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Select Committee For the Delhi Services Bill

Context:

Recently, the formation of a Select Committee for the Delhi Services Bill, has sparked controversy after several Members of Parliament (MPs) claimed that their names were included without their consent.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Select Committee
  2. Formation of Select Committees
  3. Function and Role of Select Committees

Select Committee

A Select Committee is a specialized and temporary committee formed within a parliamentary system to scrutinize and analyze specific bills. Here’s a concise overview of its key characteristics:

  • Nature and Purpose: Select Committees are ad hoc or temporary committees established with a distinct purpose: to thoroughly examine and scrutinize specific bills introduced in the parliament.
  • Membership Restriction: Membership in Select Committees is limited exclusively to Members of Parliament (MPs) from a single house, either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. This distinguishes them from Joint Parliamentary Committees (JPC), which involve MPs from both houses.
  • Focused Disbandment: Select Committees are formed for a particular task, which, upon completion, leads to their dissolution. Once the committee has fulfilled its designated objective, it ceases to exist.
  • Procedural Clarity: Despite being temporary, Select Committees operate within well-defined procedures and rules outlined in the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. This ensures a structured and systematic approach to their functioning.
  • Exclusivity of Purpose: Select Committees are convened with a singular focus on examining specific bills in detail. They are not permanent standing committees that oversee broader aspects of governance.

In contrast to Select Committees, Joint Parliamentary Committees (JPC) are established to address specific issues by involving MPs from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. This collaborative approach ensures comprehensive analysis and decision-making.

Formation of Select Committees

Select Committees play a significant role in the parliamentary process. Here’s how they are formed and how they operate:

Formation of Select Committees:
  • Initiation: A Select Committee is established through a motion presented by either the Minister in-charge of the concerned bill or any member of the Parliament. This motion proposes the formation of a committee to scrutinize the bill in question.
  • Adoption: The motion is then put to a vote in the House. If the motion is adopted, the Select Committee is officially created with the purpose of thoroughly examining and reporting on the referred bill.
Selecting Members for a Select Committee:
  • Naming Members: The motion to establish the Select Committee includes a list of specific members who are proposed to serve on the committee. These members are chosen based on their expertise, interest, or relevance to the bill under consideration.
  • Appointment: The House appoints the members listed in the motion to the Select Committee. Consent from the proposed members is essential for their appointment to the committee.
  • Consent: In the Rajya Sabha, it is mandated that a member cannot be appointed to a Select Committee if they are unwilling to serve on it. However, the rules do not explicitly require the collection of signatures from the proposed members.
Quorum and Decision-Making:
  • Quorum: The composition of a Select Committee depends on its specific purpose. Generally, a Select Committee operates with a quorum of one-third of its total members. This ensures that a sufficient number of members are present to conduct proceedings.
  • Voting Tie: In the event of a tie in votes during committee decisions, the chairman or presiding person holds a casting vote. This ensures that decisions are reached even when votes are evenly divided.

Function and Role of Select Committees

Examination and Review of Bills:
  • Meticulous Review: The primary duty of a Select Committee is to conduct a comprehensive review of the bill referred to it. This involves a detailed examination of the bill’s clauses, provisions, and content.
  • Alignment with Objectives: The committee ensures that the bill accurately reflects the intended purpose and objectives of the proposed legislation. This helps in preventing any ambiguities or unintended consequences.
Information Gathering:
  • Expert Inputs: The committee has the authority to gather information from various sources. This can include receiving memoranda from experts, stakeholders, and the public, which provide insights and perspectives on the bill’s potential impact.
  • Oral Evidence: The committee can also hold sessions where experts, government officials, and other stakeholders provide oral evidence and share their insights on the bill.
Formulation of Conclusions:
  • Evidence Evaluation: Based on the information gathered, the committee evaluates the evidence presented and analyses its implications on the bill.
  • Clause Amendments: If necessary, the committee suggests amendments to specific clauses of the bill to align them more closely with the bill’s objectives and address any concerns raised during the review.
Sub-Committees:
  • Addressing Specific Aspects: In complex bills, the committee may form sub-committees to focus on specific aspects or provisions of the bill. These sub-committees conduct detailed assessments and provide specialized insights.
Reporting to the House:
  • Presenting Findings: Once the review process is complete, the committee compiles its findings, conclusions, and recommendations into a comprehensive report.
  • Dissenting Opinions: The committee’s report may also include dissenting opinions from members who have differing viewpoints on certain aspects of the bill.
Recommendatory Nature:
  • Government’s Decision: The reports produced by Select Committees are recommendatory in nature. While they hold significant weight and provide valuable insights, the final decision on whether to accept or reject the committee’s recommendations lies with the government.

-Source: Indian Express


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