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Difference Between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

  • Last Updated : 09 Nov, 2021

The Union legislature of India is federal in structure, it is also known as ‘Sansad’. The concept of the union legislature of India has been borrowed from the United Kingdom (UK). The Parliament of India consists of the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and the President of India (Article 79).  

The legislature of India is bicameral in nature and is divided into two Houses. The lower house is the popular chamber and is called the ‘Lok Sabha’, the House of the People, it is the first chamber. The upper house is known as the ‘Rajya Sabha’, ‘The Council of States’, it is an unpopular chamber and the second chamber. Part V (Chapter II), Articles 79-122 of the Indian Constitution deal with the composition, powers and procedures of the Indian Parliament. The first Lok Sabha election was held in 1952 (25.10.1951-21.02.1952). Lok Sabha was constituted on 17th April 1952 and Rajya Sabha was constituted on 3rd April 1952.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha together along with the President constitute the Indian Parliament; both the houses have distinct roles and responsibilities in the Indian legislation. They have a lot of similarities in terms of legislation, but they are distinct in terms of their composition, powers, and procedures. The differences between them are as follows:

1. Names Of The Two Houses:

  • The Lok Sabha is known as the House of People or the popular chamber while the Rajya Sabha is called the Council of States or the unpopular chamber.

2. Composition:

  • Article 81 of the constitution deals with the composition of the Lok Sabha. The maximum strength of the members in Lok Sabha is 550 (at present the total number of members is 543). Till 2019 a maximum of 2 members were nominated by the president of India from the Anglo Indian community, but by the 104 Constitutional Amendment Act,2019 this provision of nomination was removed. While Article 80 deals with the composition of the Rajya Sabha. The maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is 250, at present there are 245 members, out of which 12 members are nominated from various fields (literature, arts, science and social service) and the rest are representatives from the various states and union territories.
  • The members of the Lok Sabha are directly elected by the people of India while the representatives of the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by the elected MLA’s/all MLA’s and 12 members are nominated by the President.
  • The election principle used to elect members of the Lok Sabha is the universal adult franchise while the members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

3. Tenure:

  • The duration of the Lok Sabha is for 5 years. This can be extended for a maximum of 1 year (6 months at a time) during a national emergency. While the Rajya Sabha has no duration as it is a permanent chamber and every second year 1/3rd members retire after they complete their term of 6 years.
  • The Lok Sabha can be dissolved by the President of India before completing their tenure of 5 years on the advice of the Prime Minister of India. On the other hand, Rajya Sabha cannot be dissolved as it is a permanent house.

4. Presiding Officer:

  • The Speaker presides over all the sessions of the Lok Sabha who is elected by the members of Lok Sabha among themselves. The Rajya Sabha, on the other hand, is presided by the Chairman (the Vice President is the Ex- officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha)
  • The Deputy Speaker is the Vice Presiding Officer of the Lok Sabha and the Deputy Chairman is the Vice Presiding Officer of the Rajya Sabha.

5. Qualification of the members of the two houses:

  • A member of the Lok Sabha must be an Indian citizen; he must be of 25 years of age at least and should fulfil all the qualifications prescribed by the Parliament. While a member of the Rajya Sabha must also be an Indian citizen and should be of 30 years to be able to be a member of the House.
  • A member of the Lok Sabha is elected for a term of 5 years and a member of the Rajya Sabha is elected for 6 years.
  • A member of the Lok Sabha is supposed to submit his or her resignation to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha while a member of the Rajya Sabha will submit his or her resignation to the Chairman of the house.

6. Money Bills:

  • Money Bills can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha with the prior permission of the President of India, the Rajya Sabha cannot introduce a money bill nor does it enjoy any power to amend or reject a money bill.
  • When a money bill is passed by the Lok Sabha and sent to the Rajya Sabha for its approval, the Rajya Sabha can only make recommendations about the bill, and it must return the Bill to the Lok Sabha with its approval within 14 days, if they fail to meet this time frame the bill will be deemed to have been passed by both the houses. It is also the discretion of the Lok Sabha to accept the recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha.

7. Ordinary Bills:

  • Ordinary Bills can be introduced in both the Houses, and when there is a deadlock between the two houses, a joint session is held to resolve this deadlock. A Joint Session between the two Houses is presided by the speaker who is the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha, and the speaker casts the ‘casting vote’ if there is a tie of votes. This gives the Lok Sabha a considerable amount of advantage for passing an ordinary bill compared to that of the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Lok Sabha also has a majority in a Joint session as they are numerically more in number than the Rajya Sabha. Hence they are in a more advantageous and powerful position.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha together lay down the base of Indian legislation; they take accountability of the electorate and represent their views by the laws passed by them, thereby enhancing Indian democracy.

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