Lok Sabha

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Lok Sabha

लोक सभा
House of the People
15th Lok Sabha
Logo of the House of the People (Vishwamitra).svg
Logo of the House of the People
Type
Type
Term limits
1 year
History
Founded15 April 2007; 15 years ago
Leadership
Duke Tyler Mullins, IND
since 10 November 2022
Devin Purcell, VNP
since 10 November 2022
Duke Farhaz Hazarika, NPC
since 9 November 2022
Count Rafe Burfield, NPC
since 9 November 2022
Toyotomi-Kim Tatsumi, VNP
since 9 November 2022
Structure
Seats20
Lok Sabha
Political groups
Government (15)
  •   NPC (13)
  •   IND (2)

Opposition: (5)

Elections
First past the post
Last election
October-November 2022
Next election
On or before November 2023
Meeting place
Discord

The Lok Sabha (Hindi: लोक सभा), constitutionally the House of the People, often referred to simply as the Parliament or HoP, is the supreme legislative body of Vishwamitra and the former lower house under the bicameral legislature between 2010 and 2016, and in 2022. The current parliament consists of 20 seats. Elected occupants are called Member of Parliament, or MP who are elected by an adult universal suffrage and a first-past-the-post system to represent their respective parliamentary constituencies, and they hold their seats for a term of one year or until the dissolution of the parliament by the Rashtradhyaksh on the advice of the union council of ministers. They may, however, resign anytime by addressing a letter to the Speaker. The maximum membership of the House allotted by the Constitution of Vishwamitra is 20 who are drawn from the states and territories on the basis of proportionate representation.

The election to elect the members of the 15th legislature took place in October and November 2022 in which the National People's Congress secured the majority of the seats having won 13 of the total seats while the Vishwamitran National Party won 5 seats and became the chief opposition party.

The leader of the party (or alliance of parties) holding majority of seats becomes the Prime Minister of Vishwamitra, and so the head of government.

Etymology

The Constitution of Vishwamitra under Article 36 designates the official name of the legislature Lok Sabha (लोक सभा) in Hindi and House of the People in English. The term Sabha, a Hindi word with literal meaning 'gathering' or 'assembly'; while the term Lok means people or men. Hence, the name Lok Sabha translated to House of the People or Assembly of the People. The legislature is commonly known as Parliament and often referred to simply as HoP.

The term "Member of Parliament" (Hindi: संसद सदस्य, romanized: Sānsad sadasya) refers to the elected members of the Sabha. The title is almost always shortened to the initialism "MP" and often referred to simply as the Sāānsad in Hindi. Members of Parliament are entitled to use the prefix "The Honourable" (Hindi: माननीय, romanized: Mānanīẏa).

History

The interim legislature was formed following the establishment of the nation in April 2007 which more or less was another body after the council of ministers which worked with the same people responsible for the administration and governance of the nation. The interim legislature initially composed of the three national founders - Arnisha Phatowali, Dhrubajyoti Roy, and Tanishkaa Patranabish and was later expanded to include Abhiraj Kar and Asmi Patranabis as members.

The first election to elect a parliament took place in January 2010 and since then, elections to elect members to the parliament have taken place after fixed intervals of time. For the initial parliaments, the membership of the house stood at very low. However with time, the strength was increased and the 11th and 12th parliaments composed of the highest number of members, at 32. The strength of the parliament was reduced to 2020 in January 2021 ahead of the March 2021 general election and was later constitutionally added in August 2021.

From the inception of the first parliament till August 2016, the Lok Sabha being highly inspired from the lower house of the Parliament of India served as the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of Vishwamitra, alongside the Rajya Sabha (Hindi: राज्य सभा) or Council of States which served as the upper house of the parliament. A senior member of the house or the cabinet was designated as Speaker whose principal duty was to moderate and run the house in a dignified manner. Also following another tradition of the Parliament of India, the Vice President served as the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The both houses of chamber co-incidentally never met together at the place and also the history of the foundation of the Rajya Sabha is not as clear as compared to the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha always used to meet at the Ashoka Hall at the Rajya Niwas complex in Beltola, while the Rajya Sabha met at the school classroom at which Dhrubajyoti Roy went.

In a series of parliamentary changes, the two houses of the parliament were merged together to form an unicameral legislature known as the Senate (Hindi: सीनेट) which was later renamed as Sadasya Sabha (Hindi: सदस्य सभा) in 2017 and as the National Assembly (Hindi: राष्ट्रीय सभा) on 11 September 2018. At the time of the creation of the unicameral Senate, the membership was increased to 21 and later to 28 in 2018. In another change to the parliament system, the membership was increased to 32 in June 2019 on the basis of proportionate representation.

