Prelimsverse: Powers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

The Lok Sabha has certain powers that make it more powerful than the Rajya Sabha:

1. Motions of no confidence against the government can be introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha. If passed by a majority vote, the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers resign collectively. The Rajya Sabha has no power over such a motion and hence has no real power over the executive. This is because the Constitution of India has only made the Union Council of ministers responsible to the Lok Sabha, not to the Rajya Sabha.
2. Money bills can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha, and upon being passed, are sent to the Rajya Sabha, where it can be deliberated on for up to 14 days. If not rejected by the Rajya Sabha, or 14 days lapse from the introduction of the bill in the Rajya Sabha without any action by the House, or recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha are not accepted by the Lok Sabha, the bill is considered passed. The budget is presented in the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister in the name of the President of India.
3. In matters about non-financial (ordinary) bills, after the bill has been passed by the House where it was originally tabled (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha), it is sent to the other house, where it may be kept for a maximum period of 6 months. If the other House rejects the bill or a period of 6 months elapses without any action by that House, or the House that originally tabled the bill does not accept the recommendations made by the members of the other house, it results in a deadlock. This is resolved by a joint session of both Houses, presided over by the speaker of the Lok Sabha and decided by a simple majority. Though the Constitution has placed both houses on the same footing in this regard, in reality, it is the Lok Sabha’s opinions that mostly prevail—due to its bigger numerical strength.

Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha having equal powers:

1. Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in initiating and passing any Bill for Constitutional Amendment (by a majority of the total membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting).
2. Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in initiating and passing a motion for the impeachment of the President (by two-thirds of the membership of the House).

3. Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in the impeachment process (initiating and passing a motion for the removal) of the judges of the Supreme Court and the state High Courts (by a majority of the membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting), who then can be removed by the President of India.

4. Equal Powers with the Rajya Sabha in initiating and passing a resolution declaring war or national emergency (by two-thirds majority) or constitutional emergency (by simple majority) in a state.

Exclusive Powers of Rajya Sabha over Lok Sabha (Rajya Sabha being a federal chamber – representing States/Union territories, enjoys certain special powers):

1. Article 249: to empower Parliament to make laws in respect of any matter enumerated in the State List in the national interest by adopting a resolution to this effect.
2. Article 312: creation of All India Services 
3. Emergency Provisions: Article 352, 356 and 360: approving Proclamations if the Lok Sabha stand dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place within the period allowed for the approval of the Proclamation by Parliament.
If the Lok Sabha is dissolved before or after the declaration of a National Emergency, the Rajya Sabha becomes the sole Parliament. It cannot be dissolved. This is a limitation on the Lok Sabha. But there is a possibility that the president can exceed the term to not more than 1 year under the proclamation of emergency and the same would be lowered down to six-month if the said proclamation ceases to operate.
In conclusion, the Lok Sabha is more powerful than the Rajya Sabha in almost all matters. Even in matters in which the Constitution has placed both Houses on an equal footing, the Lok Sabha has more influence due to its greater numerical strength. This is typical of parliamentary democracies, many of which have a lower house that is more powerful than the upper.

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