Parliament under the Union Government of India refers to the national legislature and consists of two houses making it a bicameral legislature. The Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People) are the two houses in the Indian Parliament. The Parliament is considered to be the highest forum for debates in the country.
The Parliament is given the key power to discuss and enact changes, and make amendments to the Constitution of India. The process for enacting laws begins with the introduction of a bill in either of the two houses. A bill is a draft proposal, which needs to be passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and only after the President gives his nod, it becomes an act. After the introduction of a Bill, the house may take it up for discussion or refer it to a Joint Committee/Select Committee to examine each clause and report back. In the next stage, the bill is put to a vote with the members present in the house, and based on the majority votes it is either rejected or passed.
Following is a list of key functions of the Parliament:
- Legislative Function: The role of the Parliament is to enact legislations. Even though it is the primary law-making body, very often the role of the Parliament is to simply vote and approve legislations. The role of drafting the bill is performed by the bureaucracy under the guidance of the concerned minister.
- Control of Executive and ensuring its accountability: One of the most crucial functions of the Parliament is to ensure the Executive maintains its responsibility towards the people who have elected it and does not misuse its authority.
- Electoral function: The Parliament performs its electoral function by electing the President and Vice President of India.
- Judicial Function: The proposals for the removal of the President, Vice President, and Judges of the Supreme Court and High Court are deliberated and decided upon by the Parliament.