely the ban imposed by the Centre on religious organisations. In a landmark judgement in
Bommai case11 (1994), the Supreme Court upheld the validity of this proclamation on the ground that
secularism is a basic feature of the Constitution. But, the court did not uphold the validity of the
imposition of the Presidents Rule in Nagaland in 1988, Karnataka in 1989 and Meghalaya in 1991.
Dr B R Ambedkar, while replying to the critics of this provision in the Constituent Assembly, hoped
that the drastic power conferred by Article 356 would remain a dead-letter and would be used only
as a measure of last resort. He observed12:
The intervention of the Centre must be deemed to be barred, because that would be an invasion
on the sovereign authority of the province (state). That is a fundamental proposition which we
must accept by reason of the fact that we have a Federal Constitution. That being so, if the Centre
is to interfere in the administration of provincial affairs, it must be under some obligation which
the Constitution imposes upon the Centre. The proper thing we ought to expect is that such
Articles will never be called into operation and that they would remain a dead-letter. If at all they
are brought into operation, I hope the President who is endowed with this power will take proper
precautions before actually suspending the administration of the province.
However, the subsequent events shows that what was hoped to be a dead-letter of the Constitution
has turned to be a deadly-weapon against a number of state governments and legislative assemblies.
In this context, HV Kamath, a member of the Constituent Assembly commented a decade ago: Dr
Ambedkar is dead and the Articles are very much alive.

Scope of Judicial Review


The 38th Amendment Act of 1975 made the satisfaction of the President in invoking Article 356 final
and conclusive which could not be challenged in any court on any ground. But, this provision was
subsequently deleted by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 implying that the satisfaction of the
President is not beyond judicial review.
In Bommai case (1994), the following propositions have been laid down by the Supreme Court on
imposition of Presidents Rule in a state under Article 356:
1. The presidential proclamation imposing Presidents Rule is subject to judicial review.
2. The satisfaction of the President must be based on relevant material. The action of the
president can be struck down by the court if it is based on irrelevant or extraneous grounds or
if it was found to be malafide or perverse.
3. Burden lies on the Centre to prove that relevant material exist to justify the imposition of the

Presidents Rule.
4. The court cannot go into the correctness of the material or its adequacy but it can see whether
it is relevant to the action.
5. If the court holds the presidential proclamation to be unconstitutional and invalid, it has
power to restore the dismissed state government and revive the state legislative assembly if it
was suspended or dissolved.
6. The state legislative assembly should be dissolved only after the Parliament has approved the
presidential proclamation. Until such approval is given, the president can only suspend the
assembly. In case the Parliament fails to approve the proclamation, the assembly would get
reactivated.
7. Secularism is one of the basic features of the Constitution. Hence, a state government
pursuing anti-secular politics is liable to action under Article 356.
8. The question of the state government losing the confidence of the legislative assembly should
be decided on the floor of the House and until that is done the ministry should not be unseated.
9. Where a new political party assumes power at the Centre, it will not have the authority to
dismiss ministries formed by other parties in the states.
10. The power under Article 356 is an exceptional power and should be used only occassionally
to meet the requirements of special situations.

Cases of Proper and Improper Use


Based on the report of the Sarkaria Commission on Centrestate Relations (1988), the Supreme Court
in Bommai case (1994) enlisted the situations where the exercise of power under Article 356 could
be proper or improper13.
Imposition of Presidents Rule in a state would be proper in the following situations:
1. Where after general elections to the assembly, no party secures a majority, that is, Hung
Assembly.
2. Where the party having a majority in the assembly declines to form a ministry and the
governor cannot find a coalition ministry commanding a majority in the assembly.
3. Where a ministry resigns after its defeat in the assembly and no other party is willing or able
to form a ministry commanding a majority in the assembly.
4. Where a constitutional direction of the Central government is disregarded by the state
government.
5. Internal subversion where, for example, a government is deliberately acting against the
Constitution and the law or is fomenting a violent revolt.
6. Physical breakdown where the government wilfully refuses to discharge its constitutional
obligations endangering the security of the state.
The imposition of Presidents Rule in a state would be improper under the following situations:
1. Where a ministry resigns or is dismissed on losing majority support in the assembly and the
governor recommends imposition of Presidents Rule without probing the possibility of
forming an alternative ministry.

2.

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Where the governor makes his own assessment of the support of a ministry in the assembly
and recommends imposition of Presidents Rule without allowing the ministry to prove its
majority on the floor of the Assembly.
Where the ruling party enjoying majority support in the assembly has suffered a massive
defeat in the general elections to the Lok Sabha such as in 1977 and 1980.
Internal disturbances not amounting to internal subversion or physical breakdown.
Maladministration in the state or allegations of corruption against the ministry or stringent
financial exigencies of the state.
Where the state government is not given prior warning to rectify itself except in case of
extreme urgency leading to disastrous consequences.
Where the power is used to sort out intra-party problems of the ruling party, or for a purpose
extraneous or irrelevant to the one for which it has been conferred by the Constitution.

F INANCIAL EMERGENCY
Grounds of Declaration
Article 360 empowers the president to proclaim a Financial Emergency if he is satisfied that a
situation has arisen due to which the financial stability or credit of India or any part of its territory is
threatened.
The 38th Amendment Act of 1975 made the satisfaction of the president in declaring a Financial
Emergency final and conclusive and not questionable in any court on any ground. But, this provision
was subsequently deleted by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 implying that the satisfaction of the
president is not beyond judicial review.

Parliamentary Approval and Duration


A proclamation declaring financial emergency must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament
within two months from the date of its issue. However, if the proclamation of Financial Emergency is
issued at a time when the Lok Sabha has been dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes
place during the period of two months without approving the proclamation, then the proclamation
survives until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, provided the
Rajya Sabha has in the meantime approved it.
Once approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the Financial Emergency continues indefinitely till
it is revoked. This implies two things:
1. there is no maximum period prescribed for its operation; and
2. repeated parliamentary approval is not required for its continuation.
A resolution approving the proclamation of financial emergency can be passed by either House of
Parliament only by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of that house present and
voting.
A proclamation of Financial Emergency may be revoked by the president at anytime by a subsequent
proclamation. Such a proclamation does not require the parliamentry approval.

Effects of Financial Emergency


The consequences of the proclamation of a Financial Emergency are as follows:
1. The executive authority of the Centre extends (a) to directing any state to observe such canons
of financial propriety as are specified by it; and (b) to directions as the President may deem
necessary and adequate for the purpose.
2. Any such direction may include a provision requiring (a) the reduction of salaries and
allowances of all or any class of persons serving in the state; and (b) the reservation of all
money bills or other financial bills for the consideration of the President after they are passed
by the legislature of the state.
3. The President may issue directions for the reduction of salaries and allowances of (a) all or
any class of persons serving the Union; and (b) the judges of the Supreme Court and the high
court.
Thus, during the operation of a financial emergency, the Centre acquires full control over the states in
financial matters. H N Kunzru, a member of the Constituent Assembly, stated that the financial
emergency provisions pose a serious threat to the financial autonomy of the states. Explaining the
reasons for their inclusion in the Constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar observed in the Constituent
Assembly14:
This Article more or less follows the pattern of what is called the National Recovery Act of the
United States passed in 1933, which gave the president power to make similar provisions in
order to remove the difficulties, both economical and financial, that had overtaken the American
people, as a result of the Great Depression.
No Financial Emergency has been declared so far, though there was a financial crisis in 1991.

CRITICISM OF THE EMERGENCY P ROVISIONS


Some members of the Constituent Assembly criticised the incorporation of emergency provisions in
the Constitution on the following grounds15:
1. The federal character of the Constitution will be destroyed and the Union will become all
powerful.
2. The powers of the Stateboth the Union and the unitswill entirely be concentrated in the
hands of the Union executive.
3. The President will become a dictator.
4. The financial autonomy of the state will be nullified.
5. Fundamental rights will become meaningless and, as a result, the democratic foundations of
the Constitution will be destroyed.
Thus, H V Kamath observed: I fear that by this single chapter we are seeking to lay the
foundation of a totalitarian state, a police state, a state completely opposed to all the ideals and
principles that we have held aloft during the last few decades, a State where the rights and
liberties of millions of innoc-ent men and women will be in continuous jeopardy, a State where if
there be peace, it will be the peace of the grave and the void of the desert(. . .) It will be a day of

shame and sorrow when the President makes use of these Powers having no parallel in any
Constitution of the democratic countries of the world16.
K T Shah described them as:
Table 16.2 Imposition of Presidents Rule (1951-2000)
Sl.
No.

States / Union Territories

No. of Times
Imposed

Years of Imposition

1. Andhra Pradesh

1954, 1973

2. Arunachal Pradesh

1979

3. Assam

1979, 1981, 1982, 1990

4. Bihar

1968, 1969, 1972, 1977, 1980, 1995, 1999

5. Goa

1966, 1979, 1990, 1999

6. Gujarat

1971, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1996

7. Haryana

1967, 1977, 1991

8. Himachal Pradesh

1977, 1992

9. Jammu and Kashmir

1986, 1990

10. Karnataka

1971, 1977, 1989, 1990

11. Kerala

1956, 1956, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1970, 1979, 1981,


1982

12. Madhya Pradesh

1977, 1980, 1992

13. Maharashtra

1980

14. Manipur

1972, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1992, 1994

15. Mizoram

1977, 1978, 1988

16. Meghalaya

1991

17. Nagaland

1975, 1988, 1992

18. Orissa

1961, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1980

19. Patiala and East Punjab States Union


(PEPSU)

1953

20. Puducherry

1968, 1974, 1974, 1978, 1983, 1991

21. Punjab

1951, 1966, 1968, 1971, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1987

22. Rajasthan

1967, 1977, 1980, 1992

23. Sikkim

1979, 1984

24. Tamil Nadu

1976, 1980, 1988, 1991

25. Tripura

1972, 1977, 1993

26. Uttar Pradesh

1968, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1992, 1995,


1996

27. West Bengal

1968, 1970, 1971, 1977

Table 16.3 Articles Related to Emergency Provisions at a Glance


Article No.

Subject-matter

352.

Proclamation of Emergency

353.

Effect of Proclamation of Emergency

354.

Application of provisions relating to distribution of revenues while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation

355.

Duty of the Union to protect states against external aggression and internal disturbance

356.

Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in states

357.

Exercise of legislative powers under proclamation issued under Article 356

358.

Suspension of provisions of Article 19 during Emergencies

359.

Suspension of the enforcement of the rights conferred by Part III during Emergencies

359A.

Application of this part to the state of Punjab (Repealed)

360.

Provisions as to Financial Emergency

A chapter of reaction and retrogression. (. . .) I find one cannot but notice two distinct currents of
thought underlying and influencing throughout the provisions of this chapter: (a) to arm the Centre
with special powers against the units and (b) to arm the government against the people . . .
Looking at all the provisions of this chapter particularly and scrutinising the powers that have
been given in almost every article, it seems to me, the name only of liberty or democracy will
remain under the Constitution.
T T Krishnamachari feared that by means of these provisions the President and the Executive would
be exercising a form of constitutional dictatorship17.
H N Kunzru opined that the emergency financial provisions pose a serious threat to the financial
autonomy of the States.
However, there were also protagonists of the emergency provisions in the Constituent Assembly.
Thus, Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar labelled them as the very life-breath of the Constitution.
Mahabir Tyagi opined that they would work as a safety-valve and thereby help in the maintenance
of the Constitution18.
While defending the emergency provisions in the Constituent Assembly, Dr B R Ambedkar also
accepted the possibility of their misuse. He observed, I do not altogether deny that there is a
possibility of the Articles being abused or employed for political purposes19.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, p. 34.

2.
3.
4.
5.

6.

7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.

The phrase armed rebellion was inserted by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978, replacing the
original phrase internal disturbance.
Article 352 defines the term Cabinet as the council consisting of the Prime Minister and
other ministers of the Cabinet rank.
Minerva Mills v. Union of India, (1980).
The term of the Fifth Lok Sabha which was to expire on 18 March, 1976 was extended by one
year upto 18 March, 1977 by the House of the People (Extension of Duration) Act, 1976. It
was extend for a further period of one year upto 18 March, 1978 by the House of the People
(Extension of Duration) Amendment Act, 1976. However, the House was dissolved on 18
January, 1977, after having been in existence for a period of five years, ten months and six
days.
The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 had raised the period of six months to one year. Thus, once
approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the proclamation of Presidents Rule could
continue for one year. But, the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 again reduced the period to six
months.
The Presidents Rule imposed in May, 1987 in Punjab was allowed to continue for five years
under the 68th Amendment Act of 1991.
In case of dissolution, fresh elections are held for constituting a new legislative assembly in
the state.
Those nine States include Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar,
Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Haryana.
Those nine states include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Orissa,
Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
S. R. Bommai v. Union of India (1994).
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume IX, p. 133 and 177.
Report of the Commission on Centre State Relations, Part I, p. 165180 (1988).
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume X, p. 361372.
Quoted from M V Pylee, Indias Constitution, S Chand, Fifth Edition, 1994, p. 280.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume IX, p. 105.
Ibid, p. 123.
Ibid, p. 547.
Ibid, p. 177.

rticles 52 to 78 in Part V of the Constitution deal with the Union executive.


The Union executive consists of the Presi-dent, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the
council of ministers and the attorney general of India.
The President is the head of the Indian State. He is the first citizen of India and acts as the symbol of
unity, integrity and solidarity of the nation.

ELECTION OF THE P RESIDENT


The President is elected not directly by the people but by members of electoral college consisting of:
1. the elected members of both the Houses of Parliament;
2. the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the states; and
3. the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and
Puducherry1.
Thus, the nominated members of both of Houses of Parliament, the nominated members of the state
legislative assemblies, the members (both elected and nominated) of the state legislative councils (in
case of the bicameral legislature) and the nominated members of the Legislative Assemblies of Delhi
and Puducherry do not participate in the election of the President. Where an assembly is dissolved,
the members cease to be qualified to vote in presidential election, even if fresh elections to the
dissolved assembly are not held before the presidential election.
The Constitution provides that there shall be uniformity in the scale of representation of different
states as well as parity between the states as a whole and the Union at the election of the President.
To achieve this, the number of votes which each elected member of the legislative assembly of each
state and the Parliament is entitled to cast at such election shall be determined in the following
manner:
1. Every elected member of the legislative assembly of a state shall have as many votes as there
are multiples of one thousand in the quotient obtained by dividing the population of the state

by the total number of the elected members of the assembly2. This can be expressed as:
Value of the vote of an MLA
=

2.

Every elected member of either House of Parliament shall have such number of votes as may
be obtained by dividing the total number of votes assigned to members of the legislative
assemblies of the states by the total number of the elected members of both the Houses of
Parliament. This can be expressed as:
Value of the vote of an MP =

The Presidents election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by
means of the single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot. This system ensures that the
successful candidate is returned by the absolute majority of votes. A candidate, in order to be
declared elected to the office of President, must secure a fixed quota of votes. The quota of votes is
determined by dividing the total number of valid votes polled by the number of candidates to be
elected (here only one candidate is to be elected as President) plus one and adding one to the
quotient. The formula can be expressed as:
Electoral quota =
Each member of the electoral college is given only one ballot paper. The voter, while casting his
vote, is required to indicate his preferences by marking 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. against the names of
candidates. This means that the voter can indicate as many preferences as there are candidates in the
fray.
In the first phase, the first preference votes are counted. In case a candidate secures the required
quota in this phase, he is declared elected. Otherwise, the process of transfer of votes is set in
motion. The ballots of the candidate securing the least number of first preference votes are cancelled
and his second preference votes are transferred to the first preference votes of other candidates. This
process continues till a candidate secures the required quota.
All doubts and disputes in connection with election of the President are inquired into and decided by
the Supreme Court whose decision is final. The election of a person as President cannot be
challenged on the ground that the electoral college was incomplete (ie, existence of any vacancy

among the members of electoral college). If the election of a person as President is declared void by
the Supreme Court, acts done by him before the date of such declaration of the Supreme Court are not
invalidated and continue to remain in force.
Some members of the Constituent Assembly criticised the system of indirect election for the President
as undemocratic and proposed the idea of direct election. However, the Constitution makers chose the
indirect election due to the following reasons3:
1. The indirect election of the President is in harmony with the parliamentary system of
government envisaged in the Constitution. Under this system, the President is only a nominal
executive and the real powers are vested in the council of ministers headed by the prime
minister. It would have been anomalous to have the President elected directly by the people
and not give him any real power.
2. The direct election of the President would have been very costly and time- and energyconsuming due to the vast size of the electorate. This is unwarranted keeping in view that he is
only a symbolic head.
Some members of the Constituent Assembly suggested that the President should be elected by the
members of the two Houses of Parliament alone. The makers of the Constitution did not prefer this as
the Parliament, dominated by one political party, would have invariably chosen a candidate from that
party and such a President could not represent the states of the Indian Union. The present system
makes the President a representative of the Union and the states equally.
Further, it was pointed out in the Constituent Assembly that the expression proportional
representation in the case of presidential election is a misnomer. Proportional representation takes
place where two or more seats are to be filled. In case of the President, the vacancy is only one. It
could better be called a preferential or alternative vote system. Similarly, the expression single
transferable vote was also objected on the ground that no voter has a single vote; every voter has
plural votes.

QUALIFICATIONS, OATH AND CONDITIONS


Qualifications for Election as President
A person to be eligible for election as President should fulfil the following qualifications:
1. He should be a citizen of India.
2. He should have completed 35 years of age.
3. He should be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
4. He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any state government or
any local authority or any other public authority. A sitting President or Vice-President of the
Union, the Governor of any state and a minister of the Union or any state is not deemed to hold
any office of profit and hence qualified as a presidential candidate.
Further, the nomination of a candidate for election to the office of President must be subscribed by at
least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders. Every candidate has to make a security
deposit of Rs 15,000 in the Reserve Bank of India. The security deposit is liable to be forefeited in
case the candidate fails to secure one-sixth of the votes polled. Before 1997, number of proposers

and seconders was ten each and the amount of security deposit was Rs 2,500. In 1997, they were
increased to discourage the non-serious candidates4.
Table 17.1 Elections of the Presidents (1952-2012)
Sl. No. Election Year Victorious Candidate

No. of Votes secured (%) Main Rival Candidate No. of Votes secured (%)

1.

1952

Dr. Rajendra Prasad

507400 (83.81)

K.T. Shah

92827 (15.3)

2.

1957

Dr. Rajendra Prasad

459698 (99.35)

N.N. Das

2000 (0.4)

3.

1962

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan

553067 (98.24)

Ch.Hari Ram

6341 (1.1)

4.

1967

Dr. Zakir Hussain

471244 (56.23)

K. Subba Rao

363971 (43.4)

5.

1969

V.V. Giri

420077 (50.22)

N. Sanjeeva Reddy

405427 (48.5)

6.

1974

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed

756587 (80.18)

Tridev Chaudhuri

189186 (19.8)

7.

1977

N. Sanjeeva Reddy

Unopposed

8.

1982

Giani Zail Singh

754113 (72.73)

H.R. Khanna

282685 (27.6)

9.

1987

R. Venkataraman

740148 (72.29)

V.Krishna Ayyer

281550 (27.1)

10.

1992

Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma 675564 (65.86)

George Swell

346485 (33.21)

11.

1997

K.R. Narayanan

956290 (94.97)

T.N. Sheshan

50431 (5.07)

12.

2002

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

922844 (89.58)

Laxmi Sehgal

107366 (10.42)

13.

2007

Ms. Pratibha Patil

638116 (65.82)

B.S. Shekhawat

331306 (34.17)

14.

2012

Pranab Mukherjee

713763 (68.12)

P.A. Sangma

315987 (30.15)

Oath or Affirmation by the President


Before entering upon his office, the President has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation. In
his oath, the President swears:
1. to faithfully execute the office;
2. to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law; and
3. to devote himself to the service and well-being of the people of India.
The oath of office to the President is administered by the Chief Justice of India and in his absence, the
seniormost judge of the Supreme Court available.
Any other person acting as President or discharging the functions of the President also undertakes the
similar oath or affirmation.

Conditions of Presidents Office


The Constitution lays down the following conditions of the Presidents office:
1. He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If
any such person is elected as President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House
on the date on which he enters upon his office as President.

2.
3.

He should not hold any other office of profit.


He is entitled, without payment of rent, to the use of his official residence (the Rastrapathi
Bhavan).
4. He is entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by
Parliament.
5. His emoluments and allowances cannot be diminished during his term of office.
In 2008, the Parliament increased the salary of the President from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1.50 lakh per
month and the pension to 50% of his salary per month. In addition, the former Presidents are entitled
to furnished residence, phone facilities, car, medical treatment, travel facility, secretarial staff and
office expenses upto Rs. 60,000 per annum. The spouse of a deceased President is also entitled to a
family pension at the rate of 50% of pension of a retired President, furnished residence, phone
facility, car, medical treatment, travel facility, secretarial staff and office expenses upto Rs.12,000
per annum.5
The President is entitled to a number of privileges and immunities. He enjoys personal immunity from
legal liability for his official acts. During his term of office, he is immune from any criminal
proceedings, even in respect of his personal acts. He cannot be arrested or imprisoned. However,
after giving two months notice, civil proceedings can be instituted against him during his term of
office in respect of his personal acts.

TERM, IMPEACHMENT AND VACANCY


Term of Presidents office
The President holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
However, he can resign from his office at any time by addressing the resignation letter to the VicePresident. Further, he can also be removed from the office before completion of his term by the
process of impeachment.
The President can hold office beyond his term of five years until his successor assumes charge. He is
also eligible for re-election to that office. He may be elected for any number of terms6. However, in
USA, a person cannot be elected to the office of the President more than twice.

Impeachment of President
The President can be removed from office by a process of impeachment for violation of the
Constitution. However, the Constitution does not define the meaning of the phrase violation of the
Constitution.
The impeachment charges can be initiated by either House of Parliament. These charges should be
signed by one-fourth members of the House (that framed the charges), and a 14 days notice should be
given to the President. After the impeachment resolution is passed by a majority of two-thirds of the
total membership of that House, it is sent to the other House, which should investigate the charges.
The President has the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation. If the other House
also sustains the charges and passes the impeachment resolution by a majority of two-thirds of the
total membership, then the President stands removed from his office from the date on which the bill is

so passed.
Thus, an impeachment is a quasi-judicial procedure in the Parliament. In this context, two things
should be noted: (a) the nominated members of either House of Parliament can participate in the
impeachment of the President though they do not participate in his election; (b) the elected members
of the legislative assemblies of states and the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry do not
participate in the impeachment of the President though they participate in his election.
No President has so far been impeached.

Vacancy in the Presidents Office


A vacancy in the Presidents office can occur in any of the following ways:
1. On the expiry of his tenure of five years.
2. By his resignation.
3. On his removal by the process of impeachment.
By his death7.
Otherwise, for example, when he becomes disqualified to hold office or when his election is
declared void.
When the vacancy is going to be caused by the expiration of the term of the sitting President, an
election to fill the vacancy must be held before the expiration of the term. In case of any delay in
conducting the election of new President by any reason, the outgoing President continues to hold
office (beyond his term of five years) until his successor assumes charge. This is provided by the
Constitution in order to prevent an interregnum. In this situation, the Vice-President does not get the
opportunity to act as President or to discharge the functions of the President.
If the office falls vacant by resignation, removal, death or otherwise, then election to fill the vacancy
should be held within six months from the date of the occurrence of such a vacancy. The newlyelected President remains in office for a full term of five years from the date he assumes charge of his
office.
When a vacancy occurs in the office of the President due to his resignation, removal, death or
otherwise, the Vice-President acts as the President until a new President is elected. Further, when the
sitting President is unable to discharge his functions due to absence, illness or any other cause, the
Vice-President discharges his functions until the President resumes his office.
In case the office of Vice-President is vacant, the Chief Justice of India (or if his office is also vacant,
the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court available) acts as the President or discharges the functions
of the President8.
When any person, ie, Vice-President, chief justice of India, or the seniormost judge of the Supreme
Court is acting as the President or discharging the functions of the President, he enjoys all the powers
and immunities of the President and is entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as are
determined by the Parliament.
4.
5.

P OWERS AND F UNCTIONS OF THE P RESIDENT


The powers enjoyed and the functions performed by the President can be studied under the following

heads.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Executive powers
Legislative powers
Financial powers
Judicial powers
Diplomatic powers
Military powers
Emergency powers

Executive Powers
The executive powers and functions of the President are:
(a) All executive actions of the Government of India are formally taken in his name.
(b) He can make rules specifying the manner in which the orders and other instruments made and
executed in his name shall be authenticated.
(c) He can make rules for more convenient transaction of business of the Union government, and
for allocation of the said business among the ministers.
(d) He appoints the prime minister and the other ministers. They hold office during his pleasure.
(e) He appoints the attorney general of India and determines his remuneration. The attorney
general holds office during the pleasure of the President.
(f) He appoints the comptroller and auditor general of India, the chief election com-missioner
and other election commission-ers, the chairman and members of the Union Public Service
Commission, the governors of states, the chairman and members of finance commission, and
so on.
(g) He can seek any information relating to the administration of affairs of the Union, and
proposals for legislation from the prime minister.
(h) He can require the Prime Minister to submit, for consideration of the council of ministers, any
matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but, which has not been considered by
the council.
(i) He can appoint a commission to investigate into the conditions of SCs, STs and other
backward classes.
(j) He can appoint an inter-state council to promote Centrestate and inter-state cooperation.
(k) He directly administers the union territories through administrators appointed by him.
(l) He can declare any area as scheduled area and has powers with respect to the administration
of scheduled areas and tribal areas.

Legislative Powers
The President is an integral part of the Parliament of India, and enjoys the following legislative
powers.
(a) He can summon or prorogue the Parliament and dissolve the Lok Sabha. He can also summon

(b)
(c)
(d)

(e)
(f)
(g)
(h)

(i)

(j)

(k)

(l)
(m)

a joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament, which is presided over by the Speaker of the
Lok Sabha.
He can address the Parliament at the commencement of the first session after each general
election and the first session of each year.
He can send messages to the Houses of Parliament, whether with respect to a bill pending in
the Parliament or otherwise.
He can appoint any member of the Lok Sabha to preside over its proceedings when the offices
of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker fall vacant. Similarly, he can also appoint any
member of the Rajya Sabha to preside over its proceedings when the offices of both the
Chairman and the Deputy Chairman fall vacant.
He nominates 12 members of the Rajya Sabha from amongst persons having special
knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art and social service.
He can nominate two members to the Lok Sabha from the Anglo-Indian Community.
He decides on questions as to disqualifications of members of the Parliament, in consultation
with the Election Commission.
His prior recommendation or permission is needed to introduce certain types of bills in the
Parliament. For example, a bill involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, or
a bill for the alteration of boundaries of states or creation of a new state.
When a bill is sent to the President after it has been passed by the Parliament, he can:
(i) give his assent to the bill, or
(ii) withhold his assent to the bill, or
(iii) return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration of the Parliament.
However, if the bill is passed again by the Parliament, with or without amendments, the
President has to give his assent to the bill.
When a bill passed by a state legislature is reserved by the governor for consideration of the
President, the President can:
(i) give his assent to the bill, or
(ii) withhold his assent to the bill, or
(iii) direct the governor to return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration of the
state legis lature. It should be noted here that it is not obligatory for the President to give
his assent even if the bill is again passed by the state legislature and sent again to him for
his consideration.
He can promulgate ordinances when the Parliament is not in session. These ordinances must
be approved by the Parliament within six weeks from its reassembly. He can also withdraw
an ordinance at any time.
He lays the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General, Union Public Service
Commission, Finance Commission, and others, before the Parliament.
He can make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. In the case of

Puducherry also, the President can legislate by making regulations but only when the assembly
is suspended or dissolved.

Financial Powers
The financial powers and functions of the President are:
(a) Money bills can be introduced in the Parliament only with his prior recommendation.
(b) He causes to be laid before the Parliament the annual financial statement (ie, the Union
Budget).
(c) No demand for a grant can be made except on his recommendation.
(d) He can make advances out of the contingency fund of India to meet any unforeseen
expenditure.
(e) He constitutes a finance commission after every five years to recommend the distribution of
revenues between the Centre and the states.

Judicial Powers
The judicial powers and functions of the President are:
(a) He appoints the Chief Justice and the judges of Supreme Court and high courts.
(b) He can seek advice from the Supreme Court on any question of law or fact. However, the
advice tendered by the Supreme Court is not binding on the President.
(c) He can grant pardon, reprieve, respite and remission of punishment, or suspend, remit or
commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence:
(i) In all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a court martial;
(ii) In all cases where the punishment or sentence is for an offence against a Union law; and
(iii) In all cases where the sentence is a sentence of death.

Diplomatic Powers
The international treaties and agreements are negotiated and concluded on behalf of the President.
However, they are subject to the approval of the Parliament. He represents India in international
forums and affairs and sends and receives diplomats like ambassadors, high commissioners, and so
on.

Military Powers
He is the supreme commander of the defence forces of India. In that capacity, he appoints the chiefs of
the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. He can declare war or conclude peace, subject to the approval
of the Parliament.