In December 2021, the "Bicameral Legislature Act" was introduced before the parliament by Parliamentary Affairs minister Rory McPhail and was subsequently passed by the house thereby paving its way to establish a bicameral legislature in Vishwamitra with the "House of Councillors" (Hindi: पार्षद सभा) as the upper house and the "House of the People" (Hindi: लोक सभा) as the lower house. The same act of the parliament sought to dissolve the privy council and reform it as the house of councillors. The bicameralism was short-lived and was abolished in April 2022 reverting the system back to unicameralism. The privy council was re-established on 28 April 2022.

Constituencies

The maximum strength of the Parliament envisaged by the Constitution of Vishwamitra under Article 37(2) is 20. The states and territories are divided into "single-member electoral constituencies" referred to as "Chunāvēē ksētra" (चुनावी क्षेत्र). Each constituency is represented by a single member of parliament, and is elected by the first-past-the-post system. The constituencies are allocated to the various states and territories by the system of proportionate representation on the basis of their population. Article 37(2) of the constitution mentions the constituencies of the parliament:

There shall be:

  1. six members from Purvanchal
  2. three members from Beltola
  3. two members from Uttaranchal
  4. two members from Madhya Prant
  5. three members from Kamrupa
  6. three members from Basistha
  7. one member from Chandrabans

Under article 37(3), it mentions that the Rashtradhyaksh, in consultation with the cabinet shall time to time review the number of parliamentary constituencies in regards to proportionate representation and make the changes in the composition of the parliament.

The list of constituencies since 1 March 2021 are as follows:

No. State Constituency
1 Purvanchal Maligaon
2 Rajagriha
3 National Capital Constituency
4 Boragaon
5 Kalapani
6 Rashtra Niwas
7 Beltola Brikshasthana
8 Bhetapara
9 Basant Bahar
10 Uttaranchal Gotanagar
11 Radisson
12 Madhya Prant Noonmati
13 Dhirenpara
14 Kamrupa Dadara
15 National List
16 Chandril
17 Basistha Basistha City
18 Basistha Rural
19 Basistha Central
20 Federal territories Chandrabans

Membership

Article 38 of the constitution provides the qualifications for a person to become a member of the parliament. It makes membership open to any citizen of Vishwamitra who is either a resident or an overseas citizen as described under clauses 1 and 2 of article 5. However, those with pending cases under the jurisdiction of the supreme court are barred to become members of the parliament.

Members are elected by direct polling in their respective constituencies. Whoever wins the most votes, regardless of turnout or proportion, wins the election. Members are elected for a term of one year and serve in office until their resignation, removal or the dissolution of the parliament. Members can be re-elected indefinitely, and so have no term limits. They may be independent or affiliated with a political party.

Disqualification of members

Article 39 of the constitution mentions that a member of the Lok Sabha can be disqualified if:

  • found or declared to be of unsound mind
  • hold an office of profit
  • convicted of an offence by the Supreme Court of Vishwamitra
  • convicted of treason or law violation in any nation, with special provision that they shall be subjected to a free and fair trial in the Supreme Court or a judgement by the Rashtradhyaksh

Thomas Jacobs, a member of the 14th Lok Sabha who represented the Brikshasthana constituency was disqualified by the Supreme Court in August 2022 and is till date the first and only parliamentarian to be disqualified by the apex court.

Double membership

There are no provisions who bar an individual to be elected to the house from more than one constituency. However, if elected from multiple seats, the member must vacate all but one seat. It is usually the custom for prominent politicians especially party leaders to stand in multiple constituencies. During the November 2021 general election, National People's Congress leader Farhaz Hazarika contested from two constituencies - Rashtra Niwas of Purvanchal and Basistha Rural of Basistha was able to win from both constituencies. Upon his election, he vacated the Basistha Rural seat which was later filled by William Cooper. In a similar instance, Congress president Arthur Lacey-Scott was elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from two different constituencies - Maligaon constituency and Kalapani constituency of Purvanchal. He later resigned from the Maligaon constituency.

Powers and rights

The Rashtradhyaksh appoints a cabinet with the Prime Minister and other ministers from the among the members. The Prime Minister and all ministers must be parliamentarians and if they are not an elected member of the parliament at the time of their appointment, they are needed to get elected within a period of six failing which shall lead to them ceasing to hold their ministerial positions.

