Rajasthan Legislative Assembly - Committees

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Structure of Committees :

Under  the  provisions  in  the Constitution of  India, although  the  Executive   is  responsible  to  the  Legislature,  yet  it  is   not  possible   for   the  Legislative    Assembly  to  examine in detail  the  functions of Executive. Therefore, According to rule 180 of  the Rules  of   Procedure and  Conduct  of   Business  in Rajasthan Legislative Assembly,  a  Parliamentary Committee is a Committee  which  is  appointed  or  elected  by the House or nominated by the Speaker.

Parliamentary  Committees can be divided in to two categories, first is the Standing Committees and second is Ad hoc Committee.  In Rajasthan Legislative  Assembly, there are 17   standing Committees out  of which four are  financial   and  rest  relates to various other subject.  The  financial Committees  are elected and others are nominated  by  the  Speaker.  All the Committees consist of not more than 15 members including the Chairman except  the  Library Committee which consist of not more than 10 members including the Chairman. These Committees are constituted from amongst the  members  of  the Ruling  and  Opposition  parties  selected  and  nominated   by  the  Speaker.  The  term  of office of the members is not more than one year. But if a member,  after  his  nomination to the Committee, is appointed a Minister, he ceases to be a member of Committee  from the date of such appointment.  This  provision   does  not  apply in the  case of the Leader of the House, who may be the Chief  Minister also,  as far as the Business Advisory Committee is concerned.

According  to   rule  188  of  the  rules of Procedure   and  Conduct of Business  in  Rajasthan  Legislative  Assembly,  A  Committee  may  appoint  one or more sub-Committees, each having the powers of  the  undivided  Committee, to examine any matters that may be referred   to  them,  and  the reports of such sub Committee, shall be deemed to be  the  reports of the whole  Committee,  If they  are  approved at a sitting of the whole Committee.

Functioning of Committees :

Among the Standing Committees are the three financial Committees
(1)   The Committee on Public Accounts
(2)   (a) The Estimates Committee `A'
        (b) The Estimates Committee `B'
(3)   The Committee on the Public Undertakings

Functions of financial Committees are as follows -

Public Accounts Committee :

The  Public   Accounts  Committee   consists  of  not  more   than  15 members    elected   from   amongst   its  members   according  to  the principle   of  proportional representation   by    means  of   single transferable vote. The term of office of   members of  the  Committee does  not  exceed   one   year.  The  Chairman  of  the  Committee is appointed    by   the  Speaker  from  amongst   the   members  of  the Committee. No Minister can be a member of the Committee.

The Committee examines the accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by the  House for the expenditure of the state, finance accounts of the state and such other accounts as the Committee may deem  fit.  It  also  examines  the  money   shown  in the accounts as having   been   disbursed    were   legally  available  to  the service or purpose  to  which  they  have  been  applied  or   charged,  that  the expenditure   conforms  to  the   authority  which governs it, and that every   reappropriation    has   been  made   in  accordance  with   the provisions  made in this behalf under rules framed by the competent authority.  If  any  money  has  been  spent  on   any  service  during financial   year   in   excess  of   the  amount  granted  by   Legislative Assembly,  for that purpose, the Committee may examine the factors responsible for such excess expenditure in each case.

Estimates Committees :

There  are  two  Estimates  Committees in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly :  namely the Estimates Committee `A' and the Estimates Committee `B'; and the various departments of the Government are divided  between them. Not more than 15 members constitute these Committees  and   the  Chairman  is appointed  by the Speaker from amongst   the members   of   the  Committee.   The  tenure  of  the Committee is one year.

The  Committee   examines  the estimates of the various Ministries / Departments and   suggests  the  what  economies, improvements in organisation and efficiency or administrative reforms consistent with the  policy  underlying   the  estimates  may  be effected. It examines whether  the   money  is  well  laid out within the limits of the policy implied   in  the  estimates.  It may also suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration.

Public Undertakings Committee :

The  Committee  on Public Undertakings is composed of 15 members elected  every  year  by  the  House  from amongst its members. The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker.

The  functions   of  the  Committee  include  the  examination of the reports  and  accounts  of  the  Public Undertakings ; and to examine the  report of the  Comptroller  and  Auditor - General  on  Public Undertakings,  whether  the  affairs  of   the  Public Undertakings are being  managed  in  accordance with sound principle of business and prudent commercial practices. According to rule 233A of the Rules of Procedure  and Conduct   of   Business   in Rajasthan  Legislative Assembly, the functions of the Committee shall be -

(a) to examine the reports and accounts of the Public Undertaking  specified in Fifth Schedule and such other Undertakings as may be decided by the House from time to time or the Speaker when the House is not in session;

(b) to examine the reports, if any, of the Comptroller and Auditor - General on Public Undertakings;

(c) to examine, in the context of the autonomy and efficiency of the Public Undertakings, whether the affairs of the Public Undertakings are being managed in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices; and

(d) to exercise such other functions vested in the Committee on the Public Accounts and the Committee on the Estimates in relation on the Public Undertakings specified in the Fifth Schedule as are not covered by clauses (a),(b) and (c) above and as may be allotted to the Committee by the Speaker from time to time.

