LOK SABHA

 

 

          The concept of democratic institutions is deeply rooted in Indian History. Institutions like popular assemblies and elected monarchy were prevalent in the Vedic Age(circa 3000-1000 BC) while the tradition of republicanism thrived between circa 1000 BC and 600 AD.  However, parliamentary institutions with all their modern ramifications owe their origin to India's British connections.  Until 1853, there was no legislative body distinct from the Executive.  The Charter Act of 1853, for the first time provided some sort of a legislature in the form of a 12 member Legislative Council.  Following the First War of Independence 1857, the British government enacted India Act of 1858 to ensure their direct rule over India.  This was followed by the Indian Councils Acts of 1861, 1892 and 1909.   The Government of India Act of 1919 provided a bicameral legislature at the centre.  This position continued even though another legislation, the Government of India Act of 1935 was enacted subsequently.  The Indian Independence Act, 1947 declared the Constituent Assembly of India to be a full sovereign body.  Apart from being a Constitution drafting body, it also assumed full powers for the governance of the country. With the coming into force of the Constitution on 26 January 1950, the Constituent Assembly functioned as the Provisional Parliament until the first Lok Sabha, then known as the House of People was constituted following General Elections in 1952.  Lok Sabha, the Hindi nomenclature was adopted on 14 May 1954.

          The Lok Sabha consists of members directly elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage. As provided by the Constitution, the maximum strength of the House is 552 members - 530 members to represent the States, 20 members to represent the Union Territories and 2 members to be nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian Community.  The total elected membership is distributed in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and Union Territory and its population is, as far as possible, the same for all State and Union Territory units.  The present strength of the House is 545.

          The qualifying age for membership in Lok Sabha is 25 years.  Unless dissolved sooner, the term of the House is 5 years.  However, while a proclamation of Emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case beyond six months after the proclamation ceased to operate.  The first Lok Sabha met for the first time in May 1952.  The present Lok Sabha (the Fourteenth) met for the first time on 2 June 2004.

          The Speaker and Deputy Speaker are the Presiding Officers of Lok Sabha.  They are elected from amongst the members of Lok Sabha.  Besides, Lok Sabha also has a panel of Chairmen.  The Prime Minister who is the leader of the majority party in Lok Sabha functions as the Leader of the House except when he is not a member of the Lok Sabha.