What are the relationship between the two Houses of the Indian Parliament?

Indian Parliament consists of two Houses-Lok Sabha & Rajyasabha. Lok Sabha is the Lower House where as Rajyasabha is the Upper House. Lok Sabha represents the whole nation while Rajyasabha represents the States.

Relationship between the two Houses

Although the participation & collaboration of both the Houses are essential for all legislative activities even a cursory perusal of the provision of the constitution with regard to the Houses of Parliament will show that the constitution recognizes the supremacy of the Lok Sabha over the Rajyasabha. The two Houses unlike the Australian Parliament do not stand on the footing of equality. The relationship of the two Houses may be discussed as under.

i) Ordinary Bills

Ordinary Bills can originate in either House of Parliament. Unless passed by both the Houses they cannot be sent to the President for his assent. A Bill passed by one House is sent to the other House. If the other House passes the Bill in the form in which it was passed by the originating House it is sent to the President for his assent. The other House may propose amendments in the Bill or may even reject the Bill. Then if the two Houses do not agree on the proposed amendments or if the two Houses finally disagree on the Bill, the President under Art-108 of the constitution is empowered to call a joint meeting of the two Houses. In case the receiving House takes no action on the Bill for six months from the date of in receipt, in that case also the President has already used a notification for joint sitting neither. House can proceed with the Bill. If at the joint meeting of the two Houses, the -voice of the Lok Sabha should prevail because of its numerical strength. It should not however take for granted. In India thus the Rajyasabha can delay a Bill for six months; it may succeed in killing it also especially when the Government has a thin majority in the Lok Sabha & substantial opposition in the Rajyasabha. In England the House of Lords can delay a non-money Bill for one year. There is a position for a joint sitting. In Japan also there is no provision for a joint sitting of the two Houses in case of a deadlock over the Bill.

Money Bill

Money Bills & Budget can originate in the Lok Sabha only. The Rajyasabha is the receiving end. When a Money Bill is passed by the Lok Sabha it is sent to the Rajyasabha for its recommendations.

The Rajyasabha has the right to propose amendments in the Money Bill, it must return the Bill to the Lok Sabha with and without amendments within 14 days from the date of the receipt of the Bill, the same shall be considered to have been passed by both the Houses of Parliament in the same form in which it was passed by both the Houses of Parliament in the same form in which it was passed by the Lok Sabha. All these provisions clearly prove that the hold of the Lok Sabha over the finance of the country is complete & absolute. It should be noted that in case of disagreement over Money Bill there cannot be a joint sitting of the two Houses. The Senate of Australia possesses the power to reject even a Money Bill. The House of Lords of England can delay a Money Bill for a month.

Control over the Executive

In India Parliamentary system of Government has been established. The essence of this form of Government is that the Executive is, responsible to the Legislation for its action & policies. In practice it is answerable to the popular House. These accordingly to the constitution of India, the Council of Ministers has been made collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. No doubt the Rajyasabha can exist its influence on the Government in a number of ways & it may even put the Government in an awkward position but it cannot remove the Government from office. This power belongs to the Lok Sabha only. The power of the Lok Sabha is exclusive and not concurrent. The Government must enjoy the confidence of the Lok Sabha or else resign. The Lok Sabha can express its lack of confidence resolution. Thus the Government must either be in time with the Lok Sabha or face expulsion. One point may be noted here. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. The constitution does not speak of individual responsibility.

Other Matters

On the other matters, the powers of the two Houses are almost equal. They are enumerated as under.

(1) Constitution amending Bill can be introduced in either House of Parliament. It is deemed to have been passed only when each House passes it by the required majority. Since the amending Bill has to be passed by each House, the question of Joint sitting of the two Houses in case of disagreement does not arise. In this respect the Rajyasabha has co-equal powers with the Lok Sabha. It may even kill an amending Bill both the Houses have equal powers in the removal of the President. Charges can be preferred in either House the other House investigates & gets them investigated by a court or a tribunal but the House cannot abdicate its authority, it has to pass the resolution by 2/3rd majority if the impeachment proceeding is to succeed.

The Vice-President can also be removed from office by the Parliament. Removal proceedings against the Vice-President can start only in the Rajyasabha but the Lok Sabha must also agree if the Vice-President is to be removed from office.

Judges of the Supreme Court & State High Courts are also removed by both the Houses. In this respect also the powers of both the Houses are equal.

Under Art 249, the Rajyasabha can pass a resolution by 2/3rd majority of its members present & voting that an item given on the state list has become of national importance, therefore Parliament should make law on that. On the passing of such a resolution it becomes lawful for Parliament to make laws with respect to that matter for the whole or any part of India for a period of one year. Under A-312 the Rajyasabha by passing a resolution by two thirds majority of the members present & voting can set up an All India Services.

From the above discussion it is clear that the Lok Sabha is more powerful than the Rajyasabha and he also holds the purse holds the power. Likewise, the council of Ministers can be removed from office by the Lok Sabha only. The Lok Sabha is thus the king maker. It was the intention of the makers of the constitution to make the Lok Sabha more powerful than the Rajyasabha because it is in accordance with the theory & practice of Parliamentary System of Government.