Emergency Powers
In addition to the normal powers mentioned above, the Constitution confers extraordinary powers on
the President to deal with the following three types of emergencies9:
(a) National Emergency (Article 352);

(b) Presidents Rule (Article 356 & 365); and


(c) Financial Emergency (Article 360)

VETO P OWER OF THE P RESIDENT


A bill passed by the Parliament can become an act only if it receives the assent of the President.
When such a bill is presented to the President for his assent, he has three alternatives (under Article
111 of the Constitution):
1. He may give his assent to the bill, or
2. He may withhold his assent to the bill, or
3. He may return the bill (if it is not a Money bill) for reconsideration of the Parliament.
However, if the bill is passed again by the Parliament with or without amendments and again
presented to the President, the President must give his assent to the bill.
Thus, the President has the veto power over the bills passed by the Parliament10, that is, he can
withhold his assent to the bills. The object of conferring this power on the President is two-fold(a)
to prevent hasty and ill-considered legislation by the Parliament; and (b) to prevent a legislation
which may be unconstitutional.
The veto power enjoyed by the executive in modern states can be classified into the following four
types:
1. Absolute veto, that is, withholding of assent to the bill passed by the legislature.
2. Qualified veto, which can be overridden by the legislature with a higher majority.
3. Suspensive veto, which can be over ridden by the legislature with an ordinary majority.
4. Pocket veto, that is, taking no action on the bill passed by the legislature.
Of the above four, the President of India is vested with threeabsolute veto, suspensive veto and
pocket veto. There is no qualified veto in the case of Indian President; it is possessed by the
American President. The three vetos of the President of India are explained below:

Absolute Veto
It refers to the power of the President to withhold his assent to a bill passed by the Parliament. The
bill then ends and does not become an act. Usually, this veto is exercised in the following two cases:
(a) With respect to private members bills (ie, bills introduced by any member of Parliament who
is not a minister); and
(b) With respect to the government bills when the cabinet resigns (after the passage of the bills
but before the assent by the President) and the new cabinet advises the President not to give
his assent to such bills.
In 1954, President Dr Rajendra Prasad with- held his assent to the PEPSU Appropriation Bill. The
bill was passed by the Parliament when the Presidents Rule was in operation in the state of PEPSU.
But, when the bill was presented to the President for his assent, the Presidents Rule was revoked.
Again in 1991, President R Venkataraman withheld his assent to the Salary, Allowances and Pension
of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill. The bill was passed by the Parliament (on the last day

before dissolution of Lok Sabha) without obtaining the previous recommendation of the President.

Suspensive Veto
The President exercises this veto when he returns a bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.
However, if the bill is passed again by the Parliament with or without amendments and again
presented to the President, it is obligatory for the President to give his assent to the bill. This means
that the presidential veto is overridden by a re-passage of the bill by the same ordinary majority (and
not a higher majority as required in USA).
As mentioned earlier, the President does not possess this veto in the case of money bills. The
President can either give his assent to a money bill or withhold his assent to a money bill but cannot
return it for the reconsideration of the Parliament. Normally, the President gives his assent to money
bill as it is introduced in the Parliament with his previous permission.

Pocket Veto
In this case, the President neither ratifies nor rejects nor returns the bill, but simply keeps the bill
pending for an indefinite period. This power of the President not to take any action (either positive or
negative) on the bill is known as the pocket veto. The President can exercise this veto power as the
Constitution does not prescribe any time-limit within which he has to take the decision with respect to
a bill presented to him for his assent. In USA, on the other hand, the President has to return the bill for
reconsideration within 10 days. Hence, it is remarked that the pocket of the Indian President is bigger
than that of the American President.
In 1986, President Zail Singh exercised the pocket veto with respect to the Indian Post Office
(Amendment) Bill. The bill, passed by the Rajiv Gandhi Government, imposed restrictions on the
freedom of press and hence, was widely criticised. After three years, in 1989, the next President R
Venkataraman sent the bill back for reconsideration, but the new National Front Government decided
to drop the bill.
It should be noted here that the President has no veto power in respect of a constitutional amendment
bill. The 24th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1971 made it obligatory for the President to give his
assent to a constitutional amendment bill.

Presidential Veto over State Legislation


The President has veto power with respect to state legislation also. A bill passed by a state
legislature can become an act only if it receives the assent of the governor or the President (in case
the bill is reserved for the consideration of the President).
When a bill, passed by a state legislature, is presented to the governor for his assent, he has four
alternatives (under Article 200 of the Constitution):
1. He may give his assent to the bill, or
2. He may withhold his assent to the bill, or
3. He may return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for reconsideration of the state legislature, or
4. He may reserve the bill for the consideration of the President.

Table 17.2 Veto Power of the President At a Glance


Central Legislation

State Legislation

With Regard to Ordinary Bills


1. Can be ratified

1. Can be ratified

2. Can be rejected

2. Can be rejected

3. Can be returned

3. Can be returned

With Regard to Money Bills


1. Can be ratified

1. Can be ratified

2. Can be rejected (but cannot be returned)

2. Can be rejected (but cannot be returned)

With Regard to Constitutional Amendment Bills


Can only be ratified (that is, cannot be rejected or
returned)

Constitutional amendment bills cannot be introduced in the state


legislature.

When a bill is reserved by the governor for the consideration of the President, the President has three
alternatives (Under Article 201 of the Constitution):
1. He may give his assent to the bill, or
2. He may withhold his assent to the bill, or
3. He may direct the governor to return the bill (if it is not a money bill) for the reconsideration
of the state legislature. If the bill is passed again by the state legislature with or without
amendments and presented again to the President for his assent, the President is not bound to
give his assent to the bill. This means that the state legislature cannot override the veto power
of the President. Further, the Constitution has not prescribed any time limit within which the
President has to take decision with regard to a bill reserved by the governor for his
consideration. Hence, the President can exercise pocket veto in respect of state legislation
also.
Table 17.2 summarises the discussion on the veto power of the President with regard to Central as
well as state legislation.

ORDINANCE-MAKING P OWER OF THE P RESIDENT


Article 123 of the Constitution empowers the President to promulgate ordinances during the recess of
Parliament. These ordinances have the same force and effect as an act of Parliament, but are in the
nature of temporary laws.
The ordinance-making power is the most important legislative power of the President. It has been
vested in him to deal with unforeseen or urgent matters. But, the exercises of this power is subject to
the following four limitations:
1.
He can promulgate an ordinance only when both the Houses of Parliament are not in session
or when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session. An ordinance can also be issued
when only one House is in session because a law can be passed by both the Houses and not by one

House alone. An ordinance made when both the Houses are in session is void. Thus, the power of the
President to legislate by ordinance is not a parallel power of legislation.
2.
He can make an ordinance only when he is satisfied that the circumstances exist that render
it necessary for him to take immediate action. In Cooper case11, (1970), the Supreme Court held that
the Presidents satisfaction can be questioned in a court on the ground of malafide. This means that the
decision of the President to issue an ordinance can be questioned in a court on the ground that the
President has prorogued one House or both Houses of Parliament deliberately with a view to
promulgate an ordinance on a controversial subject, so as to bypass the parliamentary decision and
thereby circumventing the authority of the Parliament. The 38th Constitutional Amendment Act of
1975 made the Presidents satisfaction final and conclusive and beyond judicial review. But, this
provision was deleted by the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1978. Thus, the Presidents
satisfaction is justiciable on the ground of malafide.
3.
His ordinance-making power is coextensive as regards all matters except duration, with the
law-making powers of the Parliament. This has two implications:
(a) An ordinance can be issued only on those subjects on which the Parliament can make laws.
(b) An ordinance is subject to the same constitutional limitation as an act of Parlia-ment. Hence,
an ordinance cannot abridge or take away any of the fundamental rights12.
4.
Every ordinance issued by the President during the recess of Parliament must be laid before
both the Houses of Parliament when it reassembles. If the ordinance is approved by both the Houses,
it becomes an act. If Parliament takes no action at all, the ordinance ceases to operate on the expiry of
six weeks from the reassembly of Parliament. The ordinance may also cease to operate even earlier
than the prescribed six weeks, if both the Houses of Parliament pass resolutions disapproving it. If the
Houses of Parliament are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks is
calculated from the later of those dates. This means that the maximum life of an ordinance can be six
months and six weeks, in case of non-approval by the Parliament (six months being the maximum gap
between the two sessions of Parliament). If an ordinance is allowed to lapse without being placed
before Parliament, then the acts done and completed under it, before it ceases to operate, remain fully
valid and effective.
The President can also withdraw an ordinance at any time. However, his power of ordinance-making
is not a discretionary power, and he can promulgate or withdraw an ordinance only on the advice of
the council of ministers headed by the prime minister.
An ordinance like any other legislation, can be retrospective, that is, it may come into force from a
back date. It may modify or repeal any act of Parliament or another ordinance. It can alter or amend a
tax law also. However, it cannot be issued to amend the Constitution.
The ordinance-making power of the President in India is rather unusual and not found in most of the
democratic Constitutions of the world including that of USA, and UK. In justification of the
ordinance-making power of the President, Dr BR Ambedkar said in the Constituent Assembly that the
mechanism of issuing an ordinance has been devised in order to enable the Executive to deal with a
situation that may suddenly and immediately arise when the Parliament is not in session13. It must be
clarified here that the ordinance-making power of the President has no necessary connection with the
national emergency envisaged in Article 352. The President can issue an ordinance even when there

is no war or external aggression or armed rebellion.


The rules of Lok Sabha require that whenever a bill seeking to replace an ordinance is introduced in
the House, a statement explaining the circumstances that had necessitated immediate legislation by
ordinance should also be placed before the House.
So far, no case has gone to the Supreme Court regarding repromulgation of ordinance by the
President.
But, the judgement of the Supreme Court in the D C Wadhwa case14 (1987) is highly relevant here. In
that case, the court pointed out that between 19671981 the Governor of Bihar promulgated 256
ordinances and all these were kept in force for periods ranging from one to fourteen years by
repromulgation from time to time. The court ruled that successive repromulgation of ordinances with
the same text without any attempt to get the bills passed by the assembly would amount to violation of
the Constitution and the ordinance so repromulgated is liable to be struck down. It held that the
exceptional power of law-making through ordinance cannot be used as a substitute for the legislative
power of the state legislature.

P ARDONING P OWER OF THE P RESIDENT


Article 72 of the Constitution empowers the President to grant pardons to persons who have been
tried and convicted of any offence in all cases where the:
1. Punishment or sentence is for an offence against a Union Law;
2. Punishment or sentence is by a court martial (military court); and
3. Sentence is a sentence of death.
The pardoning power of the President is independent of the Judiciary; it is an executive power. But,
the President while exercising this power, does not sit as a court of appeal. The object of conferring
this power on the President is two-fold: (a) to keep the door open for correcting any judicial errors in
the operation of law; and, (b) to afford relief from a sentence, which the President regards as unduly
harsh.
The pardoning power of the President includes the following:
1. Pardon It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from
all sentences, punishments and disqualifications.
2. Commutation It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment for a lighter form. For example,
a death sentence may be commuted to rigorous imprisonment, which in turn may be commuted to a
simple imprisonment.
3. Remission It implies reducing the period of sentence without changing its character. For example,
a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for two years may be remitted to rigorous imprisonment for one
year.
4. Respite It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some
special fact, such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender.
5. Reprieve It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary
period. Its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the
President.

Under Article 161 of the Constitution, the governor of a state also possesses the pardoning power.
Hence, the governor can also grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishment or
suspend, remit and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against a state law.
But, the pardoning power of the governor differs from that of the President in following two respects:
1. The President can pardon sentences inflicted by court martial (military courts) while the
governor cannot.
2. The President can pardon death sentence while governor cannot. Even if a state law
prescribes death sentence, the power to grant pardon lies with the President and not the
governor. However, the governor can suspend, remit or commute a death sentence. In other
words, both the governor and the President have concurrent power in respect of suspension,
remission and commutation of death sentence.
The Supreme Court examined the pardoning power of the President under different cases and laid
down the following principles:
1. The petitioner for mercy has no right to an oral hearing by the President.
2. The President can examine the evidence afresh and take a view different from the view taken
by the court.
3. The power is to be exercised by the President on the advice of the union cabinet.
4. The President is not bound to give reasons for his order.
5. The President can afford relief not only from a sentence that he regards as unduly harsh but
also from an evident mistake.
6. There is no need for the Supreme Court to lay down specific guidelines for the exercise of
power by the President.
7. The exercise of power by the President is not subject to judicial review except where the
presidential decision is arbitrary, irrational, mala fide or discriminatory.
8. Where the earlier petition for mercy has been rejected by the President, stay cannot be
obtained by filing another petition.

CONSTITUTIONAL P OSITION OF THE P RESIDENT


The Constitution of India has provided for a parliamentary form of government. Consequently, the
President has been made only a nominal executive; the real executive being the council of ministers
headed by the prime minister. In other words, the President has to exercise his powers and functions
with the aid and advise of the council of ministers headed by the prime minister.
Dr B R Ambedkar summed up the true position of the President in the following way15:
In the Indian Constitution, there is placed at the head of the Indian Union a functionary who is called
the President of the Union. The title of the functionary reminds of the President of the United States.
But beyond the identity of names, there is nothing in common between the form of government
prevalent in America and the form of government adopted under the Indian Constitution. The
American form of government is called the presidential system of government and what the Indian
Constitution adopted is the Parliamentary system. Under the presidential system of America, the

President is the Chief head of the Executive and administration is vested in him. Under the Indian
Constitution, the President occupies the same position as the King under the English Constitution. He
is the head of the State but not of the Executive. He represents the nation but does not rule the nation.
He is the symbol of the nation. His place in administration is that of a ceremonial device or a seal by
which the nations decisions are made known. He is generally bound by the advice of his ministers.
He can do nothing contrary to their advice nor can he do anything without their advice. The President
of the United States can dismiss any secretary at any time. The President of the Indian Union has no
power to do so, so long as his ministers command a majority in Parliament.
In estimating the constitutional position of the President, particular reference has to be made to the
provisions of Articles 53, 74 and 75. These are:
1. The executive power of the Union shall be vested in President and shall be exercised by him
either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this Constitution
(Article 53).
2. 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
(Article 74).
3. The council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha (Article 75). This
provision is the foundation of the parliamentary system of government.
The 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976 (enacted by the Indira Gandhi Government) made
the President bound by the advice of the council of ministers headed by the prime minister16. The 44th
Constitutional Amendment Act of 1978 (enacted by the Janata Party Government headed by Morarji
Desai) authorised the President to require the council of ministers to reconsider such advice either
generally or otherwise. However, he shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such
reconsideration. In other words, the President may return a matter once for reconsideration of his
ministers, but the reconsidered advice shall be binding.
In October 1997, the cabinet recommended President K R Narayanan to impose Presidents Rule
(under Article 356) in Uttar Pradesh. The President returned the matter for the reconsideration of the
cabinet, which then decided not to move ahead in the matter. Hence, the BJP-led government under
Kalyan Singh was saved. Again in September 1998, the President KR Narayanan returned a
recommendation of the cabinet that sought the imposition of the Presidents Rule in Bihar. After a
couple of months, the cabinet re-advised the same. It was only then that the Presidents Rule was
imposed in Bihar, in February 1999.
Though the President has no constitutional discretion, he has some situational discretion. In other
words, the President can act on his discretion (that is, without the advice of the ministers) under the
following situations:
(i) Appointment of Prime Minister when no party has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha or when
the Prime Minister in office dies suddenly and there is no obvious successor.
(ii) Dismissal of the council of ministers when it cannot prove the confidence of the Lok Sabha.
(iii) Dissolution of the Lok Sabha if the council of ministers has lost its majority.
Table 17.3 Articles Related to President at a Glance

Article No. Subject-matter


52. The President of India
53 Executive power of the Union
54. Election of President
55. Manner of election of President
56. Term of office of President
57. Eligibility for re-election
58. Qualifications for election as President
59. Conditions of Presidents office
60. Oath or affirmation by the President
61. Procedure for impeachment of the President
62. Time of holding election to fill vacancy in the office of President
65. Vice-President to act as President or to discharge his functions
71. Matters relating to the election of President
72. Power of President to grant pardons etc., and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases
74. Council of ministers to aid and advise the President
75. Other provisions as to ministers like appointment, term, salaries, etc.
76. Attorney-General of India
77. Conduct of business of the Government of India
78. Duties of Prime Minister in respect to furnishing of information to the President, etc.
85. Sessions of Parliament, prorogation and dissolution
111. Assent to bills passed by the Parliament
112. Union Budget (annual financial statement)
123. Power of President to promulagate ordinances
143. Power of President to consult Supreme Court

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.

3.

This provision was added by the 70th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992 with effect from
June 1, 1995.
According to the 84th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2001, the expression population
means the population as ascertained at the 1971 census, until the relevant figures for the first
census taken after 2026 have been published.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume-IV, p. 733736.

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.

The presidential and vice-presidential Elections Act of 1952, as amended in 1997.


The Presidents Emoluments and Pension Amendment Act of 2008.
No person except Dr Rajendra Prasad has occupied the office for two terms.
So far two Presidents, Dr Zakir Hussain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, have died during their
term of office.
For example, when President Dr Zakir Hussain died in May, 1969, the then Vice-President,
VV Giri was acting as the President. Soon after VV Giri resigned to contest the election of the
President. Then the Chief Justice of India, M Hidayatullah worked as the officiating President
from 20 July, 1969 to 24 August, 1969.
For details in this regard, see Chapter 16.
Veto is a Latin word that connotes forbid.
Cooper v. Union of India, (1970).
The definition of law contained in Article 13 expressly includes ordinances. See, Chapter 7.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VIII, p. 213.
D.C. Wadhwa v. State of Bihar, (1987).
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, p. 3234.
In the original Constitution, there was no such specific provision in Article 74.

he Vice-President occupies the second highest office in the country. He is accorded a rank
next to the President in the official warrant of precedence. This office is modelled on the lines
of the American Vice-President.

ELECTION
The Vice-President, like the president, is elected not directly by the people but by the method of
indirect election. He is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of
both Houses of Parliament.1 Thus, this electoral college is different from the electoral college for the
election of the President in the following two respects:
1. It consists of both elected and nominated members of the Parliament (in the case of president,
only elected members).
2. It does not include the members of the state legislative assemblies (in the case of President,
the elected members of the state legislative assemblies are included). Explaining the reason
for this difference, Dr B R Ambedkar observed:2
The President is the head of the State and his power extends both to the administration by the
Centre as well as to the states. Consequently, it is necessary that in his election, not only members
of Parliament should play their part, but the members of the state legislatures should have a voice.
But, when we come to the Vice-President, his normal functions are to preside over the council of
states. It is only on a rare occasion, and that too for a temporary period, that he may be called
upon to assume the duties of the president. That being so, it does not seem necessary that the
members of the state legislatures should also be invited to take part in the election of the VicePresident.
But, the manner of election is same in both the cases. Thus, the Vice-Presidents election, like that of
the Presidents election, is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by
means of the single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot.3

QUALIFICATIONS
To be eligible for election as Vice-President, a person should fulfil the following qualifications:
1. He should be a citizen of India.
2. He should have completed 35 years of age.
3. He should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
4. He should not hold any office of profit under the Union government or any state government or
any local authority or any other public authority.
Table 18.1 Elections of the Vice-Presidents (19522012)
Sl. No.

Election Year Victorious Candidate

No. of Votes secured

Runner-up Candidate

No. of Votes secured

1.

1952

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan

Unopposed

2.

1957

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan

Unopposed

3.

1962

Dr. Zakir Hussain

568

N. Samant Singh

14

4.

1967

V.V. Giri

486

Prof. Habib

192

5.

1969

G.S. Pathak

400

H.V. Kamath

156

6.

1974

B.D. Jatti

521

N.E. Horo

141

7.

1979

M. Hidaytullah

unopposed

8.

1984

R. Venkataraman

508

B.C. Kambley

207

9.

1987

Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma

unopposed

10.

1992

K.R. Narayanan

700

Kaka Joginder Singh

01

11.

1997

Krishna Kant

441

Surjeet Singh Barnala

273

12.

2002

B.S. Shekhawat

454

Shushil Kumar Shinde

305

13.

2007

Mohd. Hamid Ansari

455

Najma Heptullah

222

14.

2012

Mohd. Hamid Ansari

Jaswant Singh

238

490

But, a sitting President or Vice-President of the Union, the governor of any state and a mini-ster for
the Union or any state is not deemed to hold any office of profit and hence qualified for being a
candidate for Vice-President.
Further, the nomination of a candidate for election to the office of Vice-President must be subscribed
by at least 20 electors as proposers and 20 electors as seconders. Every candidate has to make a
security deposit of `15,000 in the Reserve Bank of India.4

OATH OR AFFIRMATION
Before entering upon his office, the Vice-President has to make and subscribe to an oath or
affirmation. In his oath, the Vice-President swears:

1. to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India; and


2. to faithfully discharge the duties of his office.
The oath of office to the Vice-President is administered by the President or some person appointed in
that behalf by him.

CONDITIONS OF OFFICE
The Constitution lays down the following two conditions of the Vice-Presidents office:
1. He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature. If
any such person is elected Vice-President, he is deemed to have vacated his seat in that House
on the date on which he enters upon his office as Vice-President.
2. He should not hold any other office of profit.

TERM OF OFFICE
The Vice-President holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his
office. However, he can resign from his office at any time by addressing the resignation letter to the
President. He can also be removed from the office before completion of his term. A formal
impeachment is not required for his removal. He can be removed by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha
passed by an absolute majority (ie, a majority of the total members of the House) and agreed to by the
Lok Sabha. But, no such resolution can be moved unless at least 14 days advance notice has been
given. Notably, no ground has been mentioned in the Constitution for his removal.
The Vice-President can hold office beyond his term of five years until his successor assumes charge.
He is also eligible for re-election to that office. He may be elected for any number of terms.5

VACANCY IN OFFICE
A vacancy in the Vice-Presidents office can occur in any of the following ways:
1. On the expiry of his tenure of five years.
2. By his resignation.
3. On his removal.
By his death.6
Otherwise, for example, when he becomes disqualified to hold office or when his election is
declared void.
When the vacancy is going to be caused by the expiration of the term of the sitting vice-president, an
election to fill the vacancy must be held before the expiration of the term.
If the office falls vacant by resignation, removal, death or otherwise, then election to fill the vacancy
should be held as soon as possible after the occurrence of the vacancy. The newly- elected vicepresident remains in office for a full term of five years from the date he assumes charge of his office.
4.
5.

ELECTION DISPUTES

All doubts and disputes in connection with election of the Vice-President are inquired into and
decided by the Supreme Court whose decision is final. The election of a person as Vice-President
cannot be challenged on the ground that the electoral college was incomplete (i.e., existence of any
vacancy among the members of electoral college). If the election of a person as Vice-President is
declared void by the Supreme Court, acts done by him before the date of such declaration of the
Supreme Court are not invalidated (i.e., they continue to remain in force).

P OWERS AND F UNCTIONS


The functions of Vice-President are two-fold:
1. He acts as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. In this capacity, his powers and functions
are similar to those of the Speaker of Lok Sabha. In this respect, he resembles the American
vice-president who also acts as the Chairman of the Senatethe Upper House of the
American legislature.
2. He acts as President when a vacancy occurs in the office of the President due to his
resignation, removal, death or otherwise.7 He can act as President only for a maximum period
of six months within which a new President has to be elected. Further, when the sitting
President is unable to discharge his functions due to absence, illness or any other cause, the
Vice-President discharges his functions until the President resumes his office.8
While acting as President or discharging the functions of President, the Vice-President does not
perform the duties of the office of the chairman of Rajya Sabha. During this period, those duties are
performed by the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.

INDIAN AND AMERICAN VICE-P RESIDENTS COMPARED


Though the office of the Indian Vice-President is modelled on the lines of the American VicePresident, there is a difference. The American Vice-President succeeds to the presidency when it
falls vacant, and remains President for the unexpired term of his predecessor. The Indian VicePresident, on the other hand, does not assume the office of the President when it falls vacant for the
unexpired term. He merely serves as an acting President until the new President assumes charge.
From the above it is clear that the Constitution has not assigned any significant function to the VicePresident in that capacity. Hence, some scholars call him His Superfluous Highness. This office
was created with a view to maintain the political continuity of the Indian State.

EMOLUMENTS
The Constitution has not fixed any emoluments for the Vice-President in that capacity. He draws his
regular salary in his capacity as the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. In 2008, the Parliament
increased the salary of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha from ` 40,000 to ` 1.25 lakh per month9. In
addition, he is entitled to daily allowance, free furnished residence, medical, travel and other
facilities.
During any period when the Vice-President acts as President or discharges the functions of the
President, he is not entitled to the salary or allowance payable to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, but

the salary and allowance of the President.


Table 18.2 Articles Related to Vice-President at a Glance
Article
No.

Subject-matter

63.

The Vice-President of India

64.

The Vice-President to be ex-officio Chairman of the Council of States

65.

The Vice-President to act as President or to discharge his functions during casual vacancies in the office, or during the
absence, of President

66.

Election of Vice-President

67.

Term of office of Vice-President

68.

Time of holding election to fill vacancy in the office of Vice-President and the term of office of person elected to fill casual
vacancy

69.

Oath or affirmation by the Vice-President

70.

Discharge of Presidents functions in other contingencies

71.

Matters relating to, or connected with, the election of Vice-President

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

9.

The original Constitution provided that the Vice-President would be elected by the two
Houses of Parliament assembled at a joint meeting. This cumbersome procedure was done
away by the 11th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1961.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, p. 1001.
This method is discussed in Chapter 17.
Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952 as amended in 1997.
Dr S Radhakrishnan was elected for a second term.
Krishna Kant was the first Vice-President to die in office.
When two Presidents, Dr Zakir Hussain and Fakruddin Ali Ahmed, died in office, the then
respective Vice-Presidents, V V Giri and B D Jatti acted as President.
The Vice-President Dr S Radhakrishnan discharged the functions of the President in June
1960 when the then President Dr Rajendra Prasad was on a 15-day tour to the USSR and
again in July 1961 when he (Dr Rajendra Prasad) was very ill.
The Salaries and Allowances of Officers of Parliament (Amendment) Act, 2008.

n the scheme of parliamentary system of government provided by the constitution, the President is
the nominal executive authority (de jure executive) and Prime Minister is the real executive
authority (de facto executive). In other words, president is the head of the State while Prime
Minister is the head of the government.

APPOINTMENT OF THE P RIME MINISTER


The Constitution does not contain any specific procedure for the selection and appointment of the
Prime Minister. Article 75 says only that the Prime Minister shall be appointed by the president.
However, this does not imply that the president is free to appoint any one as the Prime Minister. In
accordance with the conventions of the parliamentary system of government, the President has to
appoint the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha as the Prime Minister. But, when no party
has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, then the President may exercise his personal discretion in the
selection and appointment of the Prime Minister. In such a situation, the President usually appoints the
leader of the largest party or coalition in the Lok Sabha as the Prime Minister and asks him to seek a
vote of confidence in the House within a month. This discretion was exercised by the President, for
the first time in 1979, when Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (the then President) appointed Charan Singh (the
coalition leader) as the Prime Minister after the fall of the Janata Party government headed by
Morarji Desai.
There is also one more situation when the president may have to exercise his individual judgement in
the selection and appointment of the Prime Minister, that is, when the Prime Minister in office dies
suddenly and there is no obvious successor. This is what happened when Indira Gandhi was
assassinated in 1984. The then President Zail Singh appointed Rajiv Gandhi as the Prime Minister by
ignoring the precedent of appointing a caretaker Prime Minister. 1 Later on, the Congress
parliamentary party unanimously elected him as its leader. However, if, on the death of an incumbent
Prime Minister, the ruling party elects a new leader, the President has no choice but to appoint him as
Prime Minister.

In 1980, the Delhi High Court held that the Constitution does not require that a person must prove his
majority in the Lok Sabha before he is appointed as the Prime Minister. The President may first
appoint him the Prime Minister and then ask him to prove his majority in the Lok Sabha within a
reasonable period. For example, Charan Singh (1979), VP Singh (1989), Chandrasekhar (1990), PV
Narasimha Rao (1991), AB Vajyapee (1996), Deve Gowda (1996), IK Gujral (1997) and again AB
Vajpayee (1998) were appointed as Prime Ministers in this way.
In 1997, the Supreme Court held that a person who is not a member of either House of Parliament can
be appointed as Prime Minister for six months, within which, he should become a member of either
House of Parliament; otherwise, he ceases to be the Prime Minister.
Constitutionally, the Prime Minister may be a member of any of the two Houses of parliament. For
example, three Prime Ministers, Indira Gandhi (1966), Deve Gowda (1996) and Manmohan Singh
(2004), were members of the Rajya Sabha. In Britain, on the other hand, the Prime Minister should
definitely be a member of the Lower House (House of Commons).

OATH, TERM AND SALARY


Before the Prime Minister enters upon his office, the president administers to him the oaths of office
and secrecy.2 In his oath of office, the Prime Minister swears:
1. to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India,
2. to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India,
3. to faithfully and conscientiously discharge the duties of his office, and
4. to do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without
fear or favour, affection or ill will.
In his oath of secrecy, the Prime Minister swears that he will not directly or indirectly communicate
or reveal to any person(s) any matter that is brought under his consideration or becomes known to him
as a Union Minister except as may be required for the due discharge of his duties as such minister.
The term of the Prime Minister is not fixed and he holds office during the pleasure of the president.
However, this does not mean that the president can dismiss the Prime Minister at any time. So long as
the Prime Minister enjoys the majority support in the Lok Sabha, he cannot be dismissed by the
President. However, if he loses the confidence of the Lok Sabha, he must resign or the President can
dismiss him.3
The salary and allowances of the Prime Minister are determined by the Parliament from time to time.
He gets the salary and allowances that are payable to a member of Parliament. Additionally, he gets a
sumptuary allowance, free accommodation, travelling allowance, medical facilities, etc. In 2001, the
Parliament increased his sumptuary allowance from `1,500 to `3,000 per month.

