COMPOSITION OF THE INDIAN PARLIAMENT
The constitution makes India a federal state. Hence our founding fathers provided for a bicameral legislature at the centre known as the Parliament or the “Samsad.” This “Samsad” or the Parliament consists of the President, the Lower House, known as the Lok Sabha or the House of People and the Upper House, called the “Rajya Sabha” or the Council of States.
The formal assent of the President is necessary for bills passed by Parliament to become laws.
The Lower House, called House of People, consists of representatives of the people elected from territorial constituencies. Thus, it is the representative house of the nation as a whole. The Upper House, called the Council of States, consists of representatives of the federating units composing the Indian federation. Thus, this House represents the federal principle in the Indian union. The Upper House in the words of Prof. Finer is a federal necessity.
In terms of Article 81 of the constitution, the House of People has a total component of 545 elected members. Article 331 empower the President to nominate 2 members of the Anglo-Indian community, if in his opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the Lok Sabha. Thus the highest possible strength of the Lok-Sabha is 547.
Of the 545 elected members, 525 are elected from the territorial constituencies of the states, elected for a 5 year term on the basis of universal adult suffrage. 20 members are elected from the union territories. Originally only citizens of not less than 21 years of age could vote in Lok Sabha elections. Recently, the voting age has been lowered to 18. But only Indian citizens of 25 years of age and not otherwise disqualified could stand for election to the Lok Sabha.
The Lok Sabha is elected for the term of 5 years. It may be dissolved earlier by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. The life of the Lok Sabha may be extended beyond 5 years during an emergency under Art 352, up to one year at a time by acts passed by the Parliament. But such extension shall not continue beyond six months after the emergency ends.
The Council of States or, the Rajya Sabha represents the federal principle in the Indian Parliament. It is a perennial chamber consisting of not more than 250 members 1/3 of who retire every two years. Consequently at the beginning of every second year, there is fresh election of 1/3 of members of the Rajya Sabha. Of the 250 members of the Rajya Sabha, 238 are elected by the Legislative Assemblies of the component states and by members of electoral colleges formed for the purpose, in the union territories. The Rajya Sabha members are elected on the basis of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. Each member is elected for a term of six years. The 12 other members of the Rajya Sabha are nominated by the President from among Indians of exceptional achievements in literature, science, art or any other field of life. Clearly, this is a device to associate distinguished Indians with the legislative process.
The Rajya Sabha represents the federal principle in the Indian Parliament, but the Indian Constitution does not formally recognize the principle of equality of the component states. That is why in India; unlike as in the U. S. A., the states do not have equal representation in the federal upper chamber. More populous states like. U. P. have heavier representation than the less populous ones like Nagaland, thus tilting the balance in favour of populous states. Such states have heavier representation both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.