Differences between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha - Indian Polity Notes

Parliament of India comprises President, Lok Sabha (Lower House) and Rajya Sabha (Upper House.) Lok Sabha is called House of People while Rajya Sabha is called the Council of States. The names, ‘Lok Sabha’ &’ ‘Rajya Sabha’ were adopted in 1954 by the Indian Parliament. Article 79-122 in the Indian Constitution deals with the Indian Parliament. The two houses of parliament are different from each other in many aspects and hence this topic ‘ Difference between Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha’ becomes important for IAS Exam and its three stages – Prelims, Mains and Interview.

This article will mention the differences between Lower House i.e. Lok Sabha and the upper house i.e. the Rajya Sabha. Understanding the conceptual differences between the upper house and lower house will act as a yardstick for UPSC aspirants for UPSC Mains GS-II exam and also for Political Science subject which is an optional paper in the civil services examination.

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What is the main difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha?

The major differences between the upper house and lower house of the Parliament are given in brief in the table below:

Comparison between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
Difference Lok Sabha Rajya Sabha
What it is called? House of People Council of States
What is the meaning of the name? House of People, where people who are qualified to vote can elect their representative by way of direct elections

 

Council of States, where the representatives are indirectly elected by the elected representative of the Assemblies of States and Union Territories

 

What is the tenure of the house? It continues for 5 years

Note: It can be dissolved earlier by passing no-confidence motion

It is a permanent body.
Who heads the house? Speaker Vice President of India as the Chairman of the house
What is the minimum age to become a member? 25 years 30 years
What is the strength of the house? 552 members 250 members
What are the functions of the house? All bills originate in Lok Sabha mostly and after passing through Rajya Sabha, they are returned for Lok Sabha approval. It plays a major role in legislation. Rajya Sabha has special powers to announce that it is required and expedient in the national interest that Parliament may make laws with respect to a matter in the State List or to create by law one or more all-India services common to the Union and the States.

Questions related to the differences between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for UPSC

When an aspirant reads about the Indian Parliament for the first time, he/she may get a little confused between the two houses given their composition, tenure and, functions. In this section, we will answer all those questions related to the differences between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha reading which aspirants will get clarity conceptually for UPSC 2020 examination.

The set of questions are given below:

Who is more powerful between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha?

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha along with President together make up the Parliament. Both the houses have been conferred with powers. However, there is a slight difference between the powers of both. Lok Sabha is more powerful than Rajya Sabha on specific matters which are given below:

  • Lok Sabha can express a lack of confidence in the government by following ways which Rajya Sabha cannot:
    • By not passing a motion of thanks on the President’s inaugural address
    • By rejecting a money bill (To read on how a bill is passed in Indian Parliament, check the linked article.)
    • By passing a censure motion or an adjournment motion
    • By defeating the government on a vital issue
    • By passing a cut motion
    • Note: Rajya Sabha, however, can criticize the acts and policies of the government.
  • Money Bill under Article 110 can only be introduced in Lok Sabha. (Aspirants can read more about Money Bill in the linked article.)
  • Financial Bill under Article 110 (1) can also be introduced only in the Lok Sabha
    • Note: The powers with the passage of the bill, however, are same
  • Speaker of Lok Sabha decides which bill is Money Bill and the same power is not given to the chairman of Rajya Sabha
  • In case of a joint sitting of both houses, Lok Sabha with greater number always wins
  • With respect to the union budget, Rajya Sabha can only discuss the budget and cannot vote on the demands for grants

How many members are there in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

The composition of both the houses is given below:

Composition of Lok Sabha Composition of Rajya Sabha
Maximum Strength – 552 530 represent the States Maximum Strength – 250 238 elected indirectly and are representatives of States and Union Territories
20 are the representatives of Union Territories 12 are nominated by President
2 are nominated by the President from Anglo-Indian Community Current strength – 245 228 represent States
Current Strength – 545 530 represent States 4 represent Union Territories
13 represent Union Territories 12 are nominated by President
2 are nominated from the President from Anglo-Indian Community

How are members elected in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha?

The principle of election for both the houses is different. There are three kings of representation in both the houses:

  • Representation of States
  • Representation of Union Territories
  • Nominated Members
Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha w.r.t Representation of States
Lok Sabha Rajya Sabha
  • Members are directly elected by the people from the territorial constituencies in the states
  • Election Principle used – Universal Adult Franchise
  • Eligibility to Vote : Any Indian Citizen of/above 18 years of age

Note: Voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 years by the 61st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1988

  • Members are elected by the elected members of state legislative assemblies
  • Election Principle used – Proportional Representation by means of Single Transferable Vote
  • Allotment of Seats – On the basis of population

Note: Number of representatives varies from state to state

 

Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha w.r.t Representation of Union Territories
Lok Sabha Rajya Sabha
  • Parliament is empowered to choose the members from the UTs in any manner as it desires
  • Election Principle used – Direct Election

Note: Union Territories (Direct Election to the House of the People) Act, 1965, has been enacted by which the members of Lok Sabha from the union territories are chosen by direct election.

  • Members are indirectly elected by members of an electroral college specially constituted for the purpose
  • Election Principle used – Proportional Representation by means of Single Transferable Vote

Note: Out of seven UTs, only Delhi and Puducherry have representation in Rajya Sabha

 

Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha w.r.t Representation of Nominated Members
Lok Sabha Rajya Sabha
President nominates 2 members from Anglo-Indian Community if they are not adequately represented

Note: The provision to nominate Anglo-Indians was extended till 2020 by 95th Amendment Act, 2009

President nominates 12 members from people who special knowledge and practical experience in :

  • Art
  • Literature
  • Science
  • Social Service

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