Besides the above mentioned Standing Committees the Assembly has the following Committees which are being nominated by the Speaker :

Committee on Subordinate Legislation :

According to rule 238 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, there shall be a Committee on Subordinate Legislation to scrutinize and report to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub rules, bye-laws,etc, conferred by the Constitution or delegated by Legislature are being properly exercised within such delegation.

Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes :

From time to time the Committee selects such subjects pertaining to the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as may seem fit to the Committee. The Committee may also examine matters of special interest to the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which may arise or come to light in the course of its working or which may be specifically referred to it by the House or by the Speaker.

Business Advisory Committee :

At the commencement of the House or from time to time, as the case may be, the Speaker may nominate a Committee called the Business Advisory Committee consisting of not more than fifteen members including the Speaker who shall be the Chairman of the Committee.

Provided that the Speaker may invite any other member including the Leader of the House, where he is not a member of the   Committee, as a special invite at a sitting of the Committee for consultation or advice.

The functions of the Committee which have been specified in the Rule of procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajasthan Legislative Assembly under rule 213 are as follows :

(1) It shall be the function of the Committee to recommend -

(a) the order in which Government and other business may be discussed in the House;

(b) the number of hours or days or actual day or days that may be allotted for discussion of different types of Government and other business.

(2) The Committee shall have the power to indicate in the proposed time-table the different hours at which the various stages of the Bill or other business shall be completed.

(3) The Committee shall have such other functions as may be assigned to it by the Speaker from time to time.

House Committee :

The functions of the House Committee shall be advisory and Committee deal with all questions relating to residential accommodation for members of Assembly. The House Committee exercise supervision over facilities for accommodation, food, medical aid and other amenities accorded to members in members residences and hostels in Jaipur, in particular and over other amenities and facilities provided to members under rules.

Rules Committee :

The Committee on Rules shall be nominated by the Speaker and shall consist of fifteen members including the Chairman of the Committee. The Speaker shall be the ex-officio Chairman of the Committee. There shall be a Committee on Rules to consider matters of procedure and conduct of business in the House and to recommend any amendments or additions to these rules that may be deemed necessary.

Library Committee :

The function of the Library Committee shall be consider and advise on such matters concerning the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Library and the Research and Reference Branch as may be referred to it by the Speaker from time to time. The Committee shall be consider suggestions for the improvement of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Library and the Research and Reference Branch.

Committee on Petitions :

The subject matter of petition may be a Bill or any matter  connected with the business before the House or any other matter of general public interest. Petitions are not admissible which deal with matters which fall within the cognizance of a Court or quasi judicial body; which should ordinarily be raised in a State Legislature or can be raised on a substantive motion or resolution; those relating personal or individual grievances.

The Committee shall examine every petition referred to it, and if the petition complies with these rules, the Committee may direct that it be circulated. where circulation of the petition has not been directed, the Speaker may at any time direct that the petition be circulated. It shall also be the duty of the Committee to report to the House on specific complaints made in the petition referred to it after taking such evidence as it deems fit and to suggest remedial measures either in a concrete form applicable to the case under review or to prevent such cases in future.

Committee on Privileges :

The Committee on Privileges examines every question of privilege referred to it and determines with reference to the facts of each case whether a breach of privilege is involved and, if so, the nature of the breach, the circumstances leading to it and makes such   recommendations  as it may deem fit.

A question of privilege is referred to the Committee by the House or by the Speaker, For a proper examination of the question of privilege involved, the Committee may hear the member who raised the question of privilege in the House, or permit him to explain his case in a written statement, or hear any other member of the House who may desire to place his views before the Committee on the question of privilege under consideration, or decide not to hear him. Where the breach of privilege involved is that of a member of the House, the Committee may afford him an opportunity to explain his case before the Committee in person.

After the report of the Committee has been presented to the House, the Chairman or any member of the Committee or any other member may move that the report be taken into consideration the Chairman or any member of the Committee or any other member may move that the House agrees or disagrees with the amendments, to the recommendations contained in the report.

Committee on Government Assurances :

There shall be a Committee on Government Assurances to scrutinize the assurances, promises, undertakings etc. given by Ministers from time to time on the floor of the House and to report on the extent to which such assurances, promises, undertakings, etc. have been implemented; and where implemented whether such implementation has taken place within the minimum time necessary for the purpose.

General Purposes Committee :

There shall be a General Purposes Committee consisting of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, members of the Panel of Chairmen, Chairmen of all standing Parliamentary Committees of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly (except the Parliamentary Consultative Committees), Leaders of recognised parties and groups in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly and such other members as may be nominated by the Speaker. The Speaker shall be the ex-officio Chairman of the Committee. The functions of the Committee shall be to consider and advise on such matters concerning the affairs of the House as may be referred to it by the Speaker from time to time.

Question and Reference Committee :

At the beginning of each financial year of the Legislative Assembly, the Speaker shall constitute a "Question and Reference Committee", the term of office of which shall be one year.

