What is Lok Sabha?

Lok Sabha of India.

The Lok Sabha is Lower House of Indian Parliament. Article 81 of the Constitution deals with the composition of this House. It had originally been provided that the Lok Sabha shall consist of not more than 500 members to be directly elected by the people and not more than 25 members to be elected from the Union Territories.

It was also provided that each representative shall not represent less than 5 lakh or more than 7.5 lakh of population. But subsequently as the population increased, there were two alternatives open namely either to increase the size of the Lok Sabha or to end the restriction that each representative shall not represent more than 7.5 lakh of population.

In 1953, 2nd Constitutional Amendment Act was passed by which population restriction was done away with. Now according to Article 81 of the Constitution, the House of the People shall consist of not more than 525 members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the states and not more than 20 members to represent the Union Territories chosen in such manner as the Parliament may by law provide.

It is provided in the Constitution in Article 81(2) that each state shall be allotted a number of seats in the Lok Sabha in such manner that the ratio between that number and the population of the state, in so far as possible shall be uniform. Obviously in this arrangement the states which have more population shall have more seats, as compared to the states, which have less population.

In order to return the representatives, each state shall be divided into territorial constituencies in such a manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it, shall as far as possible, be the same throughout the state.

Since the whole arrangement is based on population it was provided that population meant the population as ascertained as the last preceding census of which the relevant figures had been published.

This provision was, however, amendment by 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act by which it was provided that the reference to this clause to the “last preceding census of which relevant figures have been published shall until the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2000 have been published”, be construed as reference to 1971 census.

How Lok Sabha of India Elected?

The Lok Sabha is a body which consists of representatives directly elected by the people, but Article 331 of the Constitution provides that in case the President is of the opinion that Anglo-Indian community has not been adequately represented in the Lok Sabha, he may nominate not more than two members of that community in the House.

There is no specific nomination of the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, by the President in the Lok Sabha, but from certain constituencies, which are notified in advance by the Election Commission, the members belonging to the scheduled castes and schedule tribes can only be returned. Thus, these castes and tribes get adequate and proper representation in the Lok Sabha.

As in India census takes place after every decade and as a result of which population of the states increases necessitating adjustment of seats for the Lok Sabha and delimitation of Constituencies, Article 82 of the Constitution has, therefore, provided that upon the completion of each census the allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to the states and division of each state into territorial constituencies shall be readjusted, provided that such readjustment shall have no effect on the representatio in the House of the People until the dissolution of the existing House.

42nd Constitutional Amendment Act however added a provision by which it was provided that such readjustment shall take effect from such date as the President may, by order specify and until such readjustment takes effect, any election before such adjustment.

This Act has also provided that until relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2000 have beer published, it shall not be necessary to readjust the allocation of seats to the states in the Lok Sabha and also the division of each state into territorial constituencies.

Under the existing laws reservation of seats for the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha would have come to an end by January 1980, 45th Constitutional Amendment Act extended this period by another ten years. The new government headed by VP. Singh had decided to extend this period by another 10 years i.e. upto the year 2000 A.D. now it is continuous for indefinite period.

In India, there is population explosion, a point has been made out that in case the number of seats in the Lok Sabha is not considerably increased, elected and voter ratio will go on increasing and the Lok Sabha shall not be a true representative body of the people. In 1971, the then Chief Election Commissioner suggested that the strength of Lok Sabha should be increased from 545 to 570.

According to him this will serve the double purpose. On the one hand the electorates will have more and better chance to contact their members whereas on the other hand the members of Parliament shall have reasonably medium size constituency.

Argument Against Lok Sabha of India.

Dr. Nagendra Singh, who said that the strength of the Lok Sabha should not be increased. He argued that whether the population of constituency was less or more did not in any way effect the touring of the member.

According to him the strength of the House of Commons in England since 1832 has practically remained the same though the population of the country has increased from 15 to 55 million. It is also argued that even if the population increases there is a marginal difference in so far as contact with the masses is concerned, because only few people personally contact Members of the Lok Sabha.

But so far the position is that the size of the Lok Sabha has not been increased beyond 545. At present there are 542 members in 2005.

Elections of Lok Sabha are held on the basis of adult franchise. For being the member of Lok Sabha, a person

  • Should be citizen of India.
  • Should be 25 years of age.
  • Has resided in the constituency for a minimum period as prescribed by law.
  • Should not be of unsound mind.
  • Should not otherwise be disqualified to become a member of the Lok Sabha.
  • Should not hold any office of profit either in the central or in the service of state government.
  • Should subscribe that he holds allegiance.
  • To the Constitution of India and be willing.
  • To uphold country’s unity and integrity.
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