P OWERS AND F UNCTIONS OF THE P RIME MINISTER


The powers and functions of Prime Minister can be studied under the following heads:

In Relation to Council of Ministers


The Prime Minister enjoys the following powers as head of the Union council of ministers:

1.

He recommends persons who can be appointed as ministers by the president. The President
can appoint only those persons as ministers who are recommended by the Prime Minister.
2. He allocates and reshuffles various portfolios among the ministers.
3. He can ask a minister to resign or advise the President to dismiss him in case of difference of
opinion.
4. He presides over the meeting of council of ministers and influences its decisions.
5. He guides, directs, controls, and coordinates the activities of all the ministers.
6. He can bring about the collapse of the council of ministers by resigning from office.
Since the Prime Minister stands at the head of the council of ministers, the other ministers cannot
function when the Prime Minister resigns or dies. In other words, the resignation or death of an
incumbent Prime Minister automatically dissolves the council of ministers and thereby generates a
vacuum. The resignation or death of any other minister, on the other hand, merely creates a vacancy
which the Prime Minister may or may not like to fill.

In Relation to the President


The Prime Minister enjoys the following powers in relation to the President:
1. He is the principal channel of communication between the President and the council of
ministers.4 It is the duty of the prime minister :
(a) to communicate to the President all decisions of the council of ministers relating to the
administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation;
(b) to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and
proposals for legislation as the President may call for; and
(c) if the President so requires, to submit for the consideration of the council of ministers
any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been
considered by the council.
2. He advises the president with regard to the appointment of important officials like attorney
general of India, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, chairman and members of the
UPSC, election commissioners, chairman and members of the finance commission and so on.

In Relation to Parliament
The Prime Minister is the leader of the Lower House. In this capacity, he enjoys the following
powers:
1. He advises the President with regard to summoning and proroguing of the sessions of the
Parliament.
2. He can recommend dissolution of the Lok Sabha to President at any time.
3. He announces government policies on the floor of the House.

Other Powers & Functions


In addition to the above-mentioned three major roles, the Prime Minister has various other roles.
These are:

1.

He is the chairman of the Planning Commission, National Development Council, National


Integration Council, Inter-State Council and National Water Resources Council.
2. He plays a significant role in shaping the foreign policy of the country.
3. He is the chief spokesman of the Union government.
4. He is the crisis manager-in-chief at the political level during emergencies.
5. As a leader of the nation, he meets various sections of people in different states and receives
memoranda from them regarding their problems, and so on.
6. He is leader of the party in power.
7. He is political head of the services.
Thus, the Prime Minister plays a very significant and highly crucial role in the politico-administrative
system of the country. Dr B R Ambedkar stated, If any functionary under our constitution is to be
compared with the US president, he is the Prime Minister and not the president of the Union.

ROLE DESCRIPTIONS
The various comments made by the eminent political scientists and constitutional experts on the role
of Prime Minister in Britain holds good in the Indian context also. These are mentioned below:
Lord Morely He described Prime Minister as primus inter pares (first among equals) and key
stone of the cabinet arch. He said, The head of the cabinet is primus inter pares, and occupied a
position which so long as it lasts, is one of exceptional and peculiar authority.
Herbert Marrison As the head of the Government, he (prime minister) is primus inter pares. But,
it is today for too modest an appreciation of the Prime Ministers position.
Sir William Vernor Harcourt He described Prime Minister as inter stellas luna minores (a moon
among lesser stars).
Jennings He is, rather, a sun around which planets revolve. He is the key-stone of the constitution.
All roads in the constitution lead to the Prime Minister.
H.J. Laski On the relationship between the Prime Minister and the cabinet, he said that the Prime
Minister is central to its formation, central to its life, and central to its death. He described him as
the pivot around which the entire governmental machinery revolves.
H.R.G. Greaves The Government is the master of the country and he (Prime Minister) is the master
of the Government.
Munro He called Prime Minister as the captain of the ship of the state.
Ramsay Muir He described Prime Minister as the steersman of steering wheel of the ship of the
state.
The role of the Prime Minister in the British parliamentary government is so significant and crucial
that observers like to call it a Prime Ministerial government. Thus, R H Crossman says, The postwar epoch has been the final transformation of cabinet government into Prime Ministerial

government. Similarly, Humphrey Berkely points out, Parliament is not, in practice, sovereign. The
parliamentary democracy has now collapsed at Westminster. The basic defect in the British system of
governing is the super-ministerial powers of the Prime Minister. The same description holds good to
the Indian context too.

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE P RESIDENT


The following provisions of the Constitution deal with the relationship between the President and the
Prime Minister:
1. Article 74 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.
However, the President may require the council of ministers to reconsider such advice and the
President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.
2. Article 75 (a) The Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and the other ministers shall
be appointed by the president on the advice of the Prime Minister; (b) The ministers shall hold office
during the pleasure of the president; and (c) The council of ministers shall be collectively responsible
to the House of the People.
3. Article 78 It shall be the duty of the Prime Minister:
(a) to communicate to the President all decisions of the council of ministers relating to the
administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation;
(b) to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and
proposals for legislation as the President may call for; and
(c) if the President so requires, to submit for the consideration of the council of ministers any
matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by
the council.

CHIEF MINISTERS WHO BECAME P RIME MINISTERS


Five peopleMorarji Desai, Charan Singh, V.P. Singh, P.V. Narasimha Rao and H.D. Deve Gowda
became Prime Ministers after being Chief Ministers of their respective States. Morarji Desai,
Chief Minister of the erstwhile Bombay State during 195256, became the first non-Congress Prime
Minister in March 1977. Charan Singh, who succeeded him, was the Chief Minister of the undivided
Uttar Pradesh in 19671968 and again in 1970. V.P. Singh, also from U.P., became Prime Minister in
the short lived National Front government (December 1989-November 1990). P.V. Narasimha Rao,
the first Prime Minister from South India, who held the post from 19911996, was Chief Minister of
Andhra Pradesh between 19711973. H.D. Deve Gowda was Chief Minister of Karnataka when he
was chosen to lead the United Front government in June 19965.
Table 19.1 Articles Related to Prime Minister at a Glance
Article No.
74.

Subject-matter
Council of Ministers to aid and advise President

75.

Other provisions as to Ministers

77.

Conduct of business of the Government of India

78.

Duties of Prime Minister as respects the furnishing of information to the President, etc.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

2.
3.
4.
5.

On the death of Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri when the leadership was contested,
the president made temporary arrangements by appointing the seniormost minister as the
Prime Minister, until the formal election of the leader by the party. Both the times, it was
Gulzari Lal Nanda who acted as the Prime Minister.
The form of oath of office and secrecy for the Prime Minister is similar to that for any Union
minister. See Chapter 20.
For example, VP Singh in 1990 and Deve Gowda in 1997 resigned after defeat in the Lok
Sabha.
Article 78 specifically deals with this function of the Prime Minister.
The Hindu, April 6, 2009.

s the Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary system of government modelled on


the British pattern, the council of ministers headed by the prime minister is the real executive
authority is our politico-administrative system.
The principles of parliamentary system of government are not detailed in the Constitution, but two
Articles (74 and 75) deal with them in a broad, sketchy and general manner. Article 74 deals with the
status of the council of ministers while Article 75 deals with the appointment, tenure, responsibility,
qualification, oath and salaries and allowances of the ministers.

CONSTITUTIONAL P ROVISIONS
Article 74Council of Ministers to aid and advise President
1.

2.

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.
However, the President may require the Council of Ministers to reconsider such advice and
the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.
The advice tendered by Ministers to the President shall not be inquired into in any court.

Article 75Other Provisions as to Ministers


1.
2.

3.

The Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and the other Ministers shall be
appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The total number of ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the Council of Ministers shall
not exceed 15% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha. The provision was added by the 91st
Amendment Act of 2003.
A member of either house of Parliament belonging to any political party who is disqualified
on the ground of defection shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a minister. This

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

provision was also added by the 91st Amendment Act of 2003.


The ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.
The council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.
The President shall administer the oaths of office and secrecy to a minister.
A minister who is not a member of the Parliament (either house) for any period of six
consecutive months shall cease to be a minister.
The salaries and allowances of ministers shall be determined by the Parliament.

Article 77Conduct of Business of the Government of India


1.
2.

3.

All executive action of the Government of India shall be expressed to be taken in the name of
the President.
Orders and other instruments made and executed in the name of the President shall be
authenticated in such manner as may be specified in rules to be made by the President.
Further, the validity of an order or instrument which is so authenticated shall not be called in
question on the ground that it is not an order or instrument made or executed by the President.
The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the
Government of India, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business.

Article 78Duties of Prime Minister


It shall be the duty of the Prime Minister
1. To communicate to the President all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the
administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation
2. To furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and
proposals for legislation as the President may call for
3. If the President so requires, to submit for the consideration of the Council of Ministers any
matter on which a decision has been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by
the Council

NATURE OF ADVICE BY MINISTERS


Article 74 provides for a council of ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise
the President in the exercise of his functions. The 42nd and 44th Constitutional Amendment Acts have
made the advice binding on the President.1 Further, the nature of advice tendered by ministers to the
President cannot be enquired by any court. This provision emphasises the intimate and the
confidential relationship between the President and the ministers.
In 1971, the Supreme Court held that even after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, the council of
ministers does not cease to hold office. Article 74 is mandatory and, therefore, the president cannot
exercise the executive power without the aid and advise of the council of ministers. Any exercise of
executive power without the aid and advice will be unconstitutional as being violative of Article 74.
Again in 1974, the court held that wherever the Constitution requires the satisfaction of the President,
the satisfaction is not the personal satisfaction of the President but it is the satisfaction of the council

of ministers with whose aid and on whose advice the President exercises his powers and functions.

APPOINTMENT OF MINISTERS
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, while the other ministers are appointed by the
President on the advice of the Prime Minister. This means that the President can appoint only those
persons as ministers who are recommended by the Prime minister.
Usually, the members of Parliament, either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, are appointed as ministers. A
person who is not a member of either House of Parliament can also be appointed as a minister. But,
within six months, he must become a member (either by election or by nomination) of either House of
Parliament, otherwise, he ceases to be a minister.
A minister who is a member of one House of Parliament has the right to speak and to take part in the
proceedings of the other House also, but he can vote only in the House of which he is a member.

Oath and Salary of Ministers


Before a minister enters upon his office, the president administers to him the oaths of office and
secrecy. In his oath of office, the minister swears:
1. to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India,
2. to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India,
3. to faithfully and conscientiously discharge the duties of his office, and
4. to do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without
fear or favour, affection or ill will.
In his oath of secrecy, the minister swears that he will not directly or indirectly communicate or
reveal to any person(s) any matter that is brought under his consideration or becomes known to him as
a Union minister except as may be required for the due discharge of his duties as such minister.
In 1990, the oath by Devi Lal as deputy prime minister was challenged as being unconstitutional as
the Constitution provides only for the Prime Minister and ministers. The Supreme Court upheld the
oath as valid and stated that describing a person as Deputy Prime Minister is descriptive only and
such description does not confer on him any powers of Prime Minister. It ruled that the description of
a minister as Deputy Prime Minister or any other type of minister such as minister of state or deputy
minister of which there is no mention in the Constitution does not vitiate the oath taken by him so long
as the substantive part of the oath is correct.
The salaries and allowances of ministers are determined by Parliament from time to time.2 A minister
gets the salary and allowances that are payable to a member of Parliament. Additionally, he gets a
sumptuary allowance (according to his rank), free accommodation, travelling allowance, medical
facilities, etc. In 2001, the sumptuary allowance for the prime minister was raised from `1,500 to
`3,000 per month, for a cabinet minister from `1,000 to `2,000 per month, for a minister of state from
`500 to `1,000 per month and for a deputy minister from `300 to `600 per month.

RESPONSIBILITY OF MINISTERS

Collective Responsibility
The fundamental principle underlying the working of parliamentary system of government is the
principle of collective responsibility. Article 75 clearly states that the council of ministers is
collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. This means that all the ministers own joint responsibility
to the Lok Sabha for all their acts of ommission and commission. They work as a team and swim or
sink together. When the Lok Sabha passes a no-confidence motion against the council of ministers, all
the ministers have to resign including those ministers who are from the Rajya Sabha.3 Alternatively,
the council of ministers can advise the president to dissolve the Lok Sabha on the ground that the
House does not represent the views of the electorate faithfully and call for fresh elections. The
President may not oblige the council of ministers that has lost the confidence of the Lok Sabha.
The principle of collective responsibility also means that the Cabinet decisions bind all cabinet
ministers (and other ministers) even if they differed in the cabinet meeting. It is the duty of every
minister to stand by cabinet decisions and support them both within and outside the Parliament. If any
minister disagrees with a cabinet decision and is not prepared to defend it, he must resign. Several
ministers have resigned in the past owing to their differences with the cabinet. For example, Dr BR
Ambedkar resigned because of his differences with his colleagues on the Hindu Code Bill in 1953.
CD Deshmukh resigned due to his differences on the policy of reorganisation of states. Arif
Mohammed resigned due to his opposition to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce)
Act, 1986.

Individual Responsibility
Article 75 also contains the principle of individual responsibility. It states that the ministers hold
office during the pleasure of the president, which means that the President can remove a minister even
at a time when the council of ministers enjoys the confidence of the Lok Sabha. However, the
President removes a minister only on the advice of the Prime Minister. In case of a difference of
opinion or dissatisfaction with the performance of a minister, the Prime Minister can ask him to
resign or advice the President to dismiss him. By exercising this power, the Prime Minister can
ensure the realisation of the rule of collective responsibility. In this context, Dr B R Ambedkar
observed:
Collective responsibility can be achieved only through the instrumentality of the Prime Minister.
Therefore, unless and until we create that office and endow that office with statutory authority to
nominate and dismiss ministers, there can be no collective responsibility.4

No Legal Responsibility
In Britain, every order of the King for any public act is countersigned by a minister. If the order is in
violation of any law, the minister would be held responsible and would be liable in the court. The
legally accepted phrase in Britain is, The king can do no wrong. Hence, he cannot be sued in any
court.
In India, on the other hand, there is no provision in the Constitution for the system of legal
responsibility of a minister. It is not required that an order of the President for a public act should be
countersigned by a minister. Moreover, the courts are barred from enquiring into the nature of advice
rendered by the ministers to the president.

COMPOSITION OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS


The council of ministers consists of three categories of ministers, namely, cabinet ministers, ministers
of state,5 and deputy ministers. The difference between them lies in their respective ranks,
emoluments, and political importance. At the top of all these ministers stands the Prime Ministerthe
supreme governing authority of the country.
The cabinet ministers head the important ministries of the Central government like home, defence,
finance, external affairs and so forth. They are members of the cabinet, attend its meetings and play an
important role in deciding policies. Thus, their responsibilities extend over the entire gamut of
Central government.
The ministers of state can either be given independent charge of ministries/departments or can be
attached to cabinet ministers. In case of attachment, they may either be given the charge of
departments of the ministries headed by the cabinet ministers or allotted specific items of work
related to the ministries headed by cabinet ministers. In both the cases, they work under the
supervision and guidance as well as under the overall charge and responsibility of the cabinet
ministers. In case of independent charge, they perform the same functions and exercise the same
powers in relation to their ministries/departments as cabinet ministers do. However, they are not
members of the cabinet and do not attend the cabinet meetings unless specially invited when
something related to their ministries/departments are considered by the cabinet.
Next in rank are the deputy ministers. They are not given independent charge of
ministries/departments. They are attached to the cabinet ministers or ministers of state and assist them
in their administrative, political, and parliamentary duties. They are not members of the cabinet and
do not attend cabinet meetings.
It must also be mentioned here that there is one more category of ministers, called parliamentary
secretaries. They are the members of the last category of the council of ministers (which is also
known as the ministry). They have no department under their control. They are attached to the senior
ministers and assist them in the discharge of their parliamentary duties. However, since 1967, no
parliamentary secretaries have been appointed except during the first phase of Rajiv Gandhi
Government.
At times, the council of ministers may also include a deputy prime minister. Thus Sardar Patel in
Pandit Nehrus ministry, Morarji Desai in the Indira Gandhis Ministry, Charan Singh in the Morarji
Desais ministry, Jagjivan Ram in the Charan Singhs ministry, Devi Lal in the VP Singhs ministry
and L.K. Advani in the AB Vajpayees ministry served as deputy prime ministers. The deputy prime
ministers are appointed mostly for political reasons.

COUNCIL OF MINISTERS VS CABINET


The words council of ministers and cabinet are often used interchangeably though there is a
definite distinction between them. They differ from each other in respects of composition, functions,
and role. These differences are shown in Table 20.1.
Table 20.1 Distinction Between Council of Ministers and Cabinet

Council of ministers

Cabinet

1.

It is a wider body consisting of 60 to 70 ministers.

1.

It is a smaller body consisting of 15 to 20 ministers.

2.

It includes all the three categories of ministers, that is, cabinet


ministers, ministers of state, and deputy ministers.

2.

It includes the cabinet ministers only. Thus, it is a part of


the council of ministers.

3.

It does not meet, as a body, to transact gov-ernment business. It


has no collective funct-ions.

3.

It meets, as a body, frequently and usually once in a


week to deliberate and take decisions regarding the
transaction of government business. Thus, it has
collective functions.

4.

It is vested with all powers but in theory.

4.

It exercises, in practice, the powers of the co-uncil of


ministers and thus, acts for the latter.

5.

Its functions are determined by the cabinet.

5.

It directs the council of ministers by taking policy


decisions which are binding on all ministers.

6.

It implements the decisions taken by the cabinet.

6.

It supervises the implementation of its decisions by the


council of ministers.

7.

It is a constitutional body, dealt in detail by the Articles 74 and 75 7.


of the Constitution. Its size and classification are, however, not
mentioned in the Constitution. Its size is determined by the prime
minister according to the exigencies of the time and requirements
of the situation. Its classification into a three-tier body is based on
the conventions of parliamentary government as developed in
Britain. It has, however, got a legislative sanction. Thus, the
Salaries and Allowances Act of 1952 defines a minister as a
member of the council of ministers, by whatever name called, and
includes a deputy minister.

It was inserted in Article 352 of the Constitution in 1978


by the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act. Thus, it did
not find a place in the original text of the Constitution.
Now also, Article 352 only defines the cabinet saying
that it is the council consisting of the prime minister and
other ministers of cabinet rank appointed under Article
75 and does not describe its powers and functions. In
other words, its role in our politico-administrative system
is based on the conventions of parliamentary government
as developed in Britain.

8.

It is collectively responsible to the Lower House of the Parliament. 8.

It enforces the collective responsibility of the council of


ministers to the Lower House of Parliament.

ROLE OF CABINET
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

It is the highest decision-making authority in our politico-administrative system.


It is the chief policy formulating body of the Central government.
It is the supreme executive authority of the Central government.
It is chief coordinator of Central administration.
It is an advisory body to the president and its advice is binding on him.
It is the chief crisis manager and thus deals with all emergency situations.
It deals with all major legislative and financial matters.
It exercises control over higher appointments like constitutional authorities and senior
secretariat administrators.
It deals with all foreign policies and foreign affairs.

ROLE DESCRIPTIONS
The various comments made by the eminent political scientists and constitutional experts on the role

of cabinet in Britain holds good in the Indian context also. These are mentioned below.
Ramsay Muir The Cabinet is the steering wheel of the ship of the state.
Lowell The Cabinet is the keystone of the political arch.
Sir John Marriott The Cabinet is the pivot around which the whole political machinery revolves.
Gladstone The Cabinet is the solar orb around which the other bodies revolve.
Barker The Cabinet is the magnet of policy.
Bagehot The Cabinet is a hyphen that joins, the buckle that binds the executive and legislative
departments together.
Sir Ivor Jennings The Cabinet is the core of the British Constitutional System. It provides unity to
the British system of Government.
L.S. Amery The Cabinet is the central directing instrument of Government.
The position of the Cabinet in the British Government has become so strong that Ramsay Muir
referred to it as the Dictatorship of the Cabinet. In his book How Britain is Governed, he writes
A body which wields such powers as these may fairly be described as omnipotent in theory,
however, incapable it may be of using its omnipotence. Its position, whenever it commands a
majority, is a dictatorship only qualified by publicity. This dictatorship is far more absolute that it
was two generations ago. The same description holds good in the Indian context too.

K ITCHEN CABINET
The cabinet, a small body consisting of the prime minister as its head and some 15 to 20 most
important ministers, is the highest decision-making body in the formal sense. However, a still smaller
body called the inner Cabinet or Kitchen Cabinet has become the real centre of power. This
informal body consists of the Prime Minister and two to four influential colleagues in whom he has
faith and with whom he can discuss every problem. It advises the prime minister on important
political and administrative issues and assists him in making crucial decisions. It is composed of not
only cabinet ministers but also outsiders like friends and family members of the prime minister.
Every prime minister in India has had his Inner Cabineta circle within a circle. Prime Minister
Jawaharlal Nehrus Inner Cabinet consisted of Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Gopalaswamy
Ayyangar, and Kidwai. Lal Bahadur Shastri relied upon YB Chavan, Swaran Singh, and GL Nanda.
During the era of Indira Gandhi, the Inner Cabinet which came to be called the Kitchen Cabinet
was particularly powerful and consisted of persons like YB Chavan, Uma Shanker Dixit, Fakhruddin
Ali Ahmed, Dr Karan Singh and others. AB Vajpayees inner cabinet consisted of LK Advani,
George Fernandes, MM Joshi, Pramod Mahajan, and so on.
Table 20.2 Articles Related to Central Council of Ministers at a Glance
Article No.
74.

Subject-matter
Council of Ministers to aid and advise President

75.

Other provisions as to Ministers

77.

Conduct of business of the Government of India

78.

Duties of Prime Minister as respects the furnishing of information to the President, etc.

The prime ministers have resorted to the device of inner cabinet (extra-constitutional body) due to
its merits, namely:
1. It being a small unit, is much more efficient decision-making body than a large cabinet.
2. It can meet more often and deal with business much more expeditiously than the large cabinet.
3. It helps the Prime Minister in maintaining secrecy in making decisions on important political
issues.
However, it has many demerits also. Thus,6
1. It reduces the authority and status of the cabinet as the highest decision-making body.
2. It circumvents the legal process by allowing outside persons to play an influential role in the
government functioning.
The phenomenon of kitchen cabinet (where decisions are cooked and placed before the cabinet for
formal approval) is not unique to India. It also exists in USA and Britain and is quite powerful in
influencing government decisions there.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

This Article was amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976 to the effect
that the president shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with the advice
rendered by the council of ministers. The 44th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1978 further
added a proviso to this article to the effect that the president may require the council of
ministers to reconsider such advice and the president shall act in accordance with the advice
tendered after such reconsideration.
The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1952, has been passed for this purpose.
Each minister need not resign separately; the resignation of the prime minister amounts to the
resignation of the entire council of ministers.
Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VIII, p. 1160
In 1952, the minister of state was given the new designation of Minister of Cabinet Rank.
But in 1957, the earlier designation was restored.
Avasthi and Avasthi, Indian Administration, Laksmi Narain Agarwal, First Edition, 1993, p.
79.

F EATURES OF CABINET COMMITTEES


The following are the features of Cabinet Committees:
1. They are extra-constitutional in emergence. In other words, they are not mentioned in the
Constitution. However, the Rules of Business provide for their establishment.
2. They are of two typesstanding and ad hoc. The former are of a permanent nature while the
latter are of a temporary nature. The ad hoc committees are constituted from time to time to
deal with special problems. They are disbanded after their task is completed.1
3. They are set up by the Prime Minister according to the exigencies of the time and requirements
of the situation. Hence, their number, nomenclature, and composition varies from time to time.
4. Their membership varies from three to eight. They usually include only Cabinet Ministers.
However, the non-cabinet Ministers are not debarred from their membership.
5. They not only include the Ministers in charge of subjects covered by them but also include
other senior Ministers.
6. They are mostly headed by the Prime Minister. Some times other Cabinet Ministers,
particularly the Home Minister or the Finance Minister, also acts as their Chairman. But, in
case the Prime Minister is a member of a committee, he invariably presides over it.
7. They not only sort out issues and formulate proposals for the consideration of the Cabinet, but
also take decisions. However, the Cabinet can review their decisions.
8. They are an organisational device to reduce the enormous workload of the Cabinet. They also
facilitate in-depth examination of policy issues and effective coordination. They are based on
the principles of division of labour and effective delegation.

LIST OF CABINET COMMITTEES


In 1994, there were the following 13 Cabinet Committees:

1. Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs


2. Cabinet Committee on Natural Calamities
3. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs
4. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
5. Cabinet Committee on Accommodation
6. Cabinet Committee on Foreign Investment
7. Cabinet Committee on Drug Abuse Control
8. Cabinet Committee on Prices
9. Cabinet Committee on Minority Welfare
10. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
11. Cabinet Committee on Trade and Investment
12. Cabinet Committee on Expenditure
13. Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure
At present (2013), the following 10 Cabinet Committees are functional:
1. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
2. Cabinet Committee on Prices
3. Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs
4. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet
5. Cabinet Committee on Security
6. Cabinet Committee on World Trade Organisation (WTO) Matters
7. Cabinet Committee on Investment
8. Cabinet Committee on Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) related issues
9. Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs
10. Cabinet Committee on Accommodation

F UNCTIONS OF CABINET COMMITTEES


The following four are the more important cabinet committees:
1. The Political Affairs Committee deals with all policy matters pertaining to domestic and
foreign affairs.
2. The Economic Affairs Committee directs and coordinates the governmental activities in the
economic sphere.
3. Appointments Committee decides all higher level appointments in the Central Secretariat,
Public Enterprises, Banks and Financial Institutions.
4. Parliamentary Affairs Committee looks after the progress of government business in the
Parliament.
The first three committees are chaired by the Prime Minister and the last one by the Home Minister.
Of all the Cabinet Committees, the most powerful is the Political Affairs Committee, often described

as a Super-Cabinet.

GROUPS OF MINISTERS
In addition to cabinet committees, several Groups of Ministers (GoMs) have been constituted to look
into different issues / subjects. Some of these GoMs have been empowered to take decisions on
behalf of the Cabinet whereas the others make recommendations to the Cabinet.2
In the past two decades, the institution of GoMs has become a viable and effective instrument of
coordination among the ministries. These are ad hoc bodies formed to give recommendations to the
cabinet on certain emergent issues and critical problem areas. Ministers heading the concerned
ministries are inducted into the relevant GoMs and when the advice is crystallised they are
disbanded.3
As of now (in 2013), the following 21 Groups of Ministers (GoMs) are in existence:
1. Group of Ministers (GoM) for evolving an integrated strategy for water management
2. Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider the reports of the Administrative Reforms
Commission
3. Group of Ministers (GoM) for the civil aviation sector
4. Group of Ministers (GoM) on National Pharmaceuticals Policy, 2006
5. Group of Ministers (GoM) on power sector issues
6. Group of Ministers (GoM) to examine various issues pertaining to the functioning of the
Prasar Bharati
7. Group of Ministers (GoM) regarding Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster
8. Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider measures that can be taken by the Government to
tackle corruption
9. Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider environmental and developmental issues relating to
coal mining and other developmental projects
10. Group of Ministers (GoM) on media
11. Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider, and make recommendations with regard to reports of
the high level committee on Commonwealth Games, 2010
12. Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into the constitution of an independent regulatory
authority for the coal sector approval for introducing the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill,
2012 in the Parliament
13. Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into the issue of inclusion of erosion as an eligible
calamity for relief under National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF)/State Disaster Response
Fund (SDRF)
14. Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider the official amendments to the Land Acquisition,
Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011
15. Group of Ministers (GoM) to formulate policy for existing urea units beyond Stage-III of
New Pricing Scheme (NPS)
16. Group of Ministers (GoM) on setting up of the National Skill Development Authority

17. Group of Ministers (GoM) regarding issue of Resident Identity Cards to all usual residents
of the country of age 18 years and above under the scheme of National Population Register
(NPR)
18. Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider the recommendations of the panel of experts on
reforms in central public sector enterprises
19. Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider prescribing uniform terms and conditions of service
of chairpersons and members of quasi-judicial tribunals / commissions / regulatory bodies,
etc
20. Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider and suggest an appropriate cadre structure for the
Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) and other support systems
21. Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into the matter of reviving and revitalising Bharat Sanchar
Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL)
Presently (2013), there are the following six Empowered Groups of Ministers (EGoMs):
1. Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) to decide the price band and final price of sale of
shares held by Government of India in all central public sector enterprises
2. Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on gas pricing and commercial utilisation of gas
3. Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on ultra mega power projects
4. Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS)
5. Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on vacation of spectrum and auction of 3G spectrum,
and to look into the grant of license and allocation of spectrum in 2G band in 22 service areas
6. Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on drought
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2005-2009) made the following observations and
recommendations with respect to the working of the GoMs4:
1. The Commission observed that the constitution of a large number of GoMs has resulted in
many GoMs not being able to meet regularly to complete their work thus leading to significant
delays on many major issues.
2. The Commission felt that more selective use of the institution of GoMs would perhaps lead to
more effective coordination particularly if they are empowered to arrive at a decision on
behalf of the Cabinet with time limits that are prescribed for completing the work entrusted to
them.
3. The Commission recommended that there is need to ensure that the existing coordination
mechanism of GoMs function effectively and helps in early resolution of issues. Selective, but
effective use of GoMs with clear mandate and prescribed time limits would be helpful.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.

For example, the Emergency Committee was set-up in 1962 after the Chinese invasion.
Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Government of India, Report on Organizational
Structure of Government of India, 2009, P.136. This commission was headed by Veerappa
Moily, a senior Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister.

