Lower House vs Upper House
Difference between Lower House and Upper House is a topic relevant to countries with a democratic form of government. 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 Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha whereas, in US, they are referred to as the Senate and the House of Representatives; together they are called 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 in detail.
What is Lower House?
Normally, it is the Lower House whose members are elected directly by the populace. In other words, members of the Lower House are elected directly by the population on the basis of adult suffrage. Lower House is bigger in number than the Upper House. The members of the Lower House take part in the initial decision-making process. For a bill to pass, the majority of the Lower House should vote in favor. Once a bill gets majority votes, it goes to the Upper House. In different countries, different names are used to address the Lower House. In USA, it is known as the House of Representatives. In India, Lower House is Lok Sabha. In United Kingdom, Lower House is House of Commons.
What is Upper House?
Normally, the members of the Upper House are chosen by the political parties. 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, Rajya Sabha 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.
There are critics who say that having an 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.
In different countries, different names are used to address the Upper House. In USA, it is known as the Senate. In India, Upper House is Rajya Sabha. In United Kingdom, Upper House is House of Lords.
What is the difference between Lower House and Upper House?
In democracies, it is a common practice to have a bicameral legislature. The two chambers of the legislature are divided into Upper House and Lower House that are different in many ways.
• 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.
• It is the presence of the upper house that completes a system of checks and balances in a democracy.
• The relationships between the two houses in democracies worldwide vary 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.
• Generally, for a bill to pass, first it should have majority votes in the Lower House. Then, it goes to the Upper House. If the Upper House too passes it, then it goes to the Head of State.