One of the central ideas of every modern democracy is the decentralization of power, or branching out the work and responsibilities of the government into more than one organ. The law making organ of the government is referred to as the legislature.
This organ is present in all modern democratic nations of the world. However, there are certain divisions when it comes to the forms of legislatures as well. Based upon the number of chambers or houses of the organ, there can be two types of legislatures.
These types are bicameral (two chambers) and unicameral (one chamber). Most countries have bicameral legislatures, but many countries have unicameral legislatures as well. While countries like New Zealand, Zimbabwe, and China have only one chamber, UK, USA, India, and many other nations have two chambers.
The two houses are known as the upper house and the lower house. In India, the lower chamber is known as the Lok Sabha, or the House of the People. The Lok Sabha is constituted of popularly elected members by citizens all over the country.
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Elections for the membership of the legislative assembly are conducted all over India every five years. The country is divided into constituencies, and one person is elected popularly from each of such constituency.
The election is conducted by employing the first part the post system, and universal adult franchise is also exercised. All such persons go on to represent their respective constituency in the Lok Sabha and thus, together, make up its entire composition.
The maximum possible number of members of the Lok Sabha is 552, and the present number is 545. The President of India can also nominate 2 Anglo-Indian members to the Lok Sabha if it is felt that the community is not properly and adequately represented in the lower house.
The term of the office for the members is five years, after which the Lok Sabha is dissolved and elections are held to reconstitute the same. Besides the normal members, the president is also by default a member of the Lok sabha.
There are two compulsory sessions of the house conducted every year, one during the summer and the other during the winter. Other sessions can also be conducted as and when deemed necessary.
The quorum refers to the minimum number of members which need to be present for a meeting of the Lok Sabha to take place. The required quorum for Lok Sabha is one-tenth of the total present membership.
The Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over its proceedings, and is elected unanimously by the members of the Lok Sabha immediately after it has been formed. Presently, the speaker of our Lok Sabha is Sumitra Mahajan. M. Thambidurai serves as the deputy speaker who would take up the duties of the speaker in case they are absent due to unavoidable circumstances.
The speaker also maintains the discipline and the order in the Lok Sabha and acts as a mediator in case of nasty arguments. They are only allowed to cast their vote in any matter being discussed in the house in case of a tie. In this way, they are given the power to cast the deciding vote in all such cases.
They also decide whether a bill is a money bill or not if such confusion arises. The speaker can voluntarily resign, or can be removed from office by a resolution passed by the house.
In case of the dissolution of the house before its term expires, the speaker also automatically has to give up on their post. Therefore, it can be understood that the Speaker is indeed a very important personality, and greatly controls how the Lok Sabha functions.
Lok Sabha has several important legislative or law making functions, as it is a part of the legislature of the government. Other than those, it also has several very important executive, judicial, financial, and miscellaneous functions as well.
For every bill to be made into a law, it has to be passed by the Lok Sabha with the support of the required majority of the members present and voting in the house. No bill can be passed without the consent of the Lok Sabha members.
Besides, Lok Sabha enjoys almost exclusively the rights over passing the money bills, because the upper house, or the Rajya Sabha, has little or no say over the passing of the same.
Moreover, the annual financial budget is also announced in the Lok Sabha itself. This shows how Lok Sabha manages the ‘purse of the nation’. It also plays an important part in the impeachment of the President and other important executives and judges, attorneys, etc., therefore exercising its judicial powers.
The Lok Sabha members can also pass a no confidence motion to move the ruling party from power, and make use of other motions and cuts to keep the government in check. In this way, a proper check of powers on the executive organ is also maintained by the Lok Sabha.
The Lok Sabha holds a very important place in the political hierarchy of India and plays a major part in mapping out how our country functions and progresses. Although there are many allegations of corruption, nepotism, and other adversities on the Lok Sabha members and the house in general, it still has functioned with minimal setbacks over the decades.
The present Lok Sabha was constituted after the sixteenth general elections and has been in office since 2014. The Lok Sabha together mirrors the opinions of the nation and acts as a true representative of the people of India. Indian democracy simply could not run without the prowess of such a powerful lower house of its legislature.