TAMIL NADU LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Practice and Procedure (Contd...)
1. Tamil Nadu Legislature - Composition and duration.
The Tamil Nadu Legislature is a unicameral one. It has only one House viz., the Legislative Assembly.
The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly consists of 234 elected Members from 189 General and 45 Reserved Constituencies (42 S.C. Constituencies and 3 S.T. Constituencies) as provided in the Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Order 1976 and one Member representing Anglo-Indian Community nominated by the Governor under Article 333 of the Constitution of India, when he is of the opinion that the community is not adequately represented in the Assembly. The term of the Assembly is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting, unless sooner dissolved. The expiration of the said period of five years operates as a dissolution of the House.
The present Assembly is the Thirteenth, constituted under the Constitution, after the first General Elections in the year 1952.
The duration of 12 Assemblies are detailed below:
2. Formation of Council of Ministers.
After every general election the Members elected on the various party tickets, meet separately and elect their Legislature party Leader. The Governor calls the leader of the party which has majority of Members in the Assembly, to form the Government. According to Article 164 of the Constitution the Governor appoints the Chief Minister and on his advice appoints the other Council of Ministers. Before a Minister enters upon his Office, the Governor shall administer to him the oath or affirmation of office of secrecy.
First meeting of the Legislative Assembly.
A) Documents to be handed over to the Secretary by the Members.
Members will be called upon in twos and as they are called they should approach the Secretary's table and hand over him the certificate of election given to them by the Returning Officer after the declaration of the election results and a detailed report containing party affiliation and the details in Form-III under rule 4(2) of the Members of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on ground of defection ) Rules 1986.
B) Swearing -in of Members.
Article 188 of the Constitution of India prescribes that the Members have to make and subscribe the oath or affirmation before taking their seats in the Assembly. This is in addition to the oath or affirmation made or subscribed by them before the Returning Officer or any other Officer according to the provisions of the Representation of People Act or any other Act. In the case of the first meeting before the election of the Speaker, a Member of the Assembly is appointed by the Governor as Speaker Protem, under Act 180(1) and also as the person before whom the Members should make and subscribe the oath or affirmation, under Article 188 of the Constitution of India.
The practice followed in regard for making and subscribing the oath is to call upon the Chief Minister and other Ministers first to take oath, then the Leader of the Opposition, the Leaders of parties, Ex. Chief Ministers, Ex.Speakers, Ex. Ministers, the Government Whip and then the Members in the alphabetical order.
Forms of oath or affirmation to be made by them will then be handed over to them by the Secretary. Members should read the oath or affirmation, either in English or Tamil as they choose and while doing so should strictly conform to the text in the prescribed form for the oath or affirmation and sign and return it to the Secretary. If any Member is not able to read the form by themselves for any reason, they should repeat the same when the Secretary reads it in portions. A Member can take the oath either in the name of God or affirm solemnly as given in the form.
After making and subscribing to the oath or affirmation, Members should sign their names in the register maintained for this purpose known as the "Roll of Members", and then take their seats in the House as Members of the Assembly.
Such of those Members who have not made or subscribed to the oath or affirmation as prescribed, on the first day of the meeting, will have to make and subscribe to the oath or affirmation before the Speaker or Deputy Speaker after the elections of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker and after they are appointed by the Governor as the persons before whom oath or affirmation are subscribed. Members who are elected in the bye-elections will have to make and subscribe to the oath or affirmation before they take their seats in the House.
If any Member wants to make or subscribe to the oath or affirmation when the House is not sitting, after a bye-election, he may write to the Secretary, who, after ascertaining the convenience of the Speaker, will fix the date and time for the same.
No Member can participate in the proceedings of the House or vote in the House, unless he had made and subscribed to the oath or affirmation prescribed under Article 188, and if he does so he will be incurring a penalty of five hundred rupees for each such day which will be recovered as a debt to the State-(Vide Article 193).
4. Election of speaker and deputy speaker.
The Governor fixes a date for the election of the Speaker. Notice of the date so fixed by the Governor will be sent to every Member. (Rule 7).
At any time before noon on the day preceding the date so fixed, any Member may nominate another Member for election of Speaker. Forms of nomination paper may be obtained from the Secretary. The nomination paper should be in the prescribed form and should contain the name of the Member nominated duly signed by the proposer and seconder. It should also contain a declaration of the nominee that he is willing to serve as Speaker, if elected. It would be advisable for the proposer, seconder and the nominee to have made and prescribed to the oath or affirmation as required. The nomination would be declared invalid if any-one of them had not made the prescribed oath or affirmation, before the name of the nominee is read over by the Speaker Protem to the House at the appointed hour. The completed nomination papers should be delivered to the Secretary in person either by the proposer or the seconder or the candidate nominated.
The election will take place at a meeting of the Assembly, Sub-rules(4) to (8) of rule 7 govern the conduct of election.
The same procedure will apply to the election of Deputy Speaker except that the date is fixed by the Governor when there is no Speaker, and by the Speaker when there is one (Rule 8).
5. Information for Members.
Members are advised immediately to equip themselves with the identity cards and also hand over to the Library-II Section particulars regarding their places of residence, address etc., and also their bio-data, if they have not already done so. Even if they had given already, they are requested to verify the same and check up the details.
