The Union Legislature

The Union Legislature

Under the constitution, the legislature of the Union is called the Parliament. The Parliament is constituted on the basis of the principle of bi-cameralism, that is, the legislature has two Houses or Chambers. As the Constitution established a federal system of government, there was almost unanimity among the framers for achieving a balance between the direct representation of people and the representation of the States by setting up two Houses, one representing the people as a whole and the other the States. The two Houses of Parliament are the House of the People (Lok Sabha) and the Council of States (Rajya Sabha).

The names of the Houses fairly reflect the character of their composition. The House of the People is composed of directly elected representatives on the basis of adult franchise and territorial constituencies. The Council of States is composed mainly of representatives of the States elected by the State Assemblies.

As has been pointed out earlier, the President is an integral part of the Parliament. Under Article 79, the Parliament shall consist of the President and the two Houses. Making the President a part of the Parliament is in conformity with the principles and traditions of Parliamentary government, In England, the Parliament is constituted of the King (or Queen), the House of Lords and the House: of Commons.

In contrast, the President of the United States is not a part of the American Congress. Thus, while the Presidential system of government emphasises the separation of the executive and legislative powers, the Parliamentary system lays stress on the intimate resistance and the interdependence of the executive and the legislature.

Ministers of the same time members of the legislature. Although the President hirnself is not a miernber of the legislature, his participation in the legislative process is ensured by the Parliament. The fact that he is Chief Executive authority and that theme extensive with the legislative power also makes it necessary that the President integral part of the Parliament.

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Composition Of The Two Houses

Lok Sabha

The House of the People (Lok Sabha) is popularly known as the Parliament, and its members are elected directly by the people. The maximum strength o me LOK Sabha is fixed at 552. Out of this, 530 members are to be representatives of the states, 20 members are to be the representatives of the Union Territories and 2 members are to be nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian Community.

The Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha (the Council of States) is the upper chamber in the Indian Parliament. The maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is fixed at 250, out of which, 238 are to be the representative of the States and the Union Territories ( elected indirectly ), and 12 are nominated by the President. The Representatives of States in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of State legislative assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The Fourth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the States and Union Territories. Membership of Parliament : Qualifications : A person who wishes to contest as a candidate for the membership of the Parliament must

a) Be an Indian citizen.

b) Have completed 25 years of age in the case of Lok Sabha and 30 years of age in the case of Rajya Sabha. Possess such other qualifications as prescribed by the Parliament.

c) Parliament has laid down additional qualification in the Representation of People Act (1951).


Under Article 102 a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of either House

i) If he holds any office of profit under the Union or State government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by Parliament).

ii) If he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court.

iii) If he is an undischarged insolvent. ivt If he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state; and v) If he is so disqualified under any law made by Parliament.

The Parliament has laid down additional disqualifications in the Representation of People Act (1951 ). A person may also be disqualified on grounds of defection under the 10th Schedule which was added to the Constitution by the 52nd Amendment Act, 1985.

Duration Of Two Houses

Lok Sabha

The term of office of the Lok Sabha is five years from the date of its first meeting after the general elections, after which it automatically dissolves. However, the President is authorized to dissolve the Lok Sabha any time even before the completion of five years and this cannot be challenged in a court of law. The term of the Lok Sabha can be extended during the period of national emergency by a law of Parliament for one year at a time for any length of time. However, this extension cannot continue beyond a period of six months after the emergency has ceased to operate..

Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and not subject to dissolution. The Constitution has not fixed the term of office of members of the Rajya Sabha and left it to the Parliament. The Parliament in the Representation of the People Act (1951) provided that the term of office of a member of the Rajya Sabha shall be six years. Accordingly, 1/3 of its members retired every second year.

Let us now look at the powers of lok sabha and Rajya sabha.

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