In the matters of ordinary bills both the Houses have equal power. An ordinary bill may be introduced in either House Concurrence of both Houses is necessary for the final pass of the bill. Only when it is passed by both Houses, it is referred to President of India for his assent.
If there is conflict over a bill between the two Houses, the President will summon a joint sitting, of both Houses where the fate of the bill is decided by simple majority of members present and voting.
As the total membership of the Council of States is less than even half of the total strength of the House of the People the latter will naturally predominate in such joint sitting. A bill passed in joint sitting is sent to the President for his assent.
So far only two such bills, i.e., The Dowry Prohibition Bill of 1960, and the Banking Service (Repeal) Bill of 1978 were referred to joint sitting. It is true that in such joint sitting, the Lok Sabha has the advantage of its numerical majority. But as we find such joint sittings are rare in the constitutional history of India.
Financial Legislation :
In respect of Money Bills the position of the Rajya Sabha decidedly subordinate. Every Money Bill should be introduced the Lok Sabha. When it is passed in Lok Sabha, it is sent to Rajya Sabha.
The Rajya Sabha has power to detain it for 14 days. After 14 days, the Bill is treated to be passed whether it is approved or not by the Rajya Sabha. It is a fundamental principle of a democratic Constitution that every financial matter should be decided only with the consent of the popular House.
In a democratic country the people’s consent is essential both for the raising of public revenues and their spending. Thus the Lok Sabha is made superior to’ Rajya Sabha in the financial field.
Controlling of Executive:
Article 75(3) of the Constitution provides that “The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People”. The Constitution does not make the Council of Ministers responsible to the Council of States. Thus the Ministers can ignore” the Council of States.
If a vote of no-confidence is passed in the Lok Sabha, the Ministers are bound to resign. But such a vote of no-confidence, if passed in the Rajya Sabha, the Ministers may not resign. The confidence of the Parliament means the confidence of House of the People as the responsibility of the Executive means responsibility to the House of the People.
In a parliamentary democracy, the Government should be responsible to the popular House which consists of the representatives of the people. The House of the People is composed of the directly elected representatives of the people. Important Ministers are appointed from the House of the People.
Thus the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to it for its acts of commission or commission. But the members of the Council of States can ask questions on various administrative matters.
The Ministers concerned are bound to reply such questions. The constitutional practice since 1950 is that the Ministers including the Prime Ministers have gone to the Council of States to answer serious questions of its members. However, in controlling the Executive, the House of the People is superior to the Council of States.
In respect of other matters like Impeachment, Constitutional Amendments, Ratification of Treaties, Approval of proclamation of Emergencies, Electoral Functions etc., powers of both Houses are equal.
The Council of States has three special powers. First, under Article 249 of the Constitution it can authorise the Union Parliament to legislate over the State List in normal times, if it is of the opinion that in the national interest such legislation is necessary.
The second exclusive power of the Rajya Sabha is connected with setting up of All India Services. Article 312 of the Constitution provides that “If the Council of State has declared by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest so to do, Parliament may by law provide for the creation of one or more All India Services common to the Union and the States”.
The Council is here given the power to decide by resolution to create such All India Services. Thirdly, the Council of States has monopoly to initiate a resolution for the removal of the Vice-President.
If such a resolution initiated and passed by the Council of States is approved by the House of the people, the Vice-President of India stands to be impeached. In all three cases the House of the People comes into picture only after Council of States has acted. They are exclusive powers of the council of States in the sense that it has to initiate the matters first.
Thus, comparatively viewed the House of the People is more powerful than the Council of States. The former is a directly elected House which consists of the representatives of the people. It has the exclusive power over the Money Bills.
It is a Chamber of ventilation of public grievances. As its representatives are direct elected by the people they are better people to know the grievances and sufferings of the people. The House of the People is described as a mirror of national life and educator of public opinion. It is considered to be the citadel of liberty and custodian of rights and liberties of the people.