In India, the legislature at the central level is called Parliament. The Indian Parliament is bicameral. It consists of two houses. The lower house is called the Lok Sabha or the House of the people. The upper house is called the Rajya Sabha or the council of States.
The President of India is an integral part of the Indian Parliament. The two houses of Parliament are constituted in different ways. They do not enjoy equal powers. The first elected Parliament came into being in April 1952.
Lok Sabha, as the name itself signifies, is the body representative of the people. It consists of members of directly elected by the people. The maximum strength of Lok Sabha has been fixed at 552. Out of these, 530 members are elected by the people from different states and to 20 members are elected from the union territories. Besides, the President has the power to nominate two members of the Anglo Indian community in the Lok Sabha if it does not have adequate representation. The term of Lok Sabha is five years.
The Minimum qualifying age for membership of the house is 25 years. The Lok Sabha elects its Speaker and Deputy Speaker from among its own members. The speaker presides over its meetings.
Rajya Sabha is the Upper House of Parliament. Its maximum strength can be 250 members. Of these 12 members are nominated by the President of India, the remaining 238 members are representatives of various states and union territories. The elected members from each state are elected by the members of Legislative Assembly of that state. The members from union territories are elected according to the procedure laid down by the Parliament.
The members nominated by the President are the people who are eminent in the fields of art, literature, science or social service. No members of Rajya Sabha can be under 30 years of age. Rajya Sabha is a parliament house. It is never dissolved as a whole. Each member of the Rajya Sabha is elected for 6 years, one third; of its members retire, after every two years.
The vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha. It (Rajya Sabha) also elects a vice-chairman from among its members. He or she presides over the meeting of the Rajya Sabha in case the Chairman is not present.
The Parliament has the power to legislate on all subjects that are under the Jurisdiction of the central government. It passes ordinary and financial bills. The Lok Sabha exercises more powers in respect to money bills than the Rajya Sabha. The Parliament has also the power to amend the Constitution. It is also essential that the ordinance promulgated by the President is approved by the Parliament as soon as it meets. The proclamation of emergency by the President must by approved by the Parliament.
The Parliament also exercises control over the executive. It is the place where the government has to give an account of its policies. The Parliament house is one of the most important buildings in New Delhi. This magnificent building has the brightest clusters of architectural gems. It is a place which is visited by the people from inside as well as outside the country.