Union legislature is called the Parliament which is bicameral including the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, i.e. lower and upper house respectively. The Lok Sabha is inclusive of the members directly elected by the people and Rajya Sabha represents the States of Indian Federation. Bicameralism was resorted to with a view that there should be parity between the direct representatives of the people and the representation of the States from where they were coming.
The Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha is the popular chamber of the Indian Parliament with a maximum strength of 545 members and this is so from the Thirty -first Amendment onwards when it was increased from 525 members to 545 members body. Of the total members, not more than 525 represent states and 20 is the number of seats reserved for Union Territories. Another provision is of two members to be nominated by the President from Anglo -Indian communities, if in the President’s opinion, it does not have a fair representation in the Lok Sabha. The election of the members of Lok Sabha is out of the predivided constituencies and while demarcating them the two guide lines have been followed, i.e. there is uniformity of representation between the States and between the different constituencies in the State. With this regard, the States have been allotted seats and its population is, as far as practical the same for all States. Also, the number of people residing in one constituency, as far as possible, hold similar within a State. The forty-second Amendment has laid down that 1971 census will serve as the basis of allocation of seats to each State and this will remain so till 2000 A.D. Recently, the Union Cabinet has extended this cap upto 2026 AD. This also puts a halt on gerrymandering i.e. altering the boundary of constituencies of vested interest.
The term of Lok Sabha is for five years. However, it can be dissolved earlier. On the other hand, the term of Lok Sabha can be increased in a situation of emergency. The convention is of Lok Sabha meeting not less than twice every year and there must not be gap between two meeting exceeding six months. The time of meeting is decided by the President, who also has the choice of venue where the meeting can be held. The President also enjoys the power to dissolve or prorogue the House. The quorum of meeting to be held is in tenth of the total strength of the House.
A person to be able for contesting election for the membership of Lok Sabha must not be less than 25 years of age and should not hold a position of profit.
The Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha consists of a maximum of 250 members including members nominated as well as elected. The number of elected members is not to exceed 238 representing the States and the Union Territories. The President nominates 12 members having exceptional qualities and experiences in diverse fields like art, literature, science, and social service. India Upper House is different from the U.S. counterpart as this House is not functioning truly for giving balanced representation to the smaller States. The members are elected indirectly by the members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and cannot be dissolved. However, one-third of the members retire at the end of every second year. This way the members enjoy a six-years term in the House.
A member must have the basic requirement of being an Indian and not less than 30 years of age. The member must also not hold any office of profit, if he is chosen. If a member remains absent from the House for more than 60 days, the seat may be declared vacant.
ARE THE POWERS OF LOK SABHA AND RAJYA SABHA SAME?
The Constitution has given equal power to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha except in certain matters like those for the executive and the money bills. This is primarly because of the parliamentary system of government which intentionally has made Rajya Sabha less influential than the Lok Sabha that is having members who are directly elected by the people. There is no denying the fact that the Rajya Sabha has the right of information. It does from time to time criticise actions and policies of the government but it cannot cause a fall of the Governments as the defeat of the Government in the Rajya Sabha does not lead to the resignation of the Council of Ministers. However, Rajya Sabha does enjoy the exclusive powers with regard to creation of All-India Services and in respect of legislation on State List in the national interest.