Members of Parliament: Eligibility, Responsibilities, Election and Leadership

Parliament of India is the highest legislative body of India. The Parliament of India consists of the President and two Houses, known as the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People (Lok Sabha). A Member of Parliament (MP) holds a very important position in a parliamentary democracy like India. There are 542 lok sabha members i.e. MPs in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) that represents over 1.2 billion people of the country. Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) shall consist of 250 members, of which 12 members shall be nominated by the President. Let’s look at the members of parliament in detail.

Members of Parliament: Eligibility Criteria

In order to be elected as a member of Parliament, a candidate must be a citizen of India and must be above the age of 30 years in the case of Rajya Sabha and in the case of Lok Sabha, the candidate must not be less than 25 years. Additional qualifications as per the Parliamentary law.

Members of Parliament: Leadership

Leadership
President
Ram Nath Kovind, since 25 July 2017
Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
Venkaiah Naidu, since 11 August 2017
Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
Harivansh Narayan Singh, JD(U), since 9 August 2018
Leader of the House
(Rajya Sabha)
Thawar Chand Gehlot, BJP, since 11 June 2019
Leader of the Opposition
(Rajya Sabha)
Ghulam Nabi Azad, INC
since 8 June 2014
Speaker of the Lok Sabha
Om Birla, BJP, since 19 June 2019
Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha
Vacant
since 23 May 2019
Leader of the House (Lok Sabha)
Narendra Modi, BJP, since 26 May 2014
Leader of the Opposition (Lok Sabha)
Vacant (Since 26 May 2019, No party has 10% Seats)

Members of Parliament: Responsibility

  • Legislative role of an MP

The primary role of a Member of Parliament is as a legislator. As per Article 111 of the Constitution of India, any bill becomes an Act if and only if it is passed by both houses of Parliament and assented to by the President. In case of ordinary bills, a simple majority (more than 50%) of the members (MPs) present in the house need to vote in favor of the Bill for it to be deemed passed by that House (Article 100). In the case of a Constitutional Amendment Bill under Article 368, a special majority of the MPs (at least two-thirds of the MPs present and 50% of the strength of the House) needs to vote in favor for it to be passed. Additionally, when a Bill is introduced in either House of Parliament, the MPs are supposed to debate on various provisions of the Bill, and propose amendments if they so wish.

  • Deliberative role of an MP

In the Indian constitutional scheme, the Executive (government) is accountable to the legislature. This principle of accountability is realized partly by elected representatives (MPs) asking questions to government ministers, including the Prime Minister, in Parliament. The rules of procedure in each House of Parliament have provisions for a Question Hour and a Zero Hour during which written and oral questions can be asked by MPs. These could include questions specific to the State or the constituency which (s)he represents.

Members of Parliament: Election

Lok Sabha members

For the Lok Sabha elections, the country is divided into smaller constituencies. Multiple candidates contest from a constituency. Candidates can contest the election on ticket of a political party or if someone doesn’t get a ticket from a political party or wants to contest the election on his own, he can contest as an independent contestant. On the bases of vote count, the candidate who wins the election becomes Member of parliament (MP) from that constituency.

Rajya Sabha

The election of a member of the Rajya Sabha is indirect. The members representing any State is elected by elected members of legislative assemblies of the States in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and those who represent Union Territories are chosen under the law prescribed by the Parliament. The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution. One-third of Rajya Sabha members retire after every second year.

Members of Parliament: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can a non Indian citizen become a Member of Parliament?

Ans. No, In order to be elected as a member of Parliament, a candidate must be a citizen of India.

Q. Who acts as the Chairman of Rajya Sabha?

Ans. The Vice-President is the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.

Q. What is the composition of Parliament of India?

Ans. The Parliament consists of President of India and the two Houses of Parliament known as Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People (Lok Sabha).

 What can be the maximum number of members of the Lok Sabha?

Ans. The maximum number of elected members of Lok Sabha is 550.

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