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Indian Polity / Union Legislature

Composition of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

    Union Legislature comprises of President of India, Loka Shabha and Rajya Sabha. Articles 79 to 122 deal with the composition of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Parliamentary procedures, Parliamentary committees, powers and functions of Parliament. Article 79 defines the Parliament. Parliament comprises of President, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

    The Lok Sabha is also known as Lower House or House of People and the Rajya Sabha is also known as Upper House or Council of States. Though we have Bicameral legislature at Centre, bicameralism at State level is optional.

    Composition of Lok Sabha

    • Article 81 deals with the composition of Lok Sabha. The maximum strength of Lok Sabha after 1971 shall not exceed 552. It was decided in 1973 by the 31st Constitutional Amendment. According to this Amendment, this strength would not be changed until 2000.

      However, this was again extended up to 2026 by the 84th Amendment in 2001. However, the number of seats reserved for SC and ST in Lok Sabha will be according to Census of 2001.

    • Out of 552 seats, not more than 530 are to be elected from states and not more than 20 are from Union Territories and not more than 2 are to be nominated Anglo Indians.

      However, the present strength of Lok Sabha is 545. Out of 545, 524 are from states and 19 are from Union Territories. Remaining 2 are nominated members of Lok Sabha.

    • The members of Lok Sabha are elected by electors, who completed the age of 18 years as on the date given by the Election Commission of India.

    • The members are elected on the basis of territorial constituencies, which are divided according to population. The system of election to Lok Sabha is first past the post, which means whoever gets the majority vote is the winner.

    • The tenure of Lok Sabha is generally 5 years. Normal tenure of the Lok Sabha may be extended up to 1 year at a time during the course of National Emergency by the Parliament.

    Composition of Rajya Sabha

    • Article 80 deals with the composition of Rajya Sabha. The maximum strength of Rajya Sabha is 250. Out of 250, 238 Rajya Sabha members are to be elected by the elected MLAs in a system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. Here, proportional representation means each political party will have a chance to win the number of Rajya Sabha seats corresponding to its strength in the Legislative Assembly. In this system, the MLAs will not vote for each seat. If that is the case, then the party in the ruling will always win all the seats.

      Remaining 12 members are to be nominated by the President from the fields of arts, literature, sciences, and social services.

    • The present strength of Rajya Sabha is 245 only. Out of 245, states have 225 and Union Territories have 8. Remaining 12 are nominated members of Rajya Sabha.

    • Rajya Sabha is a permanent body. It cannot be dissolved periodically. However, the members of Rajya Sabha are elected for the term of 6 years. But, one third members of Rajya Sabha retire every two years.

    • In order to win the election to Rajya Sabha, a candidate needs to get the required number of votes, called Quota votes or Preference votes.

      The formula for Quota votes = [(Total valid votes polled)/(Number of Rajya Sabha seats to be filled + 1)] + 1.

      This is the formula used when only one seat is to be filled. But, the formula slighly changes when more than one seats are to be filled and the formula is,

      Quota votes = [(Total valid votes polled X 100)/(Number of Rajya Sabha seats to be filled + 1)] + 1.

Extra Information

    • Bicameral legislature in India was introduced for the first time in the Government of India Act, 1919, that is Montague-Chemsford Reforms.

    • By the 61st Amendment in 1988, the age of voting got reduced from 21 to 18. It came into effect from 1989.

    • If Union Territories do not have Assemblies, Parliament may prescribe the procedure of election by law. But generally, the Rajya Sabha members are elected by the members of local bodies.

    • Sessions of Parliament -

      • There should be minimum two sessions of Parliament in a year. However, the maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament should not exceed 6 months.

      • There is no limitations on the maximum number of sessions. Indian Parliament generally meets thrice in a year.

        First session is from February to April (Budget session of Parliament), second session is from of July to August (Monsoon session of Parliament) and third session is from November to December (Winter session of Parliament).