Traditionally the main function of a legislature is to legislate. Under Articles 245-246 Parliament can make laws for the whole or any part of India within its area of competence as defined and delimited under the distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States vide the Seventh Schedule.
In regard to the Union List, the Parliament’s jurisdictional exclusive. Both the Union and the States have concurrent power to legislate in respect of entries in fro Concurrent list. In case of conflict between the Union and the State laws, the former prevails (Article 254). Also the residuary powers vest in the Union Parliament (Article 248 and entry 97 of the Union List).
Under Article 368, Parliament exercises constituent powers in accordance with the procedure laid down for different categories of amendments. While a large number of articles can be amended by Parliament itself by a special majority, in certain cases concurrence of the States is required.
Parliamentary Control over Government:
In a Parliamentary system of Government and under the scheme of our constitution, Parliament has to ensure Executive or Ministerial responsibility, financial control and Administrative accountability.
Executive or Ministerial responsibility to Parliament or what is often termed parliamentary control over the Executive or the Government is based on : (i) the constitutional provision of collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers to the popular House of Parliament; and (ii) the Parliament’s control over the Budget (Articles 75, 114-116 and 265).
Parliamentary control over the Executive is political in nature. The answerability of the Executive is direct, continuous, concurrent and day-to-day.
Want of Parliamentary confidence in the Government may be expressed by the House of the People by: (a) passing a substantive motion of no-confidence in the Council of Ministers; (b) defeating the Government on a major issue of policy; (c) passing an adjournment motion; or (d) refusing to vote supplies or defeating the Government on a financial measure.
Parliamentary control over public finance – the power to levy or modify taxes and the voting of supplies and grants – is one of the most important checks against the Executive assuming arbitrary powers. No taxes can be legally levied and no expenditure incurred from the public exchequer without specific parliamentary authorization by law (Articles 114-116 and 265).
Besides, Parliament exercises multifarious functions, for example, in matters like the impeachment of the President, removal of Supreme Court and High Court Judges, Comptroller and Auditor General, Chief Election Commissioner, Presiding Officers of the two Houses, etc. (Article 61, 124, 217, 148, 324 and 90).