National Assembly

National Assembly

Lower House of the Parliament is known as National Assembly. Duration of National Assembly is five years. Nevertheless, in the package of proposals, it was suggested to minimize its tenure. It is to be noted that in the recent past none of the assemblies had completed its normal duration with the exception of Assembly which worked in 2002-2007.


Powers of the National Assembly

1. Legislation
The National Assembly is fully authorized to legislate on all matters enumerated in federal and concurrent lists. It enjoys exclusive power to legislate on matters in respect of federal list, while Provincial Assemblies also enjoy powers to enact on concurrent affairs. Nevertheless, supremacy of National Assembly has been secured even in concurrent affairs as the laws of the Parliament shall prevail and provincial laws stand invalid in case of clash between both the laws.


2. Control over the Executive
The Prime Minster and all of his ministers are the members of either House of the Parliament. The whole Cabinet is accountable to the Parliament for all executive decrees, actions and policies that have been made by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. The National Assembly can remove the Cabinet by passing a vote of no-confidence against it.


3. Financial Control
Modern legislatures exercise effective control over finance in a democratic system. The money bills originate in the lower House, in case of bicameral legislature and it exercises effective control in fiscal matters. Under the present constitutional system, National Assembly wields effective control over the purse of nation, as no amount can be spent without its sanction and no revenue collected without its authorization. The members of National Assembly exercise control over fiscal policy by criticizing the estimates for raising funds and demands for grants.


4. Judicial Powers
Parliament is empowered to prescribe the number of judges of the Supreme Court hence it can bring changes in the organization of the court. It enjoys also a quasi-judicial power to impeach the President, and remove him from the office on the basis of gross misconduct or mental or physical unfitness.


5. Amendment in the Constitution
Parliament can amend the constitution. Accordingly, a bill aiming at amendment can be initiated in any one House of the Parliament, and after having been passed by both Houses it is sent for Presidential assent. Further, any proposal aiing at the alterations in the boundaries of any province got to be ratified by the Provincial Assembly concerned by two-thirds majority.


Miscellaneous Powers
To ventilate public grievances, is an important function of a modern legislature. The deputies draw the attention of the public officials to the problems faced by the people through asking questions or criticizing public policies. The members can effectively control the ministers in case the latter remain present on the floor of the Chamber.

The Parliament also acts as a useful training center in which the most competent parliamentarians can distinguish themselves by virtue of their performance. A member of higher intellectual caliber and political sagacity can easily demonstrate his capabilities on the floor of the House; and such distinguished members can be included in the Cabinet. Undoubtedly, the role of a Parliament in the success of democracy is of vital importance.


Speaker and Deputy Speaker

The newly elected National Assembly, in its very first session, shall elect a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker from amongst its members. Before assuming the duties, both shall take the oath of their respective offices. Deputy Speaker shall preside over the meetings of National Assembly during the absence of Speaker. In case the former is also absent, any other member, according to the rules of procedure of the House, shall perform Speaker’s functions. Both, Speaker and Deputy Speaker, are not entitled to preside over the session in which a motion aiming at their removal is under consideration.


Functions:
1. The Speaker of the National Assembly presides over the meetings of the Assembly and is responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the House. While performing this function he enjoys enormous powers. He can issue warning to a member who defies the established rules, and even suspend the proceedings


2. He revolves the issues in the light of the usages on which there are no explicit rules. The Speaker also gives his rulings on point of order.


3. While presiding over the meetings, the Speaker effectively controls the deliberations. All the questions to be asked from the Ministers are to be addressed to the Speaker and the latter is fully authorized to reject any of these questions.


4. The members take part in the deliberations and take the floor on the permission by the Speaker. The latter can order for omission of unparliamentarily remarks from the proceedings. He can obstruct any member from using objectionable language in his speech.


5. The Speaker enjoys the executive power to select any of the amendments proposed by the members, for submission in the House. He is also fully authorized to reject or accept any of the motion.

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