Parliament and the Making of Laws Chapter Notes Class 8 Civics (Political Science): These notes are based on Class 9 NCERT Political Science Book chapter 3 “Parliament and the Making of Laws”. These notes would help understand the mater given in the book. Click here for more study resources.
Introduction: Parliament and the Making of Laws
India’s Struggle for Independence
- India’s independence: Achieved on 15 August 1947.
- A long and challenging struggle: Involved various sections of society.
- Inspiration: People were inspired by the ideas of freedom, equality, and participation in decision-making.
- Fear of colonial rule: People lived in fear under British colonial rule.
- Disagreement with British decisions: Many disagreed with British government decisions.
- Lack of criticism: Criticizing decisions was risky under colonial rule.
Changing Dynamics During the Freedom Movement
- Open criticism: The freedom movement allowed nationalists to openly criticize the British government.
- Demands for representation: Indian National Congress demanded elected members in the legislature as early as 1885.
- Government of India Act 1909: Allowed for some elected representation in response to nationalist demands.
- Limited participation: Early legislatures did not grant universal suffrage or full participation in decision-making.
Aspirations for Inclusive Democracy
- The impact of colonial rule: Colonial rule and the freedom struggle shaped the nationalists’ vision for India’s future.
- Participation of different people: The diverse participation in the struggle emphasized the importance of inclusive governance.
- Dreams and aspirations: The freedom struggle’s ideals were embodied in the Constitution of independent India.
- Universal adult franchise: The Constitution established the principle of universal adult franchise, giving all adult citizens the right to vote.
Responsibilities of a Free Government
- Meaning of independence: Independence signified being citizens of a free country.
- Government’s role: The government was expected to be sensitive to people’s needs and demands.
- Concrete expression in the Constitution: The Constitution of independent India concretely articulated the aspirations of the freedom struggle.
- Right to vote: The Constitution enshrined the principle that all adult citizens have the right to vote.
1. People and their Representatives
- Democracy’s cornerstone: Consent, desire, approval, and participation of the people.
- People’s decision: The people’s choice establishes a democratic government and determines its operations.
- Significance of the individual: In this type of democracy, the individual or citizen holds a central position.
- Trust in government: Government and public institutions should have the trust of the citizens.
Approval through Elections
- Approval mechanism: One way to give approval to the government is through elections.
- Election process: People elect their representatives to Parliament.
- Government formation: A group of elected representatives forms the government.
- Parliamentary control: The Parliament, consisting of all representatives, exercises control and provides guidance to the government.
- People’s role: Through their elected representatives, people both form and control the government.
- Representation at different levels: Representatives are chosen at various levels of government.
2. The Role of the Indian Parliament
- Expression of faith in democracy: The Indian Parliament, established after 1947, embodies democratic principles like people’s participation in decision-making and government by consent.
- Immense powers: The Parliament wields significant authority as the representative body of the people.
- Lok Sabha elections: Held every five years, where each constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP).
- Formation of Parliament: Elected MPs become Members of Parliament, collectively constituting the Parliament.
- Key functions of Parliament: Selecting the national government, controlling, guiding, and informing the government.
A: Selecting the National Government
- Parliament composition: Comprises the President, Rajya Sabha, and Lok Sabha.
- Majority requirement: To form the government, a political party needs a majority of at least 272 out of 545 MPs in the Lok Sabha.
- Opposition: Consists of all parties not part of the majority party/coalition, with the largest being the Opposition party.
- Role in selecting the executive: The Lok Sabha’s crucial function is to select the executive, i.e., the government.
- Prime Minister’s role: The Prime Minister, the leader of the ruling party in the Lok Sabha, selects ministers to implement decisions.
- Coalition governments: In cases where no single party has a majority, parties may form coalition governments.
B: Controlling, Guiding, and Informing the Government
- Rajya Sabha’s role: Represents the states of India in Parliament and can initiate and review legislation.
- Reviewing and altering laws: Bills must pass through the Rajya Sabha to become laws, enabling it to review and make alterations.
- Rajya Sabha composition: Members elected by Legislative Assemblies and nominated by the President.
- Question hour: An essential parliamentary mechanism allowing MPs to gather information about the government’s functioning.
- Control through questions: MPs use questions to hold the government accountable and highlight shortcomings.
- Role of Opposition: Crucial in democracy, they critique government policies and mobilize support for their own.
- Feedback and accountability: Parliament’s approval, especially in financial matters, ensures government accountability.
- MPs’ role: As representatives of the people, MPs play a central role in controlling, guiding, and informing Parliament and government, a fundamental aspect of Indian democracy.
3. How Do New Laws Come About?
- Parliament’s key role: Parliament plays a pivotal role in the creation of new laws.
- Diverse sources: Various groups in society often identify the need for specific laws.
- Sensitivity to problems: Parliament must be attentive to the challenges faced by citizens.
Story Board: Addressing Domestic Violence
- Domestic violence example: The story highlights how the issue of domestic violence was brought to Parliament’s attention and the subsequent legislative process.
- Importance of citizen involvement: Citizens play a critical role in bringing various concerns to Parliament’s notice.
- Citizen engagement at every stage: From identifying the necessity for a new law to its passage, citizen voices remain vital.
- Channels for citizen input: TV reports, newspaper editorials, radio broadcasts, local meetings, and other forms of communication help citizens engage in the legislative process.
- Accessibility and transparency: These channels make Parliament’s work more accessible and transparent to the people.
Summary: Citizen Engagement in Lawmaking
- Citizens are instrumental in framing societal concerns into laws.
- Throughout the legislative process, citizen voices are crucial.
- Various media and communication platforms enable citizen engagement.
- Ensuring accessibility and transparency in Parliament’s work strengthens democracy.
4. Unpopular and Controversial Laws
- Unpopular laws: Parliament sometimes passes legal but unpopular laws, causing public discontent.
- Criticism and expression: Citizens can openly criticize such laws through various means like public meetings, newspapers, and TV news channels.
- Democratic expression: In a democracy, citizens can voice their unwillingness to accept repressive laws.
- Public pressure: When a significant number of people oppose a law, there’s pressure on Parliament to reconsider.
- Example: Municipal laws restricting street vending can be controversial when they affect livelihoods.
- Constitutional recourse: Citizens can approach the court if they believe a law is unfair or unconstitutional.
- Court’s authority: The court can modify or cancel laws that do not adhere to the Constitution.
Citizen’s Role Beyond Voting
- Citizenship beyond elections: Citizen responsibility continues beyond voting.
- Using media and criticism: Citizens should use newspapers and media to monitor and critique their MPs’ actions.
- Active involvement: The extent, involvement, and enthusiasm of the people are crucial in enabling Parliament to fulfil its representative functions effectively.