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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
The Constitution of India is the fountainhead from which all our laws derive their authority and force. This is next article in the series on constitutional provisions in order to aid our readers in understanding them.
Article 79 “Constitution of Parliament"

79. “Constitution of Parliament.—There shall be a Parliament for the Union which shall consist of the President and two Houses to be known respectively as the Council of States and the House of the People.”

The Constitution has established a federal system of government with bi-cameral legislature i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at the centre. This is not something which was included in the Constitution in 1950 for the first time. Its history goes back to the Government of India Act of 1915 as amended in 1919. Even under the Government of India Act of 1935 the legislature at centre was bi-cameral which means that the "Council of States" under the Government of India Acts became the "Council of States" under this Article of the Constitution. The Council of States is the Upper Chamber in the Parliament of India whereas Lok Sabha is the Lower Chamber in the same. The Council of States consists of the representatives from the States whereas the House of People, Lok Sabha comprises of the members who are elected directly by the people of India through adult franchise.

This Article spells out that the Parliament of India consists of the President and the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The President of India is a titular head of Parliament.

The Parliament makes the law during its sessions viz. budget session, monsoon session and winter session whereas the President promulgate ordinances when there is no session of Parliament.

The most important constitutional provision is that the domicile of the members of Rajya Sabha is immaterial. The Supreme Court has decided the following cases in respect of the domicile of members of Rajya Sabha viz. Kuldip Nayar v. Union of India , AIR 2006 SC 3127; Peoples Union for Civil Liberities (PUCL) v. Union of India , AIR 2003 SC 2363 and K. Ananda Nambiar v. Chief Secretary to the Government of Madras , AIR 1966 SC 657. Though our Constitution makers have made our Parliament as a "Representative House", the use of expressions "members" and "representatives" while dealing with composition of respective Houses is not of relevance i.e. there is no distinction between the expression "members" and "representatives" in the Parliament.

This Article also attracts federalism in India as dominant in our Constitution and such federalism leans in favour of a strong centre i.e. President + Lok Sabha + Rajya Sabha= Parliament and Parliament is supreme legislature in Indian democratic form of governance with a parliamentary sovereignty. The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty as it prevails in England does not prevail in full-fledged way in India except the extent and in the fields provided by the Constitution itself. The entire scheme of our Constitution is such that it ensures the sovereignty and integrity of country as a "Republic" and the democratic way of life by parliamentary institutions based on free and fair elections.

This Article provides for the institution of Parliament in particular and all the Articles including the Preamble support this institution to function within the framework of the three organs viz . President, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The first Lok Sabha was constituted in the year 1952. The present Lok Sabha is the 15 th one constituted in 2009 elections. The Lok Sabha at present consists of 552 members i.e. 530 members directly elected from 28 States, 20 members representing 6 Union Territories and 2 members representing Anglo-Indian communities.

On the other hand, Council of States i.e. Rajya Sabha is a permanent institution consisting of 245 members i.e. 233 members elected for 6 years term, 12 members nominated by President and one-third members retiring every 2 years. These members are chosen from various States indirectly through the system of proportional representation.

The Parliament of India is the main institution in the governance of the country and takes powers from various constitutional provisions for its election, business of House, cabinet functions, enactments, Rules and procedures etc.

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