What are the duties and responsibilities of a Member of Parliament (MP) in India?
Does the Indian Constitution define statutory duties and responsibilities of an MP? What are the differences in duties of a LS-MP and a RS-MP?
Why? This topic comes into light due to recent resignation of MP; Make notes
Although the exact roles and responsibilities of an MP are not codified in the Constitution of India, Section 3 of Article 105, which discusses the powers and privileges of MPs and of committees, lays the responsibility of defining the responsibilities of an MP and committees on Parliament. It says: “..the powers, of each House of Parliament, and of the members and the committees of each House, shall be defined by Parliament by law from time to time.”
However, through various laws and otherwise, an MP is required to perform various responsibilities in Parliament and outside, which can be broadly classified into the following: (An MP’s major role is legislative and over the years some executive functions have been assigned).
1) Legislative Role:
a) Making laws for governance of our country (on subjects enumerated in the Union list and the residuary subjects). An MP participates in the discussion of a bill and suggests amendments to a Government bill. Separately, any MP who is a non-Minister can also propose legislative changes to the government, through Private Members’ Bills. An MP also participates in voting for amending the Constitution of India (subject to the basic structure.) Legislative matters on issues such as creation of state legislative councils; to increase or decrease area or boundaries of a state, change the name of a state and Union territories; regulation of the organization and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts and allot one High Court to two or more states etc. are also discussed by MPs in their respective House. An MP also participate in the process for impeachment of the President; removal of the Vice-president, and judges of High Court and Supreme Court.
b) Delegated legislation: Once a bill is signed into law, the powers to make detailed rules and regulations within its framework rest with the executive. An MP’s role is to keep a check on executive overreach and ensure that the powers of delegated legislation are not abused by the government. For E.g.: RS MP, P.Rajeeve raised objections to the IT rules drafted by the government in 2011.
2) Supervisory Role:
a) The MPs exercise control over the executive through Parliamentary interventions such as Question Hour, Zero Hour, Calling Attention Motion, Adjournment Motion, No-confidence Motion, Censure Motion and other discussions.
b) MPs also supervise the executive by participating in committees like Public accounts, estimates, Public undertakings and various other department related standing and ad-hoc committees. For E.g.: I am part of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Undertakings, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Finance and Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs and I participate in debates on issues pertaining to these committees regularly.
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3) Electoral Role:
a) An MP participates in the election of the President and the Vice-president.
b) On the one hand, a Lok Sabha MP elects the Speaker of the House and the Deputy Speaker. On the other hand a Rajya Sabha MP elects the Vice-Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
4) Power of the Purse:
No tax can be levied and no expenditure incurred by the government except with the approval of the Parliament. The Budget is therefore presented to the Parliament.
Parliamentary control over executive in matters of Finance is:
1) Budgetary control
2) Post-budgetary control (through financial committees –that some MPs in rotation are a part of)
5) Representative Responsibility
Every MP is the voice for his/her constituency. Every MP has to raise issues of his constituency in Parliament through questions, debates etc. An MP can also play a role in implementing projects in his/her constituency by following up on projects at the level of the District Collectorate or at the State government and Central government level. For instance, I frequently follow up and monitor projects in my constituency, Kendrapara, by meeting with State and Central ministers.
Even in case of MPLADS, an MP only has powers of recommendation of projects; however the onus of implementation and sanction lies with the District Collector.
The new government has also assigned a responsibility to every MP to develop model villages in his/her constituency under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. Although, no new funds have been allocated under this scheme, the MPs are required to take efforts to leverage funds from different schemes of the State and Central government and channelize them to develop the model village.
6) Other powers
As a Member of the Parliament an MP approves all three emergencies: (national, state and financial)
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