The Committee System: Merits And Demerits

Modem legislatures operate with committees.

Most of the committees are standing while others could be adhoc. For example, you could have committees for defence, foreign affairs, education, public accounts, works, etc. Bills are normally sent to the appropriate committee. During the committee stage a bill undergoes surgical operations. There had been arguments for and against the committee system as employed by modem legislatures.

Merits Of The Committee Systems

1. One of the arguments in favour of the system is that it brings in division of labour or specialization in legislative process. Specialists in education with form education committee and the same is true of health etc.

2. The system makes it possible for specialists determine and x-ray a particular bill in its entirety.

This means that specialists in finance will form the Public Accounts. Committee, specialists in international affairs will form foreign affairs committee. Such an arrangement makes for meaningful and intellectual debate.

3. It is also argued that the system saves some members of the legislature the embarrassment of trying to consider bills for which they do not possess the appropriate skill.

4. Since many modem bills are technical in nature, the system makes it possible for such technical bills to be considered by the committee that has the technical know how.

5. It is further argued that the committee system makes for flexibility. Bills are carefully and thoroughly examined unlike the rush-rush nature of considering bills when the legislature is in session.

Demerits Of The Committee Systems

1. On the other hand, the committee system has been described as undemocratic. This is because the system allows a handful of members to actually make laws thereby usurping the authority of the legislature who are the elected representative of the people.

2. It is also argued that the system does not give all members of the legislature the opportunity to express their views on all bills. This is because members of the legislature cannot be members of all the committees and some members may not even be members of any.

3. Lastly, the system gives room for lobbying and corruption. It is easier to buy over a few number of people than all members of the legislature.

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