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Majority Types in Indian Parliament With Example, Differences and Effective

The President, the Rajya Sabha (Council of States), and the Lok Sabha (House of the People) make up the Parliament of India, which is the highest law-making body in the country. The formation of laws for national governance is one of the Parliament’s main duties. Simple, Absolute, Effective, and Special Majority are the four types of majority, that the Indian Constitution does not specifically list that are needed to pass various bills, but the interpretation of the Constitution does.

Majority in the Indian Parliament

Majority” in the sense of parliament refers to the minimum number of votes needed to approve a resolution or a bill. As a concept, it is important for parliamentary procedure since it ensures that a majority of legislators would support every decision made, respecting the principles of democracy. Enacting laws and guiding the ways of governance are the responsibilities entrusted to the Indian Parliament, which is the oldest and largest legislative body in the country.

As the highest law-making body of the largest democracy in the world, it must ensure that every decision it makes fulfills the democratic principles. A bill is introduced in the Parliament and becomes law when the President gives his or her assent. The future of proposals and policies in the Indian Parliament is mostly decided by the majority.

Majority Types in Indian Parliament

In the Indian Parliament, decisions on many different matters need the following four types of majorities:

  • Simple Majority
  • Absolute Majority
  • Effective Majority
  • Special Majority

In the following article, the majority – definitions, applications, and importance are covered.

Simple Majority

A Simple Majority is known as a majority of the members present and voting in the House. The Ordinary Majority, Functional Majority, and Working Majority are other names for the “Simple Majority.” Let’s take an example where the Lok Sabha has 324 members present and voting. Here,

[324/2 + 1] = 163 is the simple majority

Application of the Simple Majority

Article 100 of the Indian Constitution, a majority of the members who are present and voting decide all questions at any sitting of either House or joint sitting of the Houses. This shows that the Constitution’s general rule for answering questions in the Parliament is the simple majority. Under these situations, “Simple Majority” is used:

  • Approval of various bills like money, financial, and ordinary bills.
  • The Motion of Thanks, No Confidence Motion, Adjournment Motion, and Censure Motion Passing.
  • Article 67 – The removal of the Vice-President in the Lok Sabha.
  • Article 356– Authorizing the President’s Rule to be implemented.
  • Article 360 – Declaration of financial emergency (Never Implemented)
  • Article 93 – Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • Article 89 – Election of the Rajya Sabha’s Deputy Chairman.
  • Article 352 – The Lok Sabha must approve a resolution to end the National Emergency before it may continue.

Effective Majority

An “Effective Majority” is defined as a majority of the House’s total membership, excluding vacant seats. Or it represents the majority of the House’s then present effective strength. Let’s take an example where there are 15 vacant seats in the Lok Sabha out of a total of 543 seats. Here,

Majority is equal to [(543-15)/2 + 1] = 265

Application of the Effective Majority

In the following situations, the Effective Majority is used:

  • Article 67 – Removal from the Rajya Sabha of the Vice President.
  • Article 90 – Removal of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman.
  • Article 94 – Removal of the Lok Sabha’s Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

Absolute Majority

An “Absolute Majority” is defined as a majority of all House members, regardless of the number of vacant seats or absentees. For example, Given that the Lok Sabha has 543 overall strength, the Absolute Majority of the Lok Sabha is

[(543/2) + 1] = 272

Application of the Absolute Majority

  • Absolute Majority is not specified by the Constitution as an alone condition in any situation or for any reason. But only used as a part of the Special Majority in certain situations.
  • Therefore the “Absolute Majority” is not used by the Parliament on a routine basis.
  • For the creation of both central and state governments, it is mainly used.

Special Majority

Different types of special majority are present and used for a variety of purposes.

Special Majority-I

The majority of the House as a whole (all members) and a two-thirds majority of those at present who are voting is known as the “Special Majority-I.”

Application of Special Majority-I

In the following situations, the “Special Majority-I” is used:

  • Article 368 – Constitutional Amendment.
  • Article 124 –  Supreme Court Judges’ removal
  • Article 217 –  High Court judges removal.
  • Article 148 –  Removal of India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
  • Article 324 –  Removal of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
  • Article 352 –  Parliamentary approval of the proclamation of National Emergency.
  • Article 243K- Removal of the State Election Commissioner (SEC).

Special Majority-II

Special Majority II is the two-thirds majority of the House’s total membership.

Application of Special Majority-II

In the following situation, the “Special Majority-II” is used:

  • Article 61 – Impeachment of the President.

The process of impeachment of a President solely on the base of “Violation of the Constitution” from office before the end of his five-year term. This motion must be approved by two-thirds of the members in both Houses of Parliament separately.

Special Majority-III

The Rajya Sabha is the only entity that uses Special Majority-III.
Special Majority-III is known as the two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. Only the Rajya Sabha can use the Special Majority-III.

Application of Special Majority-III

In the following situations, the “Special Majority-III” is used:

  • Article 249 – Legislative process about matters on the State List.
  • Article 312 – Establishment of new All-India Services.

Majorities in the Indian Parliament- Importance

  • Ensuring Representation: Different majorities work accordingly to make sure that the interests and opinions of the people are reflected in their decisions.
  • Balanced Governance: They ensure a balanced approach to governance during the decision-making process.
  • Maintaining Democratic Principles: It makes sure that important laws and constitutional changes are thoroughly discussed and prevents choices from being made on impulse.
  • Protecting Constitutional Integrity: Special majorities, such as those required for Constitutional Amendments, make sure the core values that underlie the document aren’t changed without broad consent. By doing this, the stability and integrity of the constitutional form are protected.
  • Preventing Dictatorship of the Majority: The Indian Parliament works to prevent the despotism of the majority by establishing different majorities for several decisions. It ensures that the opinions of minority groups are taken into account and guards against the imposition of choices that might disproportionately affect some groups.

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What are the different types of majorities in Indian Parliament?

In this article, you can read all about the four types of majorities in the Parliament of India (simple, absolute, special and effective majority) for the polity and governance segments of the UPSC IAS syllabus.

What is 2/3 majority in Parliament?

Article 61 of the Indian Constitution deals with the procedure for impeachment of the President. Under this article, the special majority is referred to as the majority of 2/3rd of the total strength of the house. As per this article, the special majority of the Lok Sabha is 364, and that of the Rajya Sabha is 164.

What is the difference between majority and absolute majority?

In contrast, the absolute majority symbolizes a majority that includes more than 50% of the total strength of the house. So, if the total strength of the Lok Sabha is 545, but 5 seats are vacant, the absolute majority will be calculated with 545 members, and the effective majority will be calculated with 540 members.

What are the 3 levels of Parliament in India?

Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India. The Indian Parliament comprises of the President and the two Houses - Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and Lok Sabha (House of the People). The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha.

What is special majority in Lok Sabha?

The special majority in the Indian Parliament is mainly defined as the voting supported by over 50 percent of the total strength of the house and the voting by a majority of two-thirds of the parliamentary member.

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