Some useful information on Bicameralism

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Finer says, “Quite apart from the need for mature deliberation, second chambers have come into existence for the same reason as so many other institutions : those who have power and possession create all possible barricades to prevent their loss.

Revolution is not the only movement of the human spirit to produce barricades: conservatism has produced more. Indeed all second chambers have been instituted, and are nominated not from disinterested love of mature deliberation, but because there is something wished to defend against the rest of the community, especially inherited possessions and status”.

These are balancing arguments in favour of and against the second chamber. According to Laski, the single chamber with competent legis­lative powers seems to be the best to answer the needs of a modern state. The unicameral system was also supported by Benjamin Franklin in the USA. and by Jeremy Bentham in England.

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It has been supported on the grounds that (1) it ensures representation of the general will, (2) single chamber should be the repository of undivided sovereignty of the state; (3) it is simple; (4) it definitely localizes responsibility. But the fact of the matter is that the bicameral legislatures have come to stay.

Most of the people believe that second chambers have still some utility about them. In India, the second chambers have been made use of bringing such persons to the legislature who were unable to get themselves elected to the lower house.

Points To Remember

There are balancing arguments for and against bicameralism.

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Arguments for Bicameralism :

1. The second chamber is a brake against hasty, ill-considered and rash legislation.

2. It can give representation to minorities and special interests.

3. Intellectuals, artists and scientists can be represented on it.

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4. It revises the Bills passed by the lower chamber.

5. It causes delay which is beneficial in the ultimate interests of the people.

6. It checks despotism of the Lower House.

7. It is very essential for a federation.

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8. It is necessary for giving functional representation.

Arguments against Bicameralism :

1. It stifles the voice of the Lower House which consists of popular representatives.

2. Second chambers are generally fortresses of reaction and conser­vatism.

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3.The delaying powers of the second chambers are generally misused.

4. Upper chambers play a subordinate and junior role.

5. There is a possibility of deadlocks.

6. Second chamber has lost its importance in a federation.

1. There is no universally recognized method for the constitution of the second chamber.

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