3.
4.

Ramesh K. Arora and Rajni Goyal, Indian Public Administration, New Age International
Publishers, Third Edition, 2013, pp. 238-239.
Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Government of India, Report on Organisational
Structure of Government of India, 2009, pp. 136-137 and 140.

he Parliament is the legislative organ of the Union government. It occupies a pre-eminent and
central position in the Indian democratic political system due to adoption of the parliamentary
form of government, also known as Westminster model of government1.
Articles 79 to 122 in Part V of the Constitu-tion deal with the organisation, composition, duration,
officers, procedures, privileges, powers and so on of the Parliament.

ORGANISATION OF P ARLIAMENT
Under the Constitution, the Parliament of India consists of three parts viz, the President, the Council
of States and the House of the People. In 1954, the Hindi names Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were
adopted by the Council of States and the House of People respectively. The Rajya Sabha is the Upper
House (Second Chamber or House of Elders) and the Lok Sabha is the Lower House (First Chamber
or Popular House). The former represents the states and union territories of the Indian Union, while
the latter represents the people of India as a whole.
Though the President of India is not a member of either House of Parliament and does not sit in the
Parliament to attend its meetings, he is an integral part of the Parliament. This is because a bill passed
by both the Houses of Parliament cannot become law without the Presidents assent. He also performs
certain functions relating to the proceedings of the Parliament, for example, he summons and prorogues both the Houses, dissolves the Lok Sabha, addresses both the Houses, issues ordinances when
they are not in session, and so on.
In this respect, the framers of the Indian Constitution relied on the British pattern rather than the
American pattern. In Britain, the Parliament consists of the Crown (King or Queen), the House of
Lords (Upper House) and the House of Commons (Lower House). By contrast, the American
president is not an integral part of the legislature. In USA, the legislature, which is known as
Congress, consists of the Senate (Upper House) and the House of Representatives (Lower House).
The parliamentary form of government emphasises on the interdependence between the legislative

and executive organs. Hence, we have the President-in-Parliament like the Crown-in-Parliament
in Britain. The presi-dential form of government, on the other hand, lays stress on the separation of
legislative and executive organs. Hence, the American president is not regarded as a constituent
part of the Congress.

COMPOSITION OF THE TWO HOUSES


Composition of Rajya Sabha
The maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is fixed at 250, out of which, 238 are to be the
representatives of the states and union territories (elected indirectly) and 12 are nominated by the
president.
At present, the Rajya Sabha has 245 members. Of these, 229 members represent the states, 4 members
represent the union territories and 12 members are nominated by the president.
The Fourth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the
states and union territories2.
1. Representation of States The representatives of states in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the
elected members of state legislative assemblies. The election is held in accordance with the system of
proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The seats are allotted to the
states in the Rajya Sabha on the basis of population. Hence, the number of representatives varies from
state to state. For example, Uttar Pradesh has 31 members while Tripura has 1 member only.
However, in USA, all states are given equal representation in the Senate irrespective of their
population. USA has 50 states and the Senate has 100 members2 from each state.
2. Representation of Union Territories The representatives of each union territory in the Rajya
Sabha are indirectly elected by members of an electroral college specially constituted for the
purpose. This election is also held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by
means of the single transferable vote. Out of the seven union territories, only two (Delhi and
Puducherry) have representation in Rajya Sabha. The populations of other five union territories are
too small to have any representative in the Rajya Sabha.
3. Nominated Members The president nominates 12 members to the Rajya Sabha from people who
have special knowledge or practical experience in art, literature, science and social service. The
rationale behind this principle of nomination is to provide eminent persons a place in the Rajya Sabha
without going through the process of election. It should be noted here that the American Senate has no
nominated members.

Composition of Lok Sabha


The maximum strength of the Lok Sabha is fixed at 552. Out of this, 530 members are to be the
representatives of the states, 20 members are to be the representatives of the union territories and 2
members are to be nominated by the president from the Anglo-Indian community3.
At present, the Lok Sabha has 545 members. Of these, 530 members represent the states, 13 members
represent the union territories and 2 Anglo-Indian members are nominated by the President4.

1. Representation of States The representatives of states in the Lok Sabha are directly elected by
the people from the territorial constituencies in the states. The election is based on the principle of
universal adult franchise. Every Indian citizen who is above 18 years of age and who is not
disqualified under the provisions of the Constitution or any law is eligible to vote at such election.
The voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 years by the 61st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1988.
2. Representation of Union Territories The Constitution has empowered the Parliament to
prescribe the manner of choosing the representatives of the union territories in the Lok Sabha.
Accordingly, the Parliament has enacted the Union Territories (Direct Election to the House of the
People) Act, 1965, by which the members of Lok Sabha from the union territories are also chosen by
direct election.
3. Nominated Members The president can nominate two members from the Anglo-Indian community
if the community is not adequately represented in the Lok Sabha. Originally, this provision was to
operate till 1960 but has been extended till 2020 by the 95th Amendment Act, 2009.

SYSTEM OF ELECTIONS TO LOK SABHA


The various aspects related to the system of elections to the Lok Sabha are as follows:

Territorial Constituencies
For the purpose of holding direct elections to the Lok Sabha, each state is divided into territorial
constituencies. In this respect, the Constitution makes the following two provisions:
1. Each state is allotted a number of seats in the Lok Sabha in such a manner that the ratio
between that number and its population is the same for all states. This provision does not
apply to a state having a population of less than six millions.
2. Each state is divided into territorial constituencies in such a manner that the ratio between the
population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it is the same throughout
the state.
In brief, the Constitution ensures that there is uniformity of representation in two respects: (a)
between the different states, and (b) between the different constituencies in the same state.
The expression population means the population as ascertainted at the preceding census of which
the relevant figures have been published.

Readjustment after each Census


After every census, a readjustment is to be made in (a) allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to the
states, and (b) division of each state into territorial constituencies. Parliament is empowered to
determine the authority and the manner in which it is to be made. Accordingly, the Parliament has
enacted the Delimitation Commission Acts in 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002 for this purpose.
The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 froze the allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to the states and the
division of each state into territorial constituencies till the year 2000 at the 1971 level. This ban on
readjustment was extended for another 25 years (ie, upto year 2026) by the 84th Amendment Act of
2001, with the same objective of encouraging population limiting measures.

The 84th Amendment Act of 2001 also empowered the government to undertake readjustment and
rationalisation of territorial constituencies in the states on the basis of the population figures of 1991
census. Later, the 87th Amendment Act of 2003 provided for the delimitation of constituencies on the
basis of 2001 census and not 1991 census. However, this can be done without altering the number of
seats allotted to each state in the Lok Sabha.

Reservation of Seats for SCs and STs


Though the Constitution has abandoned the system of communal representation, it provides for the
reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the Lok Sabha on the basis of
population ratios5.
Originally, this reservation was to operate for ten years (ie, up to 1960), but it has been extended
continuously since then by 10 years each time. Now, under the 95th Amendment Act of 2009, this
reservation is to last until 2020.
Though seats are reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, they are elected by all the
voters in a constituency, without any separate electorate. A member of scheduled castes and
scheduled tribes is also not debarred from contesting a general (non-reserved) seat.
The 84th Amendment Act of 2001 provided for refixing of the reserved seats on the basis of the
population figures of 1991 census as applied to rationalisation of the general seats. Later, the 87th
Amendment Act of 2003 provided for the refixing of the reserved seats on the basis of 2001 census
and not 1991 census.

Proportional Representation not Adopted


Though the Constitution has adopted the system of proportional representation in the case of Rajya
Sabha, it has not preferred the same system in the case of Lok Sabha. Instead, it has adopted the
system of territorial representation for the election of members to the Lok Sabha.
Under territorial representation, every member of the legislature represents a geographical area
known as a constituency. From each constituency, only one representative is elected. Hence such a
constituency is known as single-member constituency. In this system, a candidate who secures
majority of votes is declared elected. This simple majority system of representation does not
represent the whole electorate. In other words, it does not secure due representation to minorities
(small groups).
The system of proportional representation aims at removing the defects of territorial representation.
Under this system, all sections of the people get representation in proportion to their number. Even the
smallest section of the population gets its due share of representation in the legislature.
There are two kinds of proportional representation, namely, single transferable vote system and list
system. In India, the first kind is adopted for the election of members to the Rajya Sabha and state
legislative council and for electing the President and the Vice-President.
Though some members of the Constituent Assembly had advocated the system of proportional
representation for the election of members to the Lok Sabha, the Constitution has not adopted the
system due to two reasons.
1.
Difficulty for the voters to understand the system (which is complicated) due to low literacy

scale in the country.


2.
Unsuitability to the parliamentary government due to the tendency of the system to multiply
political parties leading to instability in government.
Additionally, the system of proportional representation has the following demerits:
1. It is highly expensive.
2. It does not give any scope for organising by-elections.
3. It eliminates intimate contacts between voters and representatives.
4. It promotes minority thinking and group interests.
5. It increases the significance of party system and decreases that of voter.

DURATION OF TWO HOUSES


Duration of Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha (first constituted in 1952) is a continuing chamber, that is, it is a permanent body
and not subject to dissolution. However, one-third of its members retire every second year. Their
seats are filled up by fresh elections and presidential nominations at the beginning of every third year.
The retiring members are eligible for re-election and renomination any number of times.
The Constitution has not fixed the term of office of members of the Rajya Sabha and left it to the
Parliament. Accordingly, the Parliament in the Representation of the People Act (1951) provided that
the term of office of a member of the Rajya Sabha shall be six years. The act also empowered the
president of India to curtail the term of members chosen in the first Rajya Sabha. In the first batch, it
was decided by lottery as to who should retire. Further, the act also authorised the President to make
provisions to govern the order of retirement of the members of the Rajya Sabha6.

Duration of Lok Sabha


Unlike the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha is not a continuing chamber. Its normal term is five years from
the date of its first meeting after the general elections, after which it automatically dissolves.
However, the President is authorised to dissolve the Lok Sabha at any time even before the
completion of five years and this cannot be challenged in a court of law.
Further, the term of the Lok Sabha can be extended during the period of national emergency be a law
of Parliament for one year at a time7 for any length of time. However, this extension cannot continue
beyond a period of six months after the emergency has ceased to operate.

MEMBERSHIP OF P ARLIAMENT
Qualifications
The Constitution lays down the following qualifications for a person to be chosen a member of the
Parliament:
1. He must be a citizen of India.
2. He must make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation before the person authorised by the

election commission for this purpose. In his oath or affirmation, he swears


(a) To bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India
(b) To uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India
3. He must be not less than 30 years of age in the case of the Rajya Sabha and not less than 25
years of age in the case of the Lok Sabha.
4. He must posses other qualifications prescribed by Parliament.
The Parliament has laid down the following additional qualifications in the Representation of People
Act (1951).
1. He must be registered as an elector for a parliamentary constituency. This is same in the case
of both, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The requirement that a candidate contesting an
election to the Rajya Sabha from a particular state should be an elector in that particular state
was dispensed with in 2003. In 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of
this change.
2. He must be a member of a scheduled caste or scheduled tribe in any state or union territory, if
he wants to contest a seat reserved for them. However, a member of scheduled castes or
scheduled tribes can also contest a seat not reserved for them.

Disqualifications
Under the Constitution, a person shall be disqu-alified for being elected as a member of Parliament:
1. if he holds any office of profit under the Union or state government (except that of a minister
or any other office exempted by Parliament).8
2. if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court.
3. if he is an undischarged insolvent.
4. if he is not a citizen of India or has volun-tarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is
under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state; and
5. if he is so disqualified under any law made by Parliament.
The Parliament has laid down the following additional disqualifications in the Representation of
People Act (1951):
1. He must not have been found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices in the
elections.
2. He must not have been convicted for any offence resulting in imprisonment for two or more
years. But, the detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.
3. He must not have failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time.
4. He must not have any interest in government contracts, works or services.
5. He must not be a director or managing agent nor hold an office of profit in a corporation in
which the government has at least 25 per cent share.
6. He must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the
State.
7. He must not have been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups or for the

offence of bribery.
8. He must not have been punished for preaching and practising social crimes such as
untouchability, dowry and sati.
On the question whether a member is subject to any of the above disqualifications, the presidents
decision is final. However, he should obtain the opinion of the election commission and act
accordingly.
Disqualification on Ground of Defection The Constitution also lays down that a person shall be
disqualified from being a member of Parliament if he is so disqualified on the ground of defection
under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule. A member incurs disqualification under the defection
law:
1.

if he voluntary gives up the membership of the political party on whose ticket he is elected to
the House;
2. if he votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction given by his political
party;
3. if any independently elected member joins any political party; and
4. if any nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months.
The question of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule is decided by the Chairman in the case of
Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha (and not by the president of India). In 1992, the
Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the Chairman/Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial
review.

Vacating of Seats
In the following cases, a member of Parliament vacates his seat.
1. Double Membership A person cannot be a member of both Houses of Parliament at the same time.
Thus, the Representation of People Act (1951) provides for the following:
(a) If a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 10 days in
which House he desires to serve. In default of such intimation, his seat in the Rajya Sabha
becomes vacant.
(b) If a sitting member of one House is also elected to the other House, his seat in the first House
becomes vacant.
(c) If a person is elected to two seats in a House, he should exercise his option for one.
Otherwise, both seats become vacant.
Similarly, a person cannot be a member of both the Parliament and the state legislature at the same
time. If a person is so elected, his seat in Parliament becomes vacant if he does not resign his seat in
the state legislature within 14 days9.
2. Disqualification If a member of Parliament becomes subject to any of the disqualifications
specified in the Constitution, his seat becomes vacant. Here, the list of disqualifications also include
the disqualification on the grounds of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the
Constitution.

3. Resignation A member may resign his seat by writing to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha or Speaker
of Lok Sabha, as the case may be. The seat falls vacant when the resignation is accepted. However,
the Chairman/Speaker may not accept the resignation if he is satisfied that it is not voluntary or
genuine.
4. Absence A House can declare the seat of a member vacant if he is absent from all its meetings for
a period of sixty days without its permission. In computing the period of sixty days, no account shall
be taken of any period during which the House is prorogued or adjourned for more than four
consecutive days.
5. Other cases A member has to vacate his seat in the Parliament:
(a) if his election is declared void by the court;
(b) if he is expelled by the House;
(c) if he is elected to the office of President or Vice-President; and
(d) if he is appointed to the office of governor of a state.
If a disqualified person is elected to the Parliament, the Constitution lays down no procedure to
declare the election void. This matter is dealt by the Representation of the People Act (1951), which
enables the high court to declare an election void if a disqualified candidate is elected. The aggrieved
party can appeal to the Supreme Court against the order of the high court in this regard.

Oath or Affirmation
Every member of either House of Parliament, before taking his seat in the House, has to make and
subscribe to an oath or affirmation before the President or some person appointed by him for this
purpose. In his oath or affirmation, a member of Parliament swears:
1. to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India;
2. to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India; and
3. to faithfully discharge the duty upon which he is about to enter.
Unless a member takes the oath, he cannot vote and participate in the proceedings of the House and
does not become eligible to parliamentary privileges and immunities.
A person is liable to a penalty of Rs 500 for each day he sits or votes as a member in a House in the
following conditions:
1. Before taking and subscribing to the prescribed oath or affirmation; or
2. When he knows that he is not qualified or that he is disqualified for its membership; or
3. When he knows that he is prohibited from sitting or voting in the House by virtue of any
parliamentary law.

Salaries and Allowances


Members of either House of Parliament are entitled to receive such salaries and allowances as may
be determined by Parliament, and there is no provision of pension in the Constitution. However,
Parliament has provided pension to the members.
In 1954, the Parliament enacted the Salaries, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act.

In 2010, the Parliament increased the salary of members from ` 16,000 to ` 50,000 per month, the
constituency allowance from ` 20,000 to ` 45,000 per month, the daily allowance from ` 1,000 to
` 2,000 for five years and office expenses allowance from ` 20,000 to ` 45,000 per month.
From 1976, the members are also entitled to a pension on a graduated scale for each five-year-term
as members of either House of Parlia-ment. Besides, they are provided with travell- ing facilities,
free accommodation, telephone, vehicle advance, medical facilities and so on.
The salaries and allowances of the Speaker of Lok Sabha and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha are also
determined by Parliament. They are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and thus are not
subject to the annual vote of Parliament.
In 1953, the Parliament enacted the Salaries and Allowances of Officers of Parliament Act. Under
this Act, the Parliament has fixed the salaries as well as allowances of both the Speaker and the
Chairman.

P RESIDING OFFICERS OF P ARLIAMENT


Each House of Parliament has its own presiding officer. There is a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker for
the Lok Sabha and a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman for the Rajya Sabha. A panel of chairpersons
for the Lok Sabha and a panel of vice-chairpersons for the Rajya Sabha is also appointed.

Speaker of Lok Sabha


Election and Tenure The Speaker is elected by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members (as soon as
may be, after its first sitting). Whenever the office of the Speaker falls vacant, the Lok Sabha elects
another member to fill the vacancy. The date of election of the Speaker is fixed by the President.
Usually, the Speaker remains in office during the life of the Lok Sabha. However, he has to vacate his
office earlier in any of the following three cases:
1. if he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha;
2. if he resigns by writing to the Deputy Speaker; and
3. if he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the members of the Lok Sabha.
Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days advance notice.
When a resolution for the removal of the Speaker is under consideration of the House, he cannot
preside at the sitting of the House, though he may be present. However, he can speak and take part in
the proceedings of the House at such a time and vote in the first instance, though not in the case of an
equality of votes.
It should be noted here that, whenever the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Speaker does not vacate his
office and continues till the newly- elected Lok Sabha meets.
Role, Powers and Functions The Speaker is the head of the Lok Sabha, and its representative. He is
the guardian of powers and privileges of the members, the House as a whole and its committees. He
is the principal spokesman of the House, and his decision in all Parliamentary matters is final. He is
thus much more than merely the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha. In these capacities, he is vested
with vast, varied and vital responsibilities and enjoys great honour, high dignity and supreme
authority within the House.

The Speaker of the Lok Sabha derives his powers and duties from three sources, that is, the
Constitution of India, the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and
Parliamentary Conventions (residuary powers that are unwritten or unspecified in the Rules).
Altogether, he has the following powers and duties:
1. He maintains order and decorum in the House for conducting its business and regulating its
proceedings. This is his primary responsibility and he has final power in this regard.
2. He is the final interpreter of the provisions of (a) the Constitution of India, (b) the Rules of
Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and (c) the parliamentary precedents,
within the House.
3. He adjourns the House or suspends the meeting in absence of a quorum. The quorum to
constitute a meeting of the House is one-tenth of the total strength of the House.
4. He does not vote in the first instance. But he can exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie. In
other words, only when the House is divided equally on any question, the Speaker is entitled
to vote. Such vote is called casting vote, and its purpose is to resolve a deadlock.
5. He presides over a joint setting of the two Houses of Parliament. Such a sitting is summoned
by the President to settle a deadlock between the two Houses on a bill.
6. He can allow a secret sitting of the House at the request of the Leader of the House. When
the House sits in secret, no stranger can be present in the chamber, lobby or galleries except
with the permission of the Speaker.
7. He decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is final.
When a money bill is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for recommendation and presented to the
President for assent, the Speaker endorses on the bill his certificate that it is a money bill.
8. He decides the questions of disqualification of a member of the Lok Sabha, arising on the
ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule. In 1992, the Supreme Court
ruled that the decision of the Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review10.
9. He acts as the ex-officio chairman of the Indian Parliamentary Group of the InterParliamentary Union. He also acts as the ex-officio chairman of the conference of presiding
officers of legislative bodies in the country.
10. He appoints the chairman of all the parliamentary committees of the Lok Sabha and supervises
their functioning. He himself is the chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, the Rules
Committee and the General Purpose Committee.
Independence and Impartiality As the office of the Speaker is vested with great prestige, position
and authority, independence and impartiality becomes its sine qua non11.
The following provisions ensure the independence and impartiality of the office of the Speaker:
1. He is provided with a security of tenure. He can be removed only by a resolution passed by
the Lok Sabha by an absolute majority (ie, a majority of the total members of the House) and
not by an ordinary majority (ie, a majority of the members present and voting in the House).
This motion of removal can be considered and discussed only when it has the support of at
least 50 members.

2.

His salaries and allowances are fixed by Parliament. They are charged on the Consolidated
Fund of India and thus are not subject to the annual vote of Parliament.
3. His work and conduct cannot be discussed and criticised in the Lok Sabha except on a
substantive motion.
4. His powers of regulating procedure or conducting business or maintaining order in the House
are not subject to the jurisdiction of any Court.
5. He cannot vote in the first instance. He can only exercise a casting vote in the event of a tie.
This makes the position of Speaker impartial.
6. He is given a very high position in the order of precedence. He is placed at seventh rank,
along with the Chief Justice of India. This means, he has a higher rank than all cabinet
ministers, except the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister.
In Britain, the Speaker is strictly a non-party man. There is a convention that the Speaker has to resign
from his party and remain politically neutral. This healthy convention is not fully established in India
where the Speaker does not resign from the membership of his party on his election to the exalted
office.

Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha


Like the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker is also elected by the Lok Sabha itself from amongst its
members. He is elected after the election of the Speaker has taken place. The date of election of the
Deputy Speaker is fixed by the Speaker. Whenever the office of the Deputy Speaker falls vacant, the
Lok Sabha elects another member to fill the vacancy.
Like the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker remains in office usually during the life of the Lok Sabha.
However, he may vacate his office earlier in any of the following three cases:
1. if he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha;
2. if he resigns by writing to the Speaker; and
3. if he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the members of the Lok Sabha.
Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days advance notice.
The Deputy Speaker performs the duties of the Speakers office when it is vacant. He also acts as the
Speaker when the latter is absent from the sitting of the House. In both the cases, he assumes all the
powers of the Speaker. He also presides over the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament, in
case the Speaker is absent from such a sitting.
It should be noted here that the Deputy Speaker is not subordinate to the Speaker. He is directly
responsible to the House.
The Deputy Speaker has one special privilege, that is, whenever he is appointed as a member of a
parliamentary committee, he automatically becomes its chairman.
Like the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, while presiding over the House, cannot vote in the first
instance; he can only exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie. Further, when a resolution for the
removal of the Deputy Speaker is under consideration of the House, he cannot preside at the sitting of
the House, though he may be present.
When the Speaker presides over the House, the Deputy Speaker is like any other ordinary member of

the House. He can speak in the House, participate in its proceedings and vote on any question before
the House.
The Deputy Speaker is entitled to a regular salary and allowance fixed by Parliament, and charged on
the Consolidated Fund of India.
Upto the 10th Lok Sabha, both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were usually from the ruling party.
Since the 11th Lok Sabha, there has been a consensus that the Speaker comes from the ruling party (or
ruling alliance) and the post of Deputy Speaker goes to the main opposition party.
The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, while assuming their offices, do not make and subscribe any
separate oath or affirmation.
The institutions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker originated in India in 1921 under the provisions of
the Government of India Act of 1919 (MontagueChelmsford Reforms). At that time, the Speaker and
the Deputy Speaker were called the President and Deputy President respectively and the same
nomenclature continued till 1947. Before 1921, the Governor- General of India used to preside over
the meetings of the Central Legislative Council. In 1921, the Frederick Whyte and Sachidanand Sinha
were appointed by the Governor-General of India as the first Speaker and the first Deputy Speaker
(respectively) of the central legislative assembly. In 1925, Vithalbhai J. Patel became the first Indian
and the first elected Speaker of the central legislative assembly. The Government of India Act of
1935 changed the nomenclatures of President and Deputy President of the Central Legislative
Assembly to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively. However, the old nomenclature continued
till 1947 as the federal part of the 1935 Act was not implemented. G V Mavalankar and
Ananthasayanam Ayyangar had the distinction of being the first Speaker and the first Deputy Speaker
(respectively) of the Lok Sabha. G V Mavalankar also held the post of Speaker in the Constituent
Assembly (Legislative) as well as the provisional Parliament. He held the post of Speaker of Lok
Sabha continuously for one decade from 1946 to 1956.

Panel of Chairpersons of Lok Sabha


Under the Rules of Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates from amongst the members a panel of not more
than ten chairpersons. Any of them can preside over the House in the absence of the Speaker or the
Deputy Speaker. He has the same powers as the Speaker when so presiding. He holds office until a
new panel of chairpersons is nominated. When a member of the panel of chairpersons is also not
present, any other person as determined by House acts as the Speaker.
It must be emphasised here that a member of the panel of chairpersons cannot preside over the House,
when the office of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker is vacant. During such time, the Speakers
duties are to be performed by such member of the House as the President may appoint for the purpose.
The elections are held, as soon as possible, to fill the vacant posts.

Speaker Pro Tem


As provided by the Constitution, the Speaker of the last Lok Sabha vacates his office immediately
before the first meeting of the newly- elected Lok Sabha. Therefore, the President appoints a member
of the Lok Sabha as the Speaker Pro Tem . Usually, the seniormost member is selected for this. The
President himself administers oath to the Speaker Pro Tem.
The Speaker Pro Tem has all the powers of the Speaker. He presides over the first sitting of the

newly-elected Lok Sabha. His main duty is to administer oath to the new members. He also enables
the House to elect the new Speaker.
When the new Speaker is elected by the House, the office of the Speaker Pro Tem ceases to exist.
Hence, this office is a temporary office, existing for a few days12.

Chairman of Rajya Sabha


The presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha is known as the Chairman. The vice-president of India is the
ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. During any period when the Vice-President acts as President
or discharges the funct-ions of the President, he does not perform the duties of the office of the
Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha can be removed from his office only if he is removed from the
office of the Vice-President. As a presiding officer, the powers and functions of the Chairman in the
Rajya Sabha are similar to those of the Speaker in the Lok Sabha. However, the Speaker has two
special powers which are not enjoyed by the Chairman:
1. The Speaker decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his decision on this question is
final.
2. The Speaker presides over a joint sitting of two Houses of Parliament.
Unlike the Speaker (who is a member of the House), the Chairman is not a member of the House. But
like the Speaker, the Chairman also cannot vote in the first instance. He too can cast a vote in the case
of an equality of votes.
The Vice-President cannot preside over a sitting of the Rajya Sabha as its Chairman when a
resolution for his removal is under consideration. However, he can be present and speak in the House
and can take part in its proceedings, without voting, even at such a time (while the Speaker can vote
in the first instance when a resolution for his removal is under consideration of the Lok Sabha).
As in case of the Speaker, the salaries and allowances of the Chairman are also fixed by the
Parliament. They are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and thus are not subject to the annual
vote of Parliament.
During any period when the Vice-President acts as President or discharges the functions of the
President, he is not entitled to any salary or allowance payable to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
But he is paid the salary and allowance of the President during such a time.

Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha


The Deputy Chairman is elected by the Rajya Sabha itself from amongst its members. Whenever the
office of the Deputy Chairman falls vacant, the Rajya Sabha elects another member to fill the vacancy.
The Deputy Chairman vacates his office in any of the following three cases:
1. if he ceases to be a member of the Rajya Sabha;
2. if he resigns by writing to the Chairman; and
3. if he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the members of the Rajya Sabha.
Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days advance notice.
The Deputy Chairman performs the duties of the Chairmans office when it is vacant or when the

Vice-President acts as President or discharges the functions of the President. He also acts as the
Chairman when the latter is absent from the sitting of the House. In both the cases, he has all the
powers of the Chairman.
It should be emphasised here that the Deputy Chairman is not subordinate to the Chairman. He is
directly responsible to the Rajya Sabha.
Like the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman, while presiding over the House, cannot vote in the first
instance; he can only exercise a casting vote in the case of a tie. Further, when a resolution for the
removal of the Deputy Chairman is under consideration of the House, he cannot preside over a sitting
of the House, though he may be present.
When the Chairman presides over the House, the Deputy Chairman is like any other ordinary member
of the House. He can speak in the House, participate in its proceedings and vote on any question
before the House.
Like the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman is also entitled to a regular salary and allowance. They are
fixed by Parliament and are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

Panel of Vice-Chairpersons of Rajya Sabha


Under the Rules of Rajya Sabha, the Chairman nominates from amongst the members a panel of vicechairpersons. Any one of them can preside over the House in the absence of the Chairman or the
Deputy Chairman. He has the same powers as the Chairman when so presiding. He holds office until
a new panel of vice-chairpersons is nominated.
When a member of the panel of vice-chairpersons is also not present, any other person as determined
by the House acts as the Chairman.
It must be emphasised here that a member of the panel of vice-chairpersons cannot preside over the
House, when the office of the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman is vacant. During such time, the
Chairmans duties are to be performed by such member of the House as the president may appoint for
the purpose. The elections are held, as soon as possible, to fill the vacant posts.

Secretariat of Parliament
Each House of Parliament has separate secretarial staff of its own, though there can be some posts
common to both the Houses. Their recruitment and service conditions are regulated by Parliament.
The secretariat of each House is headed by a secretary-general. He is a permanent officer and is
appointed by the presiding officer of the House.

LEADERS IN P ARLIAMENT
Leader of the House
Under the Rules of Lok Sabha, the Leader of the House means the prime minister, if he is a member
of the Lok Sabha, or a minister who is a member of the Lok Sabha and is nominated by the prime
minister to function as the Leader of the House. There is also a Leader of the House in the Rajya
Sabha. He is a minister and a member of the Rajya Sabha and is nominated by the prime minister to
function as such. The leader of the house in either House is an important functionary and exercises

direct influence on the conduct of business. He can also nominate a deputy leader of the House. The
same functionary in USA is known as the majority leader.

