Union Legislature : Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha: 0rganisation and Functions

Parliament is the central institution through which the will of the people is expressed, laws are passed and government is held to account. It plays a vital role in a democracy, and endeavours to be truly representative, transparent, accessible, accountable and effective in its many functions. The Parliament has two Houses–Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha is upper House and represents the States of India while the Lok Sabha is lower House.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha: 0rganisation and Functions;

The Council of States (Rajya Sabha) is the Upper House of our Parliament. It consists of not more than 250 members, out of which, 238 members represent the States and Union territories and 12 members are nominated by the President from amongst the persons having special knowledge and practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service. At present, the actual strength of Rajya Sabha is 245. A permanent body, Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution. However, one-third of its members retire biennially. A member who is elected for a full term retains his membership for six years. He is eligible for re-election. A Member elected/ nominated to a casual vacancy serves for the remainder term only. Members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.

Lok Sabha is composed of representative of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage.  The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is 552, upto 530 members to represent the States, up to 20 members to represent the Union Territories and not more than two members of the Anglo-Indian Community to be nominated by the President, if,  in his opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the House.  The total elective membership is distributed among the States in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and the population of the State is, so far as practicable, the same for all States.

The cardinal functions of the Parliament is to oversee the administration, passing of budget, ventilation of public grievances, and discussing various subjects like development plans, international relations, and national policies. The Parliament can, under certain circumstances, assume legislative power with respect to a subject falling within the sphere, exclusively reserved for the states.

The Parliament is also vested with powers to impeach the President, remove judges of Supreme and High Courts, the Chief Election Commissioner, and Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution. All legislation requires the consent of both Houses of Parliament. In the case of Money Bills, the will of the Lok Sabha prevails. The Parliament is also vested with the power to initiate amendments in the Constitution.

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