Rajasthan Legislative Assembly - Overview

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Origin and Structure :

The evolution of the House of people's representatives in Rajasthan has an important place in the constitutional history of India as it was the outcome of the merger of 22 princely States of the erstwhile Rajputana with the Union of India.

As per the provisions of Article 168 of the newly framed Constitution of India, every state had to establish a legislature consisting of one or two Houses. Rajasthan opted for unicameral character and its legislature is known as the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.

The legislature, which is running its thirteenth term, was first elected by adult franchise in 1952 and this process is continuing with the exceptions of 1967, 1977, 1980 and 1992 when the Presidential Rule was in force.

The  strength   of   the   Rajasthan   Legislative    Assembly,  which  is determined   by    delimitation   Commission,  was  160  in  1952  and presently  stands   as   200   after  many   more  recommendations  of  the same Commission.

Process for Conduct of the Business :

The Rajasthan Legislative Assembly has framed 'Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajasthan Legislative Assembly for regulating the business of the House and its Committees. They were first framed in 1956 and after many amendments, the latest Thirteenth Edition has been printed in 2013.

Sessions and Sittings :

The  Governor  of  the  State  summons  the   House from time to time keeping in mind that the intervening period  between the last sitting   in  one  session  and  first   sitting  in  next session  does   not  exceed   six  months.  As  per  the  Rules,  Rajasthan  Legislative  Assembly  shall  have at  least  three    sessions  in a  calendar   year.  The  business   of   the  House  is  decided  by  the House on the  recommendation  of  the  Business Advisory Committee.

Procedural devices :

Questions :

There are three categories of questions :

Starred Questions
Unstarred Questions
Short Notice Questions

It  is  essential   to give questions in the prescribed form with 14 clear   days   notice  for   starred  and   unstarred  questions  and shorter than 10 clear days notice for Short Notice Questions.

Unstarred questions are  also  admitted in intersession period.   A  member   may  give  notice of not  more than one  unstarred question  a  week  during  an  inter-sessional  period.  Reply to such  a    question  is    invariably   sent   by  the  Government  direct  to  the  member within a period   of   15  days  with  a  copy  of  the  reply  to  the  Legislative Assembly.

The decision regarding the admissibility  of  questions  is  the  sole prerogative of the Speaker.

Motions :

Besides questions, the members may   raise the matters of urgent and current  public   importance  before the  House through the devices  like   Half  an  Hour   Discussion,  Calling   Attention Motion, Notice Under Rule 295   (Special Mention Procedure) for Short Duration Discussion, Adjournment Motion etc.

Legislation :

All the   legislative proposals  are  to  be  brought  in  the form of  Bills  before the  legislature. These can either be Government Bills or   Private  Members  Bills.  Government Bills are prepared and   drafted  by  the  Law  Department of the  State government. There are three readings (stages)  for passing  a  Bill. The  first  reading  means  motion  for    leave  to  introduce  a  Bill  and  its  adoption.  The  second  reading  consists of  discussion  on  the principles of the Bill and clause  by  clause consideration.  The third  reading  is  completed  when  a  motion for passing a  Bill  is  adopted  by  the House.  After a Bill is passed by the House, it is presented to the Governor/President for assent. With such assent and its publication in the official gazette,  it becomes law of the State.

Budget procedure :

The   Budget   is  presented  by  the   Finance  Minister  and   no discussion  on  the Budget takes place on the day it is presented to   the   House.  About   four  days    are  allowed  for  general discussion on the  Budget.   After the general  discussion  on the  Budget, demands-for-grants   of  the  various  departments  of the  government are discussed by the House as may be  proposed by  the  Business    Advisory   Committee   and   the  rest  of   the demands  are  passed  by   applying  guillotine.   This  is done because  of   tight  business   schedule   of   the   House.

Consequently,  as   soon as grants have  been  passed   by  the  House,  Bill is  introduced  to provide for   appropriation out of the  Consolidated  Fund of the State of all Moneys required  by  the  Government  to  meet  the   expenditure authorised  by the House.

Voting procedure :

Generally, the decisions of the   House are ascertained by a voice vote.  In case  the  Opposition challenges  the veracity of  such a voice  vote  or    when  the  opposition  desires the votes  to  by recorded,  members  are  requested  to  go   to    the  Ayes  and Noes  Lobby as the case may be for  a division.

Committees  :

Legislative Committees can be divided  into  two  categories -  the   Standing    Committees   and   the   Ad-hoc  Committees.  In  Rajasthan   Legislative   Assembly,   there   are  18  Standing Committees out  of  which  four  are  financial  and  the  rest relates to various other subjects.  The  financial committees  are - Public  Accounts Committee, Public Undertakings Committee   and two Estimates Committees.  The  financial   committees   are elected  on   the  basis  of    proportional   representation   through single transferable vote and the  rest  are nominated  by the  Speaker. The  Chairmen  for  all these committees are  nominated   by  the  Speaker  from  out  of  the  members of these committees.