The constitution under Article 44 vests legislative power upon the Lok Sabha. The principal duty of the parliament is to make laws as per the bill making procedure described in the constitution. No bills passed by the house shall be deemed into force if it is not assented by the Rashtradhyaksh.

The Lok Sabha also has the power to introduce motions of no confidence against the government and if passed by a majority vote, the Prime Minister and the council of ministers shall resign collectively. The government is also responsible to the Lok Sabha and is answerable before the house for its action. The constitution under Article 45(4) also mentions that the Lok Sabha has the power to remove a judge of the Supreme Court.

Summoning

The Rashtradhyaksh has the power to formally summon the Lok Sabha following the annual general election. The Rashtradhyaksh, may however nominate a representative to discharge such duties.

Prorogation and dissolution

The Rashtradhyaksh can prorogue the parliament at any time deeming necessary to do so. The parliament was prorogued between March and April 2022 during the political crisis and inactivity.

The constitution shall confers upon the Rashtradhyaksh the powers to dissolve the parliament on the consultation with the Prime Minister and the cabinet on the occasion of:

  • expiration of the tenure of the parliament
  • failure of the government to command the confidence of the parliament

Organisation

Executive bodies

The Parliament executive bodies include the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha and other nominated bodies by the Speaker or as per established by the Standing Orders. The provision for a separate position for a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha was created by the Speakers and Deputy Speakers Act of 2021. In the Lok Sabha, both presiding officers- the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker- are elected from among its members by a simple majority of members present and voting in the house. The act provides several provisions for a member to be elected as Speaker of the house, which include being above the age of 14, not being a member of the council of ministers or the leader of the opposition, and one who is an active member of the house. The speaker and deputy speaker must be a member of the Lok Sabha. In the event of the resignation, vacancy or removal of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker shall act as the speaker and in the absence of a deputy speaker, the Rashtradhyaksh or a very senior non-ministerial member of the house shall act as the protem speaker.

The Speaker of the Lok Sabha is both a member of the House and its presiding officer. The speaker conducts the business in the house and decides whether a bill is to be introduced or not. They are responsible for the maintenance of the discipline and decorum of the house and can punish a member for their unruly behaviour by suspending them. They permit the moving of various kinds of motions and resolutions like the vote of no-confidence. The speaker decides the agenda to be taken in the house in regular consultation with the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. The standing orders vests the power relating to the disqualification of a member of the Lok Sabha upon the Speaker. The speaker makes congratulatory references, obituary references in the House, formal references to important national and international events, and the valedictory address after every Session of the Lok Sabha and also when the term of the House expires. Though a member of the House, the Speaker does not vote in the House except on those rare occasions when there is a tie at the end of a decision. To date, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha has not been called upon to exercise this unique casting vote.

Prior to the establishment of the Speakers and Deputy Speakers Act of 2021, the duties of the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha was carried out by the Rashtradhyaksh as ex-officio speaker of the house. Dhrubajyoti Roy is the first-ever recognized Speaker of the Lok Sabha

Parliamentary groups

The parliamentary groups of the Lok Sabha are groups of members of parliament organised by a political party or coalition of parties. The leadership of each groups consists of a parliamentary party leader, deputy leader, whips and a parliamentary working committee. The size of a group determines the extent of its representation on legislative committees, the time slots allotted for speaking, the number of committee chairs it can hold, and its representation in executive bodies of the parliament.

  • Current Composition
    • Government coalition
      • Leader of the House; the post is usually held by the Prime Minister of Vishwamitra
      • Deputy Leader of the House (who leads the day to day business of the government in the Parliament; held by a very senior cabinet member)
      • Chief Whip (who is supported by additional whips)
    • Official Opposition

Lok Sabha general elections

Each Lok Sabha is constituted after a general election.

Lok Sabha General election
Interim Parliament No election
1st Lok Sabha 2010 general election
2nd Lok Sabha 2012 general election
3rd Lok Sabha 2014 general election
4th Lok Sabha February 2015 general election
5th Lok Sabha December 2015 general election
6th Lok Sabha April 2016 general election
7th Lok Sabha December 2016 general election
8th Lok Sabha 2017 general election
9th Lok Sabha 2018 general election
10th Lok Sabha 2018 president election
11th Lok Sabha 2019 general election
12th Lok Sabha 2020 general election
13th Lok Sabha March 2021 general election
14th Lok Sabha November 2021 general election
15th Lok Sabha 2022 general election

See also

References