What are the means of legislative control over administration?

The opportunity to exercise control over the administration assumes several forms such as questions, resolutions, Zero-Hour Discussions, Adjournment Motions, Vote of Censure, Budget and the Parliamentary Committees. These various means are discussed below.

1. The President’s Speech

Every new session of the parliament opens up with the speech of the President. The President in his speech spells out the broader policies and activities of executives in the foreseeing future. The first four days of every session are set aside for the general discussion on the speech. The members of the parliament hold discussions on the Presidential speech which give them the opportunity to criticize the executive action.

2. Discussion on Budget

The parliament every year sanctions the funds for the expenditure of the executive. After the budget is presented by the Finance Minister in the Parliament the general discussion on the budget takes place. In the process of enactment of the budget every department puts forth the demands for grants and for the approval of the Parliament. At this stage the members of Parliament get the opportunity to discuss and evaluate the affairs of the administration of various departments. The members of the opposition can also move cut motions to express their displeasure with the working of the administration at this stage. Thus the discussion on the finance bill provides the members of Parliament an opportunity to discuss the entire administration.

3. Question Hour

It is a very powerful technique of legislative control over administration. During the session of the Parliament, every parliamentary day starts with the question hour. The first hour of the day is reserved for questions. The purpose of the question hour is to elicit information or clarification on the matters pertaining to public interest. The members of the Parliament address written questions to the government. On an average thirty questions are asked. If the members of parliament are not satisfied with the answers they can ask supplementary questions. In practice the actual purpose of the question hour is to draw public attention to the failure and abuse of authority by the government or to address the public grievances.

4. Adjournment Motions

To draw the attention of the government to the questions of urgent nature and of public importance such as flood, earthquake etc. The device of adjournment motion is used. If the moving of adjournment motion is permitted by the presiding officer then the normal business of the House is suspended for the day and the immediate debate takes place. During the debate and the discussion on the adjournment motion the members of parliament get an opportunity to criticize the administration. Adjournment Motion is the tool of day-to-day control.

5. Censure Motion

This means the Vote of No-Confidence. The members of the Parliament have the right to move the Vote of No-confidence in order to express the total disapproval of the policy of the government or the part of it. In case of an adverse vote the government has to resign.

6. Debates on the Legislation

The bill of law passes through various stages before the enactment. The various readings of the Bill provide an opportunity to the members of Parliament to criticize the entire policy underlying the bill.

7. Parliamentary Committees

The Parliamentary committees act as a tool of effective control over the administration. The financial committees of the Parliament such as Public Accounts Committee, Estimates Committee ̳and the Committee on Public Undertakings exercise detail and substantial control over the financial matters. The Committee on Assurances reports on as to what extent the assurances given by the ministers on the floor of the House are implemented in a specified time limit required for the purpose. Such enquiry makes ministers more responsible and careful and administration to take quick action on the given promises.

8. Audit

The office of Comptroller and Auditor General audits all the government accounts to ensure that the money granted by the Parliament have been used for the stated purpose and the amount has not exceeded without sanction of the supplementary grant by the parliament and the expenditure confirms to the rules. The reports regarding the same are submitted by the CAG to the Parliament.

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