(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains GS Online Coaching : Paper 2 - "Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business"

Sample Material of Our IAS Mains GS Online Coaching Programme

Subject: General Studies (Paper 2 - Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business

Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business

Parliament:-Article 79 declares: “There shall be a Parliament for the union which shall consist of the President and two Houses known as the Council of States and the House of the People”.

It has to be noted that the Council of States is also referred to as “Rajya Sabha” or the Upper House” or “House of Elders”. And, the House of People is referred to as Lok Sabha” or the “Lower House”. While Rajya Sabha represents the States, Lok Sabha represents the People The foregoing establish that the Indian Parliament is Bicameral.Further, the point that the President of India is an integral part of Parliament needs no reiteration.

Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

  1. Members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the eligible voters. Members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of State Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.

  2. The normal life of every Lok Sabha is 5 years only while Rajya Sabha is a permanent body.

  3. Lok Sabha is the House to which the Council of Ministers is responsible under the Constitution. Money Bills can only be introduced in Lok Sabha. Also it is Lok Sabha which grants the money for running the administration of the country.

  4. Rajya Sabha has special powers to declare that it is necessary 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.

Composition of Rajya Sabha: [Art.80 to be read with Fourth Schedule wherein the first column mentions the name of the State or union Territory and the second specifies the number of seats allotted.]

a) Rajya Sabha shall consist of Twelve Members nominated by the President from amongst citizens possessing special knowledge or practical expenicace in the areas of Literature, science, Art or social Service The object underlying this provision is to utilize the expertise, experience of eminent men and women, and

b) not more than Two Hundred and Thirty Eight Representatives of States and Union Territories.

Representatives of States in the Rajya Sabha shall be elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States in accordance with the System of Proportional Representation by means of the Single Transferable Vote.Representatives of Union Territories shall be chosen as prescribed in the law enacted by Parliament.A State’s population determines the number of Representatives it can send to Rajya Sabha. Consequently, States that are small cannot be represented by a large number of its Representatives in the Rajya Sabha.

Lok Sabha’s composition is as under:(Art.81):

a) Not more then Five Hundred and Thirty Members chosen through direct election from the territorial constituencies of the States,

b) Not more than Twenty Members to represent Union Territories who shall be chosen in such manner as prescribed in a Parliamentary Legislation.

Elections to Lok Sabha and to the State Legislative Assemblies are on the basis of adult franchise/suffrage. That is, an Indian citizen who is not less than eighteen years of age and who does not suffer from any disqualification under the Constitution or law made by State Legislatures on the ground of non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal Practice can get registered as a voter & vote. Voting will be by Secret Ballot at the General Elections.

Further, the President on forming an opinion that the Anglo-Indian Community is inadequately represented in the Lok Sabha can nominate not more than two Members of that community to Lok Sabha.

Qualification for Membership of Parliament:

i) Should be a Citizen of India;

ii) Should subscribe to Oath…set out in Schedule Three of the Constitution;

iii) Should possess such other qualifications as Parliament may prescribe by law;

iv) For a seat in Rajya Sabha, should not be less than thirty years of age.

v) For a seat in Lok Sabha, should not be less than twenty five years of age.


A Citizen cannot become a Member of either House,

i) if he holds any office of profit under Government of India or State(Please note” Local or other Authority” not mentioned.

ii) if he is of unsound mind and a court of competent jurisdiction has so declared;

iii) if he is an undischarged insolvent;

iv) if has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign State or “acknowledges allegiance or adherence to a foreign State”…

v) if he is disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament.

Oath of Office and Secrecy:

Every Member of Parliament shall before taking his seat in the House make an oath or solemnly affirm as conforming to the format set out in the Third Schedule.

Decision on Disqualification: Decision on the question whether a member of Parliament suffers from any disqualification has to be arrived at by the President and it shall be final. But, before giving his decision, the President shall obtain the opinton of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion.

Duration of House of Parliament (Art.83): Rajya sabha is a permanent body and, therefore, is not subject to dissolution, That is, it cannot be dissolved. Nearly one-third of its Members retire on the expiration of every second year as per provisions in the law made by Parliament.

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