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Role of Parliamentary Committees

  • 21 Sep 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Government passed two agriculture Bills in Rajya Sabha. However, the Opposition protested against the fact that neither Bill had been scrutinised by a Parliamentary Committee.

Key Points

  • Parliamentary Committee:
    • Parliament scrutinises legislative proposals (Bills) in two ways:
      • The first way is by discussing it on the floor of the two Houses. This is a legislative requirement; all Bills have to be taken up for debate.
      • The second way is by referring a Bill to a Parliamentary Committee.
    • A Parliamentary Committee means a committee that:
      • Is appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker/Chairman.
      • Works under the direction of the Speaker/Chairman.
      • Presents its report to the House or to the Speaker/Chairman.
      • Has a secretariat provided by the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha.
  • Purpose of Parliamentary Committees:
    • Since Parliament meets only for 70 to 80 days in a year, there is not enough time to discuss every Bill in detail on the floor of the House. Plus debate in the house is mostly political and does not go into the technical details of a legislative proposal.
    • Therefore, it takes care of the legislative infirmity of debate on the floor of the House. However, referring Bills to parliamentary committees is not mandatory.
  • Types of Parliamentary Committees:
    • India’s Parliament has multiple types of committees. They can be differentiated on the basis of their work, their membership and the length of their tenure.
    • However, broadly there are two types of Parliamentary Committees– Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees.
      • The Standing Committees are permanent (constituted every year or periodically) and work on a continuous basis.
        • Standing Committees can be classified into the following six categories:
          • Financial Committees
          • Departmental Standing Committees
          • Committees to Enquire
          • Committees to Scrutinise and Control
          • Committees Relating to the Day-to-Day Business of the House
          • House-Keeping Committees or Service Committees
      • While the Ad Hoc Committees are temporary and cease to exist on completion of the task assigned to them.
        • They are further subdivided into Inquiry Committees and Advisory Committees.
  • Procedure:
    • There are three broad paths by which a Bill can reach a Parliamentary Committee.
      • The minister introducing the Bill recommends to the House that his Bill be examined by a Select Committee (Committee of one House i.e either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha) of the House or a Joint Committee of both Houses.
      • The presiding officer of the House can also send a Bill to a Parliamentary Committee.
      • A Bill passed by one House can be sent by the other House to its Select Committee.
    • The report of the committee is of a recommendatory nature. The government can choose to accept or reject its recommendations. The Committee can also suggest its own version of the Bill.

Source: IE

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