Parliamentary Committees

The members of the Parliamentary committees are the members of the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) only.

A Parliamentary committee may consist of either

Members of Lok Sabha OR members of Rajya Sabha

OR Members of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

A Parliamentary Committee that consists of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members are called the Joint Parliamentary Committee.

The Parliament is assisted by a number of committees for discharging its functions.

A Parliamentary committee is either appointed OR Elected.

A Parliamentary committee is appointed either by The Speaker OR The Chairman. 

A parliamentary committee is elected either by

  • The Lok Sabha
  • OR The Rajya Sabha
  • OR both.

A Parliamentary committee works under the direction of Speaker or Chairman.

A parliamentary committee submits the report to

  • The house
  • OR The Speaker
  • OR The Chairman.

A Parliamentary Committee is provided with a Secretariat.

The Parliamentary committees are of two types

  1. Standing Committees (permanent)
  2. Ad hoc Committees (informal, temporary)

The Adhoc committees are again divided into

  • Advisory Committees
  • Inquiry Committees

STANDING COMMITTEES:

The Standing Committees are permanent committees.

The Standing Committees are constituted every year.

LET US DISCUSS various standing committees in the Parliament.

PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE (PAC):

The PAC was set up in the year 1921.

The PAC was set up under the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1919.

The strength of PAC is 22 members.

The members are elected from both Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha from amongst its members.

Out of 22 members of PAC 15 are elected from Lok Sabha and the remaining 7 are elected from the Rajya Sabha.

All the members are elected through proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

NOTE: With the above process of election most of the parties will have representation in the PAC.

The term of office of a member is 1 year.

Up to 1966 and 1967, the Speaker used to appoint a ruling party member as the Chairman of PAC.

In the year 1967, a convention was established that the Speaker must appoint only opposition party members as the Chairman of the PAC.

Note: The above point is very important.

Ministers cannot be members of this committee.

FUNCTION OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE:

The Comptroller and Auditor General verify the accounts and the report is submitted to the President of India.

The report of CAG is laid before the Parliament by the President.

The PAC will examine the annual audit reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The PAC will examine the appropriation accounts and the financial accounts of the Union government and any other accounts laid before the Lok Sabha.

The appropriation accounts compare the actual expenditure with the expenditure sanctioned by the Parliament through the appropriation act.

The finance accounts show the annual receipts and disbursements of the Union government.

The PAC must satisfy itself that the money has been disbursed was legally available for the applied service

Every re-appropriation is has been made in accordance with the related rules.

The PAC examines the accounts of state corporations, trading concerns and manufacturing projects and the audit report of CAG on the same.

The PAC examines the accounts of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, the audit of which is conducted by the CAG.

The PAC considers the report of the CAG relating to an audit of ant receipts or to examine the accounts of stores and stocks.

The PAC examines the money spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted by the Lok sabha for that purpose.

In the fulfillment of the functions, the PAC is assisted by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Hence CAG IS CONSIDERED AS friend, Philosopher, AND Guide OF THE PAC.

Finally, the report of the PAC is submitted back to the Parliament.

The report of the PAC is discussed in Parliament.

The members demand that action should be taken against the tainted ministers.

The report of PAC is criticized as the ‘Post Mortem” report.

Estimates Committee

The estimates committee was set up in the year 1950.

In fact, in the year 1921 standing financial committee was set up.

This committee is also called the “Economy Committee”.

The strength of Estimates committees is 30.

All the 30 members of the Estimates Committee are drawn from Lok Sabha only.

The 30 members are elected by the Lok Sabha through proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

The term of office of a member of the Estimates Committee is 1 year.

The Chairman of the Estimates Committee is appointed by the Speaker from amongst the members.

Ministers cannot be members of this committee.

Functions of the Estimates Committee:

The Estimates Committee examines the estimates included in the budget and suggests economies in the public expenditure.

The committee also suggests the form in which the estimates are to be presented to the Parliament.

The Estimates Committee examines whether the money is well laid out within the limits of policy implied in the estimates.

The estimates committee also suggests alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in the administration.

The Estimates Committee continues to work throughout the year and report to the house as its examination proceeds.

COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC UNDERTAKINGS (COPU):

The Committee on Public Undertakings was established in the year 1964 on the recommendation of the Krishna Menon committee report.

In the year 1974, the strength of CoPU is increased to 22.

Out of 22 (15+7) members, 15 members are drawn from the Lok Sabha and 7 members are drawn from the Rajya Sabha.

The term of the office of a member is 1 year.

The members are elected through the proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

Hence the majority of the parties will be represented in the committee.

Ministers cannot be members of this committee.

The chairman of CoPU is appointed by the Speaker.

The Chairman should be a member of Lok Sabha only.

THE FUNCTIONS OF COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC UNDERTAKINGS:

The CoPU examines the reports and accounts of Public undertakings

The CoPU examines the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General on Public Undertakings.

The CoPU examines whether the affairs of the public undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business principles and practices.

The CoPU also exercises such functions vested in the PAC and Estimates Committee in relation to Public undertakings which are allotted to it by the Speaker from time to time.

DEPARTMENTAL STANDING COMMITTEES:

In the year 1993, 17 departmental standing committees were created in the Parliament to exercise control over the executive.

At present, the number is 24.

These committees exercise control over all the departments in the government.

The strength of each standing committee is 45.

Out of this 30 are drawn from Lok Sabha.

Remaining 15 drawn from the Rajya Sabha.

The members from the Lok Sabha are nominated by the Speaker.

The members from the Rajya Sabha are nominated by the Chairman.

The term of office of each member is 1 year.

Ministers cannot be members of any standing committee.

The Chairman of 11 committees is appointed by the Speaker.

The chairman of the remaining 7 committees is appointed by the Chairman.

Each party is proportionately represented in these committees.

BUSINESS ADVISORY COMMITTEE (BAC)

The Business Advisory committee allocates time for the transaction of legislative and other business brought before the house.

The BAC of Lok Sabha is different from that of Rajya Sabha.

IN LOK SABHA:

The Speaker of the Lok Sabha is the chairman of Business Advisory Committee in Lok Sabha

The Business Advisory Committee in Lok Sabha consists of 15 members including the Speaker.

IN RAJYA SABHA:

The Chairman of Rajya Sabha acts as the Chairman of the BAC.

It consists of 11 members including the Chairman.

COMMITTEE ON PRIVATE MEMBERS BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS:

Who are private members? · The members of the Parliament other than the Ministers are called the Private members.

This committee is present only in Lok Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha does not have a committee on private members bills and resolution.

The Deputy Speaker is the Chairman of this committee.

The strength of the committee is 15 members including the Deputy Speaker.

The committee on private members bills and resolutions classifies the bills and allocates the time for the discussion of bills and resolutions introduced by the private members.

This function in Rajya Sabha is performed by the Business Advisory Committee.

COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT ASSURANCES:

This committee was constituted in the year 1953.

This committee is present in both Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

The strength of the committee in Lok Sabha is 15 members.

The strength of the committee in Rajya Sabha is 10 members.

On the floor of the Parliament the ministers give assurances.

The committee on government assurances examines those assurances and reports on the extent to which they have been implemented.

COMMITTEE ON SUBORDINATE LEGISLATION:

This committee was constituted in the year 1953.

This committee is present both the houses of the Parliament.

The strength of the committee in Lok sabha is 15 members.

The strength of the committee in Rajya sabha is 15 members.

This committee examines and reports whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub-rules, and bye-laws delegated by the Parliament or conferred by the constitution to the executive are being properly exercised by it or not.

COMMITTEE ON WELFARE OF SCHEDULED CASTES AND SCHEDULED TRIBES:

This is a joint parliamentary committee.

The strength of the committee is 30 members.

20 members are drawn from the Lok sabha and the remaining 10 are drawn from the Rajya Sabha.

This committee considers the reports of the National Commission for the SCs and STs.

This committee also examines the matters relating to the welfare of SCs and STs.

COMMITTEE ON ABSENCE OF MEMBERS:

This committee is present only in Lok Sabha.

It consists of 15 members.

This committee considers the applications from the members for leave of absence from the sitting of the house.

This committee also examines the cases of the members who had been absent for a period of 60 days or more without permission.