The  basic   function  of the  Public  Accounts Committee is to examine the Secretaries to Government on various irregularities   in their   Departments  as  pointed   out in the  Report of  the Comptroller     and     Auditor   General.    Similarly,   Public   Undertakings Committee is   required to go into  the  functions of the various pubic undertakings and is expected to examine the  Undertakings    on  various   irregularities  pointed  out  by  the Report  of  the  Comptroller  and   Auditor   General under  their control.

The job assigned  to the two Estimates Committees is to report as to what  economies can be  effected  and  what improvements in  particular  organisation  may  be  made  and  also   to suggest alternative   policies   in   order    to  bring  about  efficiency  and economy in administration, as also changes in the form of budget estimates.

Besides  the   above   mentioned  four  financial  committees,  the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly has  following  other 17 standing committees.

 1. Committee on Subordinate Legislation
 2. Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Tribes
 3. Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes
 4. Business Advisory Committee
 5. House Committee
 6. Rules Committee
 7. Library Committee
 8. Committee on Petitions
 9. Committee on Privileges
10. Committee on Government Assurances
11. General Purposes Committee
12. Question & Reference Committee
13. Committee on Welfare of Women & Children
14. Committee on Welfare of Backward Classes
15. Committee on Welfare of Minorities
16. Committee on Local Bodies and Panchayat Raj Institutions
17. Committee on Environment

These  committees   are  constituted  from  the  members of  the ruling   as  well  as  opposition parties   generally in proportion to their   strength  in   the  House.  The  term   of  office  of   the members   of   the    committee   is    generally  one   year.  No  minister  can  be a  member  of  the   committee  except  in   the  case  of Select Committees on Government Bills.  This provision  does  not  apply  in  case  of  the  Leader  of  the  House who happens  to  be  the  Chief  Minister,  as  far as the  Business Advisory  Committee  is  concerned.  Normally,  the  Reports of these committees are presented  to the House by the Chairman of the Committees but in  inter-session  period  the  Chairman may submit  the  Report to the Speaker.  These  Reports,  with  the  exception  of   the  Report  of  the   Privileges  Committee  and the Business Advisory Committee  are generally not raised in the House.

Privileges :

The   powers,  privileges   and    immunities   of   the  House  of Legislature    and  of  its  members  and committees have been laid down in Article 194 of  the  Constitution of  India.  Some of the   important   privileges    are     freedom  of   speech  in  the  legislature,   immunity  to  members from  any  proceedings  in any   court   in  respect  of  anything  said or  any   vote  given by   them   in   the    legislature   or   any  committee  thereof ; prohibition  on   the  courts   to  inquire  into  proceedings  of   legislature    and   freedom   from    arrest  of   members   in  civil  cases  during   the    continuance  of   the session  of  the House.

Close Circuit Television :

A  close  circuit  television   system  has  been  functioning  in the Assembly   Secretariat  Premises for the benefit of members  who  are  not  in  the  House  at  a particular  point of time and also for those who  cannot have first  hand view of the Assembly sittings.

Rajasthan   Legislative   Assembly   is  reputed for its high  standard  of  parliamentary  debates and  disciplined  conduct of the proceedings in  the House  as  also  for  some  radical  legislation which have earned accolades all over the country.

Building :

New building of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly is one of the most modern legislature complexes in India. Situated in a sprawling 16.96 acres campus - in Jyoti Nagar, Jaipur. Work on this Project commenced in November 1994 and completed in March 2001.

The exterior of the building has been provided with famous traditional features of Rajasthan such as Jharokas, Chhatries, Kamani, Baradaries, Arches, Todies etc. in Jodhpur and Bansi Paharpur stone. The interior entrance lounges have been decorated in the famous Rajasthani traditional art on walls and ceilings representing traditional art of four regions of Jaipur, Shekhawati, Marwar and Mewar.

The building is an eight storeved frame structure having height of 145 feet and floor area of 6.08 lac sqft. The
main dome has a diameter of 104 feet. The assembly hall has a seating capacity for 260 members and a hall
of identical capacity over it at fifth floor for future Vidhan Parishad (Upper House)
.

The building has been provided with following modern facilities :

Central air-conditioning upto third Floor.
Fire detection and fire fighting system.
Electronic Voting and sound system.
Audio-Video recording system.
- Lifts 4 nos.
- LAN and Personal Computers.
- Two generator sets.
- Three tube wells and pump house.
- Security system with closed circuit TVMS and Parcel viewers.
- Power supply from G.S.S. Chambal & Mansarovar.
- EPABX including electronic mail system, Fax etc.

Photo

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