Duration of the Two Houses
Duration of the Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha is a permanent house and is not subject to dissolution. But as nearly as possible, one-third of the members of Rajya Sabha retire after every two years in accordance with the provisions made by the Parliament by law.
Thus, the members of the Rajya Sabha are elected for a term of six years. This arrangement ensures continuity as well as representation of the changing public opinion.
Term of the Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha, unless sooner dissolved, continues to operate for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and the expiration of the period of five years.
However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending, in any case, beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate.
Members of Parliament
The constitution stipulates that only Indian Citizens of not less than 25 years of age are qualified to be members of the Lok Sabha.
Similarly only Indian citizens of not less than 30 years of age may be members of the Rajya Sabha.
The Parliament may prescribe additional qualifications under Art 84 of the constitution.
Disqualification for Member of Parliament of India
The constitution stipulates that a citizen is disqualified to become a member of the Parliament :
If you want to stand as a candidate for election to the Lok Sabha (House of the People) from a Parliamentary constituency, you must possess each of the following qualifications:
(1) In the first place you must be a citizen of India [Article 84(a) of the Constitution].
(2) In the second place, you must make and subscribe before some person authorised in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule to the Constitution [Article 84(a) of the Constitution and Form III/A in the Third Schedule].
(3) In the third place, you must not be less than twenty-five years of ago on the date of scrutiny of nominations [Article 84(b) of the Constitution read with section 36(2) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951);
(4) In the fourth place:-
(a) If you are a candidate for a seat reserved for the Scheduled Castes in any state, you must be a member of any of the Scheduled Castes whether of that state or of any other State, and in addition you must be an elector for any Parliamentary constituency ;
(b) if you are a candidate for a seat reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in any State, (other than those in the autonomous districts of Assam), then you must be a member of any of the Scheduled Tribes, whether of that State, or of any other State (excluding the tribal areas of Assam) and in addition you must be an elector for any parliamentary constituency.
(c) if you are a candidate for a seat reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in the autonomous districts of Assam, you must be a member of any of these Scheduled Tribes and in addition you must be an elector for the Parliamentary constituency in which such seat is reserved or for any other Parliamentary constituency comprising any such autonomous district;
Additional criteria for disqualification may be provided by laws passed by the Parliament. Any dispute as to whether any disqualification has been incurred by a citizen is settled by the President in consultation with the election commission. In terms of Article 103, the decision given by the President is final. It should be noted that a person cannot remain simultaneously a member of both the Houses of the Parliament or a member of either House of the Parliament and a member of a state legislature.
Forfeiture of Membership
An M.P. may forfeit his membership of the Parliament in a variety of ways.
- If a member incurs any of the disqualification mentioned in the constitution, he loses his membership in the Parliament. Thus a member may become mad leading to his disqualification.
- Membership of the Parliament may be vacated through resignation, or it may fail vacant through death.
- Similarly, if any person is elected to both the Houses of the Parliament, he will have to relinquish his membership in either House of the Parliament.
- In case of election to either House of the Parliament and to the Legislative Assembly in a state, the member concerned may retain his membership of only one body.
- Finally continuous absence from the Parliament for 60 days or more without permission, may lead to expulsion of the member concerned by the House.
Disqualification on Grounds of Defection
The grounds on which disqualification can be incurred are as under:
- Members belonging to political parties
- A member of a House belonging to any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of House—
- If he has voluntarily given up his membership of such political party; or
- If he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by the Political party to which he belongs or by any person or authority authorised by it in this behalf, without obtaining, in either case, the prior permission of such political party, person or authority and such voting or abstention has not been condoned by such political party, person or authority within fifteen days from the date of such voting or abstention.
- An elected member of a House shall be deemed to belong to the political party, if any, by which he was set up as a candidate for elections as such member.
- A nominated member of a House shall—
- Where he is a member of any political party on the date of his nomination as such member, be deemed to belong to such political party;
- In any other case, be deemed to belong to the political party of which he becomes, or, as the case may be, first becomes, a member before the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat after complying with the requirements of article 99 or, as the case may be, Article 188.
- Member elected otherwise than as candidate set up by any political party
- An elected Member of a House who has been elected as such otherwise than as a candidate set up by any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after such election.
- Nominated Members
- A nominated member of a House shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat after complying with the requirements of Article 99 or as the case may be, Article 188.
Cases of split
The Tenth Schedule as added to the Constitution by the Constitution (Fifty-second Amendment) Act, 1985 contained a provision (paragraph 3 of the Tenth Schedule) to the effect that no member will be disqualified from the membership of the House where he makes a claim that he and any other members of his legislature party constitute a group representing a faction which has arisen as a result of a split in his original political party and such group consists of not less than one third members of the legislature party concerned.
Vacation of seats
- No person shall be a member of both Houses of Parliament and provision shall be made by Parliament by law for the vacation by a person who is chosen a member of both Houses of his seat in one House or the other.
- No person shall be a member both of Parliament and of a House of the Legislature of a State, and if a person is chosen a member both of Parliament and of a House of the Legislature, then, at the expiration of such period as may be specified in rules made by the President, that person’s seat in Parliament shall become vacant, unless he has previously resigned his seat in the Legislature of the State.
- If a member of either House of Parliament-
- Becomes subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in [clause (1) or clause (2) of article 102],
- Resigns his seat by writing under his hand addressed to the Chairman or the Speaker, as the case may be, and his resignation is accepted by the Chairman or the Speaker, as the case may be,]
- His seat shall thereupon become vacant:
- If from information received or otherwise and after making such inquiry as he thinks fit, the Chairman or the Speaker, as the case may be, is satisfied that such resignation is not voluntary or genuine, he shall not accept such resignation.
- If for a period of sixty days a member of either House of Parliament is without permission of the House absent from all meetings thereof, the House may declare his seat vacant:
- Provided that in computing the period of sixty days, no account shall be taken of any period during which the House is prorogued or is adjourned for more than four consecutive days.