In Rajya Sabha, these functions are performed by the house itself. (No committee)

RULES COMMITTEE:

This committee is present in both the houses of the Parliament.

The strength of the committee in Lok Sabha is 15.

The strength of the committee in Rajya Sabha is 16.

The Speaker is the Chairman of the committee in Lok Sabha.

The Chairman of Rajya Sabha is the ex-officio chairman of the Rules Committee in Parliament.

The Rules committee considers the matters of procedures and conduct of business in the house.

The Rules Committee also recommends necessary changes to the rules of the house.

GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE:

This committee does not fall under the jurisdiction of another committee.

This committee is present in both Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

IN LOK SABHA:

The Speaker is the Chairman.

Deputy Speaker and panel speakers are the members.

Chair persons of all the departmental committees are the members.

Leaders of the recognized political parties are the members.

The Speaker may nominate some other members.

IN RAJYA SABHA:

The chairman of Rajya Sabha is the ex-officio chairman.

Deputy Chairman and panel Chairmen are the members.

Chairpersons of all the departmental committees are the members.

Leaders of the recognized political parties are the members.

The Chairman may nominate some other members.

This committee considers and advises on matters concerning affairs of the house which do not fall within the jurisdiction of any other parliamentary committee.

COMMITTEE ON PRIVILEGES:

This committee is present in both the houses of the Parliament.

The strength of the committee in Lok Sabha is 15 members.

The strength of the committee in Rajya Sabha is 10.

This committee examines the cases of breach of privileges of the house and its members and recommends the action.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES OF MEMBERS:

This is a common committee for both the houses of the Parliament.

This was constituted in the year 1954 under the Salary, allowances, and pensions of members of parliament Act 1954.

The strength of the committee is 15.

10 members are drawn from the Lok sabha and the 5 members are drawn from the Rajya Sabha.

This committee frames the rules for regulating the payment of salary, allowances, and pensions to the members of the Parliament.

HOUSE COMMITTEE:

This is present in both the houses of the Parliament.

The house committee deals with the residential accommodation to the members and other amenities like food, medical aid.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON OFFICE OF PROFIT:

The strength of the committee is 15.

10 members are drawn from the Lok Sabha and 5 are drawn from the Rajya Sabha.

This committee examines into the committees or other bodies appointed by the Central and state governments and recommends whether persons holding these offices should be disqualified from being elected as members of Parliament or not.

COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS:

The committee on petitions is present in both the houses of the Parliament.

The strength of the committee in Lok sabha is 15.

The strength of the committee in Rajya Sabha is 10.

This committee examines the petitions on bills and on matters of general public importance.

This committee also accepts the petitions from individuals and associations on matters pertaining to Union subjects.

ETHICS COMMITTEE:

The Ethics committee is present in both the houses of the Parliament.

The Ethics committee of Rajya Sabha was constituted in the year 1997.

The Ethics committee of Lok Sabha was constituted in the year 2000.

This committee is engaged to maintaining the discipline of the house.

The ethics committee enforces the code of conduct to the members.

This committee examines the cases of misconduct.

LIBRARY COMMITTEE:

This is a common committee for both the houses of the Parliament.

The strength of the committee is 9.

Out of these 6 members are drawn from the Lok Sabha and the remaining 3 are drawn from the Rajya Sabha.

This committee considers the matters relating to the library of Parliament.

The committee also assists the members in utilizing the library services.

COMMITTEE ON THE PAPERS LAID ON THE TABLE:

This committee is present both in Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

The strength of the Lok Sabha committee is 15.

The strength of the Rajya Sabha committee is 10.

This committee examines the papers that are laid on the table of the house by the ministers to see whether they comply with the provisions of the Constitution.

COMMITTEE ON EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN:

This committee was constituted in the year 1997.

The strength of the committee is 30.

20 are drawn from the Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.

This committee considers the reports of the National Commission for women and examines the measures taken by the union government to secure status, dignity, and equality for women in all fields.

MISCELLANEOUS:

The Parliamentary standing committees were set up in the year 1993.

The number of standing committees is 17 in the year 1993.

At present, there are 24 standing committees in the Parliament.