Five Merits and Demerits of Bicameralism

Firstly, bicameralism is defended on the ground that it prevents hasty legislation. It is said that the second chamber by interposing delay and restrain will prevented the enactment of hastily passed bills of the other chamber.

But this argument is not adequate. For, the process of law-making today is not so quick. The bills are passed through three readings and committee stages which interpose adequate delay. Further, delay by second chamber is undersirable.

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(2) Safeguard of individual liberty:

Secondly, Bryce opined that second chambers of legislature can safeguard individual liberty. In his opinion, one chamber possesses an innate tendency to be tyrannical and corrupt in the absence of a check by the existence of another house of equal power.

(3) Representation of different interests:

Thirdly bicameral legislature is defended on the ground that it gift representation to the different interests. For instance, the Rajya Sabha in India has 12 nominated members with repute in the fields of art, science, literature and social service.

These persons fields not otherwise be elected to the Lok Sabha whose membership is confined to elected representatives only.

(4) Representation of the units in a federation:

Fourthly, federal States one of the chamber consists of the representatives of states while the other chamber is composed of representatives of the people In the U.S.A. the members of the lower house are elected on the basis of population.

On the other hand, the Senate or the upper house of America consists of two representatives from each state irrespective of their population, size or economic status. In India, the Rajya Sabha is supposed to consist of the representatives of States, although there is no parity in representation as in the U.S.A.

(5) Smooth working of the legislature:

Fifthly, it facilities the working of the legislature. Complexity and the bulk of modern legislation demand that the second chamber should exist to lighten the burden of the popular chamber. Non-controversial bills may be introduced in the upper chamber.

Demerits of Bicameralism:

(1) Superfluous and unnecessary:

Abbe Sieyes critised bicameral system by saying, “of what use will a second chamber be? If it agrees with the representative house, it will be superfluous, if it disagrees, mischievous.” Truly, a second chamber of legislature is of doubtful utility under the circumstances depicted by Abbe Sieyes.

(2) Lack of Unity:

Abbe Sieyes further opines that where there are two chambers, the legislature lacks unity. The law is the will of the people, the people cannot at the same time have two different wills, Public opinion is always one. Thus, bicameralism may mean discord, division and distortion of popular wall.

(3) Delay of passing laws:

The second chamber makes and delays in passing laws. Further, it mostly consists of conservative and more aristocratic sections of the society. They constitute reactionary elements in the legislature who may stand on the progressive legislations.

(4) Expensive:

Again a bicameral system has been criticized on the ground that it is uneconomical to maintain two chambers of legislature performing merely duplicate functions. It is an expensive system. It involves unnecessary duplication of work.

(5) Deadlocks:

Even in a federal State, an upper chamber. is the relic of past controversy between national and state interests Today, with the growth of the centralizing tendency in all federations, upper chambers providing so-called representation , to the state are superfluous. It may create dead-locks. Such deadlocks may hinder the work of the legislature.

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