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What is the Difference Between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha: Indian Parliament 101

Difference Between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

Every Indian who has attended a few Civics classes and watched the news (at least once in a while), must be familiar with the terms Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. These two houses form the pillars on which the Parliament of India stands. A nation as complex as India also has a complex political system. It is essentially divided into three sections, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The Legislature is further split into two houses at the centre, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha (at the State Government level, these houses are called Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad). Lok Sabha is also known as the lower house, while Rajya Sabha is called the upper house. Both of these are essential and indispensable for the functioning of the country. In this post, we will find out the differences between them. Let’s get started.

What are the differences between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha?

What is the Lok Sabha?

Lok Sabha is also known as the house of people (a derivative of the British “house of commons” from the colonial times) which performs the task of passing bills and laws in India. It consists of 543 members who are elected through nationwide general elections held every five years (in most unforeseen circumstances). Since India’s independence on August 15th, 1947, the Lok Sabha has been elected 17 times. The 17th and current Lok Sabha features the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the majority and their leader is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The elections for the 18th Lok Sabha are scheduled for 2024. The main function of Lok Sabha is ensuring that the government performs its functions along with passing bills and laws. When it comes to most matters of national concern, the Lok Sabha has the upper hand over the Rajya Sabha (even though it is called the “lower house”).

What are the functions of the Lok Sabha?

Legislature

Lok Sabha has the right (and the duty as well) to introduce bills and laws that are concerned with states and union territories. In emergency scenarios, a bill that is passed with a two-thirds majority is only valid for a year. Apart from money related bills, other bills can be passed by either Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha. After both the houses pass the bill, it becomes a law upon the President’s approval.

Financial Matters

Finance related bills are initiated by the members of Lok Sabha. Upon passing the Lok Sabha, the bill goes to the Rajya Sabha which can offer changes and suggestions. Once those changes are accepted by the Lok Sabha, the bill is passed on to the President who can approve it and turn it into a law. The minimum time period in which the suggested changes have to be made by Rajya Sabha is 14 days.

Elections

Article 54 of the Indian Constitution assigns several duties to the Lok Sabha when it comes to conducting elections. The Lok Sabha selects its own speaker, who is the representative of the lower house as well. The members of the Lok Sabha are elected by the people of India through general elections that are held every five years. The Lok Sabha consists of 543 members who represent 543 constituencies spread all over the country.

Public Powers

The members of Lok Sabha have the powers of debating and discussing over different topics. These discussions and debates can range over different subject matters like expenditure, financial matters, revenues, etc. The members can talk about the problems of their constituencies and electorate through these debates.

Miscellaneous functions

  • The Constitution of India is not set in stone and can be amended by members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. As of January 2020, the Constitution of India has been amended 104 times.
  • Both houses of the Parliament also perform the function of assigning Supreme COurt judges.
  • If the Rajya Sabha wants to remove a Vice President from his/her post, it needs the approval from Lok Sabha members as well.

What is the Rajya Sabha?

The upper house of the parliament, or the Rajya Sabha is the Council of States. Rajya Sabha is responsible for protecting the rights of a state against union legislature. Unlike the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha is a permanent house with members only leaving the house through retirement or resignation. 

What are the functions of the Rajya Sabha?

Representation of states

Rajya Sabha serves as the representative of various states and the union territories of India.

Passing of bills

When the Lok Sabha passes a bill, it needs to be passed by the Rajya Sabha before it reaches the President who can approve it and turn it into a law. 

Elections

The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by representatives or elected members of the assembly of several states. The Rajya Sabha consists of 245 members, 233 of which are elected and 12 are nominated by the President. One third of Rajya Sabha members retire every two years.

What are the differences between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha: Conclusion

Lok SabhaRajya Sabha
Lok Sabha is the house of people which introduces and passes several bills and laws for a better running of the nation.Rajya Sabha is defined as the upper house of the parliament that protects the rights of several states.
Every Lok Sabha is for a term of five years (unless the Government loses its majority before that). After five years, the Lok Sabha is dissolved and general elections are held to elect new representatives.There is no time period for Rajya Sabha. It is a permanent house that cannot be liquefied by anyone. One-third of Rajya Sabha members retire every two years.
The common people elect the members of the parliament (Lok Sabha) through the voting process.Rajya Sabha members are elected by the people of various assemblies of several states and union territories.
The Lok Sabha consists of 543 elected members.The Rajya Sabha has 245 seats (233 elected + 12 nominated members).
You need to be at least 25 years old to become a member of the Lok Sabha.You need to be at least 30 years old to become a member of the Rajya Sabha
The presiding officer/highest authority of the Lok Sabha is known as the speaker of Lok Sabha.The Vice-President of India serves as the leader/presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha.
The bills and laws can only be introduced, debated on, and passed on to the upper house by the members of Lok Sabha.No laws or bills are set in motion by the Rajya Sabha. They only arrive there for further voting after passing the Lok Sabha.
Lok Sabha is the primary legislative body of India.Rajya Sabha has special rights and powers to protect the rights of several states and union territories.
The Lok Sabha has more impact on the country.
The Rajya Sabha is less potent than Lok Sabha.

So that was our brief guide into the differences between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Hopefully, you have a better idea of the differences between both houses of the Indian Parliament now.

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