Lower House vs Upper House
In democracies worldwide, it is a common practice to have a bicameral legislature. This means that there are two houses of parliament that have come to be known as the Upper House and Lower House. In the two biggest democracies, the US and India, the parliament is bicameral. In India, the two houses are called the Rajyasabha and the Loksabha whereas in US, they are referred to as the Senate and the Congress. There are differences in the two houses of legislature both in functioning and powers in all democracies of the world. This article attempts to explain these differences.
Normally, it is the lower house whose members are elected directly by the populace while the members of the Upper House are influential, rich or those who have done remarkably well in their chosen field of work. The idea of having an Upper House or Senate (in the case of US) was to have a stabilizing force. As senators were elected not by the voters but chosen by the legislators themselves, they were expected to lend wisdom, knowledge and experience to the working of the legislature. Even in India, Rajyasabha consists of economists, writers, literary figures, sociologists, thinkers and other people who are known to be achievers. The collective wisdom and knowledge of these personalities in the Upper House is required for certain bills that are drawn in haste by the Lower House. This is why bills passed by the Lower House do not come into effect until they are also passed by the Upper House.
The relationship between the two houses in democracies worldwide varies depending upon local conventions and the requirements of the political system. At some places, the Upper House is more powerful than the Lower House, at others, it has equal powers.
There are critics who say that having a Upper House is a waste of time as it makes passing of resolutions difficult and tedious. However there are many who feel that the system of bicameralism is good for democracies as Upper House works as a system of checks and balances and is necessary to avoid any legislation getting passed by the Lower House in haste and becoming a law of the country.
While members of the Lower House are elected directly by the population on the basis of adult suffrage, Upper House has members in proportion to the population of the states of the country.
• In democracies, it is a common practice to have a bicameral legislature.
• The two chambers of legislature are divided into the Upper House and the Lower House
• While Lower House members are elected directly by the electorate, members of Upper House are selected by the members of legislatures of the states to send their members to the legislature at the federal level.
• Members of upper house are also called seniors because of their age, wealth, experience and wisdom.
• It is the presence of the upper house that completes a system of checks and balances in a democracy