Notes on The Lok Sabha (The House of People) of India



Lok Sabha represents the popular chamber of Indian Parliament. It is the Lower House of the Indian Parliament consisting of the directly elected representatives of the people. The members of Parliament are directly elected by the people for a period of five years. Each State is allotted seats on the basis of its population who in turn create constituencies on the same basis to elect the representatives to the Lower House on the basis of adult suffrage. Members representing the Union Territories and tribal areas are chosen in such a manner as the Parliament provides by its Act.

The present membership of Lok Sabha is fixed at 545 by the 31st Constitution Amendment Act 1973. Of these 525 members are elected directly by the people from various states, 20 members are chosen from Union Territories. If the President feels that the Anglo-Indian Community has not been adequately represented in the Lok Sabha he can nominate two members from that community.

The qualification fixed for election to the Lok Sabha are plain and simple such as a candidate a) must be an Indian citizen, of 25 years of age or more and, c) must satisfy other qualifications as determined by Parliament.

The tenure of Lok Sabha is five years. The life of Lok Sabha begins from the date of its First Session. However it may be dissolved before the expiry of its term for political reasons. Its life can also be extended in case of grave emergency. One-tenth of the membership constitute the quorum to carry on the proceedings of the House.

The members of Lok Sabha receive a monthly Salary of Rs. 3500 and other allowance and perks. During the Sessions of Lok Sabha they get a daily allowance of Rs. 200.

The Presiding Officer

The Speaker : Immediately after the election, during the first Session of Lok Sabha the members elect a Presiding and Deputy Presiding Officer from among themselves known as the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. The Speaker happens to be the most dignified and prestigious authority of Lok Sabha who is primarily meant to take care of the decorum and decency of deliberations in the House. The Speaker after his election gets rid of party activities and becomes politically neutral. An impartial and non-partisan Speaker can only receive the loyalty of all its members irrespective of party affiliation. The office of the Speaker is held in high esteem in the House of Representatives in England. In the same tradition Lok Sabha extends its respect and regards to the Speaker.

In the absence of the Speaker the Deputy Speaker discharges his responsibility. There is a list of names earlier agreed upon by the members of Lok Sabha to preside over the deliberations in the absence of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.

The Speaker may be removed by a resolution passed by a majority of members of the House. At least 14 days notice has to be served before taking up the formal proposal for the removal of the Speaker. During the deliberations on the issue of removal the Speaker does not preside. But he can take part in the deliberation to defend himself.

The powers and functions of the Speaker emanate both from the provisions of the Constitution and the position he occupies as Head of the Lok Sabha Secretariat. He presides over the meetings. He regulates the business and interprets the rules of the House. His ruling in all matters is final. He maintains order in the House and can reprimand members for their unparliamentarily language and unruly behavior. He can suspend members for bad manners. He permits the members to express their views or to put questions to ministers. In case of dispute whether or not a bill is a Money Bill. His decision is final.

In consultation with the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition he decides the schedule of the House. The admissibility of motions, resolutions or questions is determined by him. He can suspend the business of the House. He regulates the entry of officials and outsiders to the premises of the Lok Sabha during its Session. He is the guardian of the privileges of the members of the House and the channel of communication between the President and the members of the House.

The Speaker does not take part in the deliberations of the House or gives his opinion on any matter unless and otherwise required. He does not take part in voting. But in case of equality of votes on any issue, he exercises a casting vote to break the tie. The absence of vote in the first instance makes the position of the Speaker impartial as in England, and the casting vote given to him only serves a deadlock.

Neutrality on the part of the Speaker is regarded as an indispensable condition for the office. It is not possible for him to enjoy the confidence of various parties in the Lok Sabha.