Back Daily News -

Parliament and its Panels

Mains -GS2- Polity, Prelims – Polity

1. Normally the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees have one-year tenure.

2. Now, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha plans to fix the tenure for two years.

3. As these are joint committees of the both the Houses of Parliament, the concurrence of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is required.

Tenurial Issue

1. While Lok Sabha Rules and Rajya Sabha Rules fixes the term of office of the members of the committees to one year but not the committees.

2. As per provisions of Article 83(1), Rajya Sabha undergoes partial biennial renewal, as one-third of its members retire every 2 years.

3. Lok Sabha has a fixed tenure of 5 years, unless sooner dissolved. This makes the proposed 2-year tenure of the committees valid.

4. But there is a mismatch between the election schedule of the Rajya Sabha (every 2 years) and the Lok Sabha (every 5 years).

5. Only once in 10 years, the requirement of a major reshuffle of the Standing Committees in both the Houses is expected to coincide, making the proposal invalid.

Rules on Committee

1. Rajya Sabha Rules doesn’t prescribe fixed tenure for all its other Standing Committees. They hold office until a new committee is nominated.

2. The casual vacancies in the committee will be filled in by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

3. In Lok Sabha, except a few committees without tenure prescription, most others have a tenure of 1 year.

4. Committees concerned with deliberations of a serious nature are given a term coterminous with that of the House.

5. Other committees like the Department-related Standing Committees are prescribed annual renewal.

Departmental Standing Committees

1. There are 24 Department-related Standing Committees, each with a membership of 31 - 10 members of the Rajya Sabha and 21 of the Lok Sabha.

2. They can accommodate 240 members of the Rajya Sabha, and 504 members of the Lok Sabha.

3. As Ministers cannot be members of these committees and some senior members opt-out, no MP is left out of its membership.

4. Once members are nominated to a committee, based on their expertise and/or preference, they should be allowed to continue till retirement.

5. The Standing Committees are permanent. So, the terms of the members of the two Houses on these committees can be different.

6. While 2 years can be set for the Rajya Sabha members and for the Lok Sabha members, it can be coterminous with its life.

7. The Rules could also provide casual vacancies to be filled in by the Presiding Officers.

Source: The Hindu