The Lok Sabha (Hindi: लोक सभा; meaning "House of the People") is the lower house in the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are direct representatives of the people of India, having been directly elected by the electorate consisting of all eligible adult citizens of India. Its maximum size as outlined in the Constitution of India is 552 members, made up of up to 530 members representing people from the states of India, up to 20 members representing people from the Union Territories, and two members to represent the Anglo-Indian community if it does not have adequate representation in the house according to the President. Some seats are reserved for scheduled caste and tribes.
Each Lok Sabha is formed for a five year term, after which it is automatically dissolved, unless extended by a Proclamation of Emergency which may extend the term in one year increments. The Fourteenth Lok Sabha was formed in May 2004.
The longest serving Lok Sabha member was Shri Ashoke Kumar Sen, a minister who served with many prime ministers including Nehru and Indira Gandhi. He won the seat a record 8 times.
An exercise to redraw Lok Sabha consistencies' boundaries is being carried out by the Election Commission of India based on the Indian census of 2001. This exercise which was supposed to be carried out after every census was suspended in 1976 following a constitutional amendment to avoid adverse effects of the family planning program which was being implemented.
Qualifications required to become a member
To become a member of the Lok Sabha, a person must definitely be a citizen of india, not less than 25 years of age. He/she should be mentally sound and should not be bankrupt. He/she should also state an affidavit that there are no criminal procedures against him/her. For reserved seats one should be member of scheduled caste or/and tribes.
Important Members of the Fourteenth Lok Sabha
- Speaker: Somnath Chatterjee, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Bolpur, West Bengal
- Deputy Speaker: Charanjit Singh Atwal, Shiromani Akali Dal, Phillaur, Punjab
- Leader of the House: Manmohan Singh, Indian National Congress, Uttar Pradesh
- Leader of the Opposition: Lal Krishna Advani, Bharatiya Janata Party, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
- Secretary General: P.D.T. Acharya
Composition of Lok Sabha
The members of the Lok Sabha elect a Speaker of Lok Sabha who is responsible for the conduct of business of the body, and a Deputy Speaker to preside over the proceedings in the absence of the Speaker of Lok Sabha|Speaker.
The membership of Lok Sabha is distributed among the states and union territories so as to ensure proper representation of the population of the states and union territories. The current allocation of membership is as follows: (545 members: List of Constituencies of the Lok Sabha|543 elected + 2 nominated)
|No.||State||No. of members|
|10||Jammu and Kashmir||6|
|No.||Union Territory||No. of members|
|1||Andaman and Nicobar Islands||1|
|3||Dadra and Nagar Haveli||1|
|4||Daman and Diu||1|
- Anglo-Indians - 2
Total members - 545
On normal business days, the Lok Sabha assembles from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and again from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The first hour of every sitting is called the Question Hour, during which questions posed by members may be assigned to specific Government of India|government ministries, to be answered at a fixed date in the future.
The Lok Sabha shares legislative power with the Rajya Sabha, except in the area of Money Bills, in which case the Lok Sabha has the ultimate authority. If conflicting legislation is enacted by the two Houses, a joint sitting is held to resolve the differences. In such a session, the members of the Lok Sabha would generally prevail, since the Lok Sabha includes more than twice as many members as the Rajya Sabha.
Powers, including the Special powers of the Lok Sabha
The special powers of the Lok Sabha is the reason why the Lok Sabha is de facto and de jure more powerful than the Rajya Sabha.
1. A motion of no confidence against the government may be introduced and passed only in the Lok Sabha. If passed by a majority vote, the Prime Minister and his council of Ministers shall collectively resign. The Rajya Sabha has no power over such a motion, and hence no real power over the executive. However, the Prime Minister may threaten (sic) the dissolution of the Lok Sabha and recommend this to the President, forcing another untimely General Election. The President normally accepts this recommendation unless he is otherwise convinced that the Lok Sabha might recommend a new Prime Minister by a majority vote. Thus de facto, both the executive and the legislature in India have checks and balances over each other.
2. A money bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. After it is passed by the Lok Sabha, it is sent to the Rajya Sabha, where it can be deliberated upon for a maximum period of 14 days. If rejected by the Rajya Sabha, or 14 days lapse from the introduction of the bill in the Rajya Sabha without any action by the House, or recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha are not accepted by the Lok Sabha, the bill shall be considered passed. The budget is presented in the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister in the name of the President of India.
3. In matters pertaining to non-financial (ordinary) bills, after the bill has been passed by the House where it was originally tabled (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha), it shall be sent to the other house, where it may be kept for a maximum period of 6 months. If the other House rejects the bill or a period of 6 months elapses without any action by that House, or the recommendations made by the members of the other house are not accepted by the House which originally tabled the bill, it results in a deadlock. This is resolved by the President by calling a joint session of both Houses which is presided over by the speaker of the Lok Sabha and decided by a simple majority. The will of the Lok Sabha normally prevails in thses matters, as its strength is more than double that of the Rajya Sabha.
4. Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in intiating and passing any Bill for Constitutional Amemndment (by a majority of the total membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting).
5. Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in initiating and passing a motion for the impeachment of the President (by two-thirds of the membership of the House).
6. Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in initiating and passing a motion for the impeachment of the judges of the Supreme Court and the state High Courts (by a majority of the membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting).
7. Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in initiating and passing a resolution declaring war or national emergency (by two-thirds majority) or constitutional emergency (by simple majority) in a state.
8. If the Lok Sabha is dissolved before or after the declaration of a National Emergency, the Rajya Sabha becomes the sole de facto and de jure Parliament. It, of course, cannot be dissolved. This is a limitation on the Lok Sabha.
Sessions of Lok Sabha
Three sessions of Lok Sabha take place in a year:
- Budget Session: February to May.
- Monsoon Session: July to September.
- Winter Session: November to December.
Lok Sabha since Independence
|No||Start of Term||End of Term||Prime Minister(s)||President(s)||Related Elections|
|1st Lok Sabha||17 Apr 1952||04 Apr 1957||Jawaharlal Nehru||Rajendra Prasad|
|2nd Lok Sabha||05 Apr 1957||31 Mar 1962||Jawaharlal Nehru||Rajendra Prasad|
|3rd Lok Sabha||02 Apr 1962||03 Mar 1967||Jawaharlal Nehru, Gulzarilal Nanda, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi||Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan|
|4th Lok Sabha||04 Mar 1967||27 Dec 1970||Indira Gandhi||Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Zakir Husain, Varahagiri Venkata Giri|
|5th Lok Sabha||15 Mar 1971||18 Jan 1977||Indira Gandhi||Varahagiri Venkata Giri, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed|
|6th Lok Sabha||23 Mar 1977||22 Aug 1979||Morarji Desai, Charan Singh||Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy|
|7th Lok Sabha||10 Jan 1980||31 Dec 1984||Indira Gandhi||Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, Giani Zail Singh|
|8th Lok Sabha||31 Dec 1984||27 Nov 1989||Rajiv Gandhi||Giani Zail Singh,R Venkataraman|
|9th Lok Sabha||02 Dec 1989||13 Mar 1991||V.P. Singh, Chandra Shekhar||R Venkataraman|
|10th Lok Sabha||20 Jun 1991||10 May 1996||P. V. Narasimha Rao||R Venkataraman, Shankar Dayal Sharma|
|11th Lok Sabha||15 May 1996||04 Dec 1997||Atal Bihari Vajpayee, H.D Deve Gowda, I.K Gujral||K.R Narayanan|
|12th Lok Sabha||10 Mar 1998||26 Apr 1999||Atal B. Vajpayee||K.R Narayanan|
|13th Lok Sabha||10 Oct 1999||06 Feb 2004||Atal B. Vajpayee||Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam|
|14th Lok Sabha||17 May 2004||Till Date||Dr. Manmohan Singh||Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam|
Expulsion of members for contempt of the House
On 12 December 2005, the Star TV news channel telecast the sting operation Operation Duryodhana, where 11 Members of Parliament were apparently caught on video receiving cash inducements in return for raising questions in the Parliament. Following swift inquiries by Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha and a Special Committee of the Lok Sabha the members were found guilty and the motion for their expulsion was adopted in respective Houses.
On 23 December 2005 the following members of the 14th Lok Sabha ceased to be members following the adoption of the motion calling for their expulsion:
1. Narendra Kumar Kushwaha, BSP, Mirzapur (Uttar Pradesh) 23.12.2005
2. Raja Ram Pal, BSP, Bilhaur (Uttar Pradesh) 23.12.2005
3. Manoj Kumar, RJD, Palamau (SC) (Jharkhand) 23.12.2005
4. Baba Saheb Chandra Pratap Singh, BJP Sidhi (ST) (Madhya Pradesh) 23.12.2005
5. Annasaheb M.K. Patil, BJP Erandol (Maharashtra) 23.12.2005
6. Y.G. Mahajan, BJP, Jalgaon (Maharashtra) 23.12.2005
7. Suresh Chandel, BJP, Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh) 23.12.2005
8. Pradeep Gandhi, BJP, Rajnandgaon (Chhattisgarh) 23.12.2005
9. Ramsevak Singh (Babuji), INC, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) 23.12.2005
10.Lalchandra, BSP, Robertsganj (SC) (Uttar Pradesh) 23.12.2005
The members have challenged the expulsion before the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India. On April 12 2007, the Supreme Court Of India dismissed the petition filed by the expelled members and upheld the action of the Lok Sabha.