New Delhi: The Lok Sabha or the lower house of India’s bicameral Parliament is also known as the house of the people. Every Lok Sabha member is elected by Universal Adult Suffrage and a first-past-the-post system. The elected member will represent a particular geographic constituency. As per the Indian Constitution, the maximum strength in the lower house is 552. Currently, there are 543 constituencies in India of which 530 represent people from the Indian states, upto 20 who represent people from the Union Territories. This allocation of seats to the various states and Union Territories is carried out based on the population of 1971. Besides, the Indian President has the power to nominate two Anglo Indians, in case they lack sufficient representation in the lower house of the parliament.

The elected representatives stay in power for a period of five years or until the body is dissolved by the President on the advice of the council of ministers. The Lok Sabha must have a quorum of 10 per cent out of its total membership. Notably, the five-year term of a Lok Sabha member may be extended by the Parliament by law in case of a proclamation of emergency. In total, the representatives of Scheduled Castes (84) and Scheduled Tribes (47) are reserved 131 seats (24.03 per cent).

Following are some of the major powers and functions of the Lok Sabha:

1. Legislative Powers: When an ordinary bill is introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha, it is sent to the Upper House of the parliament namely Rajya Sabha. The bill can be introduced in either of the houses. It becomes law only after it is passed in both the houses of the Parliament and signed by the President of the country. The Lok Sabha reconsiders the bill that has been rejected by the Rajya Sabha with or without amendments.

2. Executive Powers: The Council of Ministers are collectively responsible before the House of People which has a control over them. The ministers remain in power as long as they enjoy the confidence of the majority in the Lower House of the Parliament. The leader of the majority party in the Lower House is appointed as the Prime Minister of the country.

3. Financial Powers: A money bill can be introduced only in the Lower House of the Parliament. After it is passed in the Lok Sabha, it goes to the Rajya Sabha. A Rajya Sabha can delay the money bill for a maximum period of 14 days. In case the Rajya Sabha fails to pass the money fill after a time lapse of 14 days, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Finally, the bill becomes a law after the President signs it.

4. Judicial Powers: The President of the country can be impeached by carrying out the necessary proceedings in either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. Thereafter, the President will be removed from office only after an impeachment resolution is adopted by both the Houses of the Parliament with a 2/3 majority of its members. Similarly, both the Houses can jointly agree to remove the Vice-President of India, any judge of the Supreme Court or of a State High Court and other officers such as Attorney General, the Chief Election Commissioner and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

5. Electoral Functions: After the Lok Sabha elections, the members of both the Houses of the Parliament jointly elect the Vice-President of India. Further, a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker is elected from amongst the Lok Sabha members.

Meanwhile, the voting for the assembly elections 2019 has begun on Thursday, i.e., April 11 with four states including Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha going to polls in the first phase. Voting is underway in 91 Lok Sabha seats spread across 18 states and two union territories on Thursday in the first phase of the seven-phased elections. The results of state assemblies will be declared on May 23, 2019, along with Lok Sabha polls.