6. Attendance Register.
Article 190(4) of the Constitution provides that if for a period of sixty days a member of a House of the Legislature of a State is, without permission of the House, absent from all the meetings thereof, the House may declare his seat vacant. In computing the sixty days when the House is prorogued or adjourned for more than four consecutive days, that period is not taken into account. In view of this specific provision in the Constitution, it is necessary to record the attendance of Members and a register is maintained for this purpose. Members have to sign the attendance register on the days they attend the meetings of the Assembly.
To facilitate Members, printed lists of the names of Members which serve as attendance registers for each day, are placed daily in each of the two Lobbies of the Assembly (Eastern and Western) during meeting days. Members may sign in any one of them.
7. Seating arrangement for Members.
The Members should sit in the order fixed by the Speaker. The Members should sit as far as possible in their seats as this will facilitate the identification of the Members by the Chair and by the Reporters. Whenever any Member wants to catch the eye of the Speaker or at the time of any division in the House or when any Member wants to address the House, he should be in the place allotted to him by the Speaker.
8. Summoning of Assembly.
When the Governor summons the Legislative Assembly , his summons are sent to each Member, by name and it will contain the date, time and place appointed by the Governor for the meeting of the Assembly. When a meeting is called at short notice or emergently, Members will be informed by telegram or any other method of communication and by broadcast.
9. Time of sitting.
The House ordinarily sits from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
The quorum necessary for a meeting of the Legislative Assembly is twenty-four Members (One-tenth of the total number of Members) (inclusive of the person presiding).
If at any time it is brought to the notice of the Chair that a quorum is not present, the bell shall be rung intermittently. Soon after hearing the bell, Members should expeditiously come to the House and if, after an interval of 15 minutes a quorum is still not present, the person presiding shall adjourn the House to the next day on which the Assembly ordinarily sits or to a later hour on the same day.
Even at the time of the beginning of the House, if necessary quorum is not present, the Secretary will ring the bell intermittently and Members should make haste to the House to constitute quorum.
11. The Documents to be handed over to the Speaker by the party leaders.
1. The leader of each Legislature party should hand over to the Speaker the following documents as per rule 3 of The Members of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on the ground of defection) Rules 1986 with in 30 days from the date of first meeting of the Assembly.
(a) A written report containing the names of Members of the Legislature party and other details as required in Form-I of the above said Rules and a list of names of Members of Party and the posts held by them for the purpose of communication with the Speaker as required in the Rules.
(b) A copy of the Rules and Regulations of the concerned Legislature party under 'C'.
(c) A copy of the special rules and regulations if any held by the concerned Legislature party.
(d) The leader of the Legislature party must hand over a written report to the Speaker as and when any changes are made in the already given written report within 30 days from the date of changes are made.
12. Recognition of parties.
The parties which have secured more than quorum strength i.e 24 seats in the general election to the Legislative Assembly after contesting in the election in the common symbol recognised by the Election Commission will be recognised as Legislature parties. The party having the largest number of Members other than the party which has formed the Government will be recognised as an important opposition party and its leader will be recognised as Leader of Opposition.
A group of Members belong to a Legislature Party which fulfils any one of the conditions, viz.-
(a) It has a strength of not less than eight Members.
(b) that the total number of valid votes polled by all the contesting candidates set up by such Legislature Party at the General Election in the State to the Legislative Assembly is not less than four per cent of the total number of valid votes polled by all the contesting candidates at such General Election will be recognised as Legislature Group.
13. Sessions of the Assembly.
The Governor, on the advice of the Council of Ministers, summons the Legislative Assembly from time to time to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, but six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session. The Governor may also from time to time prorogue the House or dissolve the Assembly.
Prorogation by the Governor terminates the Session of the Assembly. The Speaker may adjourn the House from time to time within a session, subject to the conditions laid down in Rule 25 of the Legislative Assembly Rules.
14. Governor's Address.
At the commencement of the first session after the General Election to the Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the Governor addresses the Legislative Assembly and informs the Legislature of the causes of its summons (Article 176).
The Governor may also address the Legislative Assembly whenever he desires to do so. (Article 175).
No Member shall obstruct or interrupt the Address either before or after the address or during its duration with any speech or point of order or in any other manner; and such obstruction or interruption shall be regarded as a gross breach of order of the House and shall be dealt with by the Speaker as such at the next sitting of the Assembly.
Discussion on the Governor's Address may take place on a motion of thanks moved by a Member and seconded by another Member. This gives an opportunity for general discussion on the subjects mentioned in the Governor's Address. This is called discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governor's Address. Members may give notice of amendment to the motion of thanks on the ground that the policies attractive to them are not contained in the Governor's Address.
After the motion is adopted by the House the Speaker will communicate the same to the Governor. The Speaker will also report to the Assembly the Governor's reply if any to the motion of thanks and if the Assembly is not sitting, the reply will be communicated to the Members of the House.
15. Notices to Assembly.
a. All notices relating to questions, half an hour discussion, call attention motion, adjournment motion, short duration discussion, privilege issue, resolution, Bills, motions, cut motions, etc., should be given by the Members in accordance with the respective rules.
b. All notices should be given in writing, either in Tamil or in English signed and addressed to the Secretary between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on every day except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays during meeting days, Notices may be given between 11 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. on all other working days. . A notice given on a holiday or after 3.00 p.m. on a working day shall be treated as notice given on the next working day.
If the Members require any information regarding giving of notices on any of the following subjects, they may contact the following Sections: