The House of the People is commonly known as the “Lower House” of Parliament, and its members are elected directly by the people. Unlike many other constitutions, the maximum number of members to be elected to the Lok Sabha is fixed by the Constitution.

Originally, this number was fixed at 500. But the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution following the reorganisation of States in 1956, raised it to 520. The Forty-second Amendment of the Constitution further raised it to 545 (Art. 81). Of these a maximum of 20 seats are reserved for members from the Union Territories.

The remaining 525 members are to be chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the States. For this purpose, to each State is allotted a certain number of seats on the basis of its population in proportion to the total population of all the States. For the purpose of election, each State is divided into territorial constituencies which are more or less of the same size in regard to population.

The present total strength of the House includes two Anglo-Indian representatives who have been nominated to the House by the President.


This is in accordance with a special provision in the Constitution under which the President will nominate not more than two members of the Anglo Indian community to the Lok Sabha if no member of that community is elected to that House. On the basis of the 1951 Census, India had a population of 360 million. But in 1981 it was about 700 million and by 1991 it has gone over 840 million.

By the year 2001 the population of India has exceeded 1000 million. Yet, there has been no change in the total number of elected members to the Lok sabha. In fact, by an amendment of the Constitution in 2001, the present strength of the Lok Sabha will remain the same until the year 2025.

With a maximum number of 543 elected members in the House, one member at present represents over one and a half million of the population, a very low rate of representation indeed. The representation from the various States may be seen in the table on page 176.

The election to the House is conducted on the basis of adult franchise, every man or woman who has completed the age of 18 years being eligible to vote. The Constitution provides for secret ballot. According to the present system, a candidate who secures the largest number of votes is declared elected.


Some members had advocated the system of proportional representation for the election of members to the Lok Sabha. This was opposed by Ambedkar who pointed out that with the present standard of literacy India was not ready for proportional representation. Further, proportional representation might bring about a multiplicity of political parties and a chronic instability in government.

The normal life of the House of the People is five years from the date of its first meeting, but it may be dissolved earlier by the President of India. 1 The President is also empowered to extend the life of the House for one year at a time during a national emergency.

But in any case, the life of the House cannot be extended beyond six months after the emergency has ceased to operate. The House shall meet at least twice a year and the interval between two consecutive sessions shall be less than six months.

The time and the place of meeting will be decided by the President who will summon the House to meet. He has also the power to prorogue the House.


There is hardly any qualification that the Constitution prescribes for a Member of Parliament except that he should be an Indian citizen and has completed the age of 25 years if he seeks election to the House and 30 years if he seeks election to the Council.

A striking feature of the electoral law is that a candidate for election to the House of the People may stand from any Parliamentary constituency mm any of the States in India. Such a provision, which is almost unknown in other federal States, is m incidence of the principle of single citizenship which emphasises the unity of the nation.

In the United States, for instance, a contesting candidate for a seat in the House of Representatives must be, and then elected, “an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen”.

The Constitution has laid down certain disqualifications for membership. These are:


(1) No person is a member of both Houses of Parliament or a member both of Parliament and of a State legislature. There is no bar to a candidate contesting at the same time as many seats as he likes or to as many legislatures as he likes. But if he is elected to more than one seat, he should vacate all except one according to his choice. If the same person is elected to both a Parliamentary seat and a seat in a State legislature and if he does not resign his seat in the State legislature before a specified period, his seat in Parliament will become vacant;

(2) A person will be disqualified, if he absents himself for a period of sixty days from the meetings of the House without the permission of the House;

(3) If he holds an office of profit under any Government in India;

(4) If he is of unsound mind;


(5) If he is an un-discharged insolvent;

(6) If he voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country iris under any acknowledgment of allegiance to a foreign State.

In pursuance of the powers under Article 327 to regulate matters of election, Parliament passed in 1951 the Representation of the People Act which too lays down certain conditions for disqualification. These are :

(1) A Member of Parliament should not have been found guilty by a Court or an Election Tribunal of certain election offences or corrupt practices in election;


(2) He should not have been convicted by a Court in India of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than two years;

(3) He should not have failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time and in the manner prescribed; (4) he should not have been dismissed for corruption or disloyalty from Government service;

(5) He should not be a Director or Managing Agent or hold an office of profit under any corporation in which the Government has any financial interest unless exempted by Parliamentary Legislation;

(6) He should not have any interest in government contracts, execution of government work or service. Any of these conditions should not exist on the date of nomination of a candidate for election and on the date when the results are declared.