Leader of the Opposition


In each House of Parliament, there is the Leader of the Opposition. The leader of the largest
Opposition party having not less than one-tenth seats of the total strength of the House is recognised
as the leader of the Opposition in that House. In a parliamentary system of government, the leader of
the opposition has a significant role to play. His main functions are to provide a constructive
criticism of the policies of the government and to provide an alternative government. Therefore, the
leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were accorded statutory recognition in
1977. They are also entitled to the salary, allowances and other facilities equivalent to that of a
cabinet minister. It was in 1969 that an official leader of the opposition was recognised for the first
time. The same functionary in USA is known as the minority leader.
The British political system has an unique institution called the Shadow Cabinet. It is formed by the
Opposition party to balance the ruling cabinet and to prepare its members for future ministerial
offices. In this shadow cabinet, almost every member in the ruling cabinet is shadowed by a
corresponding member in the opposition cabinet. This shadow cabinet serves as the alternate
cabinet if there is change of government. That is why Ivor Jennings described the leader of
Opposition as the alternative Prime Minister. He enjoys the status of a minister and is paid by the
government.

Whip
Though the offices of the leader of the House and the leader of the Opposition are not mentioned in
the Constitution of India, they are mentioned in the Rules of the House and Parliamentary Statute
respectively. The office of whip, on the other hand, is mentioned neither in the Constitution of India
nor in the Rules of the House nor in a Parliamentary Statute. It is based on the conventions of the
parliamentary government.
Every political party, whether ruling or Opposition has its own whip in the Parliament. He is
appointed by the political party to serve as an assistant floor leader. He is charged with the
responsibility of ensuring the attendance of his party members in large numbers and securing their
support in favour of or against a particular issue. He regulates and monitors their beha-viour in the
Parliament. The members are supposed to follow the directives given by the whip. Otherwise,
disciplinary action can be taken.

SESSIONS OF P ARLIAMENT
Summoning
The president from time to time sumons each House of Parliament to meet. But, the maximum gap
between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months. In other words, the Parliament
should meet at least twice a year. There are usually three sessions in a year, viz,
1. the Budget Session (February to May);
2. the Monsoon Session (July to September); and

3.

the Winter Session (November to December).

Table 22.1 Adjournment vs Prorogation


Adjournment

Prorogation

1. It only terminates a sitting and


not a session of the House.

1. It not only terminates a sitting but also a session of the House.

2. It is done by presiding officer of


the House.

2. It is done by the president of India.

3. It does not affect the bills or any


other business pending before the
House and the same can be
resumed when the House meets
again.

3. It also does not affect the bills or any other business pending before the House.13
However, all pending notices (other than those for introducing bills) lapse on
prorogation and fresh notices have to be given for the next session. In Britain,
prorogation brings to an end all bills or any other business pending before the
House.

A session of Parliament is the period spanning between the first sitting of a House and its
prorogation (or dissolution in the case of the Lok Sabha). During a session, the House meets everyday
to transact business. The period spanning between the prorogation of a House and its reassembly in a
new session is called recess.

Adjournment
A session of Parliament consists of many meetings. Each meeting of a day consists of two sittings, that
is, a morning sitting from 11 am to 1 pm and post-lunch sitting from 2 pm to 6 pm. A sitting of
Parliament can be terminated by adjournment or adjournment sine die or prorogation or dissolution
(in the case of the Lok Sabha). An adjournment suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time,
which may be hours, days or weeks.

Adjournment Sine Die


Adjournment sine die means terminating a sitting of Parliament for an indefinite period. In other
words, when the House is adjourned without naming a day for reassembly, it is called adjournment
sine die. The power of adjournment as well as adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer of
the House. He can also call a sitting of the House before the date or time to which it has been
adjourned or at any time after the House has been adjourned sine die.

Prorogation
The presiding officer (Speaker or Chairman) declares the House adjourned sine die, when the
business of a session is completed. Within the next few days, the President issues a notification for
prorogation of the session. However, the President can also prorogue the House while in session.
The specific differences between adjournment and prorogation are summarised in Table 22.1.

Dissolution
Rajya Sabha, being a permanent House, is not subject to dissolution. Only the Lok Sabha is subject to
dissolution. Unlike a prorogation, a dissolution ends the very life of the existing House, and a new

House is constituted after general elections are held. The dissolution of the Lok Sabha may take place
in either of two ways:
1. Automatic dissolution, that is, on the expiry of its tenure of five years or the terms as extended
during a national emergency; or
2. Whenever the President decides to dissolve the House, which he is authorised to do. Once the
Lok Sabha is dissolved before the completion of its normal tenure, the dissolution is
irrevocable.
When the Lok Sabha is dissolved, all business including bills, motions, resolutions, notices, petitions
and so on pending before it or its committees lapse. They (to be pursued further) must be reintroduced
in the newly-constituted Lok Sabha. However, some pending bills and all pending assurances that are
to be examined by the Committee on Government Assurances do not lapse on the dissolution of the
Lok Sabha. The position with respect to lapsing of bills is as follows:
1. A bill pending in the Lok Sabha lapses (whether originating in the Lok Sabha or transmitted to
it by the Rajya Sabha).
2. A bill passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha lapses.
3. A bill not passed by the two Houses due to disagreement and if the president has notified the
holding of a joint sitting before the dissolution of Lok Sabha, does not lapse.
4. A bill pending in the Rajya Sabha but not passed by the Lok Sabha does not lapse.
5. A bill passed by both Houses but pending assent of the president does not lapse.
6. A bill passed by both Houses but returned by the president for reconsideration of Houses does
not lapse.

Quorum
Quorum is the minimum number of members required to be present in the House before it can transact
any business. It is one-tenth of the total number of members in each House including the presiding
officer. It means that there must be at least 55 members present in the Lok Sabha and 25 members
present in the Rajya Sabha, if any business is to be conducted. If there is no quorum during a meeting
of the House, it is the duty of the presiding officer either to adjourn the House or to suspend the
meeting until there is a quorum.

Voting in House
All matters at any sitting of either House or joint sitting of both the Houses are decided by a majority
of votes of the members present and voting, excluding the presiding officer. Only a few matters,
which are specifically mentioned in the Constitution like impeachment of the President, amendment of
the Constitution, removal of the presiding officers of the Parliament and so on, require special
majority, not ordinary majority.
The presiding officer of a House does not vote in the first instance, but exercises a casting vote in the
case of an equality of votes. The proceedings of a House are to be valid irrespective of any
unauthorised voting or participation or any vacancy in its membership.

Language in Parliament

The Constitution has declared Hindi and English to be the languages for transacting business in the
Parliament. However, the presiding officer can permit a member to address the House in his mothertongue. In both the Houses, arrangements are made for simultaneous translation. Though English was
to be discontinued as a floor language after the expiration of fifteen years from the commencement of
the Constitution (that is, in 1965), the Official Languages Act (1963) allowed English to be continued
along with Hindi.

Rights of Ministers and Attorney General


In addition to the members of a House, every minister and the attorney general of India have the right
to speak and take part in the proceedings of either House, any joint sitting of both the Houses and any
committee of Parliament of which he is a member, without being entitled to vote. There are two
reasons underlying this constitutional provision:
1. A minister can participate in the proceedings of a House, of which he is not a member. In
other words, a minister belonging to the Lok Sabha can participate in the proceedings of the
Rajya Sabha and vice-versa.
2. A minister, who is not a member of either House, can participate in the proceedings of both
the Houses. It should be noted here that a person can remain a minister for six months, without
being a member of either House of Parliament.

Lame-duck Session
It refers to the last session of the existing Lok Sabha, after a new Lok Sabha has been elected. Those
members of the existing Lok Sabha who could not get re-elected to the new Lok Sabha are called
lame-ducks.

DEVICES OF P ARLIAMENTARY P ROCEEDINGS


Question Hour
The first hour of every parliamentary sitting is slotted for this. During this time, the members ask
questions and the ministers usually give answers. The questions are of three kinds, namely, starred,
unstarred and short notice.
A starred question (distinguished by an asterisk) requires an oral answer and hence supplementary
questions can follow.
A n unstarred question, on the other hand, requires a written answer and hence, supplementary
questions cannot follow.
A short notice question is one that is asked by giving a notice of less than ten days. It is answered
orally.

Zero Hour
Unlike the question hour, the zero hour is not mentioned in the Rules of Procedure. Thus it is an
informal device available to the members of the Parliament to raise matters without any prior notice.
The zero hour starts immediately after the question hour and lasts until the agenda for the day (ie,

regular business of the House) is taken up. In other words, the time gap between the question hour and
the agenda is known as zero hour. It is an Indian innovation in the field of parliamentary procedures
and has been in existence since 1962.

Motions
No discussion on a matter of general public importance can take place except on a motion made with
the consent of the presiding officer. The House expresses its decisions or opinions on various issues
through the adoption or rejection of motions moved by either ministers or private members.
The motions moved by the members to raise discussions on various matters fall into three principal
categories:14
1. Substantive Motion: It is a self-contained independent proposal dealing with a very
important matter like impeachment of the President or removal of Chief Election
Commissioner.
2. Substitute Motion: It is a motion that is moved in substitution of an original motion and
proposes an alternative to it. If adopted by the House, it supersedes the original motion.
3. Subsidiary Motion: It is a motion that, by itself, has no meaning and cannot state the decision
of the House without reference to the original motion or proceedings of the House. It is
divided into three sub-categories:
(a) Ancillary Motion: It is used as the regular way of proceeding with various kinds of
business.
(b) Superseding Motion: It is moved in the course of debate on another issue and seeks to
supersede that issue.
(c) Amendment: It seeks to modify or substitute only a part of the original motion.
Closure Motion It is a motion moved by a member to cut short the debate on a matter before the
House. If the motion is approved by the House, debate is stopped forthwith and the matter is put to
vote. There are four kinds of closure motions15:
(a) Simple Closure: It is one when a member moves that the matter having been sufficiently
discussed be now put to vote.
(b) Closure by Compartments: In this case, the clauses of a bill or a lengthy resolution are
grouped into parts before the commencement of the debate. The debate covers the part as a
whole and the entire part is put to vote.
(c) Kangaroo Closure: Under this type, only important clauses are taken up for debate and voting
and the intervening clauses are skipped over and taken as passed.
(d) Guillotine Closure: It is one when the undiscussed clauses of a bill or a resolut-ion are also
put to vote along with the discussed ones due to want of time (as the time allotted for the
discussion is over).
Privilege Motion It is concerned with the breach of parliamentary privileges by a minister. It is
moved by a member when he feels that a minister 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. Its

purpose is to censure the concerned minister.


Calling Attention Motion It is introduced in the Parliament by a member to call the attention of a
minister to a matter of urgent public importance, and to seek an authoritative statement from him on
that matter. Like the zero hour, it is also an Indian innovation in the parliamentary procedure and has
been in existence since 1954. However, unlike the zero hour, it is mentioned in the Rules of
Procedure.
Table 22.2 Censure Motion vs No Confidence Motion
Censure Motion

No-Confidence Motion

1. It should state the reasons for its adoption in the Lok Sabha.

1. It need not state the reasons for its adoption in the


Lok Sabha.

2. It can be moved against an individual minister or a group of


ministers or the entire council of ministers.

2. It can be moved against the entire council of


ministers only.

3. It is moved for censuring the council of ministers for specific


policies and actions.

3. It is moved for ascertaining the confidence of Lok


Sabha in the council of ministers.

4. If it is passed in the Lok Sabha, the council of ministers need


not resign from the office.

4. If it is passed in the Lok Sabha, the council of


ministers must resign from office.

Adjournment Motion It is introduced in the Parliament to draw attention of the House to a definite
matter of urgent public importance, and needs the support of 50 members to be admitted. As it
interrupts the normal business of the House, it is regarded as an extraordinary device. It involves an
element of censure against the government and hence Rajya Sabha is not permitted to make use of this
device. The discussion on an adjournment motion should last for not less than two hours and thirty
minutes.
The right to move a motion for an adjournment of the business of the House is subject to the following
restrictions:
1. It should raise a matter which is definite, factual, urgent and of public importance;
2. It should not cover more than one matter;
3. It should be restricted to a specific matter of recent occurrence and should not be framed in
general terms;
4. It should not raise a question of privilege;
5. It should not revive discussion on a matter that has been discussed in the same session;
6. It should not deal with any matter that is under adjudication by court; and
7. It should not raise any question that can be raised on a distinct motion.
No-Confidence Motion Article 75 of the Constitution says that the council of ministers shall be
collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. It means that the ministry stays in office so long as it enjoys
confidence of the majority of the members of the Lok Sabha. In other words, the Lok Sabha can
remove the ministry from office by passing a no-confidence motion. The motion needs the support of
50 members to be admitted.

Censure Motion A censure motion is different from a no-confidence motion as shown in Table 22.2.
Motion of Thanks The first session after each general election and the first session of every fiscal
year is addressed by the president. In this address, the president outlines the policies and programmes
of the government in the preceding year and ensuing year. This address of the president, which
corresponds to the speech from the Throne in Britain, is discussed in both the Houses of Parliament
on a motion called the Motion of Thanks. At the end of the discussion, the motion is put to vote. This
motion must be passed in the House. Otherwise, it amounts to the defeat of the government. This
inaugural speech of the president is an occasion available to the members of Parliament to raise
discussions and debates to examine and criticise the government and administration for its lapses and
failures.
No-Day-Yet-Named Motion It is a motion that has been admitted by the Speaker but no date has
been fixed for its discussion. The Speaker, after considering the state of business in the House and in
consultation with the leader of the House or on the recommendation of the Business Advisory
Committee, allots a day or days or part of a day for the discussion of such a motion.

Point of Order
A member can raise a point of order when the proceedings of the House do not follow the normal
rules of procedure. A point of order should relate to the interpretation or enforcement of the Rules of
the House or such articles of the Constitution that regulate the business of the House and should raise
a question that is within the cognizance of the Speaker. It is usually raised by an opposition member
in order to control the government. It is an extraordinary device as it suspends the proceedings before
the House. No debate is allowed on a point of order.

Half-an-Hour Discussion
It is meant for discussing a matter of sufficient public importance, which has been subjected to a lot of
debate and the answer to which needs elucidation on a matter of fact. The Speaker can allot three
days in a week for such discussions. There is no formal motion or voting before the House.

Short Duration Discussion


It is also known as two-hour discussion as the time allotted for such a discussion should not exceed
two hours. The members of the Parliament can raise such discussions on a matter of urgent public
importance. The Speaker can allot two days in a week for such discussions. There is neither a formal
motion before the house nor voting. This device has been in existence since 1953.

Special Mention
A matter which is not a point of order or which cannot be raised during question hour, half-an hour
discussion, short duration discussion or under adjournment motion, calling attention notice or under
any rule of the House can be raised under the special mention in the Rajya Sabha. Its equivalent
procedural device in the Lok Sabha is known as Notice (Mention) Under Rule 377.

Resolutions

The members can move resolutions to draw the attention of the House or the government to matters of
general public interest. The discussion on a resolution is strictly relevant to and within the scope of
the resolution. A member who has moved a resolution or amendment to a resolution cannot withdraw
the same except by leave of the House.
Resolutions are classified into three categories:16
1. Private Members Resolution: It is one that is moved by a private member (other than a
minister). It is discussed only on alternate Fridays and in the afternoon sitting.
2. Government Resolution: It is one that is moved by a minister. It can be taken up any day from
Monday to Thursday.
3. Statutory Resolution: It can be moved either by a private member or a minister. It is so called
because it is always tabled in pursuance of a provision in the Constitution or an Act of
Parliament.
Resolutions are different from motions in the following respects:
All resolutions come in the category of substantive motions, that is to say, every resolution is a
particular type of motion. All motions need not necessarily be substantive. Further, all motions
are not necessarily put to vote of the House, whereas all the resolutions are required to be voted
upon.17

Youth Parliament
The scheme of Youth Parliament was started on the recommendation of the Fourth All India Whips
Conference. Its objectives are:
1. to acquaint the younger generations with practices and procedures of Parliament;
2. to imbibe the spirit of discipline and tolerance cultivating character in the minds of youth; and
3. to inculcate in the student community the basic values of democracy and to enable them to
acquire a proper perspective on the functioning of democratic institutions.
The ministry of parliamentary affairs provides necessary training and encouragement to the states in
introducing the scheme.

LEGISLATIVE P ROCEDURE IN P ARLIAMENT


The legislative procedure is identical in both the Houses of Parliament. Every bill has to pass through
the same stages in each House. A bill is a proposal for legislation and it becomes an act or law when
duly enacted.
Table 22.3 Public Bill vs Private Bill
Public Bill

Private Bill

1. It is introduced in the Parliament by a minister.

1. It is introduced by any member of Parliament other


than a minister.

2. It reflects of the policies of the government (ruling party).

2. It reflects the stand of opposition party on public


matter.

3. It has greater chance to be approved by the Parliament.

3. It has lesser chance to be approved by the

Parliament.
4. Its rejection by the House amounts to the exp-ression of want
of parliamentary confidence in the government and may lead to
its resignation.

4. Its rejection by the House has no implication on the


parliamentary confidence in the government or its
resignation.

5. Its introduction in the House requires seven days notice.

5. Its introduction in the House requires one months


notice.

6. It is drafted by the concerned department in consultation with


the law department.

6. Its drafting is the responsibility of the member


concerned.

Bills introduced in the Parliament are of two kinds: public bills and private bills (also known as
government bills and private members bills respectively). Though both are governed by the same
general procedure and pass through the same stages in the House, they differ in various respects as
shown in Table 22.3.
The bills introduced in the Parliament can also be classified into four categories:
1. Ordinary bills, which are concerned with any matter other than financial subjects.
2. Money bills, which are concerned with the financial matters like taxation, public expenditure,
etc.
3. Financial bills, which are also concerned with financial matters (but are different from money
bills).
4. Constitution amendment bills, which are concerned with the amendment of the provisions of
the Constitution.
The Constitution has laid down separate procedures for the enactment of all the four types of bills.
The procedures with regard to ordinary bills, money bills and financial bills are explained here. The
procedure with regard to Constitution amendment bills is explained in detail in Chapter 10.

Ordinary Bills
Every ordinary bill has to pass through the following five stages in the Parliament before it finds a
place on the Statute Book:
1. First Reading An ordinary bill can be introduced in either House of Parliament. Such a bill can be
introduced either by a minister or by any other member. The member who wants to introduce the bill
has to ask for the leave of the House. When the House grants leave to introduce the bill, the mover of
the bill introduces it by reading its title and objectives. No discussion on the bill takes place at this
stage. Later, the bill is published in the Gazette of India. If a bill is published in the Gazette before its
introduction, leave of the House to introduce the bill is not necessary. 18 The introduction of the bill
and its publication in the Gazette constitute the first reading of the bill.
2. Second Reading During this stage, the bill receives not only the general but also the detailed
scrutiny and assumes its final shape. Hence, it forms the most important stage in the enactment of a
bill. In fact, this stage involves three more sub-stages, namely, stage of general discussion, committee
stage and consideration stage.
(a) Stage of General Discussion The printed copies of the bill are distributed to all the members.

The principles of the bill and its provisions are discussed generally, but the details of the bill are not
discussed.
At this stage, the House can take any one of the following four actions:
(i) It may take the bill into consideration immediately or on some other fixed date;
(ii) It may refer the bill to a select committee of the House;
(iii) It may refer the bill to a joint committee of the two Houses; and
(iv) It may circulate the bill to elicit public opinion.
A Select Committee consists of members of the House where the bill has originated and a joint
committee consists of members of both the Houses of Parliament.
(b) Committee Stage The usual practice is to refer the bill to a select committee of the House. This
committee examines the bill thoroughly and in detail, clause by clause. It can also amend its
provisions, but without altering the principles underlying it. After completing the scrutiny and
discussion, the committee reports the bill back to the House.
(c) Consideration Stage The House, after receiving the bill from the select committee, considers the
provisions of the bill clause by clause. Each clause is discussed and voted upon separately. The
members can also move amendments and if accepted, they become part of the bill.
3. Third Reading At this stage, the debate is confined to the acceptance or rejection of the bill as a
whole and no amendments are allowed, as the general principles underlying the bill have already
been scrutinised during the stage of second reading. If the majority of members present and voting
accept the bill, the bill is regarded as passed by the House. Thereafter, the bill is authenticated by the
presiding officer of the House and transmitted to the second House for consideration and approval. A
bill is deemed to have been passed by the Parliament only when both the Houses have agreed to it,
either with or without amendments.
4. Bill in the Second House In the second House also, the bill passes through all the three stages, that
is, first reading, second reading and third reading. There are four alternatives before this House:
(a) it may pass the bill as sent by the first house (ie, without amendments);
(b) it may pass the bill with amendments and return it to the first House for reconsideration;
(c) it may reject the bill altogether; and
(d) it may not take any action and thus keep the bill pending.
If the second House passes the bill without any amendments or the first House accepts the
amendments suggested by the second House, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the
Houses and the same is sent to the president for his assent. On the other hand, if the first House rejects
the amendments suggested by the second House or the second House rejects the bill altogether or the
second House does not take any action for six months, a deadlock is deemed to have taken place. To
resolve such a deadlock, the president can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses. If the majority of
members present and voting in the joint sitting approves the bill, the bill is deemed to have been
passed by both the Houses.
5. Assent of the President Every bill after being passed by both Houses of Parliament either singly

or at a joint sitting, is presented to the president for his assent. There are three alternatives before the
president:
(a) he may give his assent to the bill; or
(b) he may withhold his assent to the bill; or
(c) he may return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.
If the president gives his assent to the bill, the bill becomes an act and is placed on the Statute Book.
If the President withholds his assent to the bill, it ends and does not become an act. If the President
returns the bill for reconsideration and if it is passed by both the Houses again with or without
amendments and presented to the President for his assent, the president must give his assent to the
bill. Thus, the President enjoys only a suspensive veto.19

Money Bills
Article 110 of the Constitution deals with the definition of money bills. It states that a bill is deemed
to be a money bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters:
1. The imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;
2. The regulation of the borrowing of money by the Union government;
3. The custody of the Consolidated Fund of India or the contingency fund of India, the payment of
moneys into or the withdrawal of money from any such fund;
4. The appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
5. Declaration of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or increasing the
amount of any such expenditure;
6. 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
7. Any matter incidental to any of the matters specified above.
However, a bill is not to be deemed to be a money bill by reason only that it provides for:
1. the imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties, or
2. the demand or payment of fees for licenses or fees for services rendered; or
3. the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax by any local authority
or body for local purposes.
If any question arises whether a bill is a money bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the Lok
Sabha is final. His decision in this regard cannot be questioned in any court of law or in the either
House of Parliament or even the president. When a money bill is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for
recommendation and presented to the president for assent, the Speaker endorses it as a money bill.
The Constitution lays down a special procedure for the passing of money bills in the Parliament. A
money bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and that too on the recommendation of the
president. Every such bill is considered to be a government bill and can be introduced only by a
minister.
After a money bill is passed by the Lok Sabha, it is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for its

consideration. The Rajya Sabha has restricted powers with regard to a money bill. It cannot reject or
amend a money bill. It can only make the recommendations. It must return the bill to the Lok Sabha
within 14 days, wither with or without recommendations. The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject
all or any of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha.
If the Lok Sabha accepts any recommendation, the bill is then deemed to have been passed by both the
Houses in the modified form. If the Lok Sabha does not accept any recommendation, the bill is then
deemed to have passed by both the Houses in the form originally passed by the Lok Sabha without any
change.
If the Rajya Sabha does not return the bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, the bill is deemed to have
been passed by both the Houses in the form originally passed by the Lok Sabha. Thus, the Lok Sabha
has more powers than Rajya Sabha with regard to a money bill. On the other hand, both the Houses
have equal powers with regard to an ordinary bill.
Finally, when a money bill is presented to the president, he may either give his assent to the bill or
withhold his assent to the bill but cannot return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses. Normally,
the president gives his assent to a money bill as it is introduced in the Parliament with his prior
permission.
Table 22.4 shows the differences between the procedures for the enactment of ordinary bills and
money bills.

Financial Bills
Financial bills are those bills that deal with fiscal matters, that is, revenue or expenditure. However,
the Constitution uses the term financial bill in a technical sense. Financial bills are of three kinds:
1. Money billsArticle 110
2. Financial bills (I)Article 117 (1)
3. Financial bills (II)Article 117 (3)
This classification implies that money bills are simply a species of financial bills. Hence, all money
bills are financial bills but all financial bills are not money bills. Only those financial bills are money
bills which contain exclusively those matters which are mentioned in Article 110 of the Constitution.
These are also certified by the Speaker of Lok Sabha as money bills. The financial bills (I) and (II),
on the other hand, have been dealt with in Article 117 of the Constitution.
Table 22.4 Ordinary Bill Vs Money Bill
Ordinary Bill

Money Bill

1. It can be introduced either in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya


Sabha.

1. It can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in


the Rajya Sabha.

2. It can be introduced either by a minister or by a private


member.

2. It can be introduced only by a minister.

3. It is introduced without the recommendation of the


president.

3. It can be introduced only on the recommendation of the


President.

4. It can be amended or rejected by the Rajya Sabha.

4. It cannot be amended or rejected by the Rajya Sabha.


The Rajya Sabha should return the bill with or without

recommendations, which may be accepted or rejected


by the Lok Sabha.
5. It can be detained by the Rajya Sabha for a maximum
period of six months.

5. It can be detained by the Rajya Sabha for a maximum


period of 14 days only.

6. It does not require the certification of the Speaker when


transmitted to the Rajya Sabha (if it has originated in the
Lok Sabha).

6. It requires the certification of the Speaker when


transmitted to the Rajya Sabha.

7. It is sent for the Presidents assent only after being


approved by both the Houses. In case of a deadlock due to
disagreement between the two Houses, a joint sitting of both
the houses can be summoned by the president to resolve the
deadlock.

7. It is sent for the Presidents assent even if it is


approved by only Lok Sabha. There is no chance of
any disagreement between the two Houses and hence,
there is no provision of joint sitting of both the Houses
in this regard.

8. Its defeat in the Lok Sabha may lead to the resignation of


the government (if it is introduced by a minister).

8. Its defeat in the Lok Sabha leads to the resignation of


the government.

9. It can be rejected, approved, or returned for reconsideration


by the President.

9. It can be rejected or approved but cannot be returned


for reconsideration by the President.

Financial Bills (I) A financial bill (I) is a bill that contains not only any or all the matters mentioned
in Article 110, but also other matters of general legislation. For instance, a bill that contains a
borrowing clause, but does not exclusively deal with borrowing. In two respects, a financial bill (I)
is similar to a money bill(a) both of them can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the
Rajya Sabha, and (b) both of them can be introduced only on the recommendation of the president. In
all other respects, a financial bill (I) is governed by the same legislative procedure applicable to an
ordinary bill. Hence, it can be either rejected or amended by the Rajya Sabha (except that an
amendment other than for reduction or abolition of a tax cannot be moved in either House without the
recommendation of the president). In case of a disagreement between the two Houses over such a bill,
the president can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock. When the bill is
presented to the President, he can either give his assent to the bill or withhold his assent to the bill or
return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.
Financial Bills (II) A financial bill (II) contains provisions involving expenditure from the
Consolidated Fund of India, but does not include any of the matters mentioned in Article 110. It is
treated as an ordinary bill and in all respects, it is governed by the same legislative procedure which
is applicable to an ordinary bill. The only special feature of this bill is that it cannot be passed by
either House of Parliament unless the President has recommended to that House the consideration of
the bill. Hence, financial bill (II) can be introduced in either House of Parliament and
recommendation of the President is not necessary for its introduction. It can be either rejected or
amended by either House of Parliament. In case of a disagreement between the two Houses over such
a bill, the President can summon a joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock. When the
bill is presented to the President, he can either give his assent to the bill or withhold his assent to the
bill or return the bill for reconsideration of the Houses.

JOINT SITTING OF TWO HOUSES


Joint sitting is an extraordinary machinery provided by the Constitution to resolve a deadlock

between the two Houses over the passage of a bill. A deadlock is deemed to have taken place under
any one of the following three situations after a bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to
the other House:
1. if the bill is rejected by the other House;
2. if the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the bill; or
3. if more than six months have elapsed from the date of the receipt of the bill by the other House
without the bill being passed by it.
In the above three situations, the president can summon both the Houses to meet in a joint sitting for
the purpose of deliberating and voting on the bill. It must be noted here that the provision of joint
sitting is applicable to ordinary bills or financial bills only and not to money bills or Constitutional
amendment bills. In the case of a money bill, the Lok Sabha has overriding powers, while a
Constitutional amendment bill must be passed by each House separately.
In reckoning the period of six months, no account can be taken of any period during which the other
House (to which the bill has been sent) is prorogued or adjourned for more than four consecutive
days.
If the bill (under dispute) has already lapsed due to the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, no joint sitting
can be summoned. But, the joint sitting can be held if the Lok Sabha is dissolved after the President
has notified his intention to summon such a sitting (as the bill does not lapse in this case). After the
President notifies his intention to summon a joint sitting of the two Houses, none of the Houses can
proceed further with the bill.
The Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over a joint sitting of the two Houses and the Deputy Speaker, in
his absence. If the Deputy Speaker is also absent from a joint sitting, the Deputy Chairman of Rajya
Sabha presides. If he is also absent, such other person as may be determined by the members present
at the joint sitting, presides over the meeting. It is clear that the Chairman of Rajya Sabha does not
preside over a joint sitting as he is not a member of either House of Parliament.
The quorum to constitute a joint sitting is one-tenth of the total number of members of the two Houses.
The joint sitting is governed by the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and not of Rajya Sabha.
If the bill in dispute is passed by a majority of the total number of members of both the Houses
present and voting in the joint sitting, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses.
Normally, the Lok Sabha with greater number wins the battle in a joint sitting.
The Constitution has specified that at a joint sitting, new amendments to the bill cannot be proposed
except in two cases:
1. those amendments that have caused final disagreement between the Houses; and
2. those amendments that might have become necessary due to the delay in the passage of the
bill.
Since 1950, the provision regarding the joint sitting of the two Houses has been invoked only thrice.
The bills that have been passed at joint sittings are:
1.

Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1960.20

2.

Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977.21

3.

Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002.22

B UDGET IN P ARLIAMENT
The Constitution refers to the budget as the annual financial statement. In other words, the term
budget has nowhere been used in the Constitution. It is the popular name for the annual financial
statement that has been dealt with in Article 112 of the Constitution.
The budget is a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India in a
financial year, which begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March of the following year.
In addition to the estimates of receipts and expenditure, the budget contains certain other elements.
Overall, the budget contains the following:
1. Estimates of revenue and capital receipts;
2. Ways and means to raise the revenue;
3. Estimates of expenditure;
4. Details of the actual receipts and expenditure of the closing financial year and the reasons for
any deficit or surplus in that year; and
5. Economic and financial policy of the coming year, that is, taxation proposals, prospects of
revenue, spending programme and introduction of new schemes/projects.
The Government of India has two budgets, namely, the Railway Budget and the General Budget.
While the former consists of the estimates of receipts and expenditures of only the Ministry of
Railways, the latter consists of the estimates of receipts and expenditure of all the ministries of the
Government of India (except the railways).
The Railway Budget was separated from the General Budget in 1921 on the recommendations of the
Acworth Committee. The reasons or objectives of this separation are as follows:
1. To introduce flexibility in railway finance.
2. To facilitate a business approach to the railway policy.
3. To secure stability of the general revenues by providing an assured annual contribution from
railway revenues.
4. To enable the railways to keep their profits for their own development (after paying a fixed
annual contribution to the general revenues).

Constitutional Provisions
The Constitution of India contains the following provisions with regard to the enactment of budget:
1. The President shall in respect of every financial year cause to be laid before both the Houses
of Parliament a statement of estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India for
that year.
2. No demand for a grant shall be made except on the recommendation of the President.
3. No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India except under
appropriation made by law.
4. No money bill imposing tax shall be introduced in the Parliament except on the

5.
6.
7.

8.

9.

recommendation of the President, and such a bill shall not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
No tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law.
Parliament can reduce or abolish a tax but cannot increase it.
The Constitution has also defined the relative roles or position of both the Houses of
Parliament with regard to the enactment of the budget in the following way:
(a) A money bill or finance bill dealing with taxation cannot be introduced in the Rajya
Sabhait must be introduced only in the Lok Sabha.
(b) The Rajya Sabha has no power to vote on the demand for grants; it is the exclusive
privilege of the Lok Sabha.
(c) The Rajya Sabha should return the Money bill (or Finance bill) to the Lok Sabha within
fourteen days. The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject the recommendations made by
Rajya Sabha in this regard.
The estimates of expenditure embodied in the budget shall show separately the expenditure
charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and the expenditure made from the Consolidated
Fund of India.
The budget shall distinguish expenditure on revenue account from other expenditure.

Charged Expenditure
The budget consists of two types of expenditurethe expenditure charged upon the Consolidated
Fund of India and the expenditure made from the Consolidated Fund of India. The charged
expenditure is non-votable by the Parliament, that is, it can only be discussed by the Parliament,
while the other type has to be voted by the Parliament. The list of the charged expenditure is as
follows:
1. Emoluments and allowances of the President and other expenditure relating to his office.
2. Salaries and allowances of the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and the
Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
3. Salaries, allowances and pensions of the judges of the Supreme Court.
4. Pensions of the judges of high courts.
5. Salary, allowances and pension of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
6. Salaries, allowances and pension of the chairman and members of the Union Public Service
Commission.
7. Administrative expenses of the Supreme Court, the office of the Comptroller and Auditor
General of India and the Union Public Service Commission including the salaries, allowances
and pensions of the persons serving in these offices.
8. The debt charges for which the Government of India is liable, including interest, sinking fund
charges and redemption charges and other expenditure relating to the raising of loans and the
service and redemption of debt.
9. Any sum required to satisfy any judgement, decree or award of any court or arbitral tribunal.
10. Any other expenditure declared by the Parliament to be so charged.

Stages in Enactment
The budget goes through the following six stages in the Parliament:
1. Presentation of budget.
2. General discussion.
3. Scrutiny by departmental committees.
4. Voting on demands for grants.
5. Passing of appropriation bill.
6. Passing of finance bill.
1. Presentation of Budget The budget is presented in two partsRailway Budget and General
Budget. Both are governed by the same procedure.
The introduction of Railway Budget precedes that of the General Budget. While the former is
presented to the Lok Sabha by the railway minister in the third week of February, the latter is
presented to the Lok Sabha by the finance minister on the last working day of February.
The Finance Minister presents the General Budget with a speech known as the budget speech. At the
end of the speech in the Lok Sabha, the budget is laid before the Rajya Sabha, which can only discuss
it and has no power to vote on the demands for grants.
2. General Discussion The general discussion on budget begins a few days after its presentation. It
takes place in both the Houses of Parliament and lasts usually for three to four days.
During this stage, the Lok Sabha can discuss the budget as a whole or on any question of principle
involved therein but no cut motion can be moved nor can the budget be submitted to the vote of the
House. The finance minister has a general right of reply at the end of the discussion.
3. Scrutiny by Departmental Committees After the general discussion on the budget is over, the
Houses are adjourned for about three to four weeks. During this gap period, the 24 departmental
standing committees of Parliament examine and discuss in detail the demands for grants of the
concerned ministers and prepare reports on them. These reports are submitted to both the Houses of
Parliament for consideration.
The standing committee system established is 1993 (and expanded in 2004) makes parliamentary
financial control over ministries much more detailed, close, in-depth and comprehensive.
4. Voting on Demands for Grants In the light of the reports of the departmental standing committees,
the Lok Sabha takes up voting of demands for grants. The demands are presented ministrywise. A
demand becomes a grant after it has been duly voted.
Two points should be noted in this context. One, the voting of demands for grants is the exclusive
privilege of the Lok Sabha, that is, the Rajya Sabha has no power of voting the demands. Second, the
voting is confined to the votable part of the budgetthe expenditure charged on the Consolidated
Fund of India is not submitted to the vote (it can only be discussed).
While the General Budget has a total of 109 demands (103 for civil expenditure and 6 for defence
expenditure), the Railway Budget has 32 demands. Each demand is voted separately by the Lok

Sabha. During this stage, the members of Parliament can discuss the details of the budget. They can
also move motions to reduce any demand for grant. Such motions are called as cut motion, which
are of three kinds:
(a) Policy Cut Motion It represents the disapproval of the policy underlying the demand. It states that
the amount of the demand be reduced to Re 1. The members can also advocate an alternative policy.
(b) Economy Cut Motion It represents the economy that can be affected in the proposed expenditure.
It states that the amount of the demand be reduced by a specified amount (which may be either a
lumpsum reduction in the demand or ommission or reduction of an item in the demand).
(c) Token Cut Motion It ventilates a specific grievance that is within the sphere of responsibility of
the Government of India. It states that the amount of the demand be reduced by Rs 100.
A cut motion, to be admissible, must satisfy the following conditions:
(i) It should relate to one demand only.
(ii) It should be clearly expressed and should not contain arguments or defamatory statements.
(iii) It should be confined to one specific matter.
(iv) It should not make suggestions for the amendment or repeal of existing laws.
(v) It should not refer to a matter that is not primarily the concern of Union government.
(vi) It should not relate to the expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
(vii) It should not relate to a matter that is under adjudication by a court.
(viii)It should not raise a question of privilege.
(ix) It should not revive discussion on a matter on which a decision has been taken in the same
session.
(x) It should not relate to a trivial matter.
The significance of a cut motion lies in: (a) facilitating the initiation of concentrated discussion on a
specific demand for grant; and (b) upholding the principle of responsible government by probing the
activities of the government. However, the cut motion do not have much utility in practice. They are
only moved and discussed in the House but not passed as the government enjoys majority support.
Their passage by the Lok Sabha amounts to the expressions of want of parliamentary confidence in the
government and may lead to its resignation.
In total, 26 days are allotted for the voting of demands. On the last day the Speaker puts all the
remaining demands to vote and disposes them whether they have been discussed by the members or
not. This is known as guillotine.
5. Passing of Appropriation Bill The Constitution states that no money shall be withdrawn from the
Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriation made by law. Accordingly, an appropriation
bill is introduced to provide for the appropriation, out of the Consolidated Fund of India, all money
required to meet:
(a) The grants voted by the Lok Sabha.
(b) The expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
No such amendment can be proposed to the appropriation bill in either house of the Parliament that

will have the effect of varying the amount or altering the destination of any grant voted, or of varying
the amount of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
The Appropriation Bill becomes the Appropriation Act after it is assented to by the President. This
act authorises (or legalises) the payments from the Consolidated Fund of India. This means that the
government cannot withdraw money from the Consolidated Fund of India till the enactment of the
appropriation bill. This takes time and usually goes on till the end of April. But the government needs
money to carry on its normal activities after 31 March (the end of the financial year). To overcome
this functional difficulty, the Constitution has authorised the Lok Sabha to make any grant in advance
in respect to the estimated expenditure for a part of the financial year, pending the completion of the
voting of the demands for grants and the enactment of the appropriation bill. This provision is known
as the vote on account. It is passed (or granted) after the general discussion on budget is over. It is
generally granted for two months for an amount equivalent to one-sixth of the total estimation.
6. Passing of Finance Bill The Finance Bill is introduced to give effect to the financial proposals of
the Government of India for the following year. It is subjected to all the conditions applicable to a
Money Bill. Unlike the Appropriation Bill, the amendments (seeking to reject or reduce a tax) can be
moved in the case of finance bill.
According to the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act of 1931, the Finance Bill must be enacted (i.e.,
passed by the Parliament and assented to by the president) within 75 days.
The Finance Act legalises the income side of the budget and completes the process of the enactment
of the budget.

Other Grants
In addition to the budget that contains the ordinary estimates of income and expenditure for one
financial year, various other grants are made by the Parliament under extraordinary or special
circumstances:
Supplementary Grant It is granted when the amount authorised by the Parliament through the
appropriation act for a particular service for the current financial year is found to be insufficient for
that year.
Additional Grant It is granted when a need has arisen during the current financial year for additional
expenditure upon some new service not contempleted in the budget for that year.
Excess Grant It is granted when money has been spent on any service during a financial year in
excess of the amount granted for that service in the budget for that year. It is voted by the Lok Sabha
after the financial year. Before the demands for excess grants are submitted to the Lok Sabha for
voting, they must be approved by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
Vote of Credit It is granted for meeting an unexpected demand upon the resources of India, when on
account of the magnitude or the indefinite character of the service, the demand cannot be stated with
the details ordinarily given in a budget. Hence, it is like a blank cheque given to the Executive by the
Lok Sabha.
Exceptional Grant It is granted for a special purpose and forms no part of the current service of any

financial year.
Token Grant It is granted when funds to meet the proposed expenditure on a new service can be
made available by reappropriation. A demand for the grant of a token sum (of Re 1) is submitted to
the vote of the Lok Sabha and if assented, funds are made available. Reappropriation involves
transfer of funds from one head to another. It does not involve any additional expenditure.
Supplementary, additional, excess and exceptional grants and vote of credit are regulated by the same
procedure which is applicable in the case of a regular budget.

Funds
The Constitution of India provides for the following three kinds of funds for the Central government:
1. Consolidated Fund of India (Article 266)
2. Public Account of India (Article 266)
3. Contingency Fund of India (Article 267)
Consolidated Fund of India It is a fund to which all receipts are credited and all payments are
debited. In other words, (a) all revenues received by the Government of India; (b) all loans raised by
the Government by the issue of treasury bills, loans or ways and means of advances; and (c) all
money received by the government in repayment of loans forms the Consolidated Fund of India. All
the legally authorised payments on behalf of the Government of India are made out of this fund. No
money out of this fund can be appropriated (issued or drawn) except in accordance with a
parliamentary law.
Public Account of India All other public money (other than those which are credited to the
Consolidated Fund of India) received by or on behalf of the Government of India shall be credited to
the Public Account of India. This includes provident fund deposits, judicial deposits, savings bank
deposits, departmental deposits, remittances and so on. This account is operated by executive action,
that is, the payments from this account can by made without parliamentary appropriation. Such
payments are mostly in the nature of banking transactions.
Contingency Fund of India The Constitution authorised the Parliament to establish a Contingency
Fund of India, into which amounts determined by law are paid from time to time. Accordingly, the
Parliament enacted the contingency fund of India Act in 1950. This fund is placed at the disposal of
the president, and he can make advances out of it to meet unforeseen expenditure pending its
authorisation by the Parliament. The fund is held by the finance secretary on behalf of the president.
Like the public account of India, it is also operated by executive action.

MULTIFUNCTIONAL ROLE OF P ARLIAMENT


In the Indian politico-administrative system, the Parliament occupies a central position and has a
multifunctional role. It enjoys extensive powers and performs a variety of functions towards the
fulfilment of its constitutionally expected role. Its powers and functions can be classified under the
following heads:
1. Legislative Powers and Functions

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Executive Powers and Functions


Financial Powers and Functions
Constituent Powers and Functions
Judicial Powers and Functions
Electoral Powers and Functions
Other powers and functions.

1.Legislative Powers and Functions


The primary function of Parliament is to make laws for the governance of the country. It has exclusive
power to make laws on the subjects enumerated in the Union List (which at present has 100 subjects,
originally 97 subjects) and on the residuary subjects (that is, subjects not enumerated in any of the
three lists). With regard to Concurrent List (which has at present 52 subjects, originally 47 subjects),
the Parliament has overriding powers, that is, the law of Parliament prevails over the law of the state
legislature in case of a conflict between the two.
The Constitution also empowers the Parliament to make laws on the subjects enumerated in the State
List (which at present has 61 subjects, originally 66 subjects) under the following five abnormal
circumstances:
(a) when Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to that effect.
(b) when a proclamation of National Emergency is in operation.
(c) when two or more states make a joint request to the Parliament.
(d) when necessary to give effect to international agreements, treaties and conventions.
(e) when Presidents Rule is in operation in the state.
All the ordinances issued by the president (during the recess of the Parliament) must be approved by
the Parliament within six weeks after its reassembly. An ordinance becomes inoperative if it is not
approved by the parliament within that period.
The Parliament makes laws in a skeleton form and authorises the Executive to make detailed rules
and regulations within the framework of the parent law. This is known as delegated legislation or
executive legislation or subordinate legislation. Such rules and regulations are placed before the
Parliament for its examination.

2. Executive Powers and Functions


The Constitution of India established a parliamentary form of government in which the Executive is
responsible to the Parliament for its policies and acts. Hence, the Parliament exercises control over
the Executive through question-hour, zero hour, half-an-hour discussion, short duration discussion,
calling attention motion, adjournment motion, no-confidence motion, censure motion and other
discussions. It also supervises the activities of the Executive with the help of its committees like
committee on government assurance, committee on subordinate legislation, committee on petitions,
etc.
The ministers are collectively responsible to the Parliament in general and to the Lok Sabha in
particular. As a part of collective responsibility, there is individual responsibility, that is, each

minister is individually responsible for the efficient administration of the ministry under his charge.
This means that they continue in office so long as they enjoy the confidence of the majority members
in the Lok Sabha. In other words, the council of ministers can be removed from office by the Lok
Sabha by passing a no-confidence motion. The Lok Sabha can also express lack of confidence in the
government in the following ways:
(a) By not passing a motion of thanks on the Presidents inaugural address.
(b) By rejecting a money bill.
(c) By passing a censure motion or an adjournment motion.
(d) By defeating the government on a vital issue.
(e) By passing a cut motion.
Therefore, the first function of Parliament can be said to be to select the group which is to form the
government, support and sustain it in power so long as it enjoys its confidence, and to expel it when it
ceases to do so, and leave it to the people to decide at the next general election.23

3. Financial Powers and Functions


No tax can be levied or collected and no expenditure can be incurred by the Executive except under
the authority and with the approval of Parliament. Hence, the budget is placed before the Parliament
for its approval. The enactment of the budget by the Parliament legalises the receipts and expenditure
of the government for the ensuing financial year.
The Parliament also scrutinises government spending and financial performance with the help of its
financial committees. These include public accounts committee, estimates committee and committee
on public undertakings. They bring out the cases of illegal, irregular, unauthorised, improper usage
and wastage and extravagance in public expenditure.
Therefore, the parliamentary control over the Executive in financial matters operates in two stages:
(a) budgetary control, that is, control before the appropriation of grants through the enactment of
the budget; and
(b) post-budgetary control, that is, control after the appropriation of grants through the three
financial committees.
The budget is based on the principle of annuality, that is, the Parliament grants money to the
government for one financial year. If the granted money is not spent by the end of the financial year,
then the balance expires and returns to the Consolidated Fund of India. This practice is known as the
rule of lapse. It facilitates effective financial control by the Parliament as no reserve funds can be
built without its authorisation. However, the observance of this rule leads to heavy rush of
expenditure towards the close of the financial year. This is popularly called as March Rush.

4. Constituent Powers and Functions


The Parliament is vested with the powers to amend the Constitution by way of addition, variation or
repeal of any provision. The major part of the Constitution can be amended by the Parliament with
special majority, that is, a majority (that is, more than 50 per cent) of the total membership of each
House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting in each House.

Some other provisions of the Constitution can be amended by the Parliament with simple majority,
that is, a majority of the members present and voting in each House of Parliament. Only a few
provisions of the Constitution can be amended by the Parliament (by special majority) and with the
consent of at least half of the state Legislatures (by simple majority). However, the power to initiate
the process of the amendment of the Constitution (in all the three cases) lies exclusively in the hands
of the Parliament and not the state legislature. There is only one exception, that is, the state legislature
can pass a resolution requesting the Parliament for the creation or abolition of the legislative council
in the state. Based on the resolution, the Parliament makes an act for amending the Constitution to that
effect. To sum up, the Parliament can amend the Constitution in three ways:
(a) By simple majority;
(b) By special majority; and
(c) By special majority but with the consent of half of all the state legislatures.
The constituent power of the Parliament is not unlimited; it is subject to the basic structure of the
Constitution. In others words, the Parliament can amend any provision of the Constitution except the
basic features of the Constitution. This was ruled by the Supreme Court in the Kesavananda
Bharati case (1973) and reaffirmed in the Minerva Mills case (1980)24.

5. Judicial Powers and Functions


The judicial powers and functions of the Parliament include the following:
(a) It can impeach the President for the violation of the Constitution.
(b) It can remove the Vice-President from his office.
(c) It can recommend the removal of judges (including chief justice) of the Supreme Court and the
high courts, chief election commissioner, comptroller and auditor general to the president.
(d) It can punish its members or outsiders for the breach of its privileges or its contempt.

6. Electoral Powers and Functions


The Parliament participates in the election of the President (along with the state legislative
assemblies) and elects the Vice-President. The Lok Sabha elects its Speaker and Deputy Speaker,
while the Rajya Sabha elects its Deputy Chairman.
The Parliament is also authorised to make laws to regulate the elections to the offices of President
and Vice-President, to both the Houses of Parliament and to both the Houses of state legislature.
Accordingly, Parliament enacted the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election Act (1952), the
Representation of People Act (1950), the Representation of People Act (1951), etc.

7. Other Powers and Functions


The various other powers and functions of the Parliament include:
(a) It serves as the highest deliberative body in the country. It discusses various issues of national
and international significance.
(b) It approves all the three types of emergencies (national, state and financial) proclaimed by the
President.

(c) It can create or abolish the state legislative councils on the recommendation of the concerned
state legislative assemblies.
(d) It can increase or decrease the area, alter the boundaries and change the names of states of the
Indian Union.
(e) It can regulate the organisation and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and high courts and can
establish a common high court for two or more states.

INEFFECTIVENESS OF P ARLIAMENTARY CONTROL


The parliamentary control over government and administration in India is more theoretical than
practical. In reality, the control is not as effective as it ought to be. The following factors are
responsible for this:
(a) The Parliament has neither time nor expertise to control the administration which has grown in
volume as well as complexity.
(b) Parliaments financial control is hindered by the technical nature of the demands for grants.
The parliamentarians being laymen cannot understand them properly and fully.
(c) The legislative leadership lies with the Executive and it plays a significant role in formulating
policies.
(d) The very size of the Parliament is too large and unmanagable to be effective.
(e) The majority support enjoyed by the Executive in the Parliament reduces the possibility of
effective criticism.
(f) The financial committees like Public Accounts Committee examines the public expenditure
after it has been incurred by the Executive. Thus, they do post mortem work.
(g) The increased recourse to guillotine reduced the scope of financial control.
(h) The growth of delegated legislation has reduced the role of Parliament in making detailed
laws and has increased the powers of bureaucracy.
(i) The frequent promulgation of ordinances by the president dilutes the Parliaments power of
legislation.
(j) The Parliaments control is sporadic, general and mostly political in nature.
(k) Lack of strong and steady opposition in the Parliament, and a setback in the parliamentary
behaviour and ethics, have also contributed to the ineffectiveness of legislative control over
administration in India.

P OSITION OF RAJYA SABHA


The Constitutional position of the Rajya Sabha (as compared with the Lok Sabha) can be studied from
three angles:
1. Where Rajya Sabha is equal to Lok Sabha.
2. Where Rajya Sabha is unequal to Lok Sabha.
3. Where Rajya Sabha has special powers that are not at all shared with the Lok Sabha.

Equal Status with Lok Sabha


In the following matters, the powers and status of the Rajya Sabha are equal to that of the Lok Sabha:
1. Introduction and passage of ordinary bills.
2. Introduction and passage of Constitutional amendment bills.
3. Introduction and passage of financial bills involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund
of India.
4. Election and impeachment of the president.
5. Election and removal of the Vice-President. However, Rajya Sabha alone can initiate the
removal of the vice-president. He is removed by a resolution passed by the Rajya Sabha by a
special majority and agreed to by the Lok Sabha by a simple majority.
6. Making recommendation to the President for the removal of Chief Justice and judges of
Supreme Court and high courts, chief election commissioner and comptroller and auditor
general.
7. Approval of ordinances issued by the President.
8. Approval of proclamation of all three types of emergencies by the President.
9. Selection of ministers including the Prime Minister. Under the Constitution, the ministers
including the Prime Minister can be members of either House. However, irrespective of their
membership, they are responsible only to the Lok Sabha.
10. Consideration of the reports of the constitutional bodies like Finance Commission, Union
Public Service Commission, comptroller and auditor general, etc.
11. Enlargement of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Union Public Service
Commission.

Unequal Status with Lok Sabha


In the following matters, the powers and status of the Rajya Sabha are unequal to that of the Lok
Sabha:
1. A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha.
2. Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject a Money Bill. It should return the bill to the Lok Sabha
within 14 days, either with recommendations or without recommendations.
3. The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the Rajya
Sabha. In both the cases, the money bill is deemed to have been passed by the two Houses.
4. A financial bill, not containing solely the matters of Article 110, also can be introduced only
in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha. But, with regard to its passage, both the Houses
have equal powers.
5. The final power to decide whether a particular bill is a Money Bill or not is vested in the
Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
6. The Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over the joint sitting of both the Houses.
7. The Lok Sabha with greater number wins the battle in a joint sitting except when the combined
strength of the ruling party in both the Houses is less than that of the opposition parties.

8.

Rajya Sabha can only discuss the budget but cannot vote on the demands for grants (which is
the exclusive privilege of the Lok Sabha).
9. A resolution for the discontinuance of the national emergency can be passed only by the Lok
Sabha and not by the Rajya Sabha.
10. The Rajya Sabha cannot remove the council of ministers by passing a no-confidence motion.
This is because the Council of ministers is collectively responsible only to the Lok Sabha.
But, the Rajya Sabha can discuss and criticise the policies and activities of the government.

Special Powers of Rajya Sabha


Due to its federal character, the Rajya Sabha has been given two exclusive or special powers that are
not enjoyed by the Lok Sabha:
1. It can authorise the Parliament to make a law on a subject enumerated in the State List (Article
249).
2. It can authorise the Parliament to create new All-India Services common to both the Centre
and states (Article 312).
An analysis of the above points makes it clear that the position of the Rajya Sabha in our
constitutional system is not as weak as that of the House of Lords in the British constitutional system
nor as strong as that of the Senate in the American constitutional system. Except in financial matters
and control over the council of ministers, the powers and status of the Rajya Sabha in all other
spheres are broadly equal and coordinate with that of the Lok Sabha.
Even though the Rajya Sabha has been given less powers as compared with the Lok Sabha, its utility
is supported on the following grounds:
1. It checks hasty, defective, careless and ill-considered legislation made by the Lok Sabha by
making provision of revision and thought.
2. It facilitates giving representation to eminent professionals and experts who cannot face the
direct election. The President nominates 12 such persons to the Rajya Sabha.
3. It maintains the federal equilibrium by protecting the interests of the states against the undue
interference of the Centre.

Public Accounts Committee


This committee was setup first in 1921 under the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1919
and has since been in existence. At present, it consists of 22 members (15 from the Lok Sabha and 7
from the Rajya Sabha). The members are elected by the Parliament every year from amongst its
members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable
vote. Thus, all parties get due representation in it. The term of office of the members is one year. A
minister cannot be elected as a member of the committee. The chairman of the committee is appointed
by the Speaker from amongst its members. Until 196667, the chairman of the committee belonged to
the ruling party. However, since 1967 a convention has developed whereby the chairman of the
committee is selected invariably from the Opposition.
The function of the committee is to examine the annual audit reports of the comptroller and auditor
general of India (CAG), which are laid before the Parliament by the president. The CAG submits

three audit reports to the president, namely, audit report on appropriation accounts, audit report on
finance accounts and audit report on public undertakings.
The committee examines public expenditure not only from legal and formal point of view to discover
technical irregularities but also from the point of view of economy, prudence, wisdom and propriety
to bring out the cases of waste, loss, corruption, extravagance, inefficiency and nugatory expenses.
In more detail, the functions of the Committee are:
1. To examine the appropriation accounts and the finance accounts of the Union government and
any other accounts laid before the Lok Sabha. The appropriation accounts compare the actual
expenditure with the expenditure sanctioned by the Parliament through the appropriation act,
while the finance accounts shows the annual receipts and disbursements of the Union
government.
2. In scrutinising the appropriation accounts and the audit report of CAG on it, the Committee
has to satisfy itself that:
(a) the money that has been disbursed was legally available for the applied service or
purpose;
(b) the expenditure conforms to the authority that governs it; and
(c) every reappropriation has been made in accordance with the related rules.
3. To examine the accounts of state corporations, trading concerns and manufacturing projects
and the audit report of CAG on them (except those public undertakings which are allotted to
the committee on public undertakings).
4. To examine the accounts of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, the audit of which is
conducted by the CAG.
5. To consider the report of the CAG relating to an audit of any receipts or to examine the
accounts of stores and stocks.
6. To examine money spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount
granted by the Lok Sabha for that purpose.
In the fulfilment of the above functions, the committee is assisted by the CAG.

Estimates Committee
The origin of this committee can be traced to the standing financial committee set up in 1921. The first
Estimates Committee in the post-independence era was constituted in 1950 on the recommendation of
John Mathai, the then finance minister. Originally, it had 25 members but in 1956 its membership was
raised to 30. All the thirty members are from Lok Sabha only. The Rajya Sabha has no representation
in this committee. These members are elected by the Lok Sabha every year from amongst its members,
according to the principles of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
Thus, all parties get due representation in it. The term of office is one year. A minister cannot be
elected as a member of the committee. The chairman of the committee is appointed by the Speaker
from amongst its members and he is invariably from the ruling party.
The function of the committee is to examine the estimates included in the budget and suggest
economies in public expenditure. Hence, it has been described as a continuous economy

committee. In more detail, the functions of the committee are:


1. To report what economies, improvements in organisation, efficiency and administrative
reform consistent with the policy underlying the estimates, can be affected.
2. To suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in
administration.
3. To examine whether the money is well laid out within the limits of the policy implied in the
estimates.
4. To suggest the form in which the estimates are to be presented to Parliament.
The committee continues the examination of the estimates from time to time, throughout the financial
year and report to the House as its examination proceeds. It is not incumbent on the committee to
examine the entire estimates of any one year. The demands for grants are finally voted despite the fact
that the committee has made no report.

Committee on Public Undertakings


This committee was created in 1964 on the recommendation of the Krishna Menon Committee.
Originally, it had 15 members (10 from the Lok Sabha and 5 from the Rajya Sabha). However, in
1974, its membership was raised to 22 (15 from the Lok Sabha and 7 from the Rajya Sabha). The
members are elected by the Parliament every year from amongst its members according to the
principle of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. Thus, all parties get
due representation in it. The term of office of the members is one year. A minister cannot be elected
as a member of the committee. The chairman of the committee is appointed by the Speaker from
amongst its members who are drawn from the Lok Sabha only. Thus, the members of the committee
who are from the Rajya Sabha cannot be appointed as the chairman.
The functions of the committee are:
1. To examine the reports and accounts of public undertakings.
2. To examine the reports of the comptroller and auditor general on public undertakings.
3. To examine whether the affairs of the public undertakings are being managed in accordance
with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.
4. To exercise such other functions vested in the public accounts committee and the estimates
committee in relation to public undertakings which are allotted to it by the Speaker from time
to time.
The committee is not to examine and investigate any of the following:
1. Matters of major government policy as distinct from business or commercial functions of the
public undertakings.
2. Matters of day-to-day administration.
3. Matters for the consideration of which machinery is established by any special statute under
which a particular public undertaking is established.

