Except in the case of collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers and certain financial matters, Both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha enjoy equal powers. Explain.
Published: July 31, 2017
Under article 75(3) of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha which means Rajya Sabha cannot make or unmake the Government. It can, however, exercise control over the Government and this function becomes quite prominent, particularly when the Government does not enjoy majority in Rajya Sabha.
To resolve a deadlock between the two Houses, in case of an ordinary legislation, the Constitution provides for the joint sitting of both Houses. In fact, there have been three occasions in the past when the Houses of Parliament had met in joint sitting to resolve differences between them. Issues in joint sitting are decided by a majority of the total number of members of both Houses present and voting. The joint sitting is held in the Central Hall of Parliament House presided over by the Speaker, Lok Sabha. However, in the case of a Money Bill, there is no provision in the Constitution for a joint sitting of both Houses as Lok Sabha clearly enjoys pre-eminence over Rajya Sabha in financial matters. As regards a Constitution amendment Bill, it has been provided in the Constitution that such a Bill has to be passed by the specific majority, as prescribed under article 368 of the Constitution, by both Houses. There is, therefore, no provision for resolving a deadlock between the two Houses in regard to a Constitution amendment Bill.
Ministers may belong to either House of Parliament. The Constitution does not make any distinction between the Houses in this regard. Every Minister has the right to speak and take part in the proceedings of either House but he is entitled to vote only in the House of which he is a member.
Similarly, with regard to powers, privileges and immunities of the Houses of Parliament, their members and committees thereof, the two Houses are placed absolutely on equal footing by the Constitution.
Other important matters in respect of which both Houses enjoy equal powers are election and impeachment of the President, election of the Vice- President, approving the Proclamation of Emergency, the proclamation regarding failure of constitutional machinery in States and financial emergency. In respect of receiving reports and papers from various statutory authorities, etc., both Houses have equal powers.
It is thus clear that except in the case of collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers and certain financial matters, which fall in the domain of Lok Sabha only, both Houses enjoy equal powers.
Model Questions Category: 033 - Functions and Responsibilities of the Union and the States