Comparative study of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and their constitutional relation
Relationship Between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
In Indian Constitution, one encounters a three-fold situation in the relation between the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha of the Parliament.
- Firstly, there are situations when the two Houses of the Parliament enjoy co-equal powers.
- Secondly, there are situations when the Lok Sabha enjoys predominance over the Rajya Sabha.
- Thirdly, there are situations when the Rajya Sabha has superiority over the Lok Sabha.
(1) The constitution in general envisages an equality of status between the two Houses of Parliament. There are about half a dozen situations when the two Houses are equal.
- Thus ordinary bills may be introduced in either Houses of the Parliament and have to be passed by both the Houses before they are presented to the President for his assent.
- In the matter of amendment to the constitution, the authorities of the two Houses are equal. Amendments have to be passed by 2/3rd majority in each House (Art.368).
- In the election of the President, and the Vice-President, in their removal through impeachment, in the removal of the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Chief Election Commissioner etc., the participation of both the Houses is necessary.
- Emergencies proclaimed by the President under Arts. 352, 356 and 360 have to be approved by both the Houses of the Parliament.
- The ministers, even the Prime Minister may be drawn from either Houses of the Parliament. In fact during her first term as Prime Minister, Mrs. Gandhi was a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Differences between Loksabha and RajyaSabha
There are differences in the powers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. A brief comparison is given below :
(2) The constitution makes the Lok Sabha distinctly more powerful than the Rajya Sabha in several cases.
- The Lok Sabha has been given almost exclusive powers over money bills. Money bills may be introduced only in the Lok Sabha. Such bills need not be endorsed by the Rajya Sabha. If a money bill is rejected by the Rajya Sabha, it becomes a law after 14 days waiting.
- Even with regard to ordinary bills which required to be passed by both the Houses, the Lower House has an indirect superiority. In case of dead-locked bill, the President may call a joint session of the Parliament to resolve the dead-lock. In such a joint session, the will of the Lok Sabha prevails due to its numerical superiority (547 vs. 250).
- The ministers are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. The ministry must resign whenever it loses its majority support in the Lower House. Thus the Lok Sabha is the support on which the Government rests. This alone makes the Lok Sabha to work far above the Rajya Sabha.
(3) There are at least three situations where the Rajya Sabha is entrusted with greater powers than the Lok Sabha.
Firstly Article 249 of the constitution provides that Rajya Sabha by a resolution passed by 2/3 of its members present and voting, may authorize the Parliament to pass laws on a matter in the state list, in the national interest.
Secondly, Article 312 of the constitution empower the Rajya Sabha to pass resolutions by 2/3 of its members present and voting, creating All India Services. It should be noted however, both under Art. 249 and Art 312, the special power of the Rajya Sabha enlarges the authority (kale Central Government at the expense of the powers of the states.
Thirdly, though in matter of constitutional amendment, the powers of the two Houses are equal, the Rajya Sabha has the power to check a dominant Lower House, if the ruling party does not enjoy the necessary 2/3 majority in the Rajya Sabha. Precisely such a situation arose during the Janata Rule. The Government could not have its way in the case of both the 43rd and 45th amendments for lack of necessary 2/3 majority in the Rajya Sabha.
On the whole, the situation is that the Rajya Sabha is less powerful than the Lok Sabha. This is perhaps as it should be. For the Lok Sabha is the popularly elected chamber and as such should have a greater say than the indirectly elected Rajya Sabha. The makers of the Indian Constitution put greater trust in the popularly elected chamber.