The Function of Parliamentary Committees

The relevance and functions of parliamentary committees in India are discussed in this article.

Why in news?

  • In the 16th Lok Sabha, just 25% of Bills introduced were referred to committees, compared to 71% and 60% in the 15th and 14th Lok Sabhas, respectively.
  • This reflects a downward trend in the level of scrutiny given to national law by experts.

What is the function of a Parliamentary Committee?

  • A committee appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker that works under the Speaker’s direction and reports back to the House or the Speaker.

Standing committees and ad hoc committees are the two types of committees.

(1) Standing Committees

  • Permanent and regular committees formed when needed in accordance with the terms of an Act of Parliament or the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha.
  • These Committees function on a continuing basis.
  • Financial Committees and DRSCs are two examples.

(2) Ad hoc Committees

  • Appointed for a specific reason and cease to exist when the duty given to them is completed and a report is submitted.
  • The Select and Joint Committees on Bills are the two most important Ad hoc Committees.
  • The Railway Convention Committee and the Joint Committee on Food Management in Parliament House Complex are two examples.

Why is a Parliamentary Committee required?

  • Legislative proposals (Bills) are scrutinised by Parliament in two ways: debate on the floor of the two Houses and referral to a parliamentary committee.
  • Because Parliament meets just 70 to 80 days each year, there isn’t enough time to debate every Bill in depth on the House floor.

The committee’s role in the passage of a Bill

  • The debate in the House is mostly political, with little attention paid to the technical elements of a legislative proposal.
  • Referring a Bill to a parliamentary committee addresses the legislative flaw of debate on the House floor.
  • Referring Bills to parliamentary committees, on the other hand, is optional.

What is a Select Committee?

  • There are various types of committees in India’s Parliament.
  • Standing Committees that are departmentally connected focus on the operations of various ministries.
  • Each committee has 31 members, with 21 from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha.
  • The major goal is to ensure that the government is accountable to Parliament through a more extensive examination of initiatives in these committees.

When does a Bill go before a committee?

  • Bills can be referred to a committee by the minister piloting the Bill or the presiding officer of the House.

When a Bill is referred to a Committee, what happens?

  • The committee conducts a thorough analysis of the Bill, soliciting feedback and suggestions from experts, stakeholders, and citizens.
  • The government also appears before the committee to explain its position.
  • The committee’s report includes recommendations for improving the Bill.
  • There is a delay in the legislative path when the committee is deliberating on a Bill.
  • The Bill may only move forward in Parliament if the committee submits its findings.

What happens after the report is completed?

  • The committee’s report is only a recommendation.
  • The government has the option of accepting or rejecting its suggestions.
  • Select Committees and Joint Parliamentary Committees have the added benefit of including their version of the Bill in the report.
  • The minister in charge of that particular Bill has the authority to request that the committee’s version of the Bill be debated and passed in the House.

The significance of these Committees

  • Parliamentary committees investigate the influence of a particular piece of legislation on governance metrics.
  • It advises the administration to submit a ‘Action Taken’ report to the House to assess the committee’s recommendations.
  • Though committee reports are not legally binding on the government, they do assist the legislature in ensuring executive supervision.
And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.