The Lok Sabha is represented directly by elected representatives of the people. The Rajya Sabha, on the other hand, consists of 12 nominated and indirectly elected members.
They are elected by elected representatives of respective states and similarly by Union Territories as such have been termed as the House of People and Council of State. This contrast between the two houses is also reflected in the domain of Parliamentary powers and functions.
The contrast between the powers of two houses can be studied under following headings:
A money Bill or a Financial Bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha. A Money Bill when passed by Lok Sabha is returned from Rajya Sabha with certain recommendations, may or may not be accepted by the Lok Sabha.
It can delay Money Bill by 14 days only. Its power is only of advisory character. Speaker of Lok Sabha was the sole power to decide whether a Bill is Money Bill or not.
As regards ordinary legislation both the houses enjoy co-equal powers. In case of disagreement between the two Houses on ordinary bill, there is provision of joint sitting of both the Houses to resolve the deadlock. However, Rajya Sabha suffers due to numerical strength.
3. Control over Executive:
Article 75(3) provides that “Council of Minister shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.” A vote of censure, no-confidence motion or confidence can be introduced and passed only in the Lok Sabha.
Both the houses have co-equal powers in the election of President and Vice President.
Both the houses enjoy equal power in the impeachment of President. According to Article 61 of the Constitution the resolution for the removal of the President must be passed by each House by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of each House separately. But, a resolution seeking removal of Vice President can be introduced only in the Rajya Sabha.
6. Constitutional Amendments:
In the realm of amendment of Constitution both the houses have been placed at par. There is no provision of joint sitting in case of deadlock between the two houses. Constitutional Amendment Bill must be passed by both the houses sitting separately.
7. Approval and Disapproval of National Emergency:
The two houses have equal power so far as the approval of proclamation of emergency under Article 352, 356 and 360 is concerned. Moreover, if Lok Sabha stands dissolved or is dissolved within the period of proclamation of emergency, a resolution approving the proclamation is passed by the Rajya Sabha, the proclamation would be legally up to a maximum of 30 days from the date on which the Lok Sabha assembles after its reconstitution.
However Article 352 (National Emergency) provides that a resolution seeking disapproval of the continuance of national emergency can be introduced and passed only in the Lower House.
Besides above provisions, there are two other provisions which confer special power upon the Rajya Sabha to discharge its function of federal character. They are
Firstly, The Rajya Sabha may by a resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting confer the power on the Parliament to legislate on matters cited in State list in view of national interest (Article 249). Such a resolution may be in operation for one year but may be increased for one year at a time by passing separate resolution.
Secondly, Under Article 372 Rajya Sabha by a resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting provide for creation of all Indian services.
A brief survey of powers of the two houses reveal that though Lok Sabha is assigned important powers in a number of areas, but even Rajya Sabha enjoys important powers at the exception of Lok Sabha.
The incompatibility between the powers of two houses is due to their role expectations. Rajya Sabha being a Council of States has been assigned important powers that affect the federal structure. Lok Sabha retains crucial powers by virtue of being a directly elected deliberative body.