Rajasthan Legislative Assembly - Overview
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 Eleventh Edition has been printed in 2003.
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 :
There are three categories of 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.
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.
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 :
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.
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.
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.
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 ofRajasthan 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
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.