The Lok Sabha is known as the House of People as its members are directly elected by the people of India. The Upper House of the Parliament is known as the Rajya Sabha. It represents the states in India.
Powers and Functions of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha
Legislative Powers of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
- The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha make laws on the Union List on important subjects such as foreign policy and defense.
- Both Houses also make laws on the Concurrent List. In case of conflicts with the state governments, the laws made by the Union Government are accepted.
- The Houses can make laws on matters which are not included in any of the three lists. This power is known as residuary power.
- The Parliament can make laws on the subjects included in the State List during an emergency when the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution stating that the subject in the State List is of national importance and when two or more states in the Rajya Sabha want laws on the subject in the State List should be made by the Parliament.
- The President can pass Ordinances at the time when the Parliament is not in session. However, the Ordinances cease to exist after six weeks.
- When there is a breakdown of Constitutional machinery in the state, an emergency can be declared by the Parliament in that state. The Parliament acts as the legislature in such a state and assumes all-important powers in the state.
Financial Powers of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
All bills except the Money Bill can originate in either House of the Parliament. Money Bills can originate only in the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha plays only an advisory role in the financial sphere.
- The Parliament passes the Union budget which consists of the total income and expenditures of a financial year.
- The Parliament may ask for a Supplementary Grant if the amount authorized for the current financial year is insufficient.
- If the Budget is not passed at the beginning of the financial year, the executive may draw funds from the Consolidated Fund until the Budget is passed by the Parliament.
- The Parliament decides on the salaries and allowances of the MPs.
- No taxes can be imposed on the people or money can be sent by the Government without the approval of the Parliament.
Control over the Executive
- The Parliament exercises control over the Executive by posing questions to ministers related to public opinion during Question Hour. By asking questions, members can draw the attention of the House and people towards unjust policies of the government.
- The Parliament can pass a motion of No-Confidence against the government. If such a motion is passed, then the government has to resign.
- Adjournment motions can be passed on certain occasions when a mishap takes place such as railway accidents, killing of people during riots, etc. Through this motion, the Parliament draws the attention of the people towards acts of omission and commission.
- A cut motion may be moved if the Parliament aims to reduce the demand for grants presented to the Lok Sabha. It also ensures that public money is spent in accordance with the decisions of the Parliament.
Judicial Powers of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
- The Parliament can impeach the President on the charges of grave misconduct, violation of the Constitution etc. If the charges against the President are passed by a two-thirds majority of both Houses, the President may be removed from his office.
- The Parliament can remove the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, the Chief Election Commissioner, the Comptroller, and Auditor General of India if they are found to be violating any provision of the Constitution.
- The Parliament can punish a person for hampering the work of the Parliament or for ridiculing them.
Electoral Functions of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
- The Parliament with the State Legislatures elects the President of the country.
- It also elects the Vice President of India.
- Members of the Lok Sabha elect the Speaker among themselves, while the Rajya Sabha elects its own Deputy Chairman.
Amendment of the Constitution
The Parliament can amend the Constitution. The amendments should be passed by each House with a two-thirds majority.
- The Parliament has the power to alter the name or the boundaries of any state. It can also make new states.
- It makes laws regarding the composition, jurisdiction and powers of the Supreme Court.
Special Powers of the Rajya Sabha
- The Lok Sabha cannot make laws on subjects included in the State List. Only if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a two-thirds majority of the House, the Parliament can make laws on the State List.
- If the Rajya Sabha demands that new all-India services should be made in national interests, the Parliament may create new services.
- If the Lok Sabha is dissolved before or after the declaration of a national emergency, the Rajya Sabha plays the role of the Lok Sabha.
Special Powers of the Lok Sabha
- The motion of No-Confidence can be moved and passed only in the Lok Sabha. If it is passed, the Government has to resign.
- Money bills can only be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
- In case of a deadlock over an ordinary bill, the will of the Lok Sabha prevails as its numerical strength is double that of the Rajya Sabha.
Differences between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha
|It is known as the ‘House of People’.
|It is known as the ‘Upper House’.
|The members are elected directly by the people of India.
|Its members are elected by the members of the
State Legislative Assemblies.
|Money bills can originate only in the Lok Sabha.
|Money bills cannot originate in the Rajya Sabha.
|The Speaker is the presiding officer of the House.
|Vice President is the presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha.
|It represents the people of India.
|It represents states of the Indian Union.
|It enjoys more powers than the Rajya Sabha.
|It has less power than the Lok Sabha.
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The Union Parliament consists of the President and two houses—The House of People commonly known as the Lok Sabha and the Council of States known as the Rajya Sabha. The Parliament is a body of people’s representatives who have the supreme power and authority of governance in a democratic country. Read more