Departmental Standing Committees


On the recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha, 17 departmentally related standing

committees were set-up in 1993. In 2004, seven more such committees were set-up, thus increasing
their number from 17 to 24.
The standing committees assist the Parliament in debating the budget more effectively. The main
objective is to secure more accountability of the Executive to the Parliament, particularly financial
accountability.
The 24 standing committees cover under their jurisdiction all the ministries / departments of the
Central Government.
Each standing committee consists of 31 members (21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha). The
members of the Lok Sabha are nominated by the Speaker from amongst its members, while the
members of the Rajya Sabha are nominated by the Chairman from amongst its members.
A minister is not eligible to be nominated as a member of any of the standing committee. In case a
member, after his nomination to any of the standing committee, is appointed as a minister, he then
ceases to be a member of the committee.
The term of office of each standing committee is one year from the date of its constitution.
Out of the 24 standing committees, 8 committees work under the Rajya Sabha and 16 committees
work under the Lok Sabha.
The functions of each of the standing committees are:
1. To consider the demands for grants of the concerned ministries/departments before they are
discussed and voted in the Lok Sabha. Its report should not suggest anything of the nature of
cut motions.
2. To examine bills pertaining to the concerned ministries/departments.
3. To consider annual reports of ministries/departments.
4. To consider national basic long-term policy documents presented to the Houses.
The limitations that are imposed on the functioning of these standing committees are:
1. They should not consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the concerned
ministries/departments.
2. They should not generally consider the matters which are considered by other parliamentary
committees.
It should be noted here that the recommendations of these committees are advisory in nature and hence
not binding on Parliament.
The merits of the standing committee system in the Parliament are:
1. Their proceedings are devoid of any party bias.
2. The procedure adopted by them is more flexible than in the Lok Sabha.
3. The system makes parliamentary control over Executive much more detailed, close,
continuous, indepth and comprehensive.
4. The system ensures economy and efficiency in public expenditure as the
ministries/departments would now be more careful in formulating their demands.
5. They facilitate opportunities to all the members of Parliament to participate and understand
the functioning of the government and contribute to it.

6.

7.

They can avail of expert opinion or public opinion to make the reports. They are authorised to
invite experts and eminent persons to testify before them and incorporate their opinions in
their reports.
The opposition parties and the Rajya Sabha can now play a greater role in exercising
financial control over the Executive.

Business Advisory Committee


It regulates the programme and time table of the House. It allocates time for the transaction of
legislative and other business brought before the House by the government. The Lok Sabha committee
consists of 15 members including the Speaker as its chairman. In the Rajya Sabha, it has 11 members
including the Chairman as its ex-officio chairman.

Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions


It classifies the bills and allocates time for the discussion of bills and resolutions introduced by
private members (other than ministers). This is a special committee of the Lok Sabha and consists of
15 members including the Deputy Speaker as its chairman. The Rajya Sabha does not have such a
committee. The same function in the Rajya Sabha is performed by the business advisory committee of
that House.

Committee on Government Assurances


It examines the assurances, promises and undertakings given by ministers from time to time on the
floor of the House and reports on the extent to which they have been implemented. In the Lok Sabha, it
consists of 15 members and in the Rajya Sabha, it consists of 10 members. It was constituted in 1953.

Committee on Subordinate Legislation


It examines and reports to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub-rules and
bye-laws delegated by the Parliament or conferred by the Constitution to the Executive are being
properly exercised by it. In both the Houses, the committee consists of 15 members. It was constituted
in 1953.

Committee on Welfare of SCs and STs


It consists of 30 members (20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha). Its functions are: (i) to
consider the reports of the National Commission for the SCs and the National Commission for the
STs; (ii) to examine all matters relating to the welfare of SCs and STs like implementation of
constitutional and statutory safeguards, working of welfare programmes, etc.

Committee on Absence of Members


It considers all applications from members for leave of absence from the sittings of the House; and
examines the cases of members who had been absent for a period of 60 days or more without
permission. It is a special committee of the Lok Sabha and consists of 15 members. There is no such
committee in the Rajya Sabha and all such matters are dealt by the House itself.

Rules Committee
It considers the matters of procedure and conduct of business in the House and recommends necessary
amendments, or additions to the Rules of the House. The Lok Sabha committee consists of 15
members including the Speaker as its ex-officio chairman. In Rajya Sabha, it consists of 16 members
including the Chairman as its ex-officio chairman.

General Purposes Committee


It considers and advises on matters concerning affairs of the House, which do not fall within the
jurisdiction of any other parliamentary committee. In each House, the committee consists of the
presiding officer (Speaker/Chairman) as its ex-officio chairman, Deputy Speaker (Deputy Chairman
in the case of Rajya Sabha), members of panel of chairpersons (panel of vice-chairpersons in the case
of Rajya Sabha), chairpersons of all the departmental standing committees of the House, leaders of
recognised parties and groups in the House and such other members as nominated by the presiding
officer.

Committee of Privileges
Its functions are semi-judicial in nature. It examines the cases of breach of privileges of the House
and its members and recommends appropriate action. The Lok Sabha committee has 15 members,
while the Rajya Sabha committee has 10 members.

Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members


It was constituted under the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954. It
consists of 15 members (10 from Lok Sabha and 5 from Rajya Sabha). It frames rules for regulating
payment of salary, allowances and pension to members of Parliament.

House Committee
It deals with residential accommodation of members and other amenities like food, medical aid, etc.
accorded to them in their houses and hostels in Delhi. Both the Houses have their respective House
committee. In the Lok Sabha, it consists of 12 members.

Committee on Petitions
It examines petitions on bills and on matters of general public importance. It also entertains
representations from individuals and associations on matters pertaining to Union subjects. The Lok
Sabha committee consists of 15 members, while the Rajya Sabha committee consists of 10 members.

Library Committee
It considers all matters relating to library of Par-liament and assist the members in utilising the
library services. It consists of nine members (six from Lok Sabha and three from Rajya Sabha).

Ethics Committee
It was constituted in Rajya Sabha in 1997 and in Lok Sabha in 2000. It enforces the code of conduct
of members of Parliament. It examines the cases of misconduct and recommends appropriate action.

Thus, it is engaged in maintaining discipline and decorum in Parliament.

Committee on Empowerment of Women


It was constituted in 1997 and consists of 30 members (20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya
Sabha). It considers the reports of the National Commission for Women and examines the measures
taken by the Union government to secure status, dignity and equality for women in all fields.

Committee on Papers Laid on the Table


It was constituted in 1975. The Lok Sabha Committee has 15 members, while the Rajya Sabha
Committee has 10 members. It examines all papers laid on the table of the House by ministers to see
whether they comply with provisions of the Constitution, Act or Rule. It does not examine statutory
notifications and orders that fall under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation.

Joint Committee on Offices of Profit


It examines the composition and character of committees and other bodies appointed by the Central,
state and union territory governments and recommends whether persons holding these offices should
be disqualified from being elected as members of Parliament or not. It consists of 15 members (10
from Lok Sabha and 5 from Rajya Sabha).

Consultative Committees
The consultative committees are attached to various ministries / departments of the Central
Government. They consists of members of both the Houses of Parliament. The Minister/Minister of
State in-charge of the Ministry concerned acts as the chairman of the consultative committee of that
ministry.
These committees provide a forum for informal discussions between the ministers and the members of
Parliament on policies and programmes of the government and the manner of their implementation.
These committees are constituted by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. The guidelines regarding
the composition, functions and procedures of these committees are formulated by this Ministry. The
Ministry also makes arrangements for holding their meetings both during the session and the intersession period of Parliament.
These committees are normally constituted after the new Lok Sabha is constituted, after general
elections for the Lok Sabha. After the constitution of the 14 th Lok Sabha, 29 consultative committees
were constituted in October 2004. Subsequently, three more consultative committees were
constituted, thus raising their number to 32.
In addition, the separate Informal Consultative Committees of the members of Parliament are also
constituted for all the Railway Zones. The members of Parliament belonging to the area falling under
a particular Railway Zone are nominated on the Informal Consultative Committee of that Railway
Zone. After the constitution of 14 th Lok Sabha, 16 Informal Consultative Committees for the 16
Railway Zones have been constituted.
Unlike the Consultative Committees attached to various ministries/departments, the meetings of the
Informal Consultative Committees are to be arranged during the session periods only.

P ARLIAMENTARY P RIVILEGES
Meaning
Parliamentary privileges are special rights, immunities and exemptions enjoyed by the two Houses of
Parliament, their committees and their members. They are necessary in order to secure the
independence and effectiveness of their actions. Without these privileges, the Houses can neither
maintain their authority, dignity and honour nor can protect their members from any obstruction in the
discharge of their parliamentary responsibilities.
The Constitution has also extended the parliamentary privileges to those persons who are entitled to
speak and take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or any of its committees. These
include the attorney general of India and Union ministers.
It must be clarified here that the parliamentary privileges do not extend to the president who is also an
integral part of the Parliament.

Classification
Parliamentary privileges can be classified into two broad categories:
1. those that are enjoyed by each House of Parliament collectively, and
2. those that are enjoyed by the members individually.
Collective Privileges The privileges belonging to each House of Parliament collectively are:
1.

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

In has the right to publish its reports, debates and proceedings and also the right to prohibit
others from publishing the same. The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 restored the freedom of the
press to publish true reports of parliamentary proceedings without prior permission of the
House. But this is not applicable in the case of a secret sitting of the House.
It can exclude strangers from its proceedings and hold secret sittings to discuss some
important matters.
It can make rules to regulate its own procedure and the conduct of its business and to
adjudicate upon such matters.
It can punish members as well as outsiders for breach of its privileges or its contempt by
reprimand, admonition or imprisonment (also suspension or expulsion, in case of members).25
It has the right to receive immediate information of the arrest, detention, conviction,
imprisonment and release of a member.
It can institute inquiries and order the attendance of witnesses and send for relevant papers
and records.
The courts are prohibited to inquire into the proceedings of a House or its committees.
No person (either a member or outsider) can be arrested, and no legal process (civil or
criminal) can be served within the precints of the House without the permission of the
presiding officer.

Individual Privileges The privileges belonging to the members individually are:

1.

2.

3.

They cannot be arrested during the session of Parliament and 40 days before the beginning and
40 days after the end of a session. This privilege is available only in civil cases and not in
criminal cases or preventive detention cases.
They have freedom of speech in Parliament. No member is liable to any proceedings in any
court for anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or its committees. This freedom
is subject to the provisions of the Constitution and to the rules and standing orders regulating
the procedure of Parliament.26
They are exempted from jury service. They can refuse to give evidence and appear as a
witness in a case pending in a court when Parliament is in session.

Breach of Privilege and Contempt of the House


When any individual or authority disregards or attacks any of the privileges, rights and
immunities, either of the member individually or of the House in its collective capacity, the
offence is termed as breach of privilege and is punishable by the House.27
Any act or omission which obstructs a House of Parliament, its member or its officer in the
performance of their functions or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly to produce results
against the dignity, authority and honour of the House is treated as a contempt of the House.28
Though the two phrases, breach of privilege and contempt of the House are used interchangeably,
they have different implications. Normally, a breach of privilege may amount to contempt of the
House. Likewise, contempt of the House may include a breach of privilege also. Contempt of the
House, however, has wider implications. There may be a contempt of the House without specifically
committing a breach of privilege.29 Similarly, actions which are not breaches of any specific
privilege but are offences against the dignity and authority of the House amount to contempt of the
House.30 For example, disobedience to a legitimate order of the House is not a breach of privilege,
but can be punished as contempt of the House.

Sources of Privileges
Originally, the Constitution (Article 105) expressedly mentioned two privileges, that is, freedom of
speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings. With regard to other privileges, it
provided that they were to be the same as those of the British House of Commons, its committees and
its members on the date of its commencement (ie, 26 January, 1950), until defined by Parliament. The
44th Amendment Act of 1978 provided that the other privileges of each House of Parliament, its
committees and its members are to be those which they had on the date of its commencement (ie, 20
June, 1979), until defined by Parliament. This means that the position with regard to other privileges
remains same. In other words, the amendment has made only verbal changes by dropping a direct
reference to the British House of Commons, without making any change in the implication of the
provision.31
It should be noted here that the Parliament, till now, has not made any special law to exhaustively
codify all the privileges. They are based on five sources, namely,
1. Constitutional provisions,
2. Various laws made by Parliament,

3.
4.
5.

Rules of both the Houses,


Parliamentary conventions, and
Judicial interpretations.

SOVEREIGNTY OF P ARLIAMENT
The doctrine of sovereignty of Parliament is associated with the British Parliament. Sovereignty
means the supreme power within the State. That supreme power in Great Britain lies with the
Parliament. There are no legal restrictions on its authority and jurisdiction.
Therefore, the sovereignty of Parliament (parliamentary supremacy) is a cardinal feature of the
British constitutional system. According to AV Dicey, the British jurist, this principle has three
implications:32
1. The Parliament can make, amend, substitute or repeal any law. De Lolme, a British political
analyst, said, The British Parliament can do every thing except make a woman a man and a
man a woman.
2. The Parliament can make constitutional laws by the same procedure as ordinary laws. In other
words, there is no legal distinction between the constituent authority and the legislative
authority of the British Parliament.
3. The Parliamentary laws cannot be declared invalid by the Judiciary as being unconstitutional.
In other words, there is no system of judicial review in Britain.
The Indian Parliament, on the other hand, cannot be regarded as a sovereign body in the similar sense
as there are legal restrictions on its authority and jurisdiction. The factors that limit the sovereignty
of Indian Parliament are:

1. Written Nature of the Constitution


The Constitution is the fundamental law of the land in our country. It has defined the authority and
jurisdiction of all the three organs of the Union government and the nature of interrelationship
between them. Hence, the Parliament has to operate within the limits prescribed by the Constitution.
There is also a legal distinction between the legislative authority and the constituent authority of the
Parliament. Moreover, to effect certain amendments to the Constitution, the ratification of half of the
states is also required. In Britain, on the other hand, the Constitution is neither written nor there is
anything like a fundamental law of the land.

2. Federal System of Government


India has a federal system of government with a constitutional division of powers between the Union
and the states. Both have to operate within the spheres allotted to them. Hence, the law-making
authority of the Parliament gets confined to the subjects enumerated in the Union List and Concurrent
List and does not extend to the subjects enumerated in the State List (except in five abnormal
circumstances and that too for a short period). Britain, on the other hand, has a unitary system of
government and hence, all the powers are vested in the Centre.

3. System of Judicial Review

The adoption of an independent Judiciary with the power of judicial review also restricts the
supremacy of our Parliament. Both the Supreme Court and high courts can declare the laws enacted
by the Parliament as void and ultra vires (unconstitutional), if they contravene any provision of the
Constitution. On the other hand, there is no system of judicial review in Britain. The British Courts
have to apply the Parliamentary laws to specific cases, without examining their constitutionality,
legality or reasonableness.

4. Fundamental Rights
The authority of the Parliament is also restricted by the incorporation of a code of justiciable
fundamental rights under Part III of the Constitution. Article 13 prohibits the State from making a law
that either takes away totally or abrogates in part a fundamental right. Hence, a Parliamentary law that
contravenes the fundamental rights shall be void. In Britain, on the other hand, there is no codification
of justiciable fundamental rights in the Constitution. The British Parliament has also not made any law
that lays down the fundamental rights of the citizens. However, it does not mean that the British
citizens do not have rights. Though there is no charter guaranteeing rights, there is maximum liberty in
Britain due to the existence of the Rule of Law.
Table 22.5 Allocation of Seats in Parliament
S.No. States/UTs

No. of Seats in Rajya Sabha

No. of Seats in Lok Sabha

I. States
1.

Andhra Pradesh

18

42

2.

Arunachal Pradesh

3.

Assam

14

4.

Bihar

16

40

5.

Chhattisgarh

11

6.

Goa

7.

Gujarat

11

26

8.

Haryana

10

9.

Himachal Pradesh

10.

Jammu and Kashmir

11.

Jharkhand

14

12.

Karnataka

12

28

13.

Kerala

20

14.

Madhya Pradesh

11

29

15.

Maharashtra

19

48

16.

Manipur

17.

Meghalaya

18.

Mizoram

19.

Nagaland

20.

Orissa

10

21

21.

Punjab

13

22.

Rajasthan

10

25

23.

Sikkim

24.

Tamil Nadu

18

39

25.

Tripura

26.

Uttarakhand

27.

Uttar Pradesh

31

80

28.

West Bengal

16

42

II. Union Territories


1.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

2.

Chandigarh

3.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

4.

Daman and Diu

5.

Delhi (The National Capital Territory of Delhi)

6.

Lakshadweep

7.

Puducherry

12

245

545

III. Nominated members


Total

Table 22.6 Seats Reserved for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha
Name of the
State/Union Territory

Number of Seats in the House


before the Delimitation in 2008

Number of Seats in the House


after the Delimitation in 2008

Total Reserved for the Reserved for the


Scheduled
Scheduled Castes Tribes

Total Reserved for the


Scheduled Castes

Reserved for the


Scheduled Tribes

I. STATES:
1.

Andhra Pradesh

42

42

2.

Arunachal
Pradesh*

3.

Assam*

14

14

4.

Bihar

40

40

5.

Chhattisgarh

11

11

6.

Goa

7.

Gujarat

26

26

8.

Haryana

10

10

9.

Himachal Pradesh

10. Jammu and


Kashmir*

11. Jharkhand@

14

14

12. Karnataka

28

28

13. Kerala

20

20

14. Madhya Pradesh

29

29

15. Maharashtra

48

48

16. Manipur*

17. Meghalaya

18. Mizoram

19. Nagaland*

20. Orissa

21

21

21. Punjab

13

13

22. Rajasthan

25

25

23. Sikkim

24. Tamil Nadu

39

39

25. Tripura

26. Uttarakhand

27. Uttar Pradesh

80

18

80

17

28. West Bengal

42

42

10

II. UNION TERRITORIES:


1.

Andaman and
Nicobar Islands

2.

Chandigarh

3.

Dadra and Nagar

Haveli

4.

Daman and Diu

5.

Delhi (The
National

Capital Territory
of
Delhi)
6.

Lakshadweep

7.

Puducherry

543

79

41

543

84

47

Total

*States excluded from Delimitation Exercise


@Order issued by the Delimitation Commission was nullified by the Sec 10 B of the Delimitation Amendment Act, 2008

Table 22.7 Durations of the Lok Sabha


Lok
Sabha

Duration Remarks

First

1952
1957

Dissolved 38 days before expiry of its term.

Second

1957
1962

Dissolved 40 days before expiry of its term.

Third

1962
1967

Dissolved 44 days before expiry of its term.

Fourth

1967
1970

Dissolved one year and 79 days before expiry of its term.

Fifth

1971
1977

Term of the Lok Sabha was extended two times by one year at a time. However, the House was dissolved
after having been in existence for a period of five years, 10 months and six days.

Sixth

1977
1979

Dissolved after having been in existence for a period of two years, four months and 28 days.

Seventh

1980
1984

Dissolved 20 days before expiry of its term.

Eighth

1985
1989

Dissolved 48 days before expiry of its term.

Ninth

1989
1991

Dissolved after having been in existence for a period of one year, two months and 25 days.

Tenth

1991
1996

Eleventh

1996
1997

Dissolved after having been in existence for a period of one year, six months and 13 days.

Twelfth

1998
1999

Dissolved after having been in existence for a period of one year, one month and four days.

Thirteenth 1999
2004

Dissolved 253 days before expiry of its term.

Fourteenth 2004
2009

Fifteenth

2009

continuing

Table 22.8 Speakers of the Lok Sabha


Lok Sabha

Name

Tenure (Remarks)

First

1. Ganesh Vasudev Mavalanker

1952 to 1956 (Died)

2. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar

1956 to 1957

Second

Ananthasayanam Ayyangar

1957 to 1962

Third

Hukum Singh

1962 to 1967

Fourth

1. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

1967 to 1969 (Resigned)

2. Gurdial Singh Dhillan

1969 to 1971

1. Gurdial Singh Dhillan

1971 to 1975 (Resigned)

2. Bali Ram Bhagat

1976 to 1977

1. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

1977 to 1977 (Resigned)

2. K.S. Hegde

1977 to 1980

Seventh

Balram Jakhar

1980 to 1985

Eighth

Balram Jakhar

1985 to 1989

Ninth

Rabi Ray

1989 to 1991

Tenth

Shivraj Patil

1991 to 1996

Eleventh

P.A. Sangma

1996 to 1998

Twelfth

G.M.C. Balayogi

1998 to 1999

Thirteenth

1. G.M.C. Balayogi

1999 to 2002 (Died)

2. Manohar Joshi

2002 to 2004

Fourteenth

Somnath Chatterjee

2004 to 2009

Fifteenth

Ms. Meira Kumar

2009 till date

Fifth

Sixth

Table 22.9 Articles Related to Parliament at a Glance


Article No. Subject-matter
General
79.

Constitution of Parliament

80.

Composition of the Council of States

81.

Composition of the House of the People

82.

Readjustment after each census

83.

Duration of Houses of Parliament

84.

Qualification for membership of Parliament

85.

Sessions of Parliament, prorogation and dissolution

86.

Right of President to address and send messages to Houses

87.

Special address by the President

88.

Rights of Ministers and Attorney-General as respects Houses

Officers of Parliament
89.

The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Council of States

90.

Vacation and resignation of, and removal from, the office of Deputy Chairman

91.

Power of the Deputy Chairman or other person to perform the duties of the office of, or to act as, Chairman

92.

The Chairman or the Deputy Chairman not to preside while a resolution for his removal from office is under consideration

93.

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of the People

94.

Vacation and resignation of, and removal from, the offices of Speaker and Deputy Speaker

95.

Power of the Deputy Speaker or other person to perform the duties of the office of, or to act as, Speaker

96.

The Speaker or the Deputy Speaker not to preside while a resolution for his removal from office is under consideration

97.

Salaries and allowances of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman and the Speaker and Deputy Speaker

98.

Secretariat of Parliament

Conduct of Business
99.

Oath or affirmation by members

100.

Voting in Houses, power of Houses to act notwithstanding vacancies and quorum

Disqualifications of Members
101.

Vacation of seats

102.

Disqualifications for membership

103.

Decision on questions as to disqualifications of members

104.

Penalty for sitting and voting before making oath or affirmation under article 99 or when not qualified or when disqualified

Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members


105.

Powers, privileges, etc., of the Houses of Parliament and of the members and committees thereof

106.

Salaries and allowances of members

Legislative Procedure

107.

Provisions as to introduction and passing of Bills

108.

Joint sitting of both Houses in certain cases

109.

Special procedure in respect of Money Bills

110.

Definition of Money Bills

111.

Assent to Bills

Procedures in Financial Matters


112.

Annual financial statement

113.

Procedure in Parliament with respect to estimates

114.

Appropriation Bills

115.

Supplementary, additional or excess grants

116.

Votes on account, votes of credit and exceptional grants

117.

Special provisions as to financial Bills

Procedure Generally
118.

Rules of procedure

119.

Regulation by law of procedure in Parliament in relation to financial business

120.

Language to be used in Parliament

121.

Restriction on discussion in Parliament

122.

Courts not to inquire into proceedings of Parliament

Legislative Powers of the President


123.

Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament

Therefore, even though the nomenclature and organisational pattern of our Parliament is similar to that
of the British Parliament, there is a substantial difference between the two. The Indian Parliament is
not a sovereign body in the sense in which the British Parliament is a sovereign body. Unlike the
British Parliament, the authority and jurisdiction of the Indian Parliament are defined, limited and
restrained.
In this regard, the Indian Parliament is similar to the American Legislature (known as Congress). In
USA also, the sovereignty of Congress is legally restricted by the written character of the
Constitution, the federal system of government, the system of judicial review and the Bill of Rights.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.
2.
3.

Westminster is a place in London where the British Parliament is located. It is often used as a
symbol of the British Parliament.
See Table 22.5 at the end of this chapter.
An Anglo-Indian is a person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male

4.
5.

6.
7.

8.

9.
10.
11.

12.

13.

14.
15.

line is or was of European descent but who is domiciled within the territory of India and is or
was born within such territory of parents habitually resident therein and not merely
established there for temporary purposes.
See Table 22.5 at the end of this chapter.
This means that the number of Lok Sabha seats reserved in a state or union territory for such
castes and tribes is to bear the same proportion to the total number of seats allotted to that
state or union territory in the Lok Sabha as the population of such castes and tribes in the
concerned state or union territory bears to the total population of state or union territory.
Under this, the president has made the Rajya Sabha (Term of Office of Members) Order,
1952.
The term of the fifth Lok Sabha that was to expire on 18 March, 1976, was extended by one
year upto 18 March, 1977 by the House of the People (Extension of Duration) Act, 1976. It
was extended for a further period of one year up to 18 March, 1978 by the House of the
People (Extension of Duration) Amendment Act, 1976. However, the House was dissolved on
18 January 1977, after having been in existence for a period of five years, 10 months and six
days.
A minister in the Union or state government is not considered as holding the office of profit.
Also, the Parliament can declare that a particular office of profit will not disqualify its holder
from parliamentary membership.
According to the Prohibition of Simultaneous Membership Rules (1950) made by the
President.
Kihota Hollohan Vs. Zachilhu (1992).
In this context, V V Giri observed: The holder of an office provided with such extensive
authority and power must discharge the duties of his office impartially. So impartiality is
regarded as an indispensable condition of the office of the Speaker, who is the guardian of the
powers and privileges of the House and not of the political party with whose support he might
have been elected to the office. It is not possible for him to maintain order in the House unless
he enjoys the confidence of the minority parties by safeguarding their rights and privileges.
(Powers of the Presiding Officers in Indian Legislature in Journal of Consitutional and
Parliamentary Studies, New Delhi, Vol II, No. 4, Oct-Dec. 1968, p. 22)
For example, in the 13th Lok Sabha, Mr Indrajit Gupta was appointed as Speaker Pro Tem on
20 October 1999 and remained in that office till 22 October 1999 when the new Speaker, Mr
G M C Balayogi was elected.
Under Article 107 (3) of the Constitution, a bill pending in Parliament shall not lapse by
reason of the prorogation of the Houses.
Under Rule 336 of the Lok Sabha, a motion, resolution or an amendment, which has been
moved and is pending in the House, shall not lapse by reason only of the prorogation of the
House.
Subhash C Kashyap: Our Parliament, National Book Trust, 1999 Edition, P. 135136.
J C Johari: Indian Government and Politics, Vishal, Volume II, Thirteenth Edition, 2001, P.

16.
17.
18.

19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.

26.

27.
28.
29.
30.
31.

32.

360.
Subhash C Kashyap: Our Parliament, National Book Trust, 1999 Edition, P. 139141.
Ibid, P. 139.
Under Rule 64 of Lok Sabha, the Speaker may, on request being made to him, order the
publication of any bill in the Gazette, although no motion has been made for leave to introduce
the bill. In that case, it shall not be necessary to move for leave to introduce the bill and if the
bill is afterwards introduced, it shall not be necessary to publish it again.
For different kinds of veto, see Veto Power of the President under Chapter 17.
The Lok Sabha did not agree to the amendments made by the Rajya Sabha. A joint siting was
held on 6 May 1961.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha but rejected by the Rajya Sabha. A joint sitting was
held on 16 May 1978.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha but rejected by the Rajya Sabha. A joint sitting was
held on 26 March 2002. The bill was passed when 425 members voted for it and 296 against.
N N Mallya: Indian Parliament, P. 39.
Kesavananda Bharati V. State of Kerala (1973); Minerva Mills V. Union of India (1980).
In 1977, the sixth Lok Sabha expelled Mrs. Indira Gandhi from its membership and sentenced
her to jail for a week for committing a contempt of House while she was Prime Minister. But,
the seventh Lok Sabha rescinded the resolution expelling her by describing it as politically
motivated. In 1990, a former Minister, K K Tiwari, was reprimanded by the Rajya Sabha.
Article 121 of the Constitution says that no discussion shall take place in Parliament with
respect to the conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or of a high court in the discharge of
his duties except upon a motion for presenting an address to the president praying for the
removal of the judge. Under Rules 349 to 350 of the Lok Sabha, use of unparliamentary
language or unparliamentary conduct of a member is prohibited.
Kaul and Shakdher: Practice and Procedure of Parliament, First Edition, P. 157.
Thomas Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice, 15th Edition, P. 109.
Subhash C. Kashyap: Our Parliament, National Book Trust, 1999 Edition, P. 241.
Thomas Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice, 16th Edition, P. 43.
The then law minister gave the following reason for dropping reference to the British House
of Commons: That the original provisionthere was no escape from ithad referred to the
British House of Commons. Now a proud country like India would like to avoid making any
reference to a foreign insitution in its own solemn consitutional document. Therefore, this
verbal change is being introduced so that there may not be any reference to a foreign
institution.
A V Dicey: Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, Macmillan, 1965 Edition,
P. 3940.

