(1) The Council of States shall not be subject to dissolution, but as nearly as possible one-third of the members thereof shall retire as soon as may be on the expiration of every second year in accordance with the provisions made in that behalf by Parliament by law.

 

(2) The House of the People, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer and the expiration of the said period of five years shall operate as a dissolution of the House:

 

Provided that the said period may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate.

Debate Summary

 

Article 68, Draft Constitution 1948

(1) The Council of States shall not be subject to dissolution, but as nearly as possible one-third of the members thereof shall retire as soon as may be on the expiration of every second year in accordance with the provisions made in that behalf by Parliament by law. 

(2) The House of the People, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer, and the expiration of the said period of five years shall operate as the dissolution of the House: 

Provided that the said period may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, be extended by the President for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate.

 

Draft Article 68 (Article 83, Constitution of India, 1950), was debated on 18th May 1949. It prescribed the duration of each of the Houses of Parliament.

 

The Chairman of the Drafting Committee moved an amendment that sought to replace the words ‘by the President’ in the proviso, with ‘by Parliament by law’. He argued that this extraordinary power during Emergency should be with the Parliament and not the President. Other members opposed this amendment as they believed that the President, who is representative of the nation, must be given the power to extend the duration of the Parliament. One member opposed the draft article in its entirety, claiming that regardless of the nature of the emergency, people should have the right to elect new representatives every five years.

 

Another member moved an amendment that sought to maintain the 5-year symmetry of election in the House of People:  through this amendment, the mover proposed that the term of the House of People elected after emergency must be only for the remaining period ‘for which it would have been elected if the dissolution had taken place in the normal course’.

 

The Assembly adopted the Draft Article on 18 May 1949 with minor amendments moved by the Drafting Committee.