Lok Sabha


Membership and Election—

Unlike Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha is not a permanent body.

It is elected directly by the people on the basis of universal adult franchise.

It is also called the popular House or lower House.

The maximum permissible membership of Lok Sabha is 550 out of which 530 are directly elected from the States while 20 members are elected from the Union Territories.

Besides, the President may nominate two members from the Anglo-Indian community if he/she feels that the said community is not adequately represented in the House.

Certain number of seats has been reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha.

Initially this provision was made for ten years from the commencement of the Constitution, which has been extended time and again for further ten years by various constitutional amendments.

The 79th Amendment has extended it for sixty years from the commencement of the Constitution.

Reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes means the persons belonging to SC/ST will represent such reserved seats.

That implies that only persons belonging to SC/ST can contest from the reserved constituencies.

Now, under the 95th Amendment Act of 2009, this reservation is to last until 2020.

But we have joint electorate and all the voters of the reserved constituency vote irrespective of their caste/tribe.

There is no separation of voters in terms of caste or tribe.

The representation to the Lok Sabha is based on population.

Therefore UP which is the most heavily populated State in India sends as many as 80 members while smaller States like Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim send just one representative each to the Lok Sabha.

Seven members represent Delhi.

For the purpose of elections to the Lok Sabha, the States are divided into single member constituencies on the basis of population.

 

Qualifications—

All the citizens of 18 years of age and above are entitled to vote in the elections to Lok Sabha subject to the laws made by the Parliament.

Any Indian citizen can become a member of Lok Sabha provided he/she fulfils the following qualifications:

He/she should be not less than 25 years of age.

He/she should declare through an oath or affirmation that he has true faith and allegiance in the Constitution and that he will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India.

Unless a member takes the oath, he cannot vote and participate in the proceedings of the House and does not become eligible to parliamentary privileges and immunities.

He/she must possess such other qualifications as may be laid down by the Parliament by law.

He must be registered as a voter in any constituency in India.

Person contesting from the reserved seat should belong to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe as the case may be.

 

Tenure—

The normal term of Lok Sabha is five years.

But the President, on the advice of Council of Ministers, may dissolve it before the expiry of five years.

The term of the Lok Sabha can be extended during the period of national emergency be a law of Parliament for one year at a time for any length of time.

But it will not exceed six months after the emergency is over.

On several occasions Lok Sabha was dissolved prior to the end of its term.

For example the 12th Lok Sabha elected in 1998 was dissolved in 1999.

 

Disqualification on Ground of Defection—

The Constitution also lays down that a person shall be disqualified from being a member of Parliament if he is so disqualified on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule.

A member incurs disqualification under the defection law:

[1] If he voluntary gives up the membership of the political party on whose ticket he is elected to the House;

[2] If he votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction given by his political party;

[3] If any independently elected member joins any political party; and

[4] If any nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months.

The question of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule is decided by the Chairman in the case of Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha.

In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the Chairman/Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review.

 

Vacating of Seats—

[1] If a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 10 days in which House he desires to serve. In default of such intimation, his seat in the Rajya Sabha becomes vacant.

[2] If a sitting member of one House is also elected to the other House, his seat in the first House becomes vacant.

[3] If a person is elected to two seats in a House, he should exercise his option for one. Otherwise, both seats become vacant.

[4] A person cannot be a member of both the Parliament and the state legislature at the same time. If a person is so elected, his seat in Parliament becomes vacant if he does not resign his seat in the state legislature within 14 days.

[5] If his election is declared void by the court.

[6] If he is expelled by the House.

[7] If he is elected to the office of President or Vice-President.

[8] If he is appointed to the office of governor of a state.

[9] A member may resign his seat by writing to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha or Speaker of Lok Sabha, as the case may be. The seat falls vacant when the resignation is accepted. However, the Chairman/Speaker may not accept the resignation if he is satisfied that it is not voluntary or genuine.

[10] A House can declare the seat of a member vacant if he is absent from all its meetings for a period of sixty days without its permission. In computing the period of sixty days, no account shall be taken of any period during which the House is prorogued or adjourned for more than four consecutive days.