The functions of the Committee are as follows -

(1) If the answer to a starred question, unstarred question, short notice question, call attention motion and a notice under rule 295 is not received from the Government in time even after sufficient opportunity having been given or if the answer received does not give satisfaction to the Speaker and the Speaker deems it proper so to do, he may refer the matter to the Question and Reference Committee.

(2) In addition to the matters aforesaid, any matter relating to the House, if not within the jurisdiction of any other Committee under the rules, may be referred by the Speaker to the said Committee for consideration.

Women and Children Welfare Committee :

The Speaker shall as far as may be, at the beginning of the financial year, constitute a Committee on the Welfare of Women and Children, the term of office of which shall ordinarily be two years.

There shall be a Committee for the prevention of atrocity on, traffic in and exploitation of women and children as well as for their welfare. The functions of the Committee shall be consider the complaints received with regard to the atrocities, trafficking and exploitation against the provisions of the constitution of India or of a Rajasthan Act, and to give a report to the Assembly as to what action should be taken by the State government with regard to the matter under its jurisdiction. The Committee shall examine complaints generally relating to all matters covering atrocities on, traffic in and exploitation of the women and children in the State and particularly to the following subjects and shall submit its comments, suggestions and recommendations by way of a report to the Assembly.

Normally, the reports of these Committees are presented to the House by the Chairman of the Committee but when the House is not in session and the Committee has finalised its report, the Chairman may submit the report to the Speaker.

Select Committee :

It is an ad-hoc Committee. The procedure for constituting a Select Committee and submission of report by it after consideration of a Bill conforms to that prevailing in Parliament. After the first reading of a Bill, the member-in-charge or the Minister-in-charge of the Bill moves a motion to the effect that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee constituted by the members of the House with instructions to present its report to the House within a stipulated period. The Minister-in-charge of the Bill is ex-offico of the Select Committee.

The Select Committee considers the provisions of the Bill and can also obtain thereon the views of an expert or people's representative having interest in the subject-matter of the Bill. If a member of the Select Committee disagrees with the decision taken by the Committee on the amendments proposed by it in its report, he may get recorded a minute of dissent. The report of the Committee, together with the minutes of dissent, is published in the Gazette and copies thereof are circulated to all the members of the House. That report is presented to the House and considered by, it. The rules also provide that if the House is of the opinion that the Bill be referred to the Select Committee again, it may do so, but it can be done only once.

Parliamentary Consultative Committees :

The Speaker, in consultation with the Leader of the House may constitute as many Parliamentary Consultative Committees in respect of any department or any group of departments of the state Government, as he deems fit, which shall consist exclusively of the members of the Legislative Assembly. A Minister or a Minister of State having independent charge of any department/departments is appointed the Chairman of each Parliamentary Consultative Committee. Parliamentary Consultative Committees are constituted in the beginning of the term of the Legislative Assembly, but the Speaker, after consultation with the Leader of the House, may reconstitute any of these Committees whenever he deems it necessary.

Parliamentary Consultative Committees act as links between the members of Legislature and the State Government members from the State Government and make available to the members from such information in regard to policy, programmes, schemes, performance, achievements, working and expenditure of the concerned department/departments as they may seek and work as a forum for consultations and exchange of views.

Normally, the meetings of Consultative Committees are held on the day or days on which there is no sitting of the House, but at the instance of the Chairman, the meeting of Committee can be held on the day of the sitting of the House. In any case the meeting of every Parliamentary Consultative Committee is held at least once in every two months between the period from the date on which the Legislative Assembly adjourns sine die and the date of commencement of the next sitting of the Assembly. Any of the proceedings of the deliberations of Committee are not to be referred to by the members or the Chairman in the House.

In the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly the Parliamentary Consultative Committees have become the part of Committee System. These are constituted under Rule 253(I) of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly. The Ministers or State Ministers having independent charge of a Department or Departments are the Chairman of these committees.

Committee on Welfare of Minorities :

The committee examines the steps taken by the State government for the welfare and overall development of minorities.

Committee on Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions :

The committee examines the accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by the House for the expenditure of the Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions; the annual finance accounts of the Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions; and such other accounts laid before the House as the committee may think fit. It also examines whether the Local Bodies and the Panchayati Raj Institutions are performing their duties in accordance with the law bearing in mind the autonomy of the Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions.

Committee on Environment :

The committee’s functions include study of the environmental problems within the State and examination of the nature, degree and extent of the environmental imbalances caused by different kinds of pollution in the State and results thereof. Further, it suggests remedial measures for the prevention and control of environmental problems. It also reviews the implementation of the plans and programmes (both Central and State) relating to maintenance of environmental balance in the State. It also examines the annual report of the State Department/Board in respect of environment with a view to find out whether the expenditure incurred was commensurate with the results achieved.

Committee on Ethics :

The Committee on Ethics examines complaints relating to unethical conduct of a member both within and outside of the House referred to it by the Speaker, the House or taken up by it suo-motu. A complaint relating to the unethical conduct of a member, including a minister, outside the House may be made by any person to the Speaker in writing, who may refer it to the committee for enquiry and report. The Committee, after enquiring and investigating the complaint, submits its report to the House with its recommendations.

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