MEANING AND CLASSIFICATION


The Parliament is too unwieldy a body to deliberate effectively the issues that come up before it. The
functions of the Parliament are varied, complex and voluminous. Moreover, it has neither the
adequate time nor necessary expertise to make a detailed scrutiny of all legislative measures and
other matters. Therefore, it is assisted by a number of committees in the discharge of its duties.
The Constitution of India makes a mention of these committees at different places, but without making
any specific provisions regarding their composition, tenure, functions, etc. All these matters are dealt
by the rules of two Houses. Accordingly, a parliamentary committee means a committee that:
1. Is appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker / Chairman1
2. Works under the direction of the Speaker / Chairman
3. Presents its report to the House or to the Speaker / Chairman
4. Has a secretariat provided by the Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha
The consultative committees, which also consist of members of Parliament, are not parliamentary
committees as they do not fulfill above four conditions.2
Broadly, parliamentary committees are of two kindsStanding Committees and Ad Hoc Committees.
The former are permanent (constituted every year or periodically) and work on a continuous basis,
while the latter are temporary and cease to exist on completion of the task assigned to them.

Standing Committees
On the basis of the nature of functions performed by them, standing committees can be classified into
the following six categories:
1. Financial Committees
(a) Public Accounts Committee

(b) Estimates Committee


(c) Committee on Public Undertakings
2. Departmental Standing Committees (24)
3. Committees to Inquire
(a) Committee on Petitions
(b) Committee of Privileges
(c) Ethics Committee
4. Committees to Scrutinise and Control
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)

Committee on Government Assurances


Committee on Subordinate Legislation
Committee on Papers Laid on the Table
Committee on Welfare of SCs and STs
Committee on Empowerment of Women

(f)

Joint Committee3 on Offices of Profit

5. Committees Relating to the Day-to-Day Business of the House


(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

Business Advisory Committee


Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions
Rules Committee
Committee on Absence of Members from Sittings of the House

6. House-Keeping Committees or Service Committees (i.e., Committees concerned with the


Provision of Facilities and Services to Members):
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

General Purposes Committee


House Committee
Library Committee
Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members

Ad Hoc Committees
Ad hoc committees can be divided into two categories, that is, Inquiry Committees and Advisory
Committees.
1. Inquiry Committees are constituted from time to time, either by the two Houses on a motion
adopted in that behalf, or by the Speaker / Chairman, to inquire into and report on specific
subjects. For example:
(a) Committee on the Conduct of Certain Members during Presidents Address
(b) Committee on Draft Five-Year Plan

Railway Convention Committee4


Committee on Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)
Joint Committee on Bofors Contract
Joint Committee on Fertilizer Pricing
Joint Committee to Enquire into Irregularities in Securities and Banking Transactions
Joint Committee on Stock Market Scam
Joint Committee on Security in Parliament Complex
Committee on Provision of Computers to Members of Parliament, Offices of Political
Parties and Officers of the Lok Sabha Secretariat
(k) Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex
(l) Committee on Installation of Portraits / Statues of National Leaders and Parliamentarians
in Parliament House Complex
(m) Joint Committee on Maintenance of Heritage Character and Development of Parliament
House Complex
(n) Committee on Violation of Protocol Norms and Contemptuous Behaviour of Government
Officers with Members of Lok Sabha
(o) Joint Committee to Examine Matters Relating to Allocation and Pricing of Telecom
Licences and Spectrum
2. Advisory Committees include select or joint committees on bills, which are appointed to
consider and report on particular bills. These committees are distinguishable from the other
ad hoc committees in as much as they are concerned with bills and the procedure to be
followed by them is laid down in the Rules of Procedure and the Directions by the Speaker /
Chairman.
When a Bill comes up before a House for general discussion, it is open to that House to refer it to a
Select Committee of the House or a Joint Committee of the two Houses. A motion to this effect has to
be moved and adopted in the House in which the Bill comes up for consideration. In case the motion
adopted is for reference of the Bill to a Joint Committee, the decision is conveyed to the other House,
requesting the members to nominate members of the other House to serve on the Committee.
The Select or Joint Committee considers the Bill clause by clause just as the two Houses do.
Amendments to various clauses can be moved by members of the Committee. The Committee can also
take evidence of associations, public bodies or experts who are interested in the Bill. After the Bill
has thus been considered, the Committee submits its report to the House. Members who do not agree
with the majority report may append their minutes of dissent to the report.
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)
(g)
(h)
(i)
(j)

Financial Committees
Public Accounts Committee
This committee was set up first in 1921 under the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1919
and has since been in existence. At present, it consists of 22 members (15 from the Lok Sabha and 7
from the Rajya Sabha). The members are elected by the Parliament every year from amongst its

members according to the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable
vote. Thus, all parties get due representation in it. The term of office of the members is one year. A
minister cannot be elected as a member of the committee. The chairman of the committee is appointed
from amongst its members by the Speaker. Until 1966 67, the chairman of the committee belonged
to the ruling party. However, since 1967 a convention has developed whereby the chairman of the
committee is selected invariably from the Opposition.
The function of the committee is to examine the annual audit reports of the Comptroller and Auditor
General of India (CAG), which are laid before the Parliament by the President. The CAG submits
three audit reports to the President, namely, audit report on appropriation accounts, audit report on
finance accounts and audit report on public undertakings.
The committee examines public expenditure not only from legal and formal point of view to discover
technical irregularities but also from the point of view of economy, prudence, wisdom and propriety
to bring out the cases of waste, loss, corruption, extravagance, inefficiency and nugatory expenses.
In more detail, the functions of the committee are:
1. To examine the appropriation accounts and the finance accounts of the Union government and
any other accounts laid before the Lok Sabha. The appropriation accounts compare the actual
expenditure with the expenditure sanctioned by the Parliament through the Appropriation Act,
while the finance accounts shows the annual receipts and disbursements of the Union
Government.
2. In scrutinising the appropriation accounts and the audit report of CAG on it, the committee has
to satisfy itself that
(a) The money that has been disbursed was legally available for the applied service or
purpose
(b) The expenditure conforms to the authority that governs it
(c) Every re-appropriation has been made in accordance with the related rules
3. To examine the accounts of state corporations, trading concerns and manufacturing projects
and the audit report of CAG on them (except those public undertakings which are allotted to
the Committee on Public Undertakings)
4. To examine the accounts of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, the audit of which is
conducted by the CAG
5. To consider the report of the CAG relating to the audit of any receipt or to examine the
accounts of stores and stocks
6. To examine the money spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount
granted by the Lok Sabha for that purpose
In the fulfillment of the above functions, the committee is assisted by the CAG. In fact, the CAG acts
as a guide, friend and philosopher of the committee.
On the role played by the committee, Ashok Chanda (who himself has been a CAG of India)
observed: Over a period of years, the committee has entirely fulfilled the expectation that it should
develop into a powerful force in the control of public expenditure. It may be claimed that the
traditions established and conventions developed by the Public Accounts Committee conform to the

highest traditions of a parliamentary democracy.5


However, the effectiveness of the role of the committee is limited by the following:
(a) It is not concerned with the questions of policy in broader sense.
(b) It conducts a post-mortem examination of accounts (showing the expenditure already
incurred).
(c) It cannot intervene in the matters of day-to-day administration.
(d) Its recommendations are advisory and not binding on the ministries.
(e) It is not vested with the power of disallowance of expenditures by the departments.
(f) It is not an executive body and hence, cannot issue an order. Only the Parliament can take a
final decision on its findings.
Estimates Committee
The origin of this committee can be traced to the standing financial committee set up in 1921. The first
Estimates Committee in the post-independence era was constituted in 1950 on the recommendation of
John Mathai, the then finance minister. Originally, it had 25 members but in 1956 its membership was
raised to 30. All the thirty members are from Lok Sabha only. The Rajya Sabha has no representation
in this committee. These members are elected by the Lok Sabha every year from amongst its own
members, according to the principles of proportional representation by means of a single transferable
vote. Thus, all parties get due representation in it. The term of office is one year. A minister cannot be
elected as a member of the committee. The chairman of the committee is appointed by the Speaker
from amongst its members and he is invariably from the ruling party.
The function of the committee is to examine the estimates included in the budget and suggest
economies in public expenditure. Hence, it has been described as a continuous economy
committee.
In more detail, the functions of the committee are:
1. To report what economies, improvements in organisation, efficiency and administrative
reform consistent with the policy underlying the estimates, can be affected
2. To suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in
administration
3. To examine whether the money is well laid out within the limits of the policy implied in the
estimates
4. To suggest the forth in which the estimates are to be presented to Parliament
The Committee shall not exercise its functions in relation to such public undertakings as are allotted
to the Committee on Public Undertakings. The Committee may continue the examination of the
estimates from time to time, throughout the financial year and report to the House as its examination
proceeds. It shall not be incumbent on the Committee to examine the entire estimates of any one year.
The demands for grants may be finally voted despite the fact that the Committee has made no report.
However, the effectiveness of the role of the committee is limited by the following:
(a) It examines the budget estimates only alter they have been voted by the Parliament, and not
before that.

(b) It cannot question the policy laid down by the Parliament.


(c) Its recommendations are advisory and not binding on the ministries.
(d) It examines every year only certain selected ministries and departments. Thus, by rotation, it
would cover all of them over a number of years.
(e) It lacks the expert assistance of the CAG which is available to the Public Accounts
Committee.
(f) Its work is in the nature of a post-mortem.
Committee on Public Undertakings
This committee was created in 1964 on the recommendation of the Krishna Menon Committee.
Originally, it had 15 members (10 from the Lok Sabha and 5 from the Rajya Sabha). However, in
1974, its membership was raised to 22 (15 from the Lok Sabha and 7 from the Rajya Sabha). The
members of this committee are elected by the Parliament every year from amongst its own members
according to the principle of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. Thus,
all parties get due representation in it. The term of office of the members is one year. A minister
cannot be elected as a member of the committee. The chairman of the committee is appointed by the
Speaker from amongst its members who are drawn from the Lok Sabha only. Thus, the members of the
committee who are from the Rajya Sabha cannot be appointed as the chairman.
The functions of the committee are:
1. To examine the reports and accounts of public undertakings
2. To examine the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General on public undertakings
3. To examine (in the context of autonomy and efficiency of public undertakings) whether the
affairs of the public undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business
principles and prudent commercial practices
4. To exercise such other functions vested in the public accounts committee and the estimates
committee in relation to public undertakings which are allotted to it by the Speaker from time
to time
The committee is not to examine and investigate any of the following:
(i) Matters of major government policy as distinct from business or commercial functions of the
public undertakings
(ii) Matters of day-to-day administration
(iii) Matters for the consideration of which machinery is established by any special statute under
which a particular public undertaking is established
Further, the effectiveness of the role of the committee is limited by the following:
(a) It cannot take up the examination of more than ten to twelve public undertakings in a year.
(b) Its work is in the nature of a post-mortem.
(c) It does not look into technical matters as its members are not technical experts.
(d) Its recommendations are advisory and not binding on the ministries.
Departmental Standing Committees

On the recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha, 17 Departmentally-Related


Standing Committees (DRSCs) were set up in the Parliament in 1993.6 In 2004, seven more such
committees were setup, thus increasing their number from 17 to 24.
The main objective of the standing committees is to secure more accountability of the Executive (i.e.,
the Council of Ministers) to the Parliament, particularly financial accountability. They also assist the
Parliament in debating the budget more effectively.7
The 24 standing committees cover under their jurisdiction all the ministries / departments of the
Central Government.
Each standing committee consists of 31 members (21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha). The
members of the Lok Sabha are nominated by the Speaker from amongst its own members, just as the
members of the Rajya Sabha are nominated by the Chairman from amongst its members.8
A minister is not eligible to be nominated as a member of any of the standing committees. In case a
member, after his nomination to any of the standing committees, is appointed a minister, he then
ceases to be a member of the committee.
The term of office of each standing committee is one year from the date of its constitution.
Out of the 24 standing committees, 8 work under the Rajya Sabha and 16 under the Lok Sabha.9
The 24 standing committees and the ministries / departments placed under their jurisdiction are
shown below in Table 23.1.
Table 23.1 Departmental Standing Committees
Sl. No.

Name of the Committees

Ministries / Departments Covered


I. Committees under Rajya Sabha

1.

Committee on Commerce

Commerce and Industry

2.

Committee on Home Affairs

(1) Home Affairs


(2) Development of North-Eastern Region

3.

Committee on Human Resource Development

(1) Human Resource Development


(2) Youth Affairs and Sports

4.

Committee on Industry

(1) Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises


(2) Small Scale Industries
(3) Agro and Rural Industries

5.

Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests

(1) Science and Technology


(2) Space
(3) Earth Sciences
(4) Atomic Energy
(5) Environment & Forests

6.

Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture

(1) Civil Aviation

(2) Shipping, Road Transport and Highways


(3) Culture
(4) Tourism
7.

Committee on Health and Family Welfare

8.

Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice

Health and Family Welfare


(1) Law and Justice
(2) Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

II. Committees under Lok Sabha


9.

Committee on Agriculture

(1) Agriculture
(2) Food Processing Industries

10.

Committee on Information Technology

(1) Communications and Information Technology


(2) Information & Broadcasting

11.

Committee on Defence

12.

Committee on Energy

Defence
(1) New and Renewable Energy
(2) Power

13.

Committee on External Affairs

(1) External Affairs


(2) Non Resident Indians Affairs

14.

Committee on Finance

(1) Finance
(2) Company Affairs
(3) Planning
(4) Statistics and Programme Implementation

15.

Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution

16.

Committee on Labour

Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution


(1) Labour and Employment
(2) Textiles

17.

Committee on Petroleum & Natural Gas

Petroleum and Natural Gas

18.

Committee on Railways

Railways

19.

Committee on Urban Development

(1) Urban Development


(2) Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

20.

Committee on Water Resources

Water Resources

21.

Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers

Chemicals and Fertilizers

22.

Committee on Rural Development

(1) Rural Development


(2) Panchayati Raj

23.

Committee on Coal and Steel

(1) Coal and Mines


(2) Steel

24.

Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment

(1) Social Justice and Empowerment


(2) Tribal Affairs

The functions of each of the standing committees are:


1. To consider the demands for grants of the concerned ministries / departments before they are
discussed and voted in the Lok Sabha. Its report should not suggest anything of the nature of
cut motions
2. To examine bills pertaining to the concerned ministries / departments
3. To consider annual reports of ministries / departments
4. To consider national basic long-term policy documents presented to the Houses
The following limitations are imposed on the functioning of these standing committees:
(i) They should not consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the concerned ministries
/ departments.
(ii) They should not generally consider the matters which are considered by other parliamentary
committees.
It should be noted here that the recommendations of these committees are advisory in nature and hence
not binding on the Parliament.
The following procedure shall be followed by each of the standing committees in their
consideration of the demands for grants, and making a report thereon to the Houses.
(a) After general discussion on the budget in the Houses is over, the Houses shall be adjourned
for a fixed period.
(b) The committees shall consider the demands for grants of the concerned ministries during the
aforesaid period.
(c) The committees shall make their report within the period and shall not ask for more time.
(d) The demands for grants shall be considered by the House in the light of the reports of the
committees.
(e) There shall be a separate report on the demands for grants of each ministry.
The following procedure shall be followed by each of the standing committees in examining the
bills and making report thereon.
(a) The committee shall consider the general principles and clauses of bills referred to it.
(b) The Committee shall consider only such bills as introduced in either of the Houses and
referred to it.
(c) The Committee shall make report on bills in a given time.
The merits of the standing committee system in the Parliament are:
(1) Their proceedings are devoid of any party bias.
(2) The procedure adopted by them is more flexible than in the Lok Sabha.

(3) The system makes parliamentary control over executive much more detailed, close,
continuous, in-depth and comprehensive.
(4) The system ensures economy and efficiency in public expenditure as the ministries /
departments would now be more careful in formulating their demands.
(5) They facilitate opportunities to all the members of Parliament to participate and understand
the functioning of the government and contribute to it.
(6) They can avail of expert opinion or public opinion to make the reports. They are authorised to
invite experts and eminent persons to testify before them and incorporate their opinions in
their reports.
(7) The opposition parties and the Rajya Sabha can now play a greater role in exercising
financial control over the executive.

Committees to Inquire
Committee on Petitions
This committee examines petitions on bills and on matters of general public importance. It also
entertains representations from individuals and associations on matters pertaining to Union subjects.
The Lok Sabha committee consists of 15 members, while the Rajya Sabha committee consists of 10
members.
Committee of Privileges
The functions of this committee are semi-judicial in nature. It examines the cases of breach of
privileges of the House and its members and recommends appropriate action. The Lok Sabha
committee has 15 members, while the Rajya Sabha committee has 10 members.
Ethics Committee
This committee was constituted in Rajya Sabha in 1997 and in Lok Sabha in 2000. It enforces the
code of conduct of members of Parliament. It examines the cases of misconduct and recommends
appropriate action. Thus, it is engaged in maintaining discipline and decorum in Parliament.

Committees to Scrutinise and Control


Committee on Government Assurances
This committee examines the assurances, promises and undertakings given by ministers from time to
time on the floor of the House and reports on the extent to which they have been carried through. In the
Lok Sabha, it consists of 15 members and in the Rajya Sabha, it consists of 10 members. It was
constituted in 1953.
Committee on Subordinate Legislation
This committee examines and reports to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules,
sub-rules and bye-laws delegated by the Parliament or conferred by the Constitution to the Executive
are being properly exercised by it. In both the Houses, the committee consists of 15 members. It was
constituted in 1953.

Committee on Papers Laid on the Table


This committee was constituted in 1975. The Lok Sabha Committee has 15 members, while the Rajya
Sabha Committee has 10 members. It examines all papers laid on the table of the House by ministers
to see whether they comply with provisions of the Constitution, or the related Act or Rule. It does not
examine statutory notifications and orders that fall under the jurisdiction of the Committee on
Subordinate Legislation.
Committee on Welfare of SCs and STs
This committee consists of 30 members (20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha). Its functions
are: (i) to consider the reports of the National Commission for the SCs and the National Commission
for the STs; (ii) to examine all matters relating to the welfare of SCs and STs, like implementation of
constitutional and statutory safeguards, working of welfare programmes, etc.
Committee on Empowerment of Women
This committee was constituted in 1997 and consists of 30 members (20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from
Rajya Sabha). It considers the reports of the National Commission for Women and examines the
measures taken by the Union Government to secure status, dignity and equality for women in all
fields.
Joint Committee on Offices of Profit
This committee examines the composition and character of committees and other bodies appointed by
the Central, state and union territory governments and recommends whether persons holding these
offices should be disqualified from being elected as members of Parliament or not. It consists of 15
members (10 from Lok Sabha and 5 from Rajya Sabha).

Committees Relating to the Day-to-Day Business of the House


Business Advisory Committee
This committee regulates the programme and time table of the House. It allocates time for the
transaction of legislative and other business brought before the House by the government. The Lok
Sabha committee consists of 15 members including the Speaker as its chairman. In the Rajya Sabha, it
has 11 members including the Chairman as its ex-officio chairman.
Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions
This committee classifies bills and allocates time for the discussion on bills and resolutions
introduced by private members (other than ministers). This is a special committee of the Lok Sabha
and consists of 15 members including the Deputy Speaker as its chairman. The Rajya Sabha does not
have any such committee. The same function in the Rajya Sabha is performed by the Business
Advisory Committee of that House.
Rules Committee
This committee considers the matters of procedure and conduct of business in the House and
recommends necessary amendments or additions to the rules of the House. The Lok Sabha committee

consists of 15 members including the Speaker as its ex-officio chairman. In the Rajya Sabha, it
consists of 16 members including the Chairman as its ex-officio chairman.
Committee on Absence of Members
This committee considers all applications from members for leave of absence from the sittings of the
House, and examines the cases of members who have been absent for a period of 60 days or more
without permission. It is a special committee of the Lok Sabha and consists of 15 members. There is
no such committee in the Rajya Sabha and all such matters are dealt by the House itself.

House-Keeping Committees
General Purposes Committee
This committee considers and advises on matters concerning affairs of the House, which do not fall
within the jurisdiction of any other parliamentary committee. In each House, this committee consists
of the presiding officer (Speaker / Chairman) as its ex-officio chairman, Deputy Speaker (Deputy
Chairman in the case of Rajya Sabha), members of panel of chairpersons (panel of vice-chairpersons
in the case of Rajya Sabha), chairpersons of all the departmental standing committees of the House,
leaders of recognised parties and groups in the House and such other members as nominated by the
presiding officer.
House Committee
This committee deals with residential accommodation of members and other amenities like food,
medical aid, etc., accorded to them in their houses and hostels in Delhi. Both the Houses have their
respective House Committees. In the Lok Sabha, it consists of 12 members.
Library Committee
This committee considers all matters relating to library of the Parliament and assists the members in
utilising the librarys services. It consists of nine members (six from Lok Sabha and three from Rajya
Sabha).
Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members
This committee was constituted under the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament
Act, 1954. It consists of 15 members (10 from Lok Sabha and 5 from Rajya Sabha). It frames rules for
regulating payment of salary, allowances and pension to members of Parliament.

Consultative Committees
Consultative committees are attached to various ministries / departments of the Central Government.
They consist of members of both the Houses of Parliament. The Minister / Minister of State in charge
of the Ministry concerned acts as the chairman of the consultative committee of that ministry.
These committees provide a forum for informal discussions between the ministers and the members of
Parliament on policies and programmes of the government and the manner of their implementation.
These committees are constituted by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. The guidelines regarding
the composition, functions and procedures of these committees are formulated by this Ministry. The

Ministry also makes arrangements for holding their meetings both during the session and the intersession period of Parliament.
The membership of these committees is voluntary and is left to the choice of the members and the
leaders of their parties. The maximum membership of a committee is 30 and the minimum is 10.
These committees are normally constituted after the new Lok Sabha is constituted, after General
Elections for the Lok Sabha. In other words, these committees shall stand dissolved upon dissolution
of every Lok Sabha and shall be reconstituted upon constitution of each Lok Sabha10.
In addition, separate Informal Consultative Committees of the members of Parliament are also
constituted for all the Railway Zones. Members of Parliament belonging to the area falling under a
particular Railway Zone are nominated on the Informal Consultative Committee of that Railway Zone.
Unlike the Consultative Committees attached to various ministries / departments, the meetings of the
Informal Consultative Committees are to be arranged during the session periods only.

NOTES AND REFERENCES


1.

2.
3.
4.

5.
6.

A Minister is not eligible for election or nomination to the Financial Committees,


Departmental Standing Committees, and Committees on Empowerment of Women,
Government Assurances, Petitions, Subordinate Legislation and Welfare of Scheduled Castes
and Scheduled Tribes.
Consultative Committees are explained at the end of this Chapter.
A joint committee consists of members of both the Houses of Parliament.
The Railway Convention Committee, 1949 was the first Committee after independence. This
Committee and subsequent Committees confined themselves to determining the Rate of
Dividend payable by the Railways to General Revenues. Since 1971, the Railway Convention
Committees have been taking up subjects which have a bearing on the working of the
Railways and Railway Finances.
Ashok Chanda: Indian Administration, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, London, 1967, P. 180.
In 1989, three Standing Committees were constituted which dealt with Agriculture, Science &
Technology and Environment & Forests. In 1993, they were superseded by the
Departmentally-Related Standing Committees (DRSCs).

7.

While inaugurating the Standing Committee system in the Central Hall of Parliament on 31st
March 1993, the then Vice-President of India and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, K.R.
Narayanan observed that the main purpose of these Committees is: to ensure the
accountability of Government to Parliament through more detailed consideration of measures
in these Committees. The intention is not to weaken or criticise the administration but to
strengthen it by investing it with more meaningful Parliamentary support.

8.

Till 13th Lok Sabha, each Standing Committee consisted of not more than 45 members 30 to
be nominated by the Speaker from amongst the members of Lok Sabha and 15 to be nominated
by the Chairman from amongst the members of Rajya Sabha. However, with restructuring of
DRSCs in July 2004, each DRSC consists of 31 members 21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from
Rajya Sabha.

9.

The procedure regarding constitution and functioning of DRSCs, serviced by Lok Sabha, has
been enumerated in Rules 331C to 331Q of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business
in the Lok Sabha. Rules 268 to 277 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the
Rajya Sabha govern DRSCs serviced by Rajya Sabha.

10. After the constitution of the 15th Lok Sabha, 35 consultative committees were constituted in
September 2009.

ESTABLISHMENT OF F ORUMS

T
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

he first Parliamentary Forum on Water Conservation and Management was constituted in the
year 2005.1 Subsequently, five more Parliamentary forums were constituted. At present, there
are six Parliamentary forums.2
Parliamentary Forum on Water Conservation and Management (2005)
Parliamentary Forum on Youth (2006)
Parliamentary Forum on Children (2006)
Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health (2006)
Parliamentary Forum on Global Warming and Climate Change (2008)
Parliamentary Forum on Disaster Management (2011)

OBJECTIVES OF THE F ORUMS


The objectives behind the constitution of the Parliamentary forums are:
(i) To provide a platform to the members to have interactions with the ministers concerned,
experts and key officials from the nodal ministries with a view to have a focused and
meaningful discussion on critical issues with a result-oriented approach for speeding up the
implementation process;
(ii) To sensitise members about the key areas of concern and also about the ground level situation
and equip them with the latest information, knowledge, technical know-how and valuable
inputs from experts both from the country and abroad for enabling them to raise these issues
effectively on the Floor of the House and in the meetings of the Departmentally-Related
Standing Committees (DRSCs); and
(iii) To prepare a data-base through collection of data on critical issues from ministries

concerned, reliable NGOs, newspapers, United Nations, Internet, etc. and circulation thereof
to the members so that they can meaningfully participate in the discussions of the forums and
seek clarifications from experts or officials from the Ministry present in the meetings.
It has been mandated that the Parliamentary Fora will not interfere with or encroach upon the
jurisdiction of the Departmentally-Related Standing Committees of the Ministry/Department
concerned.

COMPOSITION OF THE F ORUMS


The Speaker of Lok Sabha is the President of all the Forums except the Parliamentary Forum on
Population and Public Health wherein the Chairman of Rajya Sabha is the President and the Speaker
is the Co-President. The Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, the
concerned Ministers and the Chairmen of Departmentally-Related Standing Committees are the exofficio Vice-Presidents of the respective Forums.
Each Forum consists of not more than 31 members (excluding the President and ex-officio VicePresidents) out of whom not more than 21 are from the Lok Sabha and not more than 10 are from the
Rajya Sabha.
Members (other than the President and Vice-Presidents) of these forums are nominated by the
Speaker/Chairman from amongst the leaders of various political parties/groups or their nominees,
who have special knowledge/keen interest in the subject.3
The duration of the office of members of the forum is co-terminus with their membership in the
respective Houses. A member may also resign from the forum by writing to the Speaker/Chairman.
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. The meetings of the forums are
held from time to time, as may be necessary, during Parliament sessions.

F UNCTIONS OF THE F ORUMS


Parliamentary Forum on Water Conservation and Management
The functions of the forum are:
1. To identify problems relating to water and make suggestions/recommendations for
consideration and appropriate action by Government/organisations concerned
2. To identify the ways of involving members of Parliament in conservation and augmentation of
water resources in their respective states/constituencies
3. To organise seminars/workshops to create awareness for conservation and efficient
management of water
4. To undertake such other related task as it may deem fit

Parliamentary Forum on Youth


The functions of this forum are:
1. To have focused deliberations on strategies to leverage human capital in the youth for

2.
3.
4.

5.

accelerating development initiatives


To build greater awareness amongst public leaders and at the grass-roots level of the
potential of youth for effecting socio-economic change
To interact on a regular basis with youth representatives and leaders, in order to better
appreciate their hopes, aspirations, concerns and problems
To consider ways for improving Parliaments out-reach to different sections of youth, in order
to reinforce their faith and commitment in democratic institutions and encourage their active
participation therein
To hold consultations with experts, national and international academicians and government
agencies concerned on redesigning of public policy in the matter of youth empowerment.4

Parliamentary Forum on Children


The functions of the forum are:
1. To further enhance awareness and attention of Parliamentarians towards critical issues
affecting childrens well being so that they may provide due leadership to ensure their rightful
place in the development process
2. To provide a platform to Parliamentarians to exchange ideas, views, experiences, expert
practices in relation to children, in a structured manner, through workshops, seminars,
orientation programmes, etc.
3. To provide Parliamentarians an interface with civil society for highlighting childrens issues,
including, inter-alia, the voluntary sector, media and corporate sector, and thereby to foster
effective strategic partnerships in this regard
4. To enable Parliamentarians to interact, in an institutionalised manner with specialised UN
agencies like the UNICEF and other comparable multilateral agencies on expert reports,
studies, news and trend-analyses, etc., world-wide, which are germane to developments in the
sector
5. To undertake any other tasks, projects, assignments, etc., as the Forum may deem fit.

Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health


The functions of the forum are:
1. To have focused deliberations on strategies relating to population stabilisation and matters
connected therewith
2. To discuss and prepare strategies on issues concerning public health
3. To build greater awareness in all sections of the society, particularly at the grass-root level,
regarding population control and public health
4. To hold comprehensive dialogue and discussion in the matter of population and public health
with experts at the national and international levels and to have interactions with multilateral
organisations like WHO, United Nations Population Fund, and academicians and government
agencies concerned.

Parliamentary Forum on Global Warming and Climate Change


The functions of the forum are:
1. To identify problems relating to global warming and climate change and make
suggestions/recommendations for consideration and appropriate action by the
government/organisations concerned to reduce the extent of global warming
2. To identify the ways of involving members of Parliament to interact with specialists of
national and international bodies working on global warming and climate change with
increased effort to develop new technologies to mitigate global warming
3. To organise seminars/workshops to create awareness about the causes and effects of global
warming and climate change among the members of Parliament
4. To identify the ways of involving members of Parliament to spread awareness to prevent
global warming and climate change
5. To undertake such other related task as it may deem fit

Parliamentary Forum on Disaster Management


The functions of the forum are:
1