What Does The Parliament Do?
What Is The Function Of The Legislature?
Do Both Houses Of The Parliament Have Similar Functions?
Apart from law making, the Parliament is engaged in many other functions.
Let us list the functions of the Parliament:
- Legislative Function: The Parliament enacts legislations for the country. Despite being the chief law making body, the Parliament often merely approves legislations. The actual task of drafting the bill is performed by the bureaucracy under the supervision of the minister concerned. The substance and even the timing of the bill are decided by the Cabinet. No major bill is introduced in the Parliament without the approval of the Cabinet. Members other than ministers can also introduce bills but these have no chance of being passed without the support of the government.
- Control of Executive and ensuring its accountability: Perhaps the most vital function of the Parliament is to ensure that the executive does not overstep its authority and remains responsible to the people who have elected them.
- Financial Function: Government is about spending a lot of money on various matters. Where does this money come from? Every government raises resources through taxation. However, in a democracy, legislature controls taxation and the way in which money is used by the government. If the Government of India proposes to introduce any new tax, it has to get the approval of the Lok Sabha. The Financial powers of the Parliament, involve grant of resources to the government to implement its programmes. The government has to give an account to the Legislature about the money it has spent and resources that it wishes to raise. The legislature also ensures that the government does not misspend or overspend. This is done through the budget and annual financial statements.
- Representation: Parliament represents the divergent views of members from different regional, social, economic, religious groups of different parts of the country.
- Debating Function: The Parliament is the highest forum of debate in the country. There is no limitation on its power of discussion. Members are free to speak on any matter without fear. This makes it possible for the Parliament to analyse any or every issue that faces the nation. These discussions constitute the heart of democratic decision making.
- Constituent Function: The Parliament has the power of discussing and enacting changes to the Constitution. The constituent powers of both the houses are similar. All constitutional amendments have to be approved by a special majority of both Houses.
- Electoral functions: The Parliament also performs some electoral functions. It elects the President and Vice President of India.
- Judicial functions: The judicial functions of the Parliament include considering the proposals for removal of President, Vice-President and Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court.
Bibliography : NCERT – Indian Constitution At Work