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Types of Majorities Used in the Indian Parliament

Different types of Majority Voting

Types of Majorities in Constitution

Types of Majorities in Indian Constitution

» In parliamentary procedure, the term "majority" simply means "more than half." As it relates to a vote, a majority vote is more than half of the votes cast. 
» Different types of Majority provisions in Constitution of India are provided. 
» Different types of the majority is used to perform different tasks. 
» There are four types of majority used in Indian Parliament. They are:
  1. Simple Majority
  2. Absolute majority
  3. Effective majority
  4. Special majority

SIMPLE MAJORITY

» The simple majority is also called as “working majority’. This implies that the majority of more than fifty percent of the members of the legislature present and voting excluding the member abstaining.
» Example:
  • Total strength of Lok Sabha: 545
  • Vacant Seats: 5
  • Members present: 500
  • Members present, but decide to abstain / not to vote: 40
  • Members present and voting: 500-40=460
  • Simple Majority, in this case, would be: [460/2] +1 =231

» A Simple majority is used in most of the normal bills and a number of provisions in the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the two Houses of Parliament outside the scope of Article 368. This includes:
1.       Admission or establishment of new States
2.      Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States
3.      Abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in the States
4.      Acquisition and Termination of Citizenship
5.      To pass Non-Confidence Motion, Confidence Motion, Adjournment Motion, Censure Motion
6.      To pass Money Bill, Financial bill, Ordinary Bill and Budget
7.      For the proclamation of financial emergency and for revoking the National Emergency.
8.     Resolution passed by the Rajya Sabha should be approved by the Lok Sabha with a simple majority
9.      Removal of vice president in Lok Sabha
10.  Vote of thanks to President or governor

ABSOLUTE MAJORITY

» Absolute majority refers to the majority of more than 50% of the total strength of the house.
» Example:
  • Total strength of Lok Sabha: 545
  • Absolute Majority: 273

» The absolute majority is not used in the normal business of the Parliament or State Legislature But this majority is used during the general election, for the formation of government at the Center and States.
» Such kind of majority is not required in isolation in the Indian Parliament.


EFFECTIVE MAJORITY

» Effective strength of the house is the total strength of the house- the number of vacancies.
» Effective Majority of the house means more than 50%  of the effective strength of the House.
» “A MAJORITY OF ALL THE THEN MEMBERS” is the phrase used in Indian constitution to describe effective majority.
» Example:
  • Total strength of Rajya Sabha is 245.
  • Suppose if there are 25 vacancies
  • Effective Strength= 245-25=220
  • Effective majority= [220/2]+1 =111

» The Effective majority is used in:
1.   Removal of the Vice-President
2.  Removal of Deputy Chairman of Council of States
3.  Removal of Speaker and Lok Sabha Speaker
4.  Removal of Speaker or Deputy Speaker of Assembly
5.   Removal of Chairman or Deputy Chairman of a Legislative Council


SPECIAL MAJORITY

» Any majority other than simple, effective, absolute majority is defined as a special majority.
» This is a special kind of majority required in certain cases.
» This is a 2/3 type majority.
» There are 4 types of special majorities for the parliamentary business.
Type 1 – Special Majority as Per Article 249.
Type 2 – Special Majority as per Article 368.
Type 3 – Special Majority as per Article 368 + 50 percent state ratification by a simple majority.
Type 4 – Special Majority as per A61. 

Special Majority under Article 249 and Article 312

» Article 249 directs the Parliament to legislate on a subject in the State List in the national interest.
» Article 312 is the creation of one or more new All India Services. 
» The resolution in above cases must be passed by Rajya Sabha supported by not less than 2/3 of the members present and voting. This is basically a majority of 2/3rd of the members of the House present and voting excluding the number of members abstaining.
» Example: In Rajya Sabha,
» Total strength is 245.
» Members Present and voting= 200
» Majority under Article 249= 2/3 of 200

Special majority under Article 61

» Article 61 deals with the impeachment of President.
» For the impeachment, a resolution under this is passed by not less than 2/3rd of the total strength of the House, including the number of vacancies.
» Example: for passing such a resolution it requires the support of 2/3rd of the total strength of the upper house 245, that is 164 or more.

Special majority under Article 368 (Constitutional Amendment)

» A bill seeking a constitutional amendment requires its passage by 2/3rd members present and voting supported by more than 50% of the total strength of the house.
Let's take an example.
Now in Lok Sabha, there are 545 members. Say, 300 members are present at the time of voting. Those supporting the bill are 273 in numbers. Then they qualify the first option as those in favour of the amendment bill are constituting 50% of the strength of Lok Sabha, also 2/3 of 300=200 hence they qualify option b also as they are 273> 200.
But had they been 300 in numbers and those supporting the bill were 272 in numbers, they would have qualified option b i.e those supporting the bill are 2/3 of the majority but they would have failed to qualify option a i.e. constituting 50% of the total strength and hence the constitutional amendment bill would have not passed from that house.
Thus both a and b options are required to fulfil the requirement of the special majority

» There is no provision for joint sitting for this.
» Both the houses have to pass it separately.
» This majority should be the absolute majority of the house. That means Absolute + Special Majority.
» Special majority under Article 61 is required in the case of the constitutional amendment bills, resolutions for the removal of the judges of the Supreme Court or the high courts, chief election commission, comptroller and auditor general etc.
» This majority is needed for the passage of the resolution for approving the continuation of National emergency, from both the Houses of Parliament.

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