Parliamentary Committees in India

The Constitution of India set up the Parliamentary Committees to assist the various complex and immense functions of the Parliament. Since the Parliament does not have the time or expertise to scrutinise all legislative and other matter, it set up the Parliamentary Committees for discharging its duties. The Committee consists either members of the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha or both. A Parliamentary Committee is either appointed or elected either by the Speaker or the Chairman. It works under the direction of the Speaker or Chairman and presents its report to the House or the Speaker or Chairman. It has a secretariat provided by the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.

Parliamentary Committees are of two types based on their nature – Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees.

Standing Committees:

Standing Committees are permanent and regular committees. They are constituted every year or periodically. These committees work on a continuous basis. Standing Committees are further classified into six categories:

  1. Financial Committee
    1. Public Accounts Committee
    2. the Estimates Committee, and
    3. the Committee on Public Under takings
  2. Department Standing Committee
  3. Committees to Inquire
    1. Committee on Petitions
    2. Committee on Privileges
    3. Ethics Committee
  4.  Committees to Scrutinise and control
    1. Committee on Government Assurance
    2. Committee on Subordinate Legislation
    3. Committee on Papers Laid on the Table
    4. Committee on Welfare of SCs and STs
    5. Committee on Empowerment of Women
    6. Joint Committee on Offices of Profit
  5. Committees Relating to the Day-to-Day Business of the House
    1. Business Advisory Committee
    2. Committee on Private Members’ Bills and Resolutions
    3. Rules Committee
    4. Committee on Absence of Members from Sittings of the House
  6. House-Keeping Committees or Service Committees 
    1. General Purposes Committee
    2. House Committee
    3. Library Committee
    4. Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members

Ad Hoc Committees:

Ad Hoc committees are appointed for specific purposeas the need arises and are dissolved when the assigned task is completed. Ad Hoc committees are classified into two categories namely, Inquiry Committees and Advisory Committees.

Inquiry Committee:

Inquiry Committees are constituted from time to time, either by both Houses or by the Speaker/Chairman to inquire and report specific issue. Examples ofInquiry Committees are:

  1. Committee on Food Management in Parliament House.
  2. Committee on Installation of Potraits/Statues of National Leaders and Parliamentarians in Parliament House Complex.
  3. Committee on Provision of Computers to Members of Parliament, Offices of Political Parties and Offices of the Lok Sabha Secretriate.
  4. Committee on Security in Parliament Complex.
  5. Committee on Violation of Protocol Norms and Contemptuous Behaviour of Government Officers with Members of Lok Sabha.
  6. Committee on Welfare of Other Backward Classes
  7. Committee to Inquire into the Improper Conduct of Members.
  8. Joint Parliamentary Committee on Maintenance of Heritage Character and Development of Parliament House Complex.
  9. Committee on Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).
  10. Railway Convention Committee.
  11. Committee on 2G scam
  12. Joint Committee on Bofors Contract
  13. Joint Committee to look into the Irregularities in Securities and Banking Transactions.
  14. Joint Committee on Stock Market Scam.
  15. Joint Committee to examine matters relating to Allocation and Pricing of Telecom Licenses and Spectrum.
  16. Joint Committee on Pesticide Residues in and Safety Standards for Soft Drinks, Fruit Juice and other Beverages.
  17. Joint Committee to Examine the Constitutional and Legal Position Relating to Office of Profit.

Advisory Committees:
Advisory Committees include select or joint committees on bills which are appointed to consider and report on a particular bill. These Committees are only concerned with bills and the procedure to be followed is laid down in the Rules of Procedure and the Directions by the Speaker/Chairman.

A Bill after coming before a House is open to that House to refer either to a Select Committee of the House or a Joint Committee of the two Houses. A motion has to be moved and adopted to this effect in the House were the Bill came for consideration. If the Bill adopted for reference is to a Joint Committee, the decision is conveyed to the other House to nominate members of the other House to serve on the Committee.

The Select or Joint Committee considers the Bill clause by clause just as the two Houses do. Amendments can be moved by members of the Committee. The Committee can also take evidence of associations, public bodies or experts interested in the Bill. After a Bill gets considered the Committee submits its report to the House. Members not agreeing to Bill can add their disagreement to the report.


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Questions:

Parliamentary Committees in India

  1. What are the types of Parliamentary Committees in India?
  2. The ________ is the largest Committee of the Parliament.
    a) Committee on Public Accounts
    b) Committee on Estimates
    c) Committee on Privileges
    d) Committee on Petitions
  3. The ________ does not have control over Public expenditures.
    a) Committee on Petitions
    b) Committee on Estimates
    c) Attorney General of India
    d) Committee on Privileges
  4. The _________ acts as ‘watch dog’ on departmental expenditure and irregularities.
    a) Committee on Public Accounts
    b) Committee on Estimates
    c) Committee on Public Undertaking
    d) Committee